Establishing a weekly schedule for your table tennis training and physical conditioning can help you stick with a routine and help optimize your time. Here we assume that you are not a professional table tennis player but instead have full-time employment or studies, thus limiting the amount of time you can devote to training. However it is assumed you are trying to improve your game, and therefore should probably practice table tennis 2-4 times per week, for at least 2 hours at a time.
The below sample schedules are actual weekly schedules used by various players. Don't confuse this with the longer-term schedules known as Cycle or Macro training, discussed in the Competition Section.
|A US National Team Member||A Chinese Training Camp||Texas Wesleyan Univ. Team||Webmaster|
|TT 5 days/wk (2.5 hrs)
Weights 3 days/wk
|TT 11 sessions/wk
Push-ups, sit-ups, jump rope
|TT 6 sessions/wk
|TT 2 days/wk
Weights 2 days/wk
Bike, Run 2 days/wk
TT = table tennis training
wk = week
I recommend you maintain a monthly or weekly log of your training. This helps to focus your training tremendously to maximize the benefits and also allows you to refer to past training sessions and results. Also, whenever you think of great play combinations, write them down. I guarantee you will not remember all those plays you invented at one time or another if you don't write them down.
The training log should be modified to suite your needs, but should include information such as:
The X drill
The X drill is great for improving footwork and placement and is also very simple. Player 1 hits a cross-court forehand shot to player 2's forehand. P2 then hits down the line, to P1's backhand. P1 hits all shots crosscourt, while P2 hits all balls down the line. Begin slowly with good control, then increase the pace.
The V drill
This drill is very simple and great for footwork and placement (and we can all use some improvement in those areas, right!?) Player 1 hits a cross-court forehand shot to player 2's forehand. P2 then hits down the line to P1's backhand. P1 then returns down the line, to P2's backhand, who then hits cross-court again.
Multi-ball is a style of training which helps improve several very important areas, including the short game, service return, and overall speed and control.
So, how do you practice multi-ball? First, get a bucket of about 100 or so balls. A shoe box works excellent. Have a partner place the box of balls on the table and feed you topspin and underspin balls to various locations, in accordance to the drill you are practicing. When feeding, first bounce the ball on your side of the table.
In different sessions, alternatively focus on placement, power and speed. For placement, try to hit a designated place on the table such as the white lines. In the speed drill, the feeder should push the player just beyond their level of comfort by feeding balls to them more frequently than they are used to.
Because multi-ball is physically strenuous and the focus is on precision, generally don't do the drill longer than 2 minutes, probably closer to 1 minute is best.
Do you have a favorite drill? If so tell us about it.
Robots as Multi-Ball Partners
It can be difficult to find a partner willing to spend time performing multi-ball training. Thankfully, robots are excellent multi-ball partners; this is really their forte. I have the Butterfly Amicus 3000 robot and here I will in the future describe some of the robot drills I find beneficial.
Obviously, being in good physical shape is important to play at your best level, and can be the difference between two players with the same technical ability. Moreover, I see many players' form and footwork degrade after several matches on a tournament day, causing them to make mistakes they normally don't make. Better conditioning would help these players maintain the footwork required to play their best.
Simple equipment goes a long way, which this sample shows.
So, how do you train for table tennis? First you should improve your stamina, or aerobic conditioning. Bicycling, swimming, and cross country skiing, for example, are all great methods of aerobic exercise. Jump rope has an additional benefit, beyond building stamina, to some degree it also simulates the footwork needed and works the muscles needed for quick movement in table tennis.
Besides improving your stamina, you should also train those muscles used in table tennis. Exercising all muscles is important for overall health, but for table tennis I especially recommend exercises that focus on the legs and abdominals.