Table Tennis Tips – Short and to the Point

Jena Newgarden
I have written hundreds of table tennis articles and blogs throughout my career as a professional table tennis player and coach.   I realize that sometimes it can seem overwhelming to try to figure out which articles to read and which tips that you should be applying to your game.  For this reason, I have written this summary article which will summarize many of the table tennis tips I discuss in my articles in just one sentence – short and to the point.

When developing a good loop, focus on spin rather than speed.

When developing a good push, contact the ping-pong ball early and keep the ball low with spin.

When developing a good block, try to bend your knees, lean forward, get your feet in position, and relax your grip on your table tennis racket.

When developing a good smash, focus on getting your feet in position first then take your backswing to the appropriate height depending on the ball placement, ball depth, ball height, and spin.

When developing a good serve, focus on serving low with spin while using the serves that best setup your game, training them in a table tennis tournament environment, varying the quality of spin, and using them in practice matches as well.

When developing a good serve return, focus on having the proper ready-position, reading the spin from your opponent’s table tennis racket, moving to the ball, reading the bounce, then adjusting and readjusting just before contact.

When developing a good table tennis strategy, focus on your opponent’s strengths, weaknesses, serve, and serve return.

When developing a good perspective on winning and losing in table tennis, read the book 7 Days in Utopia.

When developing a good level of confidence, remember that: trust is a must or your game is a bust.

When developing a good deception, focus on varying the spin, speed, placement, and type of shot while still staying within your means to maintain at least 70% consistency.

When developing a good base of physical training, focus on lower body and core strength and speed – focus on speed and flexibility, not bulky muscle.

When developing a good table tennis tournament plan, be sure to set goals – when you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.

When developing good rallies in table tennis, focus on anticipating the incoming ball based on the placement of your hit, the type of your hit, the spin of your hit, watching your opponent’s racket, while watching the incoming ball.

When developing a good tournament game, try to play at least one table tennis tournament per month to test your skills and test your ability to perform well under pressure.

When developing a good strategy against loopers, try to attack first and force them to block or lob.

When developing a good strategy against blockers, be patience and work the point until you are ready to hit a winner.

When developing a good strategy against choppers, try to attack the middle often and move them in-and-out instead of side to side.

When developing a good strategy against lobbers, try to see which balls are hitting near the net (smash down) and which balls are hitting near your endline (smash forward).

When developing a good strategy against lefties, try to expose the wide forehand with explosive loops then curve wide the backhand when they are away from the ping-pong table.

When developing a good strategy against long pips, try to push deep to the pips in order to get an easy no-spin ball to loop.

When developing a good strategy against female table tennis players, try to loop with plenty of spin deep on the table, which will be difficult for them to smash or block.

When developing a good power shot, focus on using your core muscles while relaxing your arm as much as possible – at contact, focus on the acceleration.

When developing a good mental game, try to focus on the performance and strategy rather than the benefits of winning or the consequences of losing.

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What to Look for in Table Tennis

Jena Newgarden
When watching a professional table tennis player, what you are looking at?  Are you looking at the bright color of his shoes, the weird design on his shirt, his massive leg muscles, or the funny expression that he makes when serving?  If so, you aren’t paying attention to the most important things if you want to learn how to improve your table tennis game.

Here are the key components of a table tennis game to look for if you want to learn from observing.

1. Preparation

Watch how he goes through his pre-point routine before stepping up to the ping-pong table.

2. Serve and receive

Watch how he stands to receive a serve – his distance from the table, his racket position, his racket height, his foot positioning, his balance.  Watch when he serves – his positioning, his backswing, his contact point, his follow through, and his return-to-the-ready position.

3. Footwork

Watch how he moves for each ball, watch how he anticipates for the next ball, watch how he continues to adjust and re-adjust for each ball with large leaps as well as micro steps.

4. Shot Selection

Watch how he chooses when to loop, when to block, when to counter-loop, when to stay close, when to back up – watch his shot selection.

5. Time Between Points

Watch how he takes his time between points.  Watch as he walks back to pick up the ball, how his body language is showing his thoughtfulness as he mentally gears up for the next point.

Instead of trying to watch all of these elements at once, I would recommend watching a short YouTube video five times.  Each time, watch a different aspect of the table tennis game as outlined above.  By training yourself to watch each aspect separately, you will better be able to learn the details of the sport of the table tennis.

Samson Dubina

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