Tips on How to get better at ping pong
Table tennis seems a game that is easy to play. It isn’t! The game requires top-notch skills just as other games do. Much as the game politely presents itself, it is a very intensive game. Every player must have an eye on the ball all the time, excellent racket handling skills, and great footwork.
The game is unique, right from the play to the players. One person can successfully play the game and rate his/her skills. A standard game in a tournament has either 2 or four players. In such a match, it is easier to follow the laid down rules.
If players are just out to have fun, the game can be altered – the number of the players can be changed to 3, 6, 8, or even 12. In such matches, it is difficult to find an outright winner.
Every ping pong player wants to be the best. The pros work extra hard to maintain the stature, while the Rockies wish to learn new techniques all the times. It is therefore imperative that each player learns how to get better at ping pong. Notice that to achieve such goals, players need to employ different approaches, including practical drill sills.
Now, let’s look at tips that make a player improve his/her ping pong skills.
Getting the right set of tools and equipment
Racket, table, ball, and nets are the basic equipment you need. It is without a doubt evident that you will use these set of equipment regularly to make your skills better. It then goes without saying that you need equipment that will stand the test of regular smashes and bangs.
(for more on balls see the article 38 MM vs 40 mm Ping Pong balls)
While most people might think any tools will just function properly, the fact is, you need to give it much thought. How often do you want to replace your table, racket or balls? I guess not a weekly or even monthly basis.
The table and the ball color must be compatible. This will give you an easier time, i.e., you can see the ball as it spins. A white ball is highly visible on a green table. What about the racket? This is what you use to serve or receive the ball. Logically, you must be able to handle it comfortably for you to make any meaningful progress.
That said your goal should be to find a good surface to play on, a surface that will give predictable bouncing for you to be able to aim your shots to the finest of your ability skillfully. That applies to the paddles and the balls too.
Bottom line is: an excellent set of equipment can make a big difference between getting better and stagnating, or even getting worse at your ping pong skills.
- Basic skills
Basics are the basis of any game. Table tennis is not an exception. What you learn on the first day is basic. Having a real emphasis on the basics will make you aware of the simple rules that usually cost players.
Remember, table tennis
is a game of tactics. Putting many efforts on basics makes you excellent at executing tactics both when you are training and playing with opponents. For a fact, have a complete grasp of the basics gives you confidence in play.
As a player, you need to take time to extensively research these basics, as well as practice them thoroughly. You play as a single player or the play mode. Watch as many ping pong videos to get the tactics. With such practices, you’ll be able to identify the weakness and correct on them.
- Handling the paddle
While most people think that paddles are a simple piece of wood that has rubber on the side used to hit the table tennis ball, they are gravely mistaken. Such equipment is unique in its making and specification. Similarly, handling such a tool requires some necessary skills.
The rule says when you hit the ball it must bounce once on the opponent’s sides. How you hold your paddle determines the movement of the ball on the table. You must have a firm grip on the paddle to prevent it from turning in your arms.
Actually, Experts suggest that you hold your racket as if you are shaking hands (shake hand grip). In this method, have one of your fingers across the bottom of one side of the racket and your thumb across the bottom of the opposite side. The finger gives you much control of your racket. Besides, you’ll be able to know at what angle your racket is.
Do not hold the paddle to tight (don’t strangle it) as this will have a negative impact on your wrist. Your grip should allow you to pull the paddle out of your hand comfortably. Too tight grips make it challenging to generate speedy responses as well as making spins.
- Always use your own racket to play games
A racket comes with its play characteristics and the fell when you hold it. Getting used to one racket can give an easy time during a game. You’ll have the confidence you need to win matches. It is imperative that you maintain the racket in prime condition.
Besides, the choice of the paddle you make can significantly impact on your performance. If you are a beginner, use paddles that are comfortable and lightweight. With such a paddle, you can easily control the ball whatever the technique you are learning.
Also, the rubber on the paddle matters a lot. Some rubbers are known to initiate spins. A beginner rubber is essential for beginners as it offers less spin.
- Practice your strokes until they are automatic
As earlier indicated, technical basics are the key to being the best in ping pong. A player needs to start with basic strokes then build upon them to the expert level. It might be difficult and tiresome at times, considering that you have to picture mentally every stroke.
