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William Henzell's Blog December 20, 2013

It's about time to sum up another year of table tennis. 2013 has been a pretty quiet year, when compared to 2012. 2012 saw 100% focus on table tennis, playing full-time in Europe with regular Pro Tour events, World Championships and of course the Olympic Games where I was in the form of my life, finishing 17th in the Singles.

2013 had a flurry of activity around the middle of the year with the World Team Cup, Australian Open and other domestic tournaments concentrated in 2 month span, with little on either side. It's been challenging at times to keep up my levels of training as family and work committments have increased and access to training partners has decreased. That's been interesting in itself as I've had to try to condense 4 or 5 hours of training per day, down into 3 or 4 hours per week. I've been forced to adapt the drills and exercises I do at training and pick out several key areas that need to be maintained and nourished in order to remain competative.

For me personally, it's meant focusing on a few areas:

1. Shot placement and change of placement. I'm not going to be as fast or as powerful now as when I was playing full-time so I need to be better at placing my shots. I'm also probably going to be less consistent and be able to hit fewer shots on in a row, so I have to be more effective when I do get my shots on.

So I did a lot of exercises where I practice changing the placement of my shots. Switching between attacking across court then changing to down the line and so on. The more control and flexibility I have over where I place my shots, the more difficult I can make it for my opponent.

2. Early stages of the rally. I must keep my first couple of shots in each rally as effective and consistent as I can. I've focused on training in a few set patterns of play that I've identified as key to winning points. An example of this is a short topspin serve, getting a flick to my backhand, which I attack across court, getting a block back to my backhand and then topspinning the next one down the line. The more times I can practice that set play of shots, the more effective and consistent I will be at it and the more I will try to steer the match-play towards that set play.

3. Gym. Less training means a loss of body strength and the best way I've found for keeping it up is weights work in the gym. I'm quite lean by nature and don't put on muscle (or strength) easily. I feel much better on court (better movement and recovery) when I'm strong so I've tried to fit gym sessions in where possible.

So in many ways this year has brought me closer to my ttEDGE members who are mostly in a similar situation to me, trying to do the best they can with their table tennis in the limited time they have available.

2013 promises to be a big year with many of the biggest tournaments occurring - Commonwealth Games, World Team Championships, Australian Open (which will be back on the World Tour this year!) plus all the domestic Australian events. Have a great break over Christmas and all the best with your table tennis.

Published date: 
Fri, 12/20/2013 - 08:15