Most of your practice time in table tennis should consist of doing game-situation drills. Game-like drills consist of a serve, return, and rally. HOWEVER, there are times during practice that you should put yourself in a bad situation to push yourself to the limit, to push yourself HARDER than you actually would go in a match.
For example, in a match you might play 60% of the table with your forehand and 40% of the table with your backhand. To improve your footwork, ask your training partner to block to the 90% forehand side of the table and see if you can use all forehand. Again, you are pushing the limits to what you think that you are capable of doing. In practice, if you can smoothly cover 90% of the table with your forehand, then covering 60% in a match will seem fairly easy.
Another example would be a 2-table drill. Put 2 tables together. Have your Newgy robot or multiball feeder give you balls on both tables. With extremely long jumps, try to cover both tables you’re your forehand and backhand. After training that way for a day or so, 1 table suddenly looks very small and it seems quite easy to move to each ball. Again, the focus is to push the limits so that a normal game seems easier.
Another example would be with blocking. Purposely, give your training partner an easy, high, slow push so that he can loop hard. Ask him to loop anywhere on the table while you practice that first block. I see many players who look scared and tense against a power loop (almost like a baseball is heading toward their face). The ping pong ball won’t hurt. While doing this particular drill, keep your body leaning forward, stay close, keep your racket high and in front, and just make contact with the ball.
In this video, Jishan and I demonstrate the skill that I just described. I gave him a very easy push to an easy location. He looped with power to 70% of my forehand side of the table. I attempted to get in position for each ball and return it quick and low.
Check out my training video here with Jishan Liang…