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Table Tennis and Fitness

Why fitness is important for table tennis players? Table tennis is a sport that admittedly takes place in a fairly compact setting, at le


Hand-Eye Coordination, General Fitness and Skill Fitness

Table tennis is a sport that admittedly takes place in a fairly compact setting, at least considering the fact that 2 players play their match in front of a small table with a net. In contrast to real tennis, which takes place on larger tennis courts, the sport seems a bit more compact and one could initially assume that the physical fitness and general performance of the athlete does not play such a big role, after all, the small balls are transported yes, also with only one small bat, across the table. However, this is a fatal fallacy, because sport demands almost everything from the athlete, especially at a professional level. A table tennis player must be in an all-round fit and high-performance condition, otherwise he simply has no chance to keep up at a high level. This information is nothing new to advanced players at this point, but beginners in particular often assume that, due to the appearance of the sport, a good performance could simply be shaken off your sleeve if you only had the necessary talent. Of course, table tennis primarily requires excellent hand-eye coordination, but this is by far not all, and it must also be noted that good hand-eye coordination is due to many factors, not least of all also on the general fitness of the athlete. In this article, we want to deal with the possibilities you have as a table tennis player with the help of fitness training to support your athletic performance or even to bring it to a new level, regardless of whether you are a beginner, advanced or even professional.

Hand-Eye Coordination, General Fitness and Skill Fitness

As already mentioned in the introduction, good hand-eye coordination in connection with accurate reflexes is what counts in table tennis. If you look at a table tennis match at professional level, it is often difficult, especially for laypeople, to understand how the athletes hit the balls over the net with such reflexes and with such high precision. Talent is certainly a component here, but not everything. Rather, it can even be said that hard work can also defeat talent at the end of the day, for example if a talented athlete does not train enough and does not include fitness or strength training in his sports program.

In order to achieve good hand-eye coordination, it is of course important that you practice the actual table tennis sport at least twice a week for 1-2 hours. Of course, more is often better here, although you should also consider the factor of overtraining, but more on that later in the article. In addition to the actual training of the sport itself, regular fitness training also plays a major role. Above all, this includes endurance training, strength training and agility training. The training options and approaches to aligning your fitness training with table tennis can be very diverse, but you can roughly specify a framework that can definitely help beginners as well as advanced players to improve their performance in sport.

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If possible, you should do fitness training 2-3 times a week, which includes both components of endurance, strength and speed strength training and some exercises to improve agility and mobility. Now you are probably wondering what exactly this looks like and which devices are required for it.

It is of course very helpful if you can simply do fitness training in the fitness studio, which is supposed to contribute to table tennis. If you have such an opportunity, it is advisable to start the training with a cardio unit. This means that you choose an endurance device of your choice and train your endurance there at moderate intensity. You also have the option of incorporating interval training. This means that cardio training, for example on a cross trainer, does not run statically and at the same heart rate, but rather varies steadily in its intensity. In terms of effectiveness, it doesn't get much better than starting your workout with a session of interval endurance training. Interval training can look different, but often you drive the intensity moderately for 3 minutes, for example, and then very high for 1 minute, for example in the form of sprints. As already mentioned, there are different approaches and interval training can look different. Of course, this also depends on your current level of performance and it is definitely better to start slowly.

The main advantage of interval training to support endurance is that you incorporate various high-intensity sprint units into endurance training. Very explosive and sprint-like movements are of course also very important in table tennis, because this is the only way to react quickly enough in the event of a surprising trajectory of the ball. Therefore, sprint and mobility units are definitely helpful for fitness training for table tennis.

Interval training can also be carried out at home or even completely away from any fitness equipment. Simple jogging can not only be used as a normal cardio unit, but interval training is also quite possible here. For the actual strength or fast strength training, however, there is usually a few pieces of equipment. Whether you go to the gym or train at home is up to the athlete. Training at home is also possible with little equipment. However, weights, a weight bench, horizontal bar and suitable bars are always necessary to make strength training effective and meaningful. There is therefore usually no way of avoiding this equipment.

If you have thought about the cardio units mentioned above and know how and in what form you want to incorporate them into your training, then it is time to deal with strength training. As a table tennis athlete, it is definitely not necessary to do maximum strength training several times a week. Too much muscle mass can even be a hindrance when it comes to the necessary mobility and flexibility in table tennis. However, too little muscle mass is also counterproductive, which is why you should keep your strength training for this sport in an endurance and speed strength range. A lot here revolves around the repetitions to be performed in the exercises. For example, if you look at basic exercises such as bench press, deadlift and squat, you should choose a weight that allows the athlete to perform a maximum of 20-25 repetitions. These repetitions should be done slowly and in a controlled manner and if the weight is not sufficient to cause severe muscle fatigue after 20-25 repetitions, the weight should be increased.

For table tennis, as with most other sports, it is advisable to use basic exercises. Preference is given to exercises with free weights, as discussed above in terms of deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. Isolation exercises on machines are not necessary, but can be helpful if you want to make your training as gentle as possible for tendons and ligaments, for example in preparation for a competition. Of course, you don't want to take any unnecessary risks there.

If possible, you should do this type of strength and endurance training 2-3 times a week. The training units should not be longer than an hour and basic exercises for all muscle groups should be included. Whether you complete these exercises in the form of circuit training or individual exercises, for example with 4 sets, one after the other, is up to the athlete

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