A Good Serve Return by Perry Wilson

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I would like to explain the importance of a good serve return in table tennis. While your opponent is serving, you don’t have control of how they serve, so you must make the most out of what they give you. Your opponent will give you all sorts of spins and speeds that are all over the table. So, that is their advantage at the beginning of the point. Your advantage is being able to be in good placement for starting the point. So, with the advantage you have and if you know the spin on the ball, that will be enough to set you up with a good return.

Once you are confident in getting back all types of serves, you can work on putting the ball where it is tough for your opponent to return. I feel that one of the best places to return a serve is to your opponent’s middle. That shot will put them in a place where they feel uncomfortable and won’t be able to make an offensive shot.

Samson Dubina once gave me the best piece of advice about serve returns when he said, “The main objective of serve return is getting the ball on the table.”

So, making an amazing shot is great, but missing it 4 out of 5 times is not great.

Perry Wilson

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How to Hit a Proper Kill Shot by Perry Wilson

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What’s the most fun shot to hit in table tennis? To me, it’s definitely a smash – probably the fastest shot, and one of the most difficult shots to return. But so many people do not practice it, and it can sometimes cost them the match.

Since it is looked at as such an easy shot, people don’t see the need to practice it. But, you should practice this almost as much as any other shot you work on. I am going to tell you what you must look for and do, so you can execute the perfect smash.

The first thing you should look for is the spin on the ping-pong® ball. So many times people underestimate the spin on a high ball and just wait right next to where they think it will be. You have to watch what they do when they hit the ball. Whatever direction they swing their paddle, the ball will go the opposite way once it hits the table.

The other thing people mess up on a lot while smashing the ball is the placement of the ball. For most people, lobbing is not their best weapon while playing, some do not even know how to lob. So, if you are smashing at them that is one thing, but when you can place it well, they will not stand a chance. The best thing to do while smashing is to keep smashing to the same side for 3 or 4 shots, with each shot getting a little bit wider. Once they are out wide, then you go for the kill to the opposite side that you were playing the ball originally.

With doing those two things, I’m sure that your smashing game will improve a lot, and could take your game to the next level.

Perry Wilson

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How to Get More Spin on your Serve by Perry Wilson

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What is the first shot in every point of table tennis?

The serve.

So this should be one of the shots you need to work on the most. All of the best table tennis players have amazing serves that are difficult to make an offensive shot. Here are some tips and ideas you can use to improve your serve.

- When serving, you should swing your racket the fastest right when you make contact with the ball.

- The movement for serving should be with your forearm going back and forward to create power, and the movement of flicking your wrist should be to create spin.

- When hitting your serve you should be contacting the ball close to the table to avoid a lot of bounce on the ball. Because when you hit the ball high in the air, it makes the ball bounce high in the air, and it gives your opponent an easy shot to hit.

If you want to see examples of these attributes in action, check out some videos of Ma Lin, Timo Boll, Wang Liqin, and Jan Ove Waldner serving.

Good Luck!

Perry Wilson

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Forehand Loop Off of Backspin by Perry Wilson

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Forehand Loop Off of Backspin

One of the hardest shots to hit correctly and effectively in table tennis is the forehand loop against underspin. I will be taking you through things you should do and shouldn’t to while hitting this shot.

So many times while hitting this shot, people tend to lean back. When people lean back, they lose all of their power because your energy is going up. While losing power and energy, the ping-pong® ball goes more up than forward. So if you do end up making the shot, it will be high and soft, making it easy for your opponent.

They to hitting this shot correctly is using your legs and bending your knees. You have to bend down to get your paddle lower than the ball. Once that is done, you have to use legs as springs to get power. With doing those to things, and swinging forward, not up, you can get a much more effective shot.

If you can make those changes to your shot, you can really bring your forehand loop against underspin and your entire table tennis game to the next level.

Perry Wilson

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The Ready Position – by Perry Wilson

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At the beginning of every point in table tennis, you are either serving, or returning the serve. Today, I am going to focus on the position you should be in while returning the serve, and after you hit your serve.

When you are serve returning you need to be careful where you stand. Most players stand in the backhand side just because everyone else does. But really you should be diagonal of where your opponent is standing, because they are most likely to serve it cross court. Another thing people seem to have a problem with is getting jammed because they stand close to the table. A good rule of thumb when serve returning is if you can touch the table with your racket, you are probably too close.

While serving there is really one main thing you need to do between your serve and next shot. It really doesn’t matter where or what you serve, but go directly diagonal from your shot. I would say about 6-7 out of 10 times, your opponent will return your serve cross court, so going across from your serve will be the most logical thing to do.

With making these two small changes to your table tennis game, I believe it can help tremendously with your game.

Perry Wilson

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How to Play Serious at the Table Tennis Club – by Perry Wilson

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A lot of times table tennis clubs can be seen to some people as a “fun time”, or not for serious table tennis play. I have people like that at my club, and it can sometimes be difficult to focus on your game while you are around them.

Here are a few suggestions of ways I have found to be useful in these situations:

1) The first thing I always do is ask to play somebody I know is also there to work on their game. If you get with someone like that, the quality of play will go way up.

2) Another thing that I found works well is getting to an area that not many people are. At my club many people like to joke around while not playing. And a lot of times it can get quite loud. But when I go to an isolated area, I can concentrate much more on playing.

3) Also, a great thing you can do before you go to your club, is have a set goal of what you want to work on. Coming to the club without something in particular that you want to improve can get you off track of playing serious. But, if you have something you want to accomplish, you are way more focused and committed to doing that certain thing.

All of those things are essential to having more effective club practice. And if you have people at your club who are not as serious as you, they can get in the way of you improving your game.

