1. Multi-ball or Robot:
If you have a sparring partner who can do multi-ball (Multi-ball tutorial click here). This is a system that was introduced by the Chinese to increase consistency by hitting 100's of balls within a short space of time.
The system develops muscle memory and gives you the ability to hit thousands of balls working on footwork, technique and consistency . This system is extremely beneficial and compared to a normal practice of 1 ball per rally, followed by time spent on picking up the ball, its a no brainier
If you don't have access a sparring partner or coach and wish to get a similar results, you can purchase a table tennis robot. The same principle applies, you are able to hit many balls within a short space of time.
The issue (you may or not agree with me) the variety of shots accessible and the spin received can be unrealistic. Furthermore there may come a time (shortly after initial use/purchase) where you will get bored due to limited sequences and zero interaction, or feedback.
2. Single Ball Training
The polar opposite is a 'single ball training session' but with a twist! One of my former coaches had a theory (if you train with one ball in a large hall) it encourages full focus on a single rally and reduces unforced error's. When you have lots of balls near by, your focus is reduced on unforced errors.
I must admit this helped me in two ways; 1) focus became "match like" and 2) the disappointment of an unforced error was thought about while fetching the single ball.
I suggest doing this kind of training at least once a month and depending on the amount of times you train this can be increased or decreased. I also believe this type of training is better suited for advanced players..
Having the perfect technique is not vital for consistency but it may harm progression.
The key, regardless of poor or good technique is to find what works for you. Once that has been established you must focus on re-enforcing that movement and make it muscle memory. If a technically varying stroke had been been developed and used in match play, you will notice many unforced errors due to technical deficiencies. So repetition of a correct movement is vital to maintain a stable stroke through an exercise into a match. Please note, different stokes are needed for different types of balls received, e.g. a back spin ball requires a different stroke to a topspin ball received
They say 6000 times is needed to build muscle memory so I would focus on developing a stroke that works and follow it up with 6000 reps.
Equipment plays a big role in consistency make sure you buy a good bat that will give you the best possible chance of developing your game. A few personal recommendations for developing or advanced players please click here
There's no real secret to becoming consistent, it's about correct reps and developing the mindset which believes in the work you have put in.
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