Precision, speed, and agility will get you far in the fast-paced game of ping pong. As the game has progressed and matured over the years (see the history of ping pong), various techniques have become essential to succeeding at the game of table tennis. Here are some important pointers for newcomers to this intense and fun sport.
Master the Basics
The best place to start is at the very beginning. As you continue you will develop your personal styles of gameplay so it is important that your fundamentals skills are well refined. This includes details like holding the paddle properly, moving the feet, and spinning the ball. Ping pong is an entire world of analysis and improvement, including the ping pong table’s measurements, so identify your weaknesses quickly and practice to improve.
Spinning the Ball
Mastering the spin is one of the more subtle parts of the game but it is critical to gaining any skill level. The spin plays an important role in the way the game goes back and forth between the two players. Here are some important points to be aware of:
– Be aware of the angle the other player uses to hit the ball because the spin will make it bounce off in this direction after contacting your paddle.
– Keep your eye on the ball, you can see how fast the ball is spinning and in which direction by watching the logo on the ball. The greater the speed the greater the spin effect.
– The direction of the paddle as it strikes the ball will determine the spin of the ball. If it is moving from low to high, it will have a topspin, right to left sidespin, and so forth.
A Strong Forehand
By bringing your whole body into your forehand strike, you will increase your power, precision, and endurance in delivery. This means rotating the upper body and hips back in the backswing and snapping them forward like a whip when striking the ball. The harder you strike the ball the more power must be applied to this motion. If you strike the ball with your arm and wrist alone, your power will be reduced and you will not make consistently powerful shots.
Maintain A Solid Ready Position
Body position will play an important role in how you interface with the ping pong table. Your body is alert and positioned to move in any direction and this will increase your capacity at the game. Take the time to observe how these motions are performed by players whose style you would like to emulate.
Muscle Memory Training
When you begin your training in ping pong, you will use a lot of mental energy to visualize your movements and develop a mental projection of the way a shot is executed. Once you have a clear picture, you will want to divert your focus to building clean muscle memory. This will build reliable muscle memory that will greatly enhance your performance. The key to building muscle memory is practice. While some may find it difficult to practice consistently, it is important to do so. There are a variety of conveniences that can make consistent practice easier (see our best picks for ping pong tables for the top of a pool table). Find your best method of training and stick to it to improve your ping pong skills.
Use Your Own Racket
Your racket will have nuances and subtleties that can be used to take advantage of the game or could throw the game in favor of the opponent if you are not fully aware of them. For this reason, it is best to use your own paddle and study it well. Keep it in its case and use proper cleaning methods to keep oils and dust from setting in.
It is usually the intermediate stage when a player begins to use sidespins on their service in each serve. But getting started early in this important aspect of ping pong will give you greater practice. Spins can be top spins, backspins, or two directions of sidespin as well as a combination of several directions. This will give you an advantage because your opponent will have a harder time returning the spin.
Keeping it Low
The lower your returns over the net, the fewer chances your opponent will have to use them to their advantage. A high ball can be returned from a large variety of angles and allows the other player to place time, focus, and power into their return.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Finally, the most important tip of all is to practice more than you compete. By mastering the above-listed pointers, you will become a formidable mid-range player and ready to take on greater challenges.