Perry Wilson

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Training or Match Play? by Perry Wilson

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Working on the technical aspect of your game and playing matches are both very important for your game. But it can sometimes be difficult to know when to work on what, and how much to do. Here are some tips that I think will be very useful.

When you are first starting the game of table tennis, it is very important that you know the correct strokes and can read spin. For people just starting, I would suggest that you mostly focus on learning your strokes. Because in a game, you can sometimes lose focus on your strokes, and concentrate more on just getting the ball back on the table. If you just work on getting the ball back, your strokes will become sloppy. And once they become sloppy, it is VERY hard to fix them. So I would suggest mainly technical training at first. But make sure you know how the strokes should be, and once you learn them, practice them over, and over again. A good tool for practicing is the Newgy Robo-Pong table tennis robot. This will allow you to work on a shot for a long period of time.

Now, even though you should do a lot of technical practice at first, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play matches at all. Playing some matches is good. A good ratio to go by is, for every hour of matches you play, you should train about five hours.

Once your strokes become more natural and consistent, you can slow down with the technical training. But that doesn’t mean you should never train again. Just make sure you keep your strokes correct.

Now if you have been playing for a long time, it doesn’t mean it is too late for you. You can still begin to practice a lot on your strokes, and your game will still improve.

Train Smart!

Perry Wilson

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Strong Mental Game by Perry Wilson

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Having a strong mental game is one of the most overlooked aspects of table tennis, and one of the most important aspects of the game. When you have a strong mental game, it is just another key advantage for your game in a tough situation. But, when your mental game collapses, it is not only a disadvantage to you, but a HUGE advantage to your opponent because when they know you are frustrated, they will use that to their advantage. Another big thing when you lose your strong mental game is that it can discourage you, and make you play worse all day.

Here are some tips to help you:

After a bad point, take a step back from the ping-pong table, and take a deep breath. If you are upset from the last point, it will do no good wasting the next point because you are mad. Don’t get mad about the last point, you can not change what happened, so let it go!

If it is your serve, take your time to get back to a good mind set.

And finally, try not to let it get to you in the first place. I believe Joseph Redding said it the best when he said, “IT’S JUST PING-PONG”, winning isn’t everything, but character is.

Perry Wilson

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The Importance of Footwork by Perry Wilson

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In table tennis there are several important aspects. In my opinion the most important is footwork. I will tell you why it is important, and how to improve it.

Footwork is important in every point and every shot. You need to have your feet in the correct position if you want the most effective shot. If you do not get your feet where they need to be, then not only that shot will be a bad one, but then the rest of the point will not be good. Also, when you have your feet in the right place, then your shot can be more powerful and spinier. Then you can get your opponent out of position.

The second thing I want to show you is the way to have correct footwork. There are many different aspects to footwork that you must have. The first one is to always have your knees bent. If you do not have your knees bent, it will be so much harder to move your feet. Another important thing you need to know is where you last hit the ball. Most of the time the ball will be coming back diagonal from where you hit it to. So this will help you sort of predict where the ball will be coming. Finally, weight transfer is another very important thing. Without correct transfer of weight, your body will be off balance and it will ruin your entire game.

In conclusion, I believe if you work on improving those three areas of your footwork, your game will improve a lot, and will take you to the next level.

Perry Wilson

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My Most Helpful Drills on the Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 by Perry Wilson

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The Newgy Robo-Pong 2050 table tennis robot has a wide variety of drills to utilize. These drills, in my opinion, are very helpful for skill levels all across the board.

Warm Up Drills:

Drill #6: 2 backhands, 2 forehands.

This drill will get you moving, and will help warm up your forehand and backhand loop. For a warm up drill, it will make you move your legs a decent amount. What I normally do after I try this drill, I will set the robot for 10% less frequent balls, and I will do the drill, but hit only with my forehand. Doing that makes you have to move your legs even more and is a really good exercise.

Drill #10: backhand, middle, backhand, forehand.

This is another great warm up drill. It is not that intense of a drill, but you move your legs quite a bit. In this drill you have a lot of different patterns of moving. You get a lot of short distance leg movement when you go from the backhand shot to the middle shot and back to the backhand. Also, there is long distance moving when you go back and forth between the backhand and forehand shots. This drill is great for warming up your legs.

Under Spin Drills:

Drill #16: random under spin.

This drill is perfect for practicing under spin serve return. In this drill you have to be ready for the ball to go anywhere. Also, the amount of spin that the robot puts on the ball makes it hard to lift, which is like practicing against a high level opponent.

Drills #21 & 22: short forehand, long backhand (and opposite)

These drills are also very good for practicing serve return. But instead of just one ball, you get to work on the first short serve return, and you also get a very heavy long push to the opposite corner. That second ball really helps you on getting your opening on the table. These two drills are very essential and effective for improving your serve return and opening game.

Top Spin Drills:

Drill # 28: middle, then one ball to either corner.

This is one of my favorite drills on the robot! The robot will feed one ball to the middle of the table, and then one ball will be fed to either the backhand corner or the forehand corner. This drill is great for practicing your loop and footwork. Also, another thing you can do with this drill is to start the drill as you normally do, but instead of using your backhand when the ball comes to that corner, you can use your forehand. When you do this, the drill becomes about twice as difficult. You have to make sure you get your feet in position for the next shot. I highly recommend this drill.

Drill #31: 1 high ball to backhand, then one to forehand.

This is the most fun drill on the robot. The robot will give you high balls to your forehand and backhand. I really enjoy this drill mainly for the satisfaction of smashing balls. But this drill can help with that, or if you let ball drop a little lower, you can work on your loop drives. This drill can be very fun, but also very helpful at the same time.

Perry Wilson

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