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

How to replicate training form in league matches

How to replicate training form in league matches

Why do some people play great in training and terrible in league matches? I have given this topic a lot of thought over the years. And I believe there is one thing you can do which can drastically change your match form. So if you want to replicate your training form in league matches, then read on… Keep reading

[Video] Service variation and disguise – tips from Paul Drinkhall

[Video] Service variation and disguise – tips from Paul Drinkhall

In this video, pro player Paul Drinkhall, shows a few of his best service variations. Paul shows how he switches between backspin, no spin and topspin serves. He tries to use a similar action, but using different contact points and last moment movements, he is able to generate different spins. Paul uses this disguise to get weak responses from his opponents, so he can follow up with strong 3rd ball attacks. Keep reading

Parenthood and table tennis

Parenthood and table tennis

It’s been a busy summer, but not for table tennis reasons. I actually took most of August off because of the birth of our 3rd child. He was born 17 August and quite a feeding machine. So whilst my head is completely wrapped up in the dramas of having a new-born baby in the house, I thought I’d write a blog post on the subject of parenthood and the difficulty of playing table tennis (or maintaining any hobby). Keep reading