Coaching Tip Of The Week: How to Never Miss an Easy Smash
Site Products
Coaching Tip of the Week: Learn To Play Close to the Table

Coaching Tip Of The Week: How to Never Miss an Easy Smash

(By Larry Hodges)

Few things are more frustrating than missing an easy smash that costs you a game or match. Especially under pressure, it’s easy to miss them. But if you follow three rules, you will never miss another one. Really! The three rules for never missing a smash are simple.

Until the point is absolutely and completely over:

  1. Expect every ball to come back. So often a player thinks the point is over only to have an opponent get one more ball back. It’s an easy smash, but because you thought the point was over, you aren’t ready, and so you miss it. Perhaps even more often, when faced with an easy smash, a player realizes the point is about to be over, and subconsciously lets up – and so misses.
  2. Stay down. When faced with an easy smash, where you think the point is about to be over, many players subconsciously stand up a little straighter. (This is closely related to #1 above.) Even if it’s only an inch, this completely throws off your stroke. It also raises your racket, which changes the trajectory of the racket towards the ball, which throws off your timing. Since you can often still make most smashes despite this slight straightening, players often don’t get the feedback from missing from this enough, and so they continue to do this, and continue to wonder why they miss – especially under pressure – more than they should.
  3. Strive for perfect execution. If the focus is on winning the point, then it’s easy to get nervous about missing. Instead, focus on perfect execution. Perfect execution leads to winning the point, so you don’t need to worry or even think about the latter. And since you have more margin for error on most smashes (since it’s normally against a higher ball), all you really have to do is get near-perfect execution, so there’s no pressure on getting it perfect. Note that “Strive for perfect execution” implies that you must also practice smashing easy balls with perfect execution, since how else can you do so? (Some players loop-kill instead of smashing, even against relatively high balls – if so, then it’s the same thing, you must practice it.)

Did you notice that “Stay focused” is not one of the three? That’s because if you follow these three, staying focused is the natural result. If you expect the ball to come back, stay in a natural ready position (which cues the mind that the point isn’t over), and strive for perfect execution (which implies focus), how can you not be focused?

Did you notice that none of the rules are about things NOT to do, but about things TO DO? It’s much easier to execute something you need to do than to execute something you aren’t supposed to do.

And finally, did you notice that part in #3 about practicing the smash? This is true of every aspect of the game, including seemingly easy shots like smashing a high ball. (And if smashing a high ball isn’t easy, then you definitely know what to practice.)

Latest News

Nikhil Kumar and Lily Zhang Take Top Honors at US Nationals

July 6, 2022
(by Steve Hopkins) Lily Zhang won her sixth and Nikhil Kumar won his first – each taking their… Read More

Coaching Tip Of The Week – Consistent Contact Leads to Consistency

July 5, 2022
(by Larry Hodges) There’s a stereotype of Chinese table tennis coaches that they often do just two things… Read More

Butterfly Training Tips With Xianyao He – Silicon Team Tournament Highlights

July 4, 2022
In this Butterfly Training Tips Xianyao He is competing in the Silicon Valley Team Tournament. Xianyao, is the… Read More

WAB CLUB FEATURE: New York Indoor Sports Club

July 3, 2022
(by Steve Hopkins) With their club location in College Point, just off of the 678/Whitestone Expressway, the New York… Read More

2022 US National Team Trials

July 3, 2022
(by Steve Hopkins) Sharon Alguetti finished first in the 2022 US National Team Trials Men’s Singles event and… Read More

NeuroPong & Table Tennis Connections

July 2, 2022
(by: Antonio Barbera, Table Tennis Connections Founder & CEO) Table Tennis Connections is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based… Read More

Bowmar Sports Tournament Highlights With Emanuel Otalvaro

July 2, 2022
(By: Bowmar Sports) In this Tournament Highlights Cip, Emanuel Otalvaro is in action in two different WTT YOUTH… Read More

Top Gun: Maverick or Timo Boll?

July 1, 2022
(by Steve Hopkins) The ITTF Foundation’s Social Media had a fun post today (see below, link here).  The… Read More
View All News

Get the latest from Butterfly

Stay “In The Loop” with Butterfly professional table tennis equipment, table tennis news, table tennis technology, tournament results, and We Are Butterfly players, coaches, clubs and more.