Which is more important, understanding or practice?

The topic seems to be a dead-end cycle of “chicken begets egg, egg begets chicken”, but after limiting it to the group of “adult players”, the question has a targeted answer.

I will give my own reference answer directly: for adult players to learn the game, they should first understand, then practice in training and practice, and finally deepen the understanding in practice, forming a virtuous cycle of spiraling. In this process, understanding is always in the leading position, training and practice should be built on the premise of understanding. In short, I think for adult players, understanding is more important.

Some players may say, “I’ve been playing wild ball since I was a kid, and I’ve been playing blindly for more than 10 years or even decades, and I feel like I’m playing pretty well. Do not exclude amateur ballplayers who have talented masters, but more than 90% of the ballplayers without “child work”, often can not beat a few years of the training base of secondary school students, and even individual outstanding elementary school students. What is the reason? The surface reason is the gap in basic skills, but the deeper reason is still the difference in understanding of table tennis.

National team coaches come into the amateur game National team coaches come into the amateur game

Some of you may not understand how a high school student or even an elementary school student with only a few years of experience can understand the game better than a “veteran” with more than a decade or decades of experience. First of all, middle school students or elementary school student’s understanding of the ball is based on the professional coach’s understanding, they just “know what they know but do not know what they know”, how the coach teaches, how they practice.

How many amateurs have a better understanding of the ball than professional coaches? Even in the process of teaching and training, the effect of this understanding has decayed to a certain extent, it can still outperform most amateurs. After all, “standing on the shoulders of giants”, you can see the scenery farther.

Star player of the Beijing Amateur Table Tennis CircleStar player of the Beijing Amateur Table Tennis Circle

Secondly, the majority of adult amateurs play table tennis for fun, and there are not many people who can practice the basics in a practical manner. It is hard enough for people to work on a daily basis, but when they have time to play, they have to put up with the tedious practice of basic skills, which really tests their willpower. As we all know, in most cases, human nature is not able to withstand the test.

Although primary and secondary school students play for a short period of time, they have a simple mind, a good environment, and a coach in front of them to guide them, so their playing is real – practice and they devote themselves to it, so their progress is naturally fast. Even if the age of the ball is short, the level will not below. Therefore, our adult amateurs can’t beat the small ballplayers who have “children’s skills”, which is also justifiable.

So, do we adult amateurs have no advantage? That’s not true. I think that those who are still playing table tennis after the age of 30 are definitely “true lovers” of the sport, and interest is the best teacher. With the love from the heart, with the experience accumulated over time, all that is missing is the right guidance to deepen your understanding of table tennis.

Therefore, I strongly recommend that adult amateurs of any stage and level of play purchase a textbook on the sport of table tennis. Any publisher, any author’s edition is fine, one is enough, but more than one is fine, as it is beneficial to have more than one. I think that for adult amateurs, this textbook, which may cost less than a piece of rubber, is the most cost-effective “practice tool”.

For amateurs with more than ten years of experience, they have a good understanding of table tennis, but why does the speed of the ball increase very slowly, or even reach the “ceiling” early on? The taller the tree, the higher the level, the more branches, the richer the techniques and tactics, and the time and energy we spend on cultivating the tree.

The reason why professional players’ “ping pong trees” grow higher than amateurs’ is that they have enough “fertilizer” on the one hand and good “gardeners” on the other. –They have a good “gardener” – a coach to help them prune the branches, remove the sick and weak branches (irregular movements, unreasonable techniques, and tactics, etc.), and ensure that the main trunk (reasonable and effective techniques and tactics) grows strong, and finally grows into a huge tree.

The amateur players of the “tree of ping pong” are basically in a state of “wild growth”, the branches are more than enough, but often unclear, good and bad, diversion of a lot of “fertilizer “. In addition to the limited time and energy, the amount of “fertilizer” under the relatively small, tree naturally grows not so high.

A table tennis textbook is the equivalent of a “gardener’s guide”, telling you how to cultivate your “table tennis tree”, how to identify sick and weak branches, how to cultivate the main trunk so that the original limited “fertilizer” can play a higher performance, why worry about your “table tennis tree” will not grow a cut taller?

Winning the championship! Winning!

For adults, we have another advantage over the younger “Scouts” – our ability to think. Through years of education, we have accumulated more basic knowledge and a way of thinking about things. Let me give you a simple example: Why do you accelerate at the moment of hitting the ball? For those of you who have completed nine years of compulsory education can understand that it is because of Newton’s three laws – to change the state of the ping pong ball (return), you have to make the ping pong ball force (the first law). So how to make the ping pong ball force? According to Newton’s second law F (force) = M (mass) * A (acceleration), the mass of the ping pong ball is known to be constant, so to force the ping pong ball, we have to accelerate the ball.

As long as we understand this principle of acceleration of the ball, we can practice whatever technique, we can hit the kernel of the essence – did I do this hitting action to accelerate the effect of the ball? If yes, it is a good action to send out the force; if not, it means that some part of the action “holds” the force, so you need to continue to think about the stroke in your mind until you understand its power principle.

Therefore, for adult amateurs who have a certain knowledge base and accumulated experience, they should first understand; understand the right, then perceive and control, then the practice is guided by the direction, and get twice the result with half the effort. As the old saying goes, “it is easy to know and difficult to do”, it is enough to understand only with the brain, and it is also in line with the law of learning which is easy first and then difficult. Then use your brain to guide your body to do the right action, brush enough proficiency and form a conditioned reflex to achieve the effect of “knowledge in action”.

Table tennis is a sport that places a lot of emphasis on accumulation. There are no shortcuts in table tennis, and not taking a detour is a shortcut in itself.

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