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The 7 Most Common Mistakes That Everyone in Table Tennis Has Made

TableTennisDaily |

1) Serving long under pressure

We’ve all been there, 10 all in the 5th set and serving. This is your moment, you’ve spent hours with a bucket of balls working on the perfect short serve, where the ball’s third bounce is exactly on your opponents white line. So like you’ve practiced, you throw the ball up to the perfect height pull your bat back and THEN…………. BANG! Your arm tightens up, you grip the bat as hard as you can, and you clonk the ball with absolutely no feeling or spin onto the table. You then watch in horror as it drifts off long onto your opponent’s side of the table who’s waiting with their forehand primed and ready. They then punish your feeble attempt of a tight short serve by driving it straight past you. Of course now it’s their turn and they do the exact same thing. It goes on like this for a couple of points until one of you actually holds your nerve and closes out the match, leaving the loser to contemplate the meaning of life and why they still bother playing table tennis.

2) Pushing long back spin balls

Why do we all seem to do this? No matter how many times your coach has told you to be aggressive with any long backspin ball, you still end up thinking “safety first” or “I know better” and you just push the ball back, leaving your opponent to dominate the rally and win the point. Will we never learn…

3) Trying to hit a winner every shot

The exact opposite thought process to the last situation. You cannot be stopped! You attack everything in sight no matter what. Whether it be short, long, medium, backspin, topspin or sidespin you don’t care! You’re going to smash it with 100% effort because if Ovtcharov did it in that video you watched earlier on YouTube why can’t you eh? Of course you’re not Ovtcharov and you end up losing 3-0 as your team mates wonder what exactly has gotten into their teammate. But hey, worth a go right?

4) Mainstream Sports Shop Bat!

The dreaded “mainstream sports shop bat” or MSSB for short. We all did this when we were beginners, we enjoyed our first table tennis taster session so now it’s time to get ourselves a bat! So, in our innocent naivety, we pop off down to our local sports shop. We scour the shelves for the bat of our dreams, the main criteria’s being cool words like “CARBON” or “FIRE” and handles with loads of cool, clearly strategically placed, holes in them. You then purchase it for the 70% off bargain price of £99.99 and then happily skip down to your local club with the happy thoughts of how you’re going to dominate everyone with your fire breathing dragon, deluxe, 1 thousand star table tennis bat! As soon as you arrive you proudly present your bat to your coach believing he is going to be in awe of the weapon you have splashed a day’s wages on. But then it hits you. He isn’t in awe and he certainly doesn’t look impressed but wait, he then starts to crack a smile, could it be that he thinks you’ve got the perfect bat? No. He tells you that he fondly remembers the day when he had the exact same happen to him, and what you’ve actually done is bought a non-ITTF approved waste of plastic that he wouldn’t let a 3 year old child use. He pat’s you on the back and says “there, there, we’ll order you a bat at the end of the session” and gives you the same bat that you used in your taster session. Look on the Brightside though, at least your pet dog has a nice new expensive toy to play fetch with.

5) Using a bat that’s too fast for you

A similar story to last time, you’ve been using the same blade for a while now and you think it’s time to step up the pace a bit, so naturally you buy the fastest blade that your table tennis catalogue has to offer. When it arrives however you quickly realize your mistake, as the first short you play completely misses the table and puts a hole through a wall that’s 30 yards away.

6) Thinking you have won a match too early and you end up losing

The title says it all really. You’re 2-0 and 10-5 up in the third, so you start to think of that cool beer you’re going to have when you get home to celebrate your victory. Unfortunately your opponent is also thinking about beer and how good it will taste when he comes from behind to beat you, which of course he does.

7) Not remembering why you started playing the game!

We all go through this stage at some point. We lose a few matches we shouldn’t have or put too much pressure on ourselves. Sometimes you just have to sit back and remember why you started playing this game, which was to have fun. And although table tennis can be infuriating at times, we all love it really!

How many of these situations have you been in? Be sure to share this article with your friends and tag them in it to show which numbers apply to them/you!



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  • Tony Bartram on

    Excellent observation and comments, will certainly give me something to think about

  • Keith Martin on

    Oh so true useful for coaching thanks

  • Toni on

    All of them!


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