Once everything is cleared, you’ll then practice tirelessly to perfect the strokes. To get a complete grasp, it is essential to understand that there are four basic stroke strokes to learn, i.e., forehand drive, backhand drive, backhand push, and forehand push.
Understand the spin on the ball while playing
If you are in the game, it is crucial to understand what spin your opponent has initiated. So, you need to be keen on every move your opponent makes. Precisely, check out on the movement of the racket. The most common spins you expect are topspin, backspin, right sidespin, and left sidespin.
To initiate the topspin, the racket should be moving from low to high; backspin results from the racket moving high to low; the right sidespin originates from racket moving from the left to right side of the player, and the left sidespin is as a result of moving the racket from the right to the left side.
If you have a critical eye on your opponent’s racket movement without a doubt, you’ll be able to respond with an appropriate spin to give that necessary score. It is imperative to spin the ball to the best of your ability. To be able to tackle a spinning ball, you require to practice.
- Learn and improved on footwork
Footwork might not seem like a big deal in playing ping pong. However, if your footwork is excellent, you will definitely have an easy time in the game. Proper footwork allows moving around efficiently; hence, you will have a more significant opportunity to execute better, more accurate returns.
While performing footwork, always keep your weight on your toes. This way, it will be like your weight is moving forward. Also, bending the knee is vital as it lowers the center of gravity, thus conferring to you the necessary balance.
Players can execute four kinds of footwork:
- Side to side footwork
If you are a table tennis player, you always practice this footwork even without knowing. The move is always swift. You move your outer feet whether it is the left or right. It simply means you are moving left and right.
You can move from a backhand to forehand, which means you are shifting from your left foot to the right foot, followed by the left foot then back to the right foot. Such a movement creates short quick steps in a shuffling manner side to side.
- One step footwork
One step movement is applied whenever you are making a quick reaction. This is a common practice in ping pong. When you do not have enough time to react to a shot, you’ll have just to move one of your feet, whether on the right or the left.
Such a natural movement results in an awkward position. To execute such a move, you’ll have to push off your stationary foot into a wider stance and then stroke the ball before returning back to the base position (to gain your balance).
This movement is employed to block a stroke.
- In and out footwork
This is a great move when returning to a short service. To effect it, move your body forward for you to reach the ball, and play your stroke. After completing the stroke return back to the ready position. While moving inwards to return the ball, place your right foot forward, under the table. After that return the leg to the ready position
- Cross over footwork
Sometimes need arises to return a stroke at a faster pace. In such cases, you’ll apply the Cross over footwork. The advantage of this movement is that it is faster as compared to others. For instance, if a ball flies wide to your forehand side crossover footwork will be faster than a side to side footwork.
Capitalize on the weakness of your opponent
Being smarter is the killer technique in table tennis. As soon as you are in the game, learn as quickly as you can the techniques your opponent is using. In the event of weakness, you must capitalize on that to get a score.
How do you notice a weakness in the opponent? This can be a difficult task. However, you can try hitting the balls on both the extreme right and left sides of your opponent’s table, spin the ball, and use different strokes. Then watch how your opponent responds.
Whenever you notice a weak point, concentrate on it. However, do not be predictable. Always play the creativity master in the game.
- Practice more than you play in tournaments
Every winning person or team will tell you how much effort they put in their practices. The practice is meant to develop skills and strength beyond what your opponents have. It is basically learning how to get better at ping pong. As a player, you create every aspect of your game.
While practicing, the principal aim is not to win. Instead, it is a step to open up your eyes to your weak points so that you build on them. You should play as many games in practice as you can, then you’ll learn something new in addition to perfecting.
- Do have a training partner?
Some people might overlook the importance of a training partner. That is detrimental to your table tennis career. Finding an individual with similar goals to yours can boost your skills. You can join a ping pong club.
A club is full of players with different abilities. Besides, such clubs have coaches. With the help of a coach, you can improve your skills tremendously.
Learning how to get better at ping pong is not a difficult task. Every game needs a plan of how to be the best. This article highlights how to be the best. The bottom line, however, is to always practice.
Good practice means you are improving your skills. As a player, it is essential to learn new skills while building on what you already have. Such an aspect will give you an edge over your competitors.