Most of us consider and understand table tennis as a two/four-person game, but there are several ways in which one can play alone as well. In fact, this is a great way to practice at your own pace and set a routine that you can follow at your own convenience.
One of the simplest ways to practice the game alone is to use a robot. If you haven’t seen one in action, basically what they do is shoot balls at you on a set timer whilst preparing you to face a human opponent who may fire shots at you at the same rate. However, it is the most expensive way to practice alone, too, so you have to be prepared to take a hit to your wallet. Let’s look at the ways in which you could work on your game by yourself.
1.With a table tennis robot:
The best robots out there come with a hefty price tag of around 1800$-2000$ on an average. If you’re willing to pay the price, these robots are guaranteed to give you premium returns as well. They’re extremely easy to use and have a plethora of options when it comes to settings that you can use to adjust pace, spin, timing, and quality of serves. There are cheaper options available as well, but of course, they come with a few limitations. If you’re ready to compromise on quality and save on money, then the lower end models costing 200$-400$ would be your best bet.
*Being your own robot:
You could also be your own robot to practice by yourself. Basically, what you’d be doing is feeding the balls to yourself. You drop the ball in front of you and then hit it as if it was just played by an opponent. Obviously, this isn’t as effective as using an actual robot, but it is something to work with irrespective.
2.Using the playback position:
Another option you could try out is the playback position on your table. What you’d be doing is folding the opposite end of the table up and playing your shots against the table. The only thing you’ve to keep in mind is that you’d have to produce your own spin in order to be able to return a spin shot.
3. With a return board:
Another great way to practice by yourself is to invest in a return board. A return board is practically a wall that you use to hit the ball onto which then returns the ball to the playing field, i.e the table on your end. A return board of reasonable quality will cost around 250$ on an average. Still, you could always make your return board by using similar materials and assembling them to form a semblance of a wall. This will give you the same functionality for a lower cost.
4. Working on your serve:
The greatest weapon you can possess in table tennis is having a lethal serve. It lets you dominate the point right from the start. You must put in a large chunk of your practice hours on your serve and make sure you develop variations of your serve too. You should possess a fast, slow, spinning and skidding serve in your armory and have variations above all this. This will ensure you have enough tricks up your sleeve to pick up points on your serve and always keep the opponent guessing. Remember, the serve requires a different kind of posture and movement training, so do not take it for granted.
5. Shadow play:
Shadow play is the process of putting yourself through the motion of playing shots and responding to shots like you would normally do, but without a ball and an opponent. This is important primarily to get your form and posture right. Though your shadow isn’t actually used in the process, what you should do is definitely use a mirror and practice your shots whilst observing your follow-through, movement and form in the mirror. This helps you gauge how far your technique is coming along and what movements can be done better in order to optimize your play.
6. Watching others and learning:
The saying that goes “surround yourself with the best and you’ll see yourself becoming a better version of you” holds true for the sport of Table Tennis as well. Watching players who’re more experienced and who play at a higher level than you is key to understanding your own shortcomings better. Learn to observe and take notes and to see what exactly it is that they’re doing differently. Once you do that, slowly but surely try and incorporate it into your own game. You will see that this, too, is a very effective method of learning since it involves real-time decision making that you get to witness and learn from in close quarters.
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