Intro: How to Go From Being an Average to Competitive Table Tennis Player
- Table tennis racket
- Table tennis balls
- Table tennis table
- Practice partner that is at least equal to your skill level
Step 1: Find a Paddle That Is Right for You
The very first thing you must do as an aspiring table tennis player is find a racket that suits your play style. Buying your own racket is one of the most important things to do when trying to improve. Everyone has their own preference and I can not tell you which one will be best for you, but here are some basic guidelines:
1. Choose the rubber type.
- If you prefer a defensive play style, choose a paddle with rubber that reduces spin. If you prefer an offensive play style ,you will want a rubber with a high amount of stick to increase your spin capabilities.
2. Choose a sponge thickness.
- You also need to consider the thickness of the sponge underneath the rubber. The thicker the sponge, the more the ball will spring off the paddle. Thicker sponges are generally suited for offensive players.
3. Choose a handle.
- Of course you cannot forget about the handle. You want to ensure that the handle is comfortable with your preferred grip. The most popular types are straight and flared.
Step 2: Create a Serve
After hitting your opponents paddle each spin has different effects:
- Top spin makes your opponent pop the ball up and hit it long.
- Backspin makes the ball go down and often hit it into the net.
- Left spin forces the ball to your left
- Right spin makes the ball go to your right.
- If your backhand is your strength put left spin on the ball (move your paddle to the left while hitting the ball).
- If your forehand is your strength put right spin on the ball(move your paddle to the right while hitting the ball).
- If you prefer playing at high speeds and away from the table put top spin on the ball (move paddle up while hitting the ball).
- If you prefer playing at lower speeds and close to the table put backspin on the ball (move paddle down while hitting the ball).
Step 3: Handle Your Opponent's Spin
- Find a practice partner.
- Serve to your partner and have him or her put spin on the return.
- Practice returning these shots.
- If your opponent does not add any spin to the ball then the only thing you have to worry about is the spin you originally put on it.
- If your opponent's paddle moves in the same direction as you did to put your spin on the ball (you put left spin on the ball and your opponent moves their paddle to your left), then he/she is countering your spin. Depending on how much spin you put on it in the first place, your spins will cancel and you are free to do as you please for your next shot.
- If your opponent's paddle moves in the opposite direction as you did( you put left spin on the ball and he/she moves his/her paddle to your right), then he/she is adding to your spin. In this case you have to be very careful with your return because there will be a high amount of the same spin that you originally put on the ball. To deal with this you should not try to do anything too aggressive and just try to return the ball by aiming in the direction that you originally moved your paddle to serve.
Step 4: Learn to Hit a Powerful Return
- Find a practice partner.
- Have him or her hit easy shots to you.
- Get in a solid, athletic stance.
- Once the ball is in the air, lower your arm.
- Angle paddle slightly forward.
- Sweep arm upward and forward at the same time while striking the ball (It is very important to sweep both forward and upward because this allows you to put a lot more power behind your shot while at the same time adding top spin).
Step 5: Use Your Opponents Weakness
- Figure out a weakness of your opponents - a good time of doing this is during warm ups and the early points in a game.
- Hit to zones your opponent is weak in.
- Switch it up - do not always hit it to one spot just because you believe it to be a weakness of your opponent, you still want to keep him or her guessing.
Step 6: Conclusion
Table tennis has many aspects to learn and master, but if the previously stated steps are followed and practiced, you will become a much better player. The more that you play, the more you will realize exactly how much practice is needed, but it can be done and the results will be very rewarding.
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