Being good at table tennis is one thing that does not happen overnight. Similar to other sports, patience is a virtue. Dedication is necessary, which also means that you have to practice constantly. That being said, to gain mastery of your skills and to be a better player, take note of the things that will be mentioned in the rest of this post.
Start with the Right Table Tennis Paddles
The first thing that you have to do is to purchase the paddle that suits your style and preferences. Consider your grip. If you have a penhold grip, obviously, you need to buy a penhold paddle. Make sure, as well, that it has an ergonomic handle, which will make it easy to hold. It should be lightweight enough, making it move easily and without the need to cause too much fatigue. If you are a beginner, opt for entry table tennis paddles, which are created to generate less spin.
Learn the Right Stance
You need to maintain the right position, which will ensure you are always ready to tackle the volleys that come from your opponent. You have to be relaxed and balanced. The right position will prepare your body to respond to your opponent regardless of the direction of the ball, which means that you will be free to move around without losing your balance. For right-handed players, you should be positioned slightly on the left with your right foot a bit forward and vice versa if you are left-handed.
Keep Your Focus
Concentration is an art that you should hone in order to be better in ping pong. You need to stay sharp and focused, making it possible to execute the proper response to every shot from your opponent. You need to have mental clarity and think about the game only. Thinking of things outside of the scope of the game is a sure-fire way to lose your focus. Keep your eyes on the ball and it will be easier for your body to respond as needed.
Know the Spins
By knowing the spin of the ball, you will be more prepared to respond to the shots of your opponent. If it is low to high, it is a topspin. On the other hand, when it is high to low, it is a backspin. And then, when it moves from the left to the right, it is a right spin. Lastly, when it moves from the right to the left, it is a left spin. After you have learned about the spin, know how to compensate with the right angle of your racket to receive the spin properly and to not miss the ping pong ball.
Train Your Strokes
Your stroke is another fundamental skill that you have to learn until it becomes automatic. You need to stay focused on the game as mental energy will be required for you to execute the right stroke based on the spin of the ball. You need to reach the point when you no longer think hard about your stroke and it just happens automatically. Practicing against the wall on your own is one of the best ways to improve your stroke in ping pong.
Move the Whole Body
One of the mistakes that most beginners commit is just standing on the side, letting their hands do the work. To be better in ping pong, you need to learn how to move the entire body, especially if you have a forehand stroke. Your hips, shoulders, and feet should move along with you as you try to catch the ball. It is important that you are swift and agile, especially if your opponent is playing aggressively.
Know the Rules
Do not look stupid when playing ping pong! You need to gain mastery of the rules, especially the things that will constitute a foul. If you do not know your fouls, you will most likely lose the game without making it any harder for your opponent. For instance, when you are serving, it is important to pay attention to the height of the ball when it is tossed, which should be at least 6 inches. Otherwise, it will be considered a foul.
Make the Returns Low
As you become better in table tennis, you should think of the ways to stun your opponent, making him or her unable to receive the ball. You can do this by being quick, not giving the opponent enough time to think of how to respond. Another effective way would be through aiming for a low return. This means that the ball should be low on the net. The lower it is, the harder it will be for the opponent to counter.
Make your Swings Short
In other sports, such as tennis and golf, most of us are used to having long swings. However, in the case of table tennis, it is a different story since you will most probably do better with a short swing. If the swing is longer, there will be more room for error. Short swings when playing ping pong, especially when they are powerful, will make it easier to resume to your original position. It also increases precision and accuracy.
Practice, Practice, Practice
At the end of the day, the most important tip is for you to keep on practicing. This will help you to achieve consistency and to master the fundamentals of table tennis. It will also be a good idea to invest in ping pong robots, which will improve your training sessions. The latter will throw balls on your side at different angles and speeds, which will make you feel like playing with an actual player.
Being a better ping pong player may not be easy, but it is doable, especially if you follow the things that have been mentioned above. From choosing the best ping pong paddles to mastering spins and swings, there are many things that you can do to master the fundamental skills. You need to keep on practicing and to stay committed to reach your goal.