As you work on moving from beginner to intermediate in your table tennis game, the one thing that can really improve your game fast is to work on ball placement. This is the ability to put the ball on the exact part of the table that you want at any time from any return back at you. By mastering this skill, you’ll move from being a reactive player, just focusing on returning the ball and not losing the point, to an active player that can make an opponent move and work to get the point. The great thing about this is that you don’t need to learn any challenging or new shots. You just need to get more precise with the shots you already know.
Why is ball placement important?
Being good at ball placement means you’re able to put the ball exactly where you want to at any time. This means being able to use all of the table, including both edges of the table, body shots, and short shots when they are appropriate.
There are certain places on the table that are easier to place the ball than others. These are often straight shots around the middle of the backhand or forehand side of your opponent. Unfortunately, these shots are also some of the easiest for someone to return.
Why does good ball placement make you a better player?
By mastering ball placement, you become a much more unpredictable person to play against. If you have three places on the table that you’re very comfortable in placing the ball, an opponent can learn this quite quickly and start predicting your shots. If you can place the ball almost anywhere on the table and mix up your shots effectively, you’ll become a much more dangerous player.
Also, you’ll be able to make your opponent move around the table more. This will test their footwork, and if this is limited, they will start to reach out to hit shots. These shots won’t be as sharp as a non-reaching shot and will make it easier for you to win the game.
If your opponent does have good footwork, making them move around the table will still apply additional pressure to them and will help to create space on the table where you can win a match.
An excellent way to practice ball placement is on your own, which will mean getting your own table, if possible. Try looking through this list and find a suitable table for you: www.ddplan.com/best-ping-pong-tables
Once you have your table, work on drills that make you return the ball to every part of the table in turn, including short shots and longer shots reaching out to each corner of the table. Once you begin to master this, you can start adding these shots into your game, and ball placement can be used in every part of a match. You can focus on different ball placement on your serve to start with, and then with more difficult shots like those with spin on them.