If you want to improve your table tennis skills, practicing is essential. However, simply going through the motions of hitting a ball back and forth will not significantly improve. Focusing on specific goals and drills is crucial to making the most of your available practice time.
Here are 10 tips that will help you improve your skills and techniques to play table tennis better. Each of these tips will help you focus on a different aspect of the game to refine your skills and become a better player.
Improve Your Grip
A proper grip is the foundation of any good stroke in ping pong. If you can’t hold the racket correctly, then you won’t be able to generate enough power or control. Many different grips can be used in table tennis, so experiment to find the one that feels most comfortable for you.
The shakehand grip is the typical European grip where the head of the racket faces up, and your hand looks ready to shake a person’s hand. It is common for shakehand players to use both the front and back sides of the paddle, whereas penhold players often only use one side.
As the name suggests, the Chinese penhold grip on a table tennis paddle is comparable to how you would hold a pen while writing. Three fingers wrap around the rear of the racket while the thumb and index finger grip the handle.
Use Your Feet
Table tennis is a game that is played mainly with the upper body, but the feet play an essential role as well. Positioning yourself correctly can give you a significant advantage over your opponent. Learning to move your feet quickly and efficiently will help you to reach more balls and put yourself in a better position to win points.
Side to Side Step
Table tennis matches primarily involve side-to-side footwork.
This footwork pattern is used when you are near the table and must be fast and economical.
You should always carry your outside foot when moving to the left or right.
It is important to remember to take small shuffling steps and stay on the balls of your feet and push off your back foot, so you are ready to move fast.
In and Out
You must move in and out rapidly when playing a short serve or a short return.
The short serve and return are where we use the in and out footwork steps.
For a right-handed player, you step in with your right foot, play the ball and quickly move back to the ready position.
For a lefthanded player, you lead with the left foot.
Remember to stay on your toes so you can react quickly and efficiently.
Develop a Strong Backhand
Many beginners focus on developing their forehand because it is the stroke used most often in table tennis. However, a strong backhand can be just as important. If you can master both strokes, then you will be a much more well-rounded player.
Types of Backhand Strokes
There are two types of basic table tennis backhand strokes the backhand drive and the backhand push. We encourage you to start with the backhand drive, and while the mechanics of this return is a bit out of scope for this article, check out this backhand drive tutorial, it is excellent.
Improve Your Serves
The serve is the most crucial shot in table tennis because it lets you control the point from the beginning. If you can consistently get your serve in, you will be in an excellent position to win points. There are many different types of serves that you can learn, so experiment to find the ones that work best for you.
Table Tennis Serves
When ready to develop a good serve game, I recommend you focus on learning the following three different serves.
Chop or Backhand Serve
The chop serve provides all heavy backspin to the ball. If you are putting some topspin or sidespin, you haven’t quite got it yet. Check out this tutorial video to ensure you are performing it correctly.
The pendulum serve is the sidespin serve and is arguably the widest used in the professional ranks today. It is also the easiest way to mix up the ball spin to keep your opponent guessing. Check out this video to find out more about the pendulum serve.
Reverse Pendulum Serve
This one is a bit more advanced and harder for a good player to learn initially but once learned, it can look like a pendulum serve but have an unexpected rotation to the ball movement. It is the best way to keep your opposition off guard. Check out this tremendous reverse pendulum tutorial.
Practice Your Returns
Just as important as having good service is returning your opponent’s serve effectively. If you can’t keep the ball in play, then you will never have a chance to win the point. Practice your returns to stay in the game and put pressure on your opponent.
There are two types of returns: the forehand drive and the backhand return. A great way to get proficient at both types is using a table tennis robot. It does not matter if you are an experienced player or a weaker player.
Play Against Better Players
One of the best ways to improve your table tennis skills is to play against players who are better than you. This will challenge you and force you to raise your game. Playing against better players will allow you to see different playing styles and learn from them.
Table tennis is a competitive sport, and you need a lot of practice, so why not make this practice as effective as possible? To do this, you should incorporate playing better table tennis players than yourself into your practice regimen.
Watch Table Tennis Matches
Another great way to improve your skills is to watch professional table tennis matches. This will allow you to see how the best players play the game. Please pay attention to their footwork, strokes, and strategies. You can learn a lot by just watching how they play.
Good professionals are in complete control of their side of the table. They also keep unforced errors to a minimum. So to take your table tennis game to the next level, watch the best ping pong players in the world and emulate them where possible.
Join a Table Tennis Club
Joining a table tennis club is a great place to meet other players and get some competitive experience. Clubs typically offer group lessons, which can be a great way to improve your skills. They also hold regular tournaments, which allow you to test your skills against other players.
This also gets you playing more; when you play more and focus on form, you develop good technique and play better ping pong. Another helpful by-product of increased playing time is you start to recognize your opponent’s weaknesses and how to use it against them. This is the first step in moving from recreational players to a more intermediate player.
One last benefit of a table tennis club is that you always have a practice partner trying to improve.
Read Table Tennis Books and Magazines
Many excellent books and magazines can help you improve your game. These resources can provide valuable tips and advice on everything from strokes to footwork to strategy. Reading these materials can give you a better understanding of the game and how to improve your skills.
When you read table tennis books and magazines, it is only time before you start implementing what you are reading about. You can always find some great tips on table tennis strategy and a closer look at how to implement it.
Hire a Table Tennis Coach
One of the best ways to improve your table tennis skills is to hire a coach. A good coach can help you to identify your weaknesses and develop a plan to address them. They can also provide feedback on your progress and offer valuable tips and advice. Hiring a coach is a great way to get started if you are serious about improving your game.
They can help you with different types of spin and improve your basic strokes.
These tips can improve your table tennis skills and make you a better player. Practice regularly and challenge yourself by playing against better opponents. Doing so will develop the skills necessary to compete at a higher level.