Too late to be great?

Table Tennis Training and Drills

Last updated 7 months ago

Neil Unknown

Neil Unknown Asked 13 years ago


I am 26 years old and planning on getting back into table tennis. I played at an intermediate level from 13-18. I really would like to take it seriously again and compete.

I would like to know how competitive you can be at table tennis in your 30s? Are there any pros who started late in their lives and became a force to be reckoned with?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 13 years ago

Hi Neil,

I never say never especially when dealing with a students beliefs. 

By a force if you mean a force for Wang Liqin to be reckoned with I would say yes it probably is too late, but to be a very competent State level player it isn't.

Not having ever seen you play it is of course difficult to write you off or put you straight into the team but  it is often about your basics and the amount of time and effort you have to devote to the task.

Everyone can improve no matter what age they begin or take up this game again, so go for it and see where you can reach.

The other thing to consider is whether you have a Veterans competiton in your area.  Some of these start at Over 30's.

Let us know about your progress and where you are at.

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Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Posted 13 years ago

Sounds like you played at around the same age (13-18) that I least you didn't wait until you were 38 to start playing again! 

Table tennis must be the only sport where in tournaments they have an over 30 category.  That wouldn't make any sense in sports like tennis where the no.1 player in the world could well be over 30.  It just shows how much speed and reflexes are required. 

It's kind of sad starting so late because you know even theoretically you could never become an elite player.  However, it's good to have some modest goals anyway.  My current aim is to become a division 1 player before I hit 40.

Jasper Low

Jasper Low Posted 8 months ago

Alois and Jeff, at what age did you guys start playing table tennis? I started practicing my table tennis seriously at 12 and it's been 3 years now and I have gotten pretty good at the game. I know how to set up my 3rd ball attacks and my forehand topspin is very spinny and powerful. My dream is to be able to qualify for the Olympics. 

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 months ago

I started playing tournaments when I was 9.


D K Posted 8 months ago

I started at age 14 and I am quite pissed off as most of my friends who started at the same age as me are much higher level than me now (even those who were led by the same trainer).

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 months ago

Don't compare... focus on what you can do...


D K Posted 8 months ago

Then how can I measure my quality :DD

Marcin Lonak

Marcin Lonak Posted 7 months ago

Although it’s never too late, you’ll have to have a lot of talent and luck, right people around you all the time, total focus on your task, always the possibility to train with same and better level players, probably someone who carries about you all the time, almost no responsibilities other than TableTennis.
Close to impossible at that age. 

there were some talents like that in the past. 
see Andrzej Grubba for example. Startet at 14 and became a World Class player for decades.

i think Richard Prause also started late. Team chief of the German Squad and in my opinion the best commentator for table tennis today, he was a super player too.

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