Using a broken ball as a target is an easy way to work on placing the ball – and let’s face it, with the poor quality of today’s 40mm balls, you are always likely to have a broken ball around somewhere! Just push one side of the ball in, and you have a perfect target that will stay on the table without rolling around!
Performing the Drill
The simplest variation of this drill is to have Player A attacking the ball with his forehand, using a loop, drive, or smash as desired. Player A attempts to hit the broken target ball 3 times, keeping track of how many strokes it takes him to do so. Player B blocks the ball back to Player A, keeping the ball in Player A’s forehand court.
By recording the number of strokes it takes Player A to hit the target ball 3 times, it is possible to gauge over time whether Player A is improving his ability to place the ball at a target location.
Benefits of the Drill
Player A will improve his ability at hitting the ball to a specific location on the court, regardless of where the opponent has hit the ball. This is a valuable skill that will be of use when Player A needs to place the ball to take advantage of an opponent’s weaknesses.
Besides simply performing this drill using Player A’s backhand, there are number of other variations of this drill that can be used.
- Player B can have a target ball to aim at as well, giving Player B similar practice with his block.
- A second target ball can be used at a different location, such as Player B’s backhand corner, or Player B’s playing elbow, giving Player A a choice of targets. This encourages the development of Player A’s decision making, since there will be times when one target ball is easier to hit than the other, and Player A should attempt to hit the easiest target.
- Player B can be allowed to place the ball anywhere on Player A’s court, making the drill more difficult for Player A. The use of multiple target balls can also be used in this case, for example if Player B places the ball in Player A’s backhand court, Player A must hit target ball 1, and if the ball lands in his forehand court, Player A must hit target ball 2. This encourages Player A to quickly identify where Player B is hitting the ball, and decide quickly which target he must aim at.
- The drill can also be used with strokes such as the push, flick, or chop, in order to practice other techniques.