Watching the ball

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 8 years ago

utkarsh agarwal

utkarsh agarwal Asked 8 years ago

Hi Coach,  

I've seen many pictures of players and it seems they keep an eye on the ball until it contacts the racket. i generally rely on my peripheral vision during a rally. But yeah I kinda lose many points because I'm not good at keeping a track on the ball.

So i tried this watching the ball till it comes in contact with my racket but it seems that i can't concentrate on other things like placement of the ball and watching opponent's position. Even though there's an improvement in the contact with the ball when i watch it directly but because i can't concentrate on these other things i can't really apply it in games. Can you help me with this?



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Utkarsh,

It is worth persevering with this.  At first it will feel disorienting but eventually you will start to feel comfortable and also be able to think about placement.

It may take a few weeks to start feeling comfortable with this.

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martinand bernard

martinand bernard Posted 8 years ago

yes very important to see the ball all the time and if you are bent a lot you see all at the same level

utkarsh agarwal

utkarsh agarwal Posted 8 years ago

okay! thankyou! 


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 8 years ago

I recently got an interesting observation about watching the ball and serve return. I notice that when I try to push/chop long against long serves, I rarely misread the spin. But when I try to topspin them, I often miss completely because I didn't read the spin. When I tried to understand why, I noticed the following. A push/chop is a stroke with short preparation, so before the shot, I have a plenty of time to watch the ball. I notice that if I watch the ball trajectory for a really long time, I have a "gut" feeling that tells me the spin. But a topspin stroke, especially against backspin, has really long preparation phase. So I have to judge the spin much quicker, and then focus on preparing the stroke to execute it properly. But as the result, I often misread the spin. Recently I even encountered a few situations like that: my opponent serves long no-spin with backspin motion, I judge it as backspin, prepare my backhand loop, and right before the contact in a blink of an eye I realize that the ball barely revolves in the air and my loop will go long. And it does. The interesting thing is that I was watching the ball closely while preparing my stroke, but only to judge its position and make the contact. I didn't pay attention to the trajectory and the label that much, and my "gut feeling" that saved me before on pushes didn't work. 

And now I don't know how to cope with that, i.e. read the spin well on long returns. Try to mentally focus on the trajectory and reading the spin while preparing the shot? Trying to read the spin by the contact better? While both options are hard, the second one seems almost impossible to me, especially with all those rule bending on hidden and half-hidden serves...

Johan B

Johan B Posted 8 years ago

Keep practicing and use a shorter stroke in the meantime :)

Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 8 years ago

>Keep practicing

That's true :)

use a shorter stroke in the meantime

Shorter stroke may work against everything except heavy backspin. If the backspin is really heavy, only long stroke can make it on the table, let alone making a strong attack...

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