Coaching Tip of the Week: Six Ways to Learn Tactics

December 9, 2019

Coaching Tip of the Week: Six Ways to Learn Tactics
(By Larry Hodges)

  1. Constantly think about it. What works for you, and against what types players? What works for others against you, and how can you adjust to it? You should constantly experiment and learn from it.
  2. Study others. What do your opponents do against you? What do they do against others? Watch top players on video and see what they do. Learn from it all.
  3. Coach others in matches. One of the best ways to learn tactical thinking is to coach others. It forces you to really observe what’s going on in a match – the two-way back and forth between two opponents – and think about what your player can and should do to win the match. This carries over into your own matches, where you might not be in the habit of really observing what’s going on and thinking about what you should do to win the match. Plus it exposes you to tactics by other players that you may adapt for yourself.
  4. Receive coaching in matches. A coach or top player can likely pinpoint what you need to do to win a given match. Learn from them.
  5. Listen in when coaches coach others. You might need to ask permission first, but you can learn a treasure trove of tactical skills by listening to a top coach as he talks to a player during a match, where you aren’t “distracted” by being in the middle of a match yourself. It’s a quick way to learn what’s most important as an experienced coach will zero in on that.
  6. Read about it. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!