Skip to main content

Important Of Reaction Time In Table Tennis

Benefits Of Table Tennis Table Tennis: Top 10 Health Benefits


Important Of Reaction Time In Table Tennis

1. Introduction

In a sports interaction situation, from the moment a stimulus or a set of stimuli is produced until the subject gives a response or part of the response, a time elapses. This time will be longer or shorter depending on various circumstances. On certain occasions, to be successful in a certain sporting action, it is essential that it be as short as possible.

The time it takes a subject to react to the large amount of stimuli that are produced in a situation of sports interaction is of utmost importance in sports in which an opponent tries to minimize the success of our actions. In these sports, which include team sports and combat sports among others, it is vital to possess great speed both in the execution of sports gestures and in the reactions to a certain set of stimuli.

In general, in this type of sports it is not usual to wait for a stimulus to initiate the response, but rather it is initiated, even partially, beforehand, based on previous signals. Due to the great speed with which the techniques are executed in this type of sport, there is not enough time to react if the opponent is waiting for the technical execution.

Most athletes would be able to get their decisions right if they were given the time to think about them. But decisions must be made based on the rhythm imposed by the adversary, benefiting the one who makes them faster and who executes the correct movements at the appropriate time.

The present study deals with reduced guard distance sports - karate- and middle guard distance -fencing-, according to the classification of. Reaction time has had less importance in combat sports in which tactile stimuli such as judo or wrestling predominate, sports with almost zero guard distance according to the criteria of , so we will not treat them in this paper.

In these sports, knowledge of the tactical aspects studied by can be decisive to optimize training and minimize the time it takes the subject to give an adequate response in a combat situation, through knowledge of the most common events that occur. They happen in a certain situation.

2. Processes prior to motor execution

This study tries to know those processes that the subject carries out from when a certain stimulating situation occurs until the motor response to this situation begins. These processes belong to the perception and decision-making phases.

In general, these sports do not start from a static position from which one must react; rather, the starting position, either the guard or the end of a previous action, is usually dynamic. This does not mean that combat cannot be divided into smaller units in order to be able to analyze them in depth. In these units there will be a set of stimuli, a mental solution and a motor execution, always bearing in mind that these units are related to each other.

Studies on reaction time, anticipation and perception in combat sports have tried to obtain conclusions that can be applied to training and competition. In general, an attempt has been made to see what differentiates the experts in a sport from those who are not, to later try to improve those characteristics through training.

All these perceptual-decision processes are interrelated in such a way that it is sometimes difficult to measure one without being affected by the other. Next we are going to study them separately as they appear in the cited studies. Anyway, you should try to integrate them to have a global perspective of the subject.

Scroll to Continue

Types of reaction time and application to combat sports

Reaction time1 is not a unique quality of the subjects, but rather it depends on the type of stimulus used to elicit the response, the type of response requested, the number of alternatives and other characteristics of the task. For this reason, Roca (1983) makes a classification in which he distinguishes 4 types of reaction time: simple reaction time, elective reaction time, anticipation and interception or anticipation-coincidence.

Simple reaction time2 is not a specific task for combat sports since the stimuli are not discrete -v.g. a light- but continuous - a subject in motion - and there are several response alternatives instead of just one. These tasks can be useful in combat sports:

Table Tennis, unlike other sports whose level of sports performance focuses on the development of preferably one or two capacities, requires high performance in most physical capacities, such as speed, strength, power, agility or aerobic resistance. The objective of this article has been to capture the current trends and recommendations in speed training in young junior tennis players (10-12 years old). Specific training for speed in tennis should have three main priorities: an improvement in reaction time; the development of faster movements, more dynamic footwork, explosiveness in attack advances and increased acyclic gestural speed. In conclusion, as far as speed is concerned, tennis is a sport with acyclic movements, therefore high speed is required for the execution of strokes and movements.

Unlike many other sports which may require high levels of one or two physical capacities, tennis requires high performance of most capacities, such as speed, strength, power, agility, or aerobic endurance. The aim of this paper was to show the current trends and recommendations on speed training in "Under 12 years old" level tennis players (aged 10-12). Specific speed training in tennis must have three main priorities: the improvement of reaction time; the achievement of quicker movements; a more dynamic feet activity; exclusivity on the attack; and the increase of cyclical gestural velocity. To sum up, in terms of speed, tennis is a sport characterized by cyclical work. Therefore, great speed is required for its strokes and movements.

Speed ​​is the ability to execute a movement in a minimum time and perform the greatest number of movements in the shortest possible time defines it as the maximum possible speed in the execution of movements under voluntary control.

Table tennis speed training aims to increase the frequency and width of your strides. It allows to improve the coordination of movements during an anaerobic effort that quickly depletes the available energy. This is very important in tennis, since coordination is a key part of effectiveness in this activity is along the same lines, since he considers that the most important factors in tennis are foot speed, lateral advances and, above all, agility, understood as the ability to move at maximum speed making changes of direction, on the other hand, considers that tennis players need to have a fast reaction speed, and an explosive speed in the “first step”. In addition to great speed in linear, lateral and multidirectional movements.

The term speed encompasses a series of very diverse and different concepts: execution speed when hitting, intervention speed, starting speed, reaction time, displacement speed, competition speed, mental speed ... as it is not the object of study in this work, we simply note the enormous controversy in the terminology used by different authors.

In table tennis in particular, speed is determined in the words by the parameters: reaction time, speed of movement and duration of performance.

Consequently, to endure a long game, the player must have resistance but, above all, he must be able, in a limited area of ​​about 16 by 15 meters, to chain numerous rapid movements over short distances. When a ball is sent to him, he must demonstrate speed and precision to be in the best condition to hit it. The latter is what the United State Tennis Association (USTA) (2000) considers extremely important and indispensable in a tennis player. For them the tennis player must anticipate the ball.


In conclusion, tennis is a sport in terms of speed, of acyclic movements, in which there are numerous and continuous changes of direction in confined spaces and in short periods of time, therefore high speed is required to the execution of the blows and the displacements.

Speed ​​training in table tennis players should focus on improving reaction time, speed of movement over short distances and acyclic gesture speed. This training should begin at 6-7 years. Up to 9 years, one or two sessions a week will be held. From the age of 9, you will work two to five times a week. The maximum speed can be started cautiously and with the appropriate progression from 10 to 12 years.

Finally, and due to its importance in table tennis, it is also proposed to carry out a work based on the coordination and speed of the feet. For this work we propose the use of the typical coordination ladders. These stairs offer us an infinite variety of tasks. Foot speed training using the treadmill exercises proposed also seems to be very appropriate.

Related Articles