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The consistent style does not mean being a defensive player who bases his game on chopping most balls or retreating way back and lobbing the ball to you. No, it means playing consistently and trying to return all balls without unforced errors. It therefore means to play attacking shots with a lot of topspin which has a high margin or error for the ball coming back down onto your opponent's side of the table. Watch professionals on Youtube and you realise that they hit the ball very fast but loop most balls. Smashing the balls flat result in too many errors and these days, pros can block or lob many balls back to you with superb footwork and anticipation. Their attacking shots are so consistent but just aggressive enough that they win the match.
Many club players come from a football, cricket or basketball background and seem to not realise that each shot in t.t. will result in a point lost if a mistake is made. On the other hand, each missed shot in football does not give your opponent a point, it's just a missed opportunity for you to get a point.
Watch this video of Ma Long and Zhang Jike training. If the video does not play, enter this into your website address:
When warming up their drives, the average rally is 20 shots, when aggressively looping to a blocker it's around 7 shots, when both are looping to each other it's 5 shots, when doing a serve and return drill it's around 4 shots. Compare that to a club player and you'd hardly see any drills progressing beyond 2 or 3 shots.
Yes, these world champions are exceptional but their coaches force their proteges to slow their speed to a reasonable error-free rally for each drill. Later, they focus on getting more power.
Club players should do the same - keep up the number of rallies. Slow down your shots as necessary then gradually increase your power. Otherwise you'll just have powerful shots which are full of errors in a real game. So you'll probably lose against a player of the same standard who trains properly. Most likely he is more consistent than you and his pace is not far off yours. It's just that he can instantly judge the success percentage of each ball presented to him, will not indiscriminately smash hard low or difficult balls and he judiciously topspins nearly each ball.
- Created: 28 December 2016 28 December 2016
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