The beauty of table tennis is that just about anybody can pick up a paddle and have a swing. Individuals from different age ranges and categories can have fun with ping pong.
However, the fact that the game is quite simple and straightforward doesn’t keep all players at the same level. Some players are simply better than others; this is why some play professionally and others play just for fun.
What sets some players apart from others is the playing technique. Therefore, you need to learn techniques and tips to play like an expert.
Sit back and relax as we take you through some of the basic ping pong techniques you need to do to take your game to the next level.
Basic Techniques of Experts: Battle of the Bats
To be considered an expert, your gameplay has to be beyond merely slapping a paddle on the ball across a table. Certain techniques that demonstrate a high level of professionalism must be depicted in your game.
In this section, we’ll discuss some of the basic ping pong techniques you need to learn to qualify you as an expert. They include the following:
- Maintain an athletic stance
- Handle the paddle properly
- Master the art of spins
- Perfect your serves
Maintain an Athletic Stance
If you picture the table tennis game as a very simple sport that requires minimal movement, you most likely will be unable to play like an expert. It is a competitive olympic sport and should be played as such.
Everything from your positioning, movement and footwork contribute to this. To play like an expert, you need to first stand and move like one.
Handle the Paddle Properly
Wipe that grin off your face! Handling the paddle properly with the right grip is as important as any technique you intend to execute with it. It sounds very basic, but sometimes it is the little things that matter.
Having a perfect grip on the paddle ensures you are well placed for an effective shot control and ball control for defense.
There are different table tennis grips that can be mastered to play as an expert. Two of the major grips are:
- Shakehand grip
- Penhold grip
The shakehand grip is executed by holding the paddle like you are about to give a handshake. The hand can be wrapped around the paddle’s handle allowing it to face up. It is common amongst Europeans and allows the player to use both sides of the paddle.
This grip is more common amongst Asian players. Unlike the Shakehand grip, the head of the paddle faces down with the penhold grip.
The paddle’s handle is held like a person holding a pen or pencil with the thumb and index finger held around the handle and the remaining fingers curled at the back of the paddle; hence the name Penhold grip.
Most times, this handling style allows the player to play with just one side of the paddle. The Penhold grip has different variations.
Master the Art of Spins
Spins are one of the most important ping pong specific skills used by experts. To properly execute and counteract each spin, you must maintain a certain level of fitness. There are four major spins. They include:
- Right sidespin
- Left sidespin
Mastering the art of spins requires that you know how to recognize a spin, know how to return a spin and finally know how to spin the ball as a player.
Recognizing a Spin
To play like an expert, you need to be able to recognize the spin which your opponents puts on the ball. The spins have the following features:
- Topspin: The opponent’s paddle is stroked from low to high.
- Backspin: The opponent’s paddle is stroked from high to low.
- Right sidespin: from your view, the paddle strokes from right to left.
- Left sidespin: From your view, the paddle strokes from left to right.
Returning a Spin
After recognizing a spin, you need to master the technique of returning it appropriately. The following techniques can be used to return the different spins.
- Topspin: Hit the top half of the ball with the paddle facing down.
- Backspin: Hit the bottom of the ball with the paddle facing up.
- Right sidespin: Hit the ball on the right half with the paddle tilting to the right.
- Left sidespin: Hit the ball on the left with the paddle tilting to the left.
Spinning the Ball
Putting some spin on the ball in a bid to gain some points for yourself can be done in the following ways:
- Topspin: Hit the ball around the middle to the top region from a low position to a high position.
- Backspin: Hit the ball around the bottom half region from a high position to a low position.
- Right sidespin: Swipe the paddle from left to right on the ball.
- Light sidespin: Swipe the paddle from right to left on the ball.
Perfect Your Serves
Each game is started by a serve. Therefore, how good the serve is is a factor that determines who takes the point. You need to develop and perfect multiple serves that can inconvenience the opponent to allow you to win the point easily.
So there you have it! Some of the techniques that need to be perfected to play like an expert.
To stand out from amongst the crowd in anything, you need to do the exceptional. It’s the same thing in table tennis. To be regarded as an expert, you need to play like one.
Playing ping pong as an expert requires a show of expertise in all aspects of the game ranging from standing at the table and handling the paddle to playing the ball and receiving the ball from opponents. All these techniques need to be mastered to be a true expert ping pong player.