Coach Samson Dubina US National Team Coach 4x USATT Coach of the Year

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Strategic Ball Placement

Learn the Fastest Way to Improve Your Game!

The Fastest Way to Improve
     If you would like to improve your game 50-100 points in the near future, focus on improving your ball placement.  To make stroke changes, it takes persistent coaching over an extended period of time.  However, if you can take the strokes that you currently have and improve your placement, then you should see instant progress.
     There are three main locations to attack – wide backhand, wide forehand, and middle (the transition point between backhand and forehand).  Most club players place about 20% of the balls in the correct locations and 80% of the balls in the wrong locations.  Record yourself playing a match and keep stats on how often you place the ball in those three locations.  Next, use one of the four methods below on a daily basis. 
     In a game situation, often players get distracted by the score and forget about ball placement.  For this reason, I suggest that you do drills on a daily basis as well as play matches.  Instead of attacking one location, do drills where you are targeting multiple locations.  For example, attack two balls to your training partner’s backhand then two balls to your training partner’s middle, he will block anywhere randomly on the table. 
     Next, place some targets on the table.  Serve backspin and have your training partner push long anywhere.  Attack the targets.  This drill focuses your attention on the opening shot, which is the most important for ball placement.
     If you don’t have an elite practice partner in your area, consider using a table tennis robot.  Have the ball shoot at low frequency and attack designed areas – particularly middle, down-the-line, and occasionally wide crosscourt.  When attacking wide, make sure that you contact the side of ball instead of the back of the ball.  Also, make sure that you put enough topspin for the ball to dip down.
     When playing matches at the club, try to attack the middle every time for the entire evening.  Only make the exception when the opponent is off-balance and there is a clear open court. 
     Watch this video clip at 0.25 and 0.40; see how my ball placement was the key to winning these points.