When it comes to table tennis and many other sports, they are great, super fun, and just the perfect way to spend your time in many ways. However, there is a con to it as well: you really can’t play it alone. However, can you practice it alone?
You can practice table tennis alone by investing in a table tennis robot or a rebound board, folding your table tennis table to a single-player position, or practicing your serves into a bucket. Also, shadow play and watching others are great ways to visually improve your game.
Now, I’ll teach you the best ways to practice table tennis alone more in-depth, so there is no waiting if you need to hone your skills! Believe me, there are great ways to train ping pong alone. Let’s get started!
1. Use a table tennis robot
If you are a passionate table tennis player, then you should have a proper ping pong robot. You can load these robots full of balls and shoot at you as if it was a real player. This way, you can practice countering strokes, giving some yourself, and spin alone, which is great because you can train whenever you want.
There are a wide variety of ping pong robots going anywhere from $100-$2000 or more. As you might expect, the expensive ones will have great features such as different spins, various speeds, shooting in different directions, more ball capacity, and more. In comparison, the low-cost robots might shoot just in one direction without any spin options. Whichever you might choose, it is always better than not training at all!
Related: Are Table Tennis Robots Worth It?
2. Fold your table to a single-player position
In one of our previous articles, we wondered whether table tennis tables fold or not, and we figured out that some of them do. There are many practical reasons for them to do so; however, one of the best things is setting it to a playback mode.
When you set a foldable table to playback mode, you can easily practice serving, strokes, and rhythm by yourself. You can do this by folding the other side of the table vertically to create a wall. However, there are cons to it as well. For example, you can’t practice receiving spins like with the table tennis robot because there is nobody to spin the ball for you. Also, not everybody will have the money or space to hold a table tennis table in their homes. Usually, foldable table tennis tables cost +$500, so you can get cheap ones, but quality ones commonly rise to at least $1000.
3. Use a table tennis return board
Another great way to practice table tennis alone is to use a return board. This works by taking out the table and placing it behind the table, and it will return your strokes to you if you hit the board, of course. I love return boards myself because if you can find a good one from a wide variety of different ones, you can easily practice table tennis by yourself even when your table doesn’t have a playback mode.
Another great benefit of return boards is that they aren’t the most expensive methods to play alone. Even when they usually cost +$150 and upwards, it is nothing compared to a robot or table that costs $1000. Also, if you’re a handy woodworker and good at following instructions, you can quite easily make a DIY return board of your own.
4. Shadow play
Shadow play is a great and uncommon way to improve your table tennis game even when the concept might seem something that you don’t want to do because it’s cringe; bare with me.
The way shadow play works are to place a mirror in front of you, record yourself with your phone, etc., and watch yourself giving out strokes, using footwork, and everything you might do in a real game. The difference here is that you don’t have an opponent, nor do you use a ball. So you should rather easily see what needs improvement and what you are doing well.
5. Practice your serves
This is one of my favorites to practice strokes and serves by myself. This works by gathering balls next to you and start serving and striking in what way you think you need improvement. If you only have one ball, this might be annoying, but there are things you can do to improve your serving practices drastically.
First of all, you should get many balls, and I’m talking about dozens of them. When I do this, I have a great set of 25 balls to last a while. Another helping thing is to use a Table Tennis Ball Mesh Bag. With this, you can easily access your balls and move your inventory whiteout any troubles. Finally, the most helpful thing for practicing serves alone is to use a Table Tennis Ball Catch Net. You add this around your table, and your balls won’t fall out on the floor.
6. Learn by watching others
One of my favorite ones where I get great ideas for my next sessions is watching others. Everybody knows the saying if you want to learn something, learn from someone who has done it. You can easily practice this by going into live table tennis matches where better players than yourself are playing, watching games on the TV or YouTube, or watching it from the Olympics when it is time.
Learning by doing it yourself is great, but so is visual learning, so you shouldn’t ignore it, especially when it is easy to do nowadays.
7. Improve your fitness attributes
Last but not least, working out at the gym, running, skipping a rope, doing aerobic training, or using resistance bands will help you to maintain and improve your muscles needed in table tennis, in addition to the endurance side of things. My personal favorites are working out at the gym and doing some bodyweight training. Oh, and stretching is essential as well!
I highly recommend that you read our post about what muscles do table tennis train. There I have explained the main muscles used in the sport and how to train them properly to give you the edge you deserve when behind the table.
My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here you can find my preferred table tennis equipment that I believe you could benefit too!
- Racket: My favorite racket choice is the beautiful Killerspin Jet800 because it fits my offensive and speed-focused playstyle. The two carbon layers, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g weight makes this racket powerful.
- Ping Pong Balls: New technology and design have made the JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls stand out from the other balls. These balls are seamless, meaning they are more durable than any ball with a seam! Even when these balls come at a higher price, they will pay themselves quickly. As a bonus, the design makes me excited!
- Table Tennis shoes: The famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my choice as it is for many others because they are designed specifically for table tennis standards. I like the excellent support, comfortable cushioning, and lightweight sole with great traction, which gets you exploding fast to whatever direction you need to.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.
As you can see, there are no excuses for skipping table tennis training when you don’t have a partner. Some things on this list require money or more effort than others; nonetheless, you can find at least one or two from this list to do even right now. Keep training, my friend, and your skills will rise to higher levels than ever expected.