Table Tennis has a learning curve of its own. Initially, you will find it hard to get started but as you grasp the basics, the improvement to the next level is rather fast.
While a technique is all that matters to improve your game, but a paddle also plays a vital role as you develop your technique. You can check the guide by Kevin James from PingPongBros on how to choose a Ping Pong Paddle. I personally found it to be the best guide on paddle selection for players of various skill levels.
If you’re a beginner, start with an all-round paddle which is neither too fast not too slow, medium spin and excellent control. Such a paddle will let you experience a wide variety of stroke play, which is quintessential for developing players.
In this article, we will be discussing some tips and tricks which can help you improve your overall game:
- Learn the Right Posture
You may know how to topspin the ball, but are you able to impart enough spin onto the ball? No, because your body is not in a right posture or you don’t have the proper footwork to transfer maximum spin on the ball.
So, your body postures are essential, and you should not be at any point be imbalanced. You also need to grip the paddle correctly and learn when and how much to move your feet. A correct posture will help you do the right serves, give a solid return and hit the ball with max power.
2. Get your Serves Right
Serves are the basic things you learn once you start playing the game. If you serve well right from the beginning, you can gain an edge over the opponent and use it against him. With excellent service, you can also win a point and sometimes even the game.
- There are many different serves, and knowing all the kinds of serves will be beneficial for you while playing a tournament.
- A short serve is the most common of them, and this serve inhibits the opponent from getting any advantage.
- Mix and match your serves to gain an edge over your opponent as it may confuse him and keep them guessing.
As a thumb rule, if your opponent is a beginner to intermediate, try doing heavy backspin serves. In most cases, the opponent won’t be able to pick the serve.
3. Spin is your friend
Now that you have learned the basics of the game, it is time to use some spins to advance your playing style. If you get the spinning tricks properly, you can beat most of the garage players. Learn how spinning affects your return and how you can counter it.
- To spin correctly, you first need to keep an eye on the opponent’s paddle. Following the ball, as it hits the paddle.
- A neat trick you can use is to watch the logo on the ball to gauge its speed. A blurry image indicates that the spin is high.
- Again by looking at the opponent’s paddle, you can understand the type of spin. Topspin is when the paddle moves from low to high and when it is a backspin when the paddle moves from high to low. Right side spin is indicated when the paddle moves from left to right.
- Keep your wrists relaxed when you plan to counter a spin return. Also, move your hand quickly at the end of the stroke if you want to make the spin effective.
4. Focus on Shorter Swings
Remember that in table tennis, a shorter swing is always better as opposed to other sports such as golf or lawn tennis. If your swing or follow-through is longer, it will take you a longer time to return to your position. Table tennis is a fast sport, that may cost you the point.
Always focus on short yet powerful swings. Master your footwork to drive energy from the ground, and even the short swing strokes will go with sufficient power.
5. Play short with soft-touch
Anyone with even a rickety paddle can smash a bouncy ball. But can you do the same with the ball which barely bounces? No, and that’s what you should aim at. Try to return the ball as close to the net as possible with the least amount of bounce. Alternatively, if you can’t hit short, try to place the ball at the farther corner of the opponent’s table which would make your opponent move back to hit the ball.
6. Track your Opponent
Let’s consider this scenario: Your opponent is standing at the far right corner of the table, diagonally opposite to you. You trick the player, as if you’re serving to the backhand side of the opponent but rather at the last movement, you serve at the forehand of the player. Obviously, the player would get startled and would need to move quickly to reach to the ball.
You may very well earn the point, or the opponent would do a weak return.
Tracking your opponent can help you outwit them and score points with ease.
7. Stay Cool and Be Patient
The game of table tennis is all about holding onto your nerves. The game is fast, requires concentration throughout with a high level of physical stamina.
Keeping your head clam during the intense matches can help you win the close games and implement your strategies.
8. Use the Whole Body for Maximum Energy
My coach used to say – ‘Generate energy from your feet’. I never understood it back then, but now I truly understand the meaning of his words. In table tennis, you drive energy from your feet, arms, and hip movement. Out of these three, the feet contribute the most. Pressing the feet against the ground helps you generate energy to put on your strokes.
9. Get your Footwork right
To execute the shots to perfection, you need to be on the right posture along with the correct footwork. During the game, only your hands move, but below the tables, it’s your feet, which help you reach the ball and pull the strokes with perfection.
Like everything else in life, there is no substitute for practice. To truly excel in the game, you need hours and hours of training to get your strokes right. But merely practicing isn’t sufficient. You need to practice smart, working on your weaker areas, and practicing with the right technique.
Table Tennis a sport of discipline, concentration, and there are no shortcuts. You need to work on all aspects of your game and body to improve and compete at a professional level.