Five ways to improve your ping pong game
Ping pong is a game that looks simple, but in reality it requires an awful lot of skill to be even half decent at it. There is a reason it’s in the Olympic Games after all.
If you want to go beyond a ‘playing for fun’ level, then you’ll need to spend a lot of time understanding the key elements. Here we take a look at five ways to improve your ping pong game.
Number 5. Buy your own racket
I know it’s not the most riveting of tips but, trust me, it will improve your ping pong game. As you read through our following tips, you’ll quickly learn that small tweaks to your stroke can have a huge impact on how well you play.
Due to that, you don’t have time to waste with adjusting your stroke to a racket with an unfamiliar grip or weight. Finally, your racket is your only tool. Look after it and invest in a case for when you’re not playing.
Number 4. A forearm that comes from the body
Playing a forearm shot is the most common stroke you’ll make on the ping pong table. Don’t be lulled in though, there is much more to an effective forearm than just the thrust of a wrist or arm. If your focus is on a forceful swing of the arm, you’ll find your shot lacks power. Instead, spend time mastering the art of shifting your weight from back to front.
As you prepare for your shot your shoulders should be back and as you go to make contact with the shot you should rotate your hips and shoulders towards the table, propelling your weight forwards with it. Ticking these few boxes will add serious edge to your forearm.
Number 3. Aim to keep your shots low
Too many amateur ping pong players take the basic aim of getting the ball over the net. We agree that is stage one, but it won’t help you beat a good quality opponent. Instead, you should be aiming to get your shots as close to the net as possible.
Why? Well, in a nutshell, the lower your stroke is to the net, the less time you give your opponent to respond. Other than taking away some response time, you also eliminate a lot of the shot selection they can look to respond with.
This is a particularly useful technique if facing an opponent who is known to possess a powerful stroke. There are exceptions to the ‘keep it low’ rule though, which is when delivering a lobbed shot (in this scenario, always plan to ball to land as close to back of the table as possible.
Number 2. Master a side spin serve
In a game of ping pong, you are never more in control than when you’re about to serve. With that in mind, it’s time to supercharge your serve. We suggest doing that by mastering the side spin technique. Applying spin to the ball is all achieved through the manner in which you move your racket.
Of course, a side spin can move in either direction i.e. right of left. To apply right sidespin, you need to make a left to right movement with your racket whilst the reverse will put a left side spin on the ball.
If you really want to stack the odds of a return against your opponent then try and combine one of these side spins with a backspin, which is achieved with a high to low movement. Pair that serve technique with our previous tip and you’ll be winning your fair share of points.
Number 1. Practice, practice, practice
If the above four skills are new to you then it’s a fair assumption to make that you’ll be using plenty of brain power to mentally recreate what you’ve read. That’s fine for a little while but in the heat of a match it could cause you to lose a crucial split second.
Practice alone, practice with a partner and eventually the skills will become second nature to you. When that happens you’ll be well on your way to playing like Xu Xin.
Ping pong is not a game of speed like the Kentucky Derby horse race (check the odds for this event here). It’s a game of patience and intelligence like chess. So, don’t rush and play your game wisely.
There you have it, five tips that will improve your ping pong game. Time to get into the table now!