In the U.S., most serious table tennis players take private lessons from a professional coach. Throughout the world, private lessons are a rarity and many players participate in group table tennis sessions. Regardless if you are 500 or 2500 USATT rated level, I recommend that you take a combination of both. Private table tennis lessons for specific issues and group lessons for several reasons that I’ll be outlining in this article. Here are the five reasons that I recommend that you take group sessions.
Practicing together with other table tennis club members on a weekly basis establishes team spirit. Think about it, when playing competitive club matches, you might view your opponent as an enemy. However, when training together in a group session, you look at your opponent as a teammate and think more about how to continue the rally longer, how to challenge your practice partner to move wider or faster or possible to spin more or give more variation. When playing table tennis together in a group session, players are working together to improve together.
When training in a group, you must always learn to adjust when changing from one practice partner to another. This is exactly like you must do in a table tennis tournament. Just because you can loop Betty’s push, doesn’t necessarily mean that you can loop Billy’s and Ricky’s pushes. Learning to adjust from opponent to opponent is one of the most valuable skills needed to become tournament tough.
3.) Practice Partners
One of the biggest complaints that I commonly hear in the U.S. sounds something like this, “I don’t have anyone in my table tennis club that knows how to do drills.” At first, it is difficult for anyone to do drills because it requires some patience, persistence and concentration. However, after learning how to do the drills in a group setting, you will become much more comfortable after a few months. Once you have been doing drills with other club members for several months, you will then have practice partners who may be willing to come to your home and train with you. The difficulty is typically in the first few months. At first, many players get discouraged because they can’t properly control the ball, often give up, and merely play games. If you can be persistent for doing group training for a few months, you will learn that it pays off big time and you will have practice partners for life.
Typically, private lessons from a professional table tennis coach cost around $50-$100/hour. After several months, many players can’t afford this. Typically, group classes are $10-$20/hour. This is a bit more affordable. You have heard of the expression, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and neither is your table tennis game going to be built in a day. The best improvement comes with consistent training over a 3-5 year timespan. Be persistent, be consistent and try to make small improvements in each aspect of your game every day.
5.) Social Aspect
I see many players wandering aimlessly around the table tennis club or tournament – they have no friends, they have no practice partners, they have no one to cheer for them, they have no one to share their joys or sorrows with. It is a general principle that you need to be willing to see your fellow club members as friends, not enemies. Participating in group sessions is a great way to do this. Once you develop these friendships, you can then go to table tennis tournaments as teammates, not rivals