Any ping pong player who has started to take the game seriously will want to make sure that they are doing everything possible to improve their game.
No matter how long you have been playing ping pong, if you want to improve your skills and become a better player, there are a few things that you can do. Some of these tips are easier than others, but taking your time to master them all will help you to become a much more formidable opponent behind the table.
1. Master the Basics
It can be really easy for new ping pong players to try to move quickly through the basics in an effort to learn more of the harder skills and movements necessary to win at this game, but this can easily backfire. If you have progressed quickly through the basics, then it’s time to go back and make sure that you have really mastered your grip, your stance, and how to move your feet and your body to excel behind the table.
2. Learn to Control Your Spin
Once you have the basics down, then it’s important to spend some time learning how to control the spin you put on the ball and how to use this to your advantage to help you win a game. When you understand your spin, then you will be better poised to beat any player.
Make sure to keep an eye on your opponent’s paddle so you can see the direction the ball will be taking, and also keep an eye on the ball’s logo. This will help you tell how fast the ball is traveling, which will play a role on the spin. Finally, remember that a paddle moving low to high will add topspin to a ball, while one moving high to low will add backspin.
3. Use Your Body
Beginning ping pong players often make the rookie mistake of standing still when playing, but the best way to add power to your hit and to keep your strokes consistent is to use your body during your strokes. When hitting forehand you will want to rotate your hips and shoulders first backward and then forward. This allows you to use your weight to your advantage to add power and control to your hit.
4. Fix Your Position and Timing
Great ping pong players know that by hitting the ball at the same time and in the same position they can easily learn how to better control the ball. This takes a lot of work, but will greatly improve not only the consistency of a hit, but also the quality of a hit.
5. Be Picky About Your Paddle
Not only should you make sure that you choose a great paddle that is comfortable for you and also perfectly suited to your skill level, but then you need to make sure that you practice with it all of the time. Being picky and learning all of the characteristics of your paddle, as well as the feel that it has, will allow you to improve your skills without having to learn to adapt to a different paddle. Make sure to keep it in a case when not in use and wash it after games so that you can keep it looking and working its best for a long time.
6. Shorten Your Swing
Ping pong players who start playing this game after playing other sports, such as tennis or golf, often have a swing that is way too long for this sport. Shorter swings are preferable in ping pong and will allow players to have more control over the ball and to move faster on their side of the table. When using shorter swings, players can make sure that they have plenty of power and control over the ball and that they are able to be more accurate and precise about where they want to land the ball.
7. Use Longer Swings on Purpose
While you will want to use short swings for the majority of the time, there are some times when you need to use a longer swing when playing ping pong. Anytime you want to add extra topspin to your shot and are playing on the offensive, then it is okay to use a longer swing.
8. Focus Your Returns
Players who are able to place their returns low over the net will make it much harder for their opponent to be able to return their ball. These returns are often more powerful and can be much more difficult for an opponent to get up and underneath, often causing them to lose control of the ball.
The exception to this rule is when lobbing the ball. This high hit needs to land as close as possible to the end of the table. This will cause an opponent to back up and will make it more difficult for them to return the ball.
9. Master Some New Serves
The serve is one of the most important parts of any ping pong game and can really make or break a game depending on the quality and control of the serve. Most beginners rely on a serve that has very little spin, which causes them to be predictable.
While players don’t need to learn a lot of different types of serves, adding a few different serve types is the best way to ensure that you are able to keep your opponents on their toes. It’s best to pick a few different serves and do everything that you can to learn how to perform them perfectly each time you pick up the paddle. This gives you a few different options to choose from when serving and allows you to cater your serve to your opponent.
10. Spend Time Practicing
Competing is a lot of fun, but the best way to learn how to be a better ping pong player is to spend plenty of time practicing. This allows players to focus on their serves, their grip, and how they move their body without feeling the pressure of a game. When players spend a little additional time practicing, then they are able to develop new skills and hone their old skills, giving them more power in a real game.
11. Accelerate Through the Shot
It’s easy for beginners to think that they need to accelerate all of the way through their hit when hitting the ping pong ball, but this doesn’t give the ball as much lift and power as you may think. Instead, start hits with the paddle down and relaxed by the body and then lift it up when playing. At the end of this upwards motion, make sure to accelerate quickly and then stop suddenly. This provides much greater impact for the ball and helps to give it more lift and power.
12. Lean Into the Shot
Always make sure that you are leaning forward and into the shot when hitting the ball. By keeping on the tips of your toes or balls of your feet you will not only enjoy more power, but you will also avoid slower reaction times. By using your entire body when hitting the ball, you can enjoy a lot more power and control, which helps send the ball impactfully over the net.
13. Check Your Feet
It can be really overwhelming to try to move your feet at the same time that you’re hitting the ball and staying on the tips of your toes, but fancy footwork doesn’t just look impressive, it also helps you better position your body when hitting the ball. Standing still results in players having to cross their body with their arms to try to hit the ball, which can be not only uncomfortable, but also cause them to miss the ball entirely. By moving and positioning the body in a better way, players can make sure that they always hit the ball correctly.
14. Get Tricky
This is one of the most difficult things that you can do when playing ping pong, but is a great way to keep your opponent from getting the best of you. By learning how to trick your opponent, you can easily improve your chances of winning a game.
This can be done by pretending like you are adding spin to the ball with fake movements or by faking a spin. Nobody expects this to happen, especially when you only use this trick once or twice during a game. Trying to be tricky all of the time can easily backfire and let your opponents know exactly what you are doing, so use your tricks sparingly and make sure that you don’t let them become something that you rely on for every single game.
These great tips are sure to help any ping pong player become a more formidable opponent when on the court. Rather than simply playing and hoping to get better, players who use these tips to improve their skills will quickly find themselves improving and mastering new skills that set them apart from beginners.