In table tennis, the word ‘weapon’ is often used to describe a particular strength in your game. It could be a shot (such as your backhand topspin) or something slightly less tangible (like your ability to never give up and fight your way back into the game when you’re behind).
We always try and ask players what their strengths are. This serves two purposes;
- Firstly it allows us to better understand their game and design drills/training around it.
- Secondly, it encourages players to think more about their own style of play and ways they can use that knowledge to their advantage.
Often players (especially young players) will reply with, “I don’t know”. Some, when pushed, will be able to hesitantly identify some strengths correctly, while others genuinely don’t know.
What are your strengths?
So, we encourage you now to think about your game and in particular your strengths. If you can’t think of anything then ask your coach or another player you play with. Remember, you don’t need to be perfect at something to call it a strength. A strength is simply an area of your game that you feel comfortable and confident performing.
Here are some examples of potential strengths to get you thinking;
- Your serves
- Your footwork
- Your power/aggressiveness
- Your touch-play
- Your 3rd ball attack
- Your reading of spin
- Your block
- Your accuracy/consistency
- Your backhand or forehand
Your strengths might be particular shots (such as your block or topspin), your style of play (aggressive or very consistent), or a game-skill specific to table tennis (such as your feeling for the ball or your ability to read spin).
What to do with this information?
Once you’ve identified your ‘weapons’, here are some things to think about;
- Remember them, visualise them, and use them to build self-confidence.
- Practice them in the lead up to a tournament as these are your ‘point winning’ plays.
- Adjust your training to incorporate your strengths but also bring on your weaker areas.
When thinking about our strengths, the key message to drive home is that they should build self-confidence and help you perform better. If you’re nervous, picture your strengths. In the days before a tournament, practice your strengths and start feeling good (there’s no time to work on your weaknesses now and it’ll only knock your confidence). When you visualise yourself playing, zone in on your strongest areas.
We all have weapons! It’s your job as a serious player to make sure you know what they are.
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