Efficient Practice Sessions

Amaresh Sahu

By Amaresh Sahu

Efficient Practice Sessions

When spending a lot of time training it is very easy to get trapped into a cycle where the emphasis is on basic shots that are hit with a lot of power and not too much consistency. The classic example is where players practice a loop drive or a smash for hours, and focus only on power usually with a loss of consistency. After the practice, the player will remember those great shots that they hit, but often lose track of how effective the shot is. A smash that wins you the point outright but only hits the table 50% of the time wont win matches, especially when coupled with the tightness that occurs in matches and the occasional opponents who can return that shot. Instead it is much more efficient to work on high percentage shots that land on the table 80-90% of the time, and allow you to build confidence over the course of the tournament. Heavy emphasis should also be placed on footwork, because it is essential to be in position to increase the number of loops or counterdrives you make on the table. Incorporating high percentage shots into footwork drills is the most effective, as you try to extend the rally as long as possible and not worry too much on power. While it may feel great to make that spectacular kill in practice, those types of shots are not the smarter plays that will win you tournaments.

In practice, sufficient time should also be spent on serve and return of serve. Very often I see players who spend almost all of their time practicing against topspin, and then go to tournaments and serve underspin every single time. If you want to rally in tournaments, practice topspin and sidespin serves that allow you to play to your strengths. If you prefer serving underspin, practice looping against underspin as much as possible as this is one of the factors that most distinguishes higher level players from intermediate ones. Also, spend a lot of time practicing just the serves themselves there is no point being able to hit great shots off a return of serve if that serve isnt able to elicit the response that you want.

So remember play the percentages and focus on serve and return of serve to improve the overall quality of your game.


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