Most Common Mistakes made by Beginners


Author: Kevin James /

Hello there! Today I am going to analyse the most common mistakes made by beginners.

Most of them are fundamental and are not given proper attention. Learning the fundamentals correctly in table tennis has always a long term effect, either positive or negative. If you begin wrong and with mistakes in technique, it is 99.9% sure that you will end up with crappy & ineffective strokes.

Also after several years, it is too difficult for players to correct their errors. The brain must unlearn its old “bad habits” and learn the correct ones. So pay attention to your strokes when you are developing them! Table tennis takes years of practice to master, just be patient!

I will write a list with the most common mistakes and various ways of correcting them.

1. Too stiff body/arm/grip: This is one of the most fundamental parts in table tennis. Most of the players think they are relaxed but they are not. Complete relaxation means that you feel your body being dragged down by gravity. Every time a beginner strikes hard the coach must remind him to relax completely and then execute the exercise again. Do this for yourself if you have no coach, you will feel how fine your strokes will be after you relax completely. Relaxed muscles give more acceleration, tensed muscles add weight to your stroke!

2. Wrong/Rushy Positioning: Another common mistake…many beginners are not taught correctly to move their feet first to get into position and then strike the ball. This mistake results in weird executions of the stroke that does not transfer sufficient amount of energy to the ball, thus giving the opponent an easy ball to attack. First move your feet, then take your backswing to hit the ball! Every other way is wrong.

3. Loss of Focus/Concentration/Composure: Most likely it will happen in a tournament match, where the player is experiencing lots of stress and worries too much about his performance. The easiest and most effective way to erase this problem is to do one simple thing : Focus your eyes on the ball only. By doing this you are erasing constant thoughts and give your brain only one thing to worry about : the ball!

4. Poor Timing: Another fundamental mistake. Beginners often try to finish the point because they get too enthusiastic about their tactic and miss the ball utterly…or send it flying to the next table. A solid correction method is for the player to remember that the backswing must be completed (“ready to unleash the stroke”) by the time the ball hits his side of the table. Anything faster is good cause you can wait for the ball. But if you haven’t finished your backswing by the time the ball hits your side of the table, the stroke will be crappy.

5. Bad Balance in Footwork: Don’t let your weight drag you completely down to the ground. Stay on the balls of your feet ONLY. If you stand completely in your footpad you cannot activate your muscles to jump sideways or in & out fast enough to reach the ball.

As always, Keep Calm Practice Hard & be Patient!

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