Sports & Wellness

Table tennis master: how to perfect your game

20 May 2022

Do you still play table tennis like an amateur? Here we give a few tips, that will help you to play like a pro.


Table tennis is becoming more and more popular every year. And this is not surprising, considering that there are not so many sports you can play with no special equipment, basic training or a profound briefing on safety rules.

To start playing table tennis you need just a table – any table and a net – any net. Out top table tennis coach, Farhaan Ahmed, is sure that beginners can easily play on a dining table with a couple of books put instead of a net. Then you need a couple of ping pong paddles, a ball and here you go.

However, after dozens of amateur matches with your family and friends, you might want to upgrade your table tennis skills and make your game more proficient and exciting. At Somerton we understand you. Here is what you need to know to become more skilful at table tennis.

Basic Table Tennis Moves

So you can bounce a ball with your paddle somehow. Now it is time to learn how professionals do that. Table tennis players use several moves. Let us look at each of them.

Forehand

This is one of the fundamental moves in table tennis. When the ball comes to your arm, which is holding the paddle, you rotate your body and hit the ball over the net to your opponent’s side. Make sure that you are holding the paddle with your thumb facing the net. Imagine a tennis player hitting a ball with his\her racket. Get it? Now use the move in your table tennis match.

Backhand

Another fundamental move, although opposite to the first one we have learned. When a ball comes to the arm, which is not holding the paddle, you move your paddle across your body’s centre to the other side and hit the ball. This time you must hold the paddle with your thumb facing your chest.

Table tennis

Serve

To do a table tennis serve means to hit a ball with your paddle, making it bounce on your side of the table, fly over the net and hit your opponent’s side. Serves are used to start every rally. After that, you just have to make sure you send a ball to the opponent's side each time.

Push

Pushes are used to deal with short balls. That is when your opponent lands a ball on your side but very close to the net. If this happens, you lean forward and slightly hit it from below. This way you manage to send the ball back to the opponent’s side without making it fly off the table.

Flick

Moving on to more aggressive table tennis movements. Flicks are also used when a ball is close to the net. However, instead of just hitting the ball from below, you use your wrist and elbow to send the ball to the other side fast. Professional players can send the ball so efficiently, that it hits the table and flies away quickly, and the opponent doesn’t have time to react. Flicks can also be forehand and backhand.

Spinning

To make a ping pong ball spin, you have to brush or skim it with your table tennis paddle instead of just hitting it. Spins take time to learn but once you’ve mastered them, you can control the power of your hits and the speed of the ball. Spins also make it impossible for your opponents to predict your next move.

Table tennis

Loop

You can call it an aggressive spin. When you swing your paddle from low to high and spin a ping pong ball in an aggressive way, it will fly very fast, making it harder for your opponent to return it.

Apart from the paddle moves, you need to learn the footwork and correct standing positions. This demands good coordination and concentration skills as well as developed reflexes. So if you want to master all the hardcore techniques you need to hire a coach. He or she will show you how to move the whole body properly in order to perform efficiently and not to get tired quickly.

Read more: Table tennis with Farhaan Ahmed: "If you want it  try it!"

Things to know about table tennis paddles

The colour matters

You may have wondered, why ping pong paddles have a red and a black side. It seems this is because to make paddles they use two different types of rubber. These two materials possess different properties so they paint them in different colours for players to distinguish.

Black rubber is tackier, which means it contacts more with the ball and is better for spins and forehands. It is also more comfortable for long strikes as you get to feel the ball more while hitting. Red rubber is harder, which means it is faster and less tacky. Red rubber is used more for backhands and straight hits without spinning.

The side of the table matters

Which colour to play also depends on the side of the table the ball is aimed at. Here is the advice from Farhaan Ahmed.

 “Your side of the ping pong table is divided into right and left zone. If you are right-handed and the ball goes to your right, you use a forehand move and a black side of your paddle respectively. When the ball goes to the middle or to your left, you use a backhand move and a red side of the paddle. For left-handed people, it is vice versa of course.”

Table tennis

Read more: 10 things to know about table tennis

Fun table tennis games for a group

Table tennis is a universal game because you can play it alone, with partners and in a group. What is a better way to entertain your whole family? Here is our list of games to play in a group. Some games are tough to play but if you are not afraid of a challenge, pick up your paddle now!

2 VS 2

A game with normal table tennis rules but here you play with two people on each side. The players in each team have to return the ball in turns so you cannot hit twice in a row. Advice from Farhaan Ahmed: “Remember to be respectful and follow the sportsmanship rules. After you hit the ball, step back and give your teammate space for manoeuvres. This way he has better chances to return the ball and your team to win.” 2 VS 2 will fit perfectly for a company of 4. You can play simultaneously without having to wait for your match.

Multi-pong

This is a game involving multiple balls. The players serve several balls simultaneously without having time to rest or prepare for the next move. This is where you learn to control your reflexes. There can be 2, 4, 6 or more players. Just remember – more balls, more fun.

King of the hill

This is an optimal game to play when you have odd numbers of players. In the beginning, the “King” is chosen, and then all other players stay in line to challenge the King. The challenger and the King play a normal table tennis game until one of them wins by two points. If the King wins, the next challenger comes in. If the challenger wins, he/she becomes the King. The game can last as long as you like, just make sure you stay at the table as long as possible.

Table tennis

Around the world

A funny game to make everyone run and laugh. It is a last-player-standing game, where the last player wins. You can play it with as many people as you like, just make sure everyone has a paddle. The players have to move clockwise or counterclockwise while returning easy balls for the opponents in turns. Those, who failed to serve or to bounce the ball, lose.

Become a table tennis master

Hopefully, we have warmed up your interest in table tennis. This is good physical exercise and a fun game for the whole family. Moreover, this is your chance to become a sports master without lifting a heavy bar. Looking for table tennis courses? Find your coach at Somerton and master your aggressive swing right now.



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