May 13, 2024 - Focus on Placement to Win and Increase Consistency

Placement is key to winning, in two ways. First, if you place the ball where your opponent is weakest, you put him in the weakest position possible. That’s obvious. Second, it’s not just picking the right placement, but placing it in the most extreme way. This is especially true when playing to the corners, where playing the corners might be safest, but playing even outside the covers might cause the most havoc for your opponent.

But the part that many miss is that good placement leads to good consistency. How? Many players hit their shots with a vague idea of where they want to go, and hit the ball to that vague area. It might be to the forehand or backhand, or to the middle (roughly the opponent’s playing elbow, roughly midway between forehand and backhand).

But if you literally pick a spot on the table to aim at each time, two things will happen. First, you’ll get even better placement as aiming for a specific spot is better than a vague idea of where you are going. Second, aiming for a target leads to greater precision, and thereby more consistency. It’s the difference between throwing darts in the general direction of a dartboard, and aiming for the bullseye. With the latter, you’ll not only get more bullseyes, but you’ll also be far more consistent in at least hitting the dartboard!

At first you might have to consciously aim for a spot. But once you make this a habit, it becomes subconscious, and every time you hit a shot, you’ll be aiming for a specific spot on the table. Most table tennis tactics have to become instinctive as you don’t have time to think things over, and the same goes for placement. Make this a habit, and it’ll become so instinctive that you’ll often be left admiring the brilliant placements made by your subconscious – but you’ll get the credit!!!

Note that in fast rallies, you don’t have time to consciously choose a target and aim for it. Many players think they do, but what’s really happening is your subconscious does this, and as it does, your conscious mind sees what’s happening and (egomaniacs that we are), takes credit for it.

So, choose your targets, and watch the consistency and winning go up!