Training Professional Habits - Developing and Training a Full Stroke Range

Having a full range of strokes is vital for becoming the best player you can be and often there are shots which are overlooked. I have already written a post on harnessing creativity and this almost ties hand in hand with that. The key point of the article is that there are a handful of unique shots which can be useful in given scenarios which are often left out of training or are under-trained. 

The focus of training is often around basic stroke repetition, offensive simulations and serve and receive type drills. Here are some more unique things to focus on during training:

Flip/Flick Variations:

A standard flip shot off a short ball can go a long way into opening up an attacking rally as the initiator. Usually players neglect to note that there are multiple different flipping placements and techniques which could be developed. The more popular flip for development in recent times is the backhand flip from across the forehand side of the table. So how can you further develop this?

Change the contact point: You can contact the ball along the bottom of the bat and drag across instead of playing upwards motion. This actually creates backspin on the ball and can be very deceptive.

Inside out strokes: An inside out stroke can add a great angle and extra side spin to the ball, particularly an inside out backhand flip which can be incredibly effective.

Pace changes: For the higher ball you can go for a more 'drive' based flip shot. In some cases if the ball is high wide on the forehand you can launch your body across the table and hit the ball while still in motion. This shot can end the point instantly but requires a lot of practice in order to master the timing and movement.

Backhand Crossover Block:

Sometimes we see players like Kenta Matsudaira block a ball across the middle of the table with their backhand in an inside out motion. They actually graze downward on the ball and so the pace is immediately taken off the ball and backspin is generated, making it even more of a disruption to the opponents rhythm and making the next ball a little more difficult to play.

Dropshots and Chopblocks:

Dropshots (against lobs or long pushes) and chopblocks are both shots which can result in a double bounce. This is a massive disruption to an opponents pace and can sometimes make the ball irretrievable. Good touch is required to master these kinds of shots and true mastery only comes from hard work and practice!

Round the Net Shots:

Round the net shots don't regularly occur in matches but every so often the ball goes wide and the easiest way to be sure of winning the point is to hit the ball around the net. With the right commitment and a bit of luck many players can nail the shot, but if you actually practice it then you make your chances of playing that magnificent shot just a little bit higher ;)

So my advice to you is to include a range of shots to your repertoire, even chopping and lobbing can help in certain situations. These kinds of shots are also great for developing better touch and feeling for the ball and can improve your control of spin and pace all round. To be a top level player having plenty of tricks in the bag never hurts, look at Waldner, he had it all! :)

Matt Hetherington

Views: 1472

Tags: Advice, Coaching, Habits, Professional, Table, Tennis, Training

Comment by Suraj Amin U on January 17, 2014 at 1:40am
Nice job, its really educative
Comment by Matt Hetherington on January 17, 2014 at 10:00pm

Thanks Suraj. I just wrote my 100th post here on TTM recently so there is plenty to read here and hopefully you will find most of my articles useful for your game :)

Comment by Suraj Amin U on January 17, 2014 at 10:30pm
I have read most of your articles, once more thanks for the great job
Comment by Jonah Lin on January 18, 2014 at 9:47am
Very informative article, allow me think more directions to improve my game! Thank you.
Comment by Matt Hetherington on January 20, 2014 at 8:27pm

Thanks Jonah :D

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