Using mental rehearsal to reduce nerves and boost performance in table tennis

Using mental rehearsal to reduce nerves and boost performance in table tennis

I have suffered badly with nerves in the past when playing competitive table tennis matches. One technique which has helped me control my nerves is mental rehearsal. This is a technique which is very common with professional athletes in all sports. But you don’t need to be a professional athlete to experience the benefits of mental rehearsal. Any table tennis player, at any standard, can benefit. In this blog post, I explain what mental rehearsal is and how you can use it when playing to boost your performance. Keep reading

How to overcome “3rd game syndrome”

How to overcome “3rd game syndrome”

One of the players I coach often struggles when he gets to the 3rd game in a match. He told me… “I have found that I quite often win the first 2 games comfortably maybe 11:5 or 11:6 but then in the 3rd game I lose. I am sure this is a psychological thing. I have asked around and even some much better players than myself experience this from time to time. What’s going on? How to beat this?” In this blog post, I explain how you can overcome “3rd game syndrome” and win the 3rd game and the match. Keep reading

[Video] How to play like Desmond Douglas

[Video] How to play like Desmond Douglas

In this video, table tennis superstar Desmond Douglas shares some of his table tennis secrets. Desmond played in the 1970s and 1980s and was 11 times English champion. He reached number 7 in the world rankings. Desmond had a unique playing style. He played close to the table and used short strokes and quick reactions to put his opponents under pressure. In the video Desmond explains the benefits of his playing style and shares some of the tactics he used during his playing career. Keep reading

[Video] How to beat a blocker

[Video] How to beat a blocker

In this video I share a few tips and tactics on how you can beat a blocker. A ‘blocker’ is the type of player who stays close to the table and return lots of your attacks. To beat a blocker, you need to be clever with your attacks. You need to vary your placement, spin and speed. You need to play consistent good quality attacks. Not easy, but it is possible! Keep reading

Why is backhand topspin vs backspin so difficult?

Why is backhand topspin vs backspin so difficult?

A few days ago I had the pleasure of coaching at the Top Edge & Gertsen Training Camp at St Neots Table Tennis Club. Part of my role was to do 1-to-1 sessions with some of the players. In these sessions I asked the players what they wanted to work on. The players were a mixture of ages and standards, but strikingly most of them wanted to work on the same thing – backhand topspin vs backspin. This is consistent with my own coaching sessions in Cambridge. Backhand topspin vs backspin seems to be a shot which is very difficult for a lot of players (myself included) at the amateur level. Why is this? Keep reading

Copying the pros can make you worse

Copying the pros can make you worse

How much should you try and copy professional table tennis players? Their technique is so smooth. The footwork is brilliant. They can generate huge amounts of speed and spin. And they are incredibly accurate and consistent. Pro players make the game look so easy and so effortless. So if we want to improve, then surely it makes sense to just study and copy what the pro players do? Well yes and no. There are instances when copying the pros could make you much worse. Keep reading

[Video] How to do devious TRICK SERVES – with Craig Bryant

[Video] How to do devious TRICK SERVES – with Craig Bryant

In this video, top coach and service expert, Craig Bryant, explains how to do trick serves to baffle your opponent and win cheap points. Trick serves can be good fun to practice. But it is possible to use trick serves in matches and completely catch out your opponent. Craig discusses whether you should use trick serves and demonstrates three different trick serves he uses when he plays. Keep reading

Four simple ways to make a two point improvement

Four simple ways to make a two point improvement

A key focus of the training camp I organised in the summer was for players to make a two point improvement. Think about all the games you have lost 11-9. With a two point improvement, you win these games 11-9. Think about all the games you have lost 11-7. With a two point improvement, the score is 9-9 and you have a good chance of winning. A two point improvement may seem small, but it can make a big difference to how many matches you win or lose. Here are a few obvious ways you can make a two point improvement… Keep reading

[Video] Common ball-watching error – and how to fix it

[Video] Common ball-watching error – and how to fix it

In this video, I demonstrate a very common ball-watching error and how explain how you can stop doing it. Many players, including myself, are very guilty if this. We play a really good shot, then we pause and keep watching the ball. We’re so busy admiring our own shot, that we don’t recover properly and if the ball comes back, we either play a weak shot or make a mistake. So in his video, I explain how you can use your eyes better when playing – focusing on your opponent, rather than on your own shot. Keep reading