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

(Video) Sidespin serve – tips and tactics

(Video) Sidespin serve – tips and tactics

One of the most popular serves in table tennis is the forehand sidespin serve, also known as the pendulum serve. I have been using this serve for 10+ years and it’s a great service weapon to have. At a lower level, players really struggle to return the serve. You can win lots of cheap points. At a higher level, you can put your opponents under a lot of pressure by using all of the different spin and placement variations. In this coaching video, I explain how to do the serve, how to get lots of spin, how to vary spin and how to use the serve to set up a 3rd ball attack. Keep reading

(Video) How to attack a backspin ball with a forehand topspin

(Video) How to attack a backspin ball with a forehand topspin

If you want to improve and play at a higher level, you need to learn how to attack backspin balls, e.g. pushes, chops, backspin serves. In this video I share some of the teaching methods I use with the players I coach. I explain the technique in full, then I break the learning process down into smaller chunks. Most of the time my methods work. So if you struggle with this shot, try out the things I show in the video and hopefully it will work for you too. 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

(Video) How to block heavy topspin

(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. Keep reading

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. Keep reading

Advice for players who hit the ball very hard, but keep missing

I have four players I’m coaching at the moment who all have the same problem. Their attacks are so powerful the ball goes long more often than it hits the table. For every successful attack they make, they usually miss another three or four. In this blog post I share two very important pieces of advice for any player who makes too many mistakes by hitting the ball too hard. Keep reading