Your imagination is your most powerful tool. Are you using it?
Many club level table tennis players dream of becoming a world class table tennis athlete with awesome balance, positioning, timing, perfect strokes, ideal placement, and deceptive variations. However, when I ask them to do shadow strokes, they have no idea. If you can’t do it without the ball, you most certainly can’t do it with the ball!
Do you want to improve your level? Great! Then do 1 thing for yourself. Watch some world class table tennis players during training and see if you can copy them. As you are watching them, here are some questions that I want you to ask:
1. How bent are their knees?
2. How much are they on their toes?
3. How much are they leaning forward?
4. Where are their eyes looking as the ball is approaching?
5. How does their footwork sync together with their strokes?
6. How fast is their backswing?
7. Where is the timing at contact?
8. How much acceleration do they use?
9. Which main muscle groups are they using?
10. How long is their follow through?
11. How is the recovery for the next shot?
12. How different is their swing going crosscourt vs down-the-line?
13. How do each of their shots link together with the following ball?
Everyone wants to play well in table tennis matches, I get it. But if you can’t do it right without the ball, you most certainly will not do it right with the ball. So study the strokes of other players. Do shadow stokes in front of the mirror. Watch each aspect of your swing. Record yourself and send the video to a professional coach to get his advice. Next try it with the ball. What elements carry over and what elements change. Also, remember, the most strokes in the world are adjustable strokes. If you want to have a stroke that is useful in a match, make sure that it is adjustable to various speeds, heights, depths, and spins.
Check out this video demonstrating shadow strokes here!