Preparation for National Championships (part 1)

7 Maggio 2008 da Ping Pong Italia 

by Massimo Costantini

I would like to give you some instructions about which is the best way to preparate yourself in occasion of the National Championship considering the event would take place in one month.

First of all, it will be different for those who will have the opportunity to play every single day and for those who will play 2-3 times a week. However, there are some common aspects that I will report later.

Today we will be interested in physical conditioning.

Physical conditioning: yes or no?

Physical conditioning is one of the common aspects and also an essential part of the training. Considering that we have enough time to get trained, we might be interested in physical conditioning the first 15-20 days.
Supposing that we never stopped training during the season, we don’t have to work from the same beginning. That’s why it will not be necessary to work on the resistance to effort, that is basic aerobic training (oxygen use). For having a more precise idea of what I mean, I ask you to think about the length of a table tennis rally. We can say that the average length, statistics can usefully help us in this case, goes from 1” to 3”, with exeptions which arrive to 5”- 6”. I can say that 5 seconds in table-tennis is a really long time.
Our trainings at the table will be more than enough to be part of this trivial statistic, the only requirement, or difference, is that the match, that is those few seconds of rally, is played with maximal muscular and nervous effort, together with generation of adrenaline in particular moments of the match. These are situations that hardly can be rebuilt in practice. I will suddenly come back to talk about the intensity of the training at the table.
So, what we have to require from our body is more reactivity.
When you say to a friend that you play table tennis, he will certainly answer that in this sport you need a lot of reflexes, and this is absolutely true. It takes at least 15 minutes of physical conditioning directed to the reactivity of our body.
Every physical education teacher can give you some suggestions in this sphere. In any case, as always, if you need more details, I’m here for you.
There is no limit to our fantasy in creating different situations in which we ask reactivity from our bodies. In fact, in a different context, you do it everyday: when you drive a car, or when you ride a motorbike or a bicycle, which are all situations full of unforeseen events. So, table tennis is an unforeseen event too.
If you could make a connection between car accidents and the sport that you practice, I’m convinced that table tennis players have almost no chances to be part of the percentage involved in car accidents, simply because they are well prepared. Also this aspect could be subject of new studies.
Let’s come back to our discussion now.
So, sudden situations that give you the chance to improve you reactivity, that is the ability to be more prepared in every situation that you have to face with. These situations can be organized in and out of a match-like context.
Talking about the physical conditioning: let’s make side to side movements with sudden directional changes; if you can, make this exercise with a partner, so you can help each other. By the way, sharing a work makes this training easier and more pleasant. Then let’s make very short sprints, 10 – maximum 20 meters long, with sudden start, from different positions. Then jump and, touching the ground, sprint several meters in the direction indicated by your partner. The target? Create a different and sudden situation in comparison with organized actions. Your sparring partner’s role in physical conditioning is very important, because he has to share the training with you. Remember to use different communication systems:
Visual signals

Communication has to be simple and clear, made of few, but direct words, well audible sounds, clear visual signals.
At the end of every training don’t give up to make some exercises for all your abdominal muscles. None wants you beat press-ups records, but it will be enough if you make few, but well done press-ups every time you practice. By the way, if you reduce your paunch, that won’t do any harm!

When train physical conditioning?
As I said at the beginning of this post, there are many situations to analyse. I indicate you maybe the two most common of them.
1- The best situation is to alternate between practice at the table and physical conditioning. For those who play at the table 3 times a week, I suggest to do physical conditioning 3 more times, and to dedicate to it 40 minutes.
2- For those who practice at the table every day, I suggest to dedicate to physical conditioning 20-30 minutes at the end of every training session at the table.
Last indication: physical conditioning is a serious thing, so remember to pay much attention when you practice it.
Enough for today. For any questions, I’ll be glad to help you.

I wish you a good training!

translation by Denisa Zancaner


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