How to deal with nerves in table tennis matches

Some players deal with nerves absolutely fine. They love competing and channel any nerves or stress into a focused and energetic performance. Other players find nerves quite debilitating. The extra anxiety in playing a competitive match can make their body and mind freeze, which can have a terrible impact on their performance. In this blog post, I share three things (one mental, two physical) which can help you control your nerves.

(Video) Attacking placement

In this coaching video, I show you how to improve the placement of your attacks. This is one of the things which will help you move up a level. And it’s really simple. Anyone can do it. It doesn’t really matter what level you are or whether you topspin or flat hit – this is all about where on the table you should attack to give your opponent the most difficulty. If you can improve your attacking placement, you’ll definitely win more points.

(Video) How to read service spin

Returning serves can be tough. It’s something all table tennis players can struggle with at some point or another. Even professional players will have certain opponents whose serves they find difficult to deal with. In this video lesson, I look at how to read service spin. I explain the two big clues to look out for when trying to read an opponent’s serve. At the end of the video I do some of my serves. See if you can read the spin. Good luck…

Improve your serves with some solo service practice

One of the best ways to improve your table tennis serves is solo practice. You get a box of balls and serve, serve, serve. I admit, this can be pretty boring. You need plenty of motivation to do this regularly. But if you can find the time and mental energy for some solo service practice, you can improve your serves a lot. In this blog post, I give advice on what you should (and shouldn’t do) during solo service practice and share some training drills to help you keep motivated.

(Video) How to do a reverse sidespin serve

One of my favourite serves is the reverse sidespin serve. It’s very effective against some opponents, who simply don’t know how to return it. But even if my opponent can return the serve, the ball is often returned in a predictable way, which gives me an opportunity to play a strong forehand attack for the 3rd ball. In this video lesson, I will show you how to do the reverse sidespin serve and explain the best positions to serve to.

Learn how to counter-attack (and take your game to the next level)

One of the players I coach likes to finish our coaching sessions with some match-play. We have some good games. I usually come out on top, but it’s close. After we finished one week, he said he found it difficult when I attack too much. He goes into automatic blocking mode and becomes too passive. So during our next session we worked on options for counter-attacking. When we played a few games at the end – he blocked less and attacked more and I found it much harder to win points. So for your benefit, here’s a couple of things we worked on, plus a simple training drill you can do.

(Video) How to block heavy topspin

A common problem players have when trying to block heavy topspin, is that the ball shoots long past the table. I know this problem very well, as I used to really struggle with heavy topspin when I first started playing competitive table tennis. Thankfully, the solution is quite simple. In this video, I explain how to block heavy topspin and how you can use aggressive blocks to put your opponent under some serious pressure.

How to get more speed and spin on your forehand topspin attacks

Some table tennis players have blistering forehand attacks. Blink and the ball is past you. Other players have steady forehand attacks. They can get the ball on the table consistently, but their attacks lack the speed and spin to really give you any trouble. What are the strong forehand attackers doing, which the weaker forehand attackers are not? Here are my tips on how to get more speed and spin on your forehand topspin attacks.

How to recover from a dip in form

We all have periods when we feel our progress has stalled or our form has dipped. This is entirely normal. I often remind the players I coach (and myself), that improvement doesn’t take place in a straight line. In reality you will experience lots of ups and downs, but gradually moving in the right direction. In this blog post, I look at what can cause a dip in form and what you can do about it.