When developing a well-rounded table tennis game, there are 5 fundamentals one should master to have a truly complete game:
- Serve return
- First attack
- Block or some type of defense
- Finishing attack
When you look at the way most people practice one person is practicing the finishing attack against the block. This does not make a whole lot of sense when developing a well-rounded game. If you have the best finishing attack in the world but your serve and serve return are weak, you will rarely get the opportunity in a real match to even use what you've been practicing.
Improving one element can have a ripple effect
Keep in mind the order of priority of each of these fundamentals. A player must serve and return serve every single point. That means this aspect of the game is absolutely the most important. If your serve and serve return are strong this will set up the finishing attack that you've been practicing so much. If you master the serve and the serve return, your 3rd-ball/finishing attack will be extremely effective even if it’s typically a weak spot in your game. If your serve and serve return are weak you will be on the defense from the beginning of every single point and it will be difficult to regain control.
So how should you get better at these? Practice your serves and serve returns for at least 30 minutes each time you practice. Grab a bucket of balls and just practice a variety of serves which we will get into greater detail in another article.
Also have a training partner serve to you for 30 straight minutes. This will provide excellent training for his/her own personal serves but also will develop your skills at returning serve. Remember, the better your training partner the more you will learn! Adding this to the typical practice regimen of the finishing attack with the block and you will see your game improve in no time.
- Eric Owens, Killerspin Pro, Former U.S. National Champion