Basic table tennis technique: Not sure you have it by heart

by Johnny Jacks

Mastering the fundamental table tennis techniques is a prerequisite for aspiring to be a skilled player. Achieving proficiency in table tennis necessitates a seamless coordination of wrists, shoulders, and footwork, along with employing the appropriate technique that aligns with your playing style. Each technique comes with its unique requirements, advantages, and drawbacks. Don’t overlook the essential table tennis skills covered in the following article!

How to Grip a Basic Table Tennis Racket

The foremost skill every aspiring professional table tennis player must acquire is the proper grip of a ping pong racket. Currently, two gripping techniques are commonly employed in competitions and practice:

Method 1: Hold the racket with your hand, ensuring your thumb naturally curves close to the front handle of the blade, while pressing your index finger behind the handle. Let the remaining fingers grasp the handle naturally.

Method 2: Grip the racket along your hand, using your thumb and index finger to hold the racket at the point between the handle and the blade. Allow the remaining fingers to rest comfortably on the surface of the table tennis racket.

Serving Technique

Serving is a fundamental table tennis skill that no newcomer should overlook. A well-executed serve provides you with an initial advantage, increasing your chances of victory.

To initiate a serve, place the ball in your palm, with the racket handle positioned higher than the table. Lightly toss the ball vertically, ensuring it rises at least 16cm above the table. Avoid imparting spin to the ball, and when it descends, ensure it does not touch your hand or the table’s edge.

As the ball reaches your hand’s level, employ your ping pong racket to strike it on your side of the table, causing the ball to bounce over the net and onto your opponent’s side.

For novice table tennis players, consistent practice of serving in the correct sequence is essential: The ball lands on your table, crosses the net, and lands on your opponent’s side.

Serving is one of the crucial table tennis techniques you must master.

Serving is one of the crucial table tennis techniques you must master.

Once you’ve gained good ball control, you can practice various serving variations, such as forehand, backhand, serving down the forehand and backhand, and serving the forehand up and down to the left, or the backhand serve down to the right. These serves vary in how you position the racket, extend your arms, and make contact with the ball.

Please note that serving techniques can vary among players, including variations like serving up or down with the forehand or backhand, serving forehand up and to the left, backhand serves, and side spins.

Fundamental Polishing Techniques

In addition to serving, new players can work on fundamental table tennis skills:

Forehand Stroke Technique:

  1. Slightly rotate your body to the right.
  2. Bend your right hand naturally, bringing the racket to the right side of your body.
  3. Simultaneously, rotate your forearm so that the racket face tilts slightly forward.
  4. Shift your body’s center of gravity to the right, bend your knees slightly, and tighten your abdomen.
  5. When receiving the ball, rotate the upper half of your body to the left.
  6. Use the force generated by your arms, forearms, and wrists to swing the racket forward.
  7. Tilt the racket head so it contacts the center of the ball.
  8. After hitting the ball, follow through by swinging the racket forward, up to the left, and return to the starting position quickly.

Backhand Stroke Technique:

  1. Begin from the ready position with your belt turned to the left and the racket at approximately 9 o’clock.
  2. Lean your body forward.
  3. As the ball reaches its highest point, swing the racket forward to make contact with the ball.
  4. Simultaneously, rotate the upper half of your body horizontally to the right.
  5. Utilize the strength of your arms and forearms in conjunction with body rotation to strike the racket head into the center of the ball.
Hitting the ball technique demands a harmonious coordination among the hands, feet, and upper body movement.

Hitting the ball technique demands a harmonious coordination among the hands, feet, and upper body movement.

Ball Techniques

The chop shot is a fundamental technique used to counter spins, especially near or within the table. It’s a basic defensive stroke where the ball is contacted immediately after the opponent’s shot using an open racket. The degree of openness of the racket depends on the backspin intensity of the incoming ball.

Forehand Chop:

  • Raise and draw the racket up and back while keeping your elbows at hip level and your wrists flexed.
  • Rotate your body forward, slightly downward.
  • As the racket contacts the ball, snap your wrist forward to increase racket speed.
  • The racket should touch the lower half of the ball.
  • The ideal point of contact is right after the ball bounces.
  • Aim to hit the ball in front and slightly to the right of your body.

Backhand Chop:

  • Slightly lift and draw the racket up and back, keeping it close to your stomach while tilting your wrists back.
  • Maintain stillness in your elbows while moving your forearms and wrists forward to meet the ball.
The chop shot is a defensive technique that every ping pong player should be familiar with.

The chop shot is a defensive technique that every ping pong player should be familiar with.

Ball Blocking Technique

This technique is used for quick counterattacks while holding the racket vertically. Stand approximately 40cm away from the table, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees bent.

  • For backhand blocks, draw the racket back to your midsection, utilizing the ball’s incoming power to redirect it.
  • After striking the ball, continue the motion to push the racket forward before returning to the original position.
  • For forehand blocks, position the racket to your side, maintaining an upright racket angle, then return the ball using a similar motion.

Looping Technique

When the ball ascends, generate power from your right foot to pivot on the ground while rotating your upper body to the left. Your hand should swing from the back right to the front, ready to intercept the ball. When the ball descends to shoulder-to-head height, strike the center top of the ball using the front side of the racket. Simultaneously, continue rotating your upper body to the left.

Utilize the power of your arms, forearms, and the motion of your back to impact the ball. After hitting the ball, swing your arm forward before quickly returning to the starting position. During this table tennis technique, your body weight will shift from the right foot to the left.

After mastering these fundamental principles and techniques, becoming a skilled table tennis player requires dedication and practice. If you’re seeking further guidance, consider referring to 10 Table Tennis Techniques to Elevate Your Game to a Professional Level.

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