Inconsistency is likely the main reason for your poor performance in tournaments. Will doing more drills help you? Possibly.
Here at the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy, we aren’t just concerned with the number of hours, we are also concerned about the quality of the hours realizing that each individual player might need to adjust his/her drills slightly. In this article, I’m going to briefly outline the 3:1 principle that we have developed.
Statistics have shown that players who can average 15 balls per rally in drills can usually rally about 5 balls in a match. Players who can average 6 balls per rally in drills can usually rally about 2 balls in a match. Obviously, the numbers are going to vary based on the drill type, the hit quality, the quality of the opponent’s hit, and hundreds of other factors. But the statistics still stand (on average) the drill to game ratio is usually 3:1.
So now that you know the statistics, how does that change your practice sessions?
Let’s start by talking about the two basic types of offensive players:
#1 Players that work the point long and are selective when to power the ball
#2 Players that look to finish the point within the first few hits
If you are the first type of offensive player and need to be able to loop 10 times per rally in a game, then focus on making it to 30 loops during a drill combining backhand and forehand. If you can’t get the 30, then focus more on moving your feet, positioning your body better, slowing down your loop, and focusing more on spin, not speed. If you can easily get to 30 every time, then you need to focus more on improving the quality of your loop or the variations of your loop.
If you are the second type of offensive player and want to finish the point within the first three loops, then focus much attention on playing 9 ball drills. Look to give variation between extreme spin to extreme speed. Once you reach the 9th ball, then play free point like a game. If you cannot get to the 9th ball, then focus on temporarily playing more like player #1 and build up your consistency.
Many people who try to play like player #1 really aren’t consistent enough to win. Many players who try to play like player #2 are just WAY too wild. Within each style, there must be consistency to make 10 consistent loops or 3 dangerous loops. So which style are you? Maybe you don’t know? Which should you pick? I often recommend that a player become both and train drills to work both. Become the player that has the ability to loop 30 balls but also become the player that can rip through the opponent with 2-3 powerful variation loops.
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