Table tennis is a game that people often underestimate. It’s played at parties and work for fun, but if you’re serious about getting better at table tennis, and have seen the pros play, then you’ll know it takes some considerable fitness. Once games get serious, you need a combination of speed, stamina, and strength to be able to keep up with the best.
The table in table tennis isn’t large compared to a full game of tennis, but the sheer speed of the ball means you need to have lightning-fast reflexes, coupled with a swift hand and footwork to remain competitive. Being able to get to the ball quickly and deliver back a difficult shot may be the difference between winning and losing.
There are several drills you can use to increase the speed of your footwork and make sure you never get beaten by the speed of the ball again. The first is to take a rope ladder that’s often used with track and field athletes and football players. Lay this down on the floor and practice running up and down the ladder, making sure to keep on your toes, and placing each foot in every hole up the ladder. This can be done in a variety of ways to improve your foot speed in different directions.
After speed, stamina is the next thing you’ll need to build to make sure your table tennis game is on point. The first best way to improve your stamina is simply to play more games. If you’re training vigorously three or four times a week, you’ll find that your stamina increases quickly to meet the demands of the games you’re playing. We recommend using the STIGA advantage tennis table at DDPlan.com for all your practice games. Training through games will only take you so far, though. If your practice sessions only last around an hour, this won’t prepare you for a tournament that could last for a full day.
To improve your stamina further, we recommend a combination of high-intensity interval training and longer aerobic sessions. A high-intensity interval training session may be done with any cardio machine such as a treadmill or bike, or can be done outside with sprints or stair climbs. If you choose to work out at the gym, focus on going all out for around 30-45 seconds, and then relaxing to approximately 30% effort for 1 minute. This will increase your capacity to recover from high-intensity work back to your normal heart rate, which is crucial for table tennis.
If you’re training outdoors, then pick a hill or stairs to sprint up and simply run up the hill as fast as possible, and then use the walk down as your recovery time. For both indoors and outdoors high-intensity interval training, try to perform 10-15 rounds of high effort and low effort per session.