Learn To Pong Like A Champ w/ 2011 US National Champ, Peter Li! (Part 3 of 3)
Watch our Pong Like A Champ video mini series and get the latest tips from National Champ, Peter Li, on how to improve your game! If you missed out on the previous tips, check out Tips 1, 2, and 3 here and tips 4, 5, and 6 here.
7. Making Your Service Count
Your serve can be a deciding factor between winning and losing, so it is absolutely necessary to make the best use of this advantage. Since possession of the serve means that you have control of how you want the point to start, you should create a good serve that is consistent and puts pressure on your opponent. Ideally, your opponent won’t know what to expect, so they won’t have enough time to prepare, and that should translate into a weaker return. By keeping your serve consistent, you can be confident when you start the point. One tip to help you improve your serves is to watch where you make contact on the first bounce of your serve. Once you find a sweet spot for the first bounce, try to aim for that spot every time. As you practice, you’ll make fewer and fewer errors and build your confidence, so you’ll be able to serve consistently even during high-pressure points.
8. Ball Placement
Ball placement is key, especially at the advanced level. It’s something that players should continue to work on for as long as they play the sport. As a general rule, it is not recommended to hit the same spot on the table frequently, because your opponent will be able to anticipate your next ball and use that to his or her advantage. Instead, it is helpful to practice aiming at the two corners, not just hitting at the middle of the table. Although playing into the wide corners is more risky, it is much more effective in getting your opponent out of position. Once he or she is our of his or her comfort zone, it is likely that an opening for a forehand smash will be waiting for you. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep your opponent guessing where you will hit your next shot. The key to winning is not just creating a good shot, but also placing the ball in a place that will set you up for a winner on the next return.
9. Staying Low
A fundamental rule for successful professional players is staying low. This position helps maintain a player’s center of gravity, ultimately enhancing movement and speed, and helping him or her transition from the forehand to the backhand. Important things to remember include bending your knees throughout the point and keeping your heels off the ground. The purpose for this technique is so that you aren’t at a complete standstill after each shot. Although this can be tiring after a while, it is definitely worthwhile in the long run. As a result, physical training is very important for all advanced level players. Staying low as much as possible is a sure bet that you’ll experience smoother transitions between your shots. Give it a try the next time you play and remember to pong like a champ!
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