A Practical Path to Table Tennis Improvement

I’m considering writing a table tennis book. I’ve already published a book on Amazon. If you want to read my initial effort at fiction, checkout Smart by Jon Gustavson. It can be read on a Kindle or a smartphone. There’s a free preview and the book costs $10. The question for me is, should I write a book about table tennis? Sure, I can easily get it published. I might make a few dollars; but is there anything left to say? There are relatively few books on our sport. Most are aimed at helping players improve. Mine would be no different. If I have anything to contribute to the small library of table tennis, it might be classified as practical advice.

Most table tennis authors have been playing since they were young and have played and coached at a high level. My path to improvement is probably closer to the experience that most players have. If you get serious about table tennis as an adult, you may not be able to devote as much time to training as you would like. If you start late and don’t have much time, what is the path to maximum improvement? Larry Hodges, Dan Seemiller, Richard McAfee, and other great coaches could easily answer that question. The difference with my answer is that I have first hand experience in trying to catch up.

Catching up isn’t easy. My initial table tennis rating at age forty was 900. I had bad habits and a lack of understanding of the basic fundamentals. I eventually managed to double my rating and can play competitively with players who once would have annihilated me. Table tennis is a sport where it’s possible to play better at sixty than at forty. If I do write a book I might title it Practical Table Tennis. While I am certain I would emphasize topics like basic fundamentals, improving serves, moving your feet, not overhitting, and mental approach to competition, there’s nothing groundbreaking I have to offer. One of my students suggested letting some of the people I’ve coached contribute their experiences. I think that could work very well. It may turn out that it won’t be as much about what I say, but how I say it.  

6 Replies to “A Practical Path to Table Tennis Improvement”

  1. You should write a book dedicated specifically to junk rubber playing techniques. There are so many books about third ball attacking; I think it would be cool to write a book dedicated to junk rubber players and equipment junkies. You might not sell many books by going down that route, but you’ll sell more of these table tennis books than that “Smart” book.

    1. Hey Matt. That is not a bad idea at all. I’m still thinking about it. I don’t necessarily expect to sell many, no matter what direction I go. I would expect that there’s more of a market for a table tennis book by me than my efforts at fiction. Thanks

      1. I agree, there is not enough information on playing well with “junk” rubbers. More info needed on long pip strategies, equipment and playing with a combination LP and inverted rubbers.

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