Kasumi Ishikawa vs Ai Fukuhara (Bulgarian Open, August 2015)

20150828 - Kasumi Ishikawa vs Ai Fukuhara

Lightening fast match between two of Japan’s best female players. What impresses me with this match is that both players keep close to the table – neither player is willing to give ground. This results in some very fast topspins and blocks and frequent changes of direction. Mesmerising to watch.

10 training drill ideas for the first five shots in a rally

In this blog post I share 10 training drill ideas for the first five shots of a rally. There are two drills each for service, receive, 3rd ball, 4th ball and 5th ball. Each drill includes a diagram, step-by-step instructions and suggestions for making the drill harder.

Jun Mizutani vs Kalinikos Kreanga (Champions League, August 2015)

20150821 - Jun Mizutani vs Kalinikos Kreanga

Entertaining match between two players with a similar playing style. Neither player has the speed of the top Chinese men which means the rallies in this match a little bit slower, longer and easier to follow. Although by the standards of the average player – they are still very fast! Every set is close, which makes for an exciting final set. Who will get the victory?

Timo Boll vs Fang Bo (Chinese Super League, August 2015)

20150817 - Timo Boll vs Fang Bo

One-sided match from the Chinese Super League. Timo Boll is two places ahead of Fang Bo in the world rankings, but it is the Chinese player who dominates this match. What strikes me is how much faster Fang Bo seems compared to Timo Boll. In quite a few points, Boll barely moves as the ball flies past him. Boll is quick, but Fang Bo is lightening quick!

The quickest way to improve your win percentage

Table tennis rallies are short. In fact they are very short. Various studies over the years have shown that the average table tennis rally is anywhere between 3 and 5 shots. What can we do with this information? For me, it seems fairly obvious. If you want to increase the number of points you win, you should focus a lot of your training on the first five shots of a rally.

Ma Long vs Yuyu Oshima (China Open, August 2015)

20150810 - ma long vs yuya oshima

Yuya Oshima (Japan) played the best tournament of his career. The world number 60 won his previous three matches 4-3 to reach the semi-finals where he faced world champion Ma Long. Ma Long was expected to win fairly easily and took a comfortable 2-0 lead. But then Oshima staged a brilliant comeback and takes a 6-2 lead in the final set. Can he hold on?

What should beginner table tennis players learn first?

I recently started coaching two complete beginners, both adults. One had never played table tennis before, the other played a little bit for fun when a kid, but nothing for the next 30 years. Both have a similar goal – to be good enough at table tennis to join a club and possibly play competitively in a local league. This is a great goal to have, but it’s not easy. There is a lot to learn. And when there is so much to learn, what should you focus on first?