Bad technique, unorthodox technique, good technique, great technique

Bad technique, unorthodox technique, good technique, great technique

Technique is a contentious issue. If you line up 10 coaches and ask them how to do a forehand loop (or any stroke), you will most likely get 10 slightly different answers. How can this be? Surely there is a correct way of playing a shot and everything else is incorrect? Well no, not exactly. If only table tennis were that simple! In this blog post, I give my thoughts about good technique and bad technique and hopefully give some clarity on this confusing issue. 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

Does being a table tennis coach help you become a better player?

Does being a table tennis coach help you become a better player?

I often get asked whether being a coach helps me improve as a player. There is an assumption that when you start to coach, your own improvement stops. You spend too much time feeding, too much time instructing and too much time talking. You don’t have time to work on your own game. So you don’t improve. But is this true? Yes and no. Let me share my experience so far… Keep reading

How to change a table tennis habit (even if you’re 80)

I coach a player in his 80s (he wants to remain anonymous, so I’ll call him Harold). When he was younger Harold was a defensive player. But it’s not easy for Harold to play this way any more. So I have worked with him to change his playing style. This has not been easy. In fact it’s been very difficult. But Harold has made huge progress. And he has succeeded in changing many of of his defensive habits. In this blog post, I’ll explain how Harold has managed to change his habits and how you can change your table tennis habits too. Keep reading

7 common beginner mistakes in table tennis (and how to fix them)

Last weekend I coached at a beginner training day in London. The purpose of the day was to teach some basic table tennis skills – drives, pushes, serve and receive. Throughout the day, I picked up on several mistakes the beginner players were making. They were making the same mistakes as the beginner players I coach in Cambridge. I’m sure they are the same mistakes any beginner player makes in any part of the world. So I thought it would be useful to share some of these mistakes, why they need fixing and what you should do instead. So if you are a beginner player, this blog post is for you… Keep reading

Do you need ‘perfect’ technique to be good at table tennis? No you do not!

Do you need ‘perfect’ technique to be good at table tennis? No you do not!

When I post a coaching video on my Youtube channel, I usually get a few comments, where my technique gets completely trashed. I get told I do this wrong and that wrong and I should try to play the shot like the best professionals (usually someone from the Chinese National Team). But how true is this? Do you have to play like the best professionals in the world to be any good at table tennis? Is there such a thing as ‘perfect’ technique? Let’s explore these questions… Keep reading

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. Keep reading