Compete against opponents from five different countries in an epic table tennis tournament, designed to sort the pros from the amateurs! A great prophecy has told of a young challenger who would one day take over the sport of Ping Pong, and become the Ultimate World Champion. The question is — are you that Ping-Pong prodigy, destined for greatness? This all-action indoor sport activity is a good match for fans of table tennis, lawn tennis, or any high-octane racket sport.
The first three grip, stance and footwork are the foundations you need to lay at the beginning. Many players and even coaches skip over these and jump straight into hitting balls. Do so at your peril!
I like to think of this as the Mr Miyagi phase of learning. Mastering the correct technique is really important here if you are to develop consistency and accuracy with your shots. The final three serve, return of serve and match play are the finishing touches that will allow you to convert your newly learnt skills into points in a match.
When I say 10 days… I mean 10 days! I am expecting you to require at least 5 hours per skill before you reach a good level of competency. You could do 5 hours a day over two weeks 10 days.
I believe that to be the ideal way to learn. An hour a week over a year. You should come up with a realistic plan for your 50 hours of training NOW! Before you start. You will also need to find a partner, partners, or club to practice with.
Finally, you need to buy a table tennis bat. To help you to understand what to look for in a good table tennis bat I have written the following article: The Best Table Tennis Bat for Beginners.
There are two main grips in table tennis; shakehands and penhold. The penhold grip is a traditional Asian grip where the bat is held like a pen between the thumb and index finger. The penhold grip has some advantages it allows for more wrist movement and therefore more spin but it is also more difficult to learn.
Penhold players either use one side of the bat for forehand and backhand or they have to master the tricky reverse penhold backhand stroke.
There are still penhold players at the top of the world rankings Xu Xin but the style does seem to be decreasing in popularity, even in China. The shakehands grip is the traditional European grip that is now being used increasingly by Asian players as well.
I have used the shakehands grip since I started playing table tennis over 15 years ago and therefore I will be teaching this style of grip. There are many minor variations within the shakehands grip and everybody holds the bat slightly differently.
I made the following video after spending 10 weeks experimenting with my grip during the beginning of That video has received a lot of positive feedback and it gives a much better explanation of my current thoughts on the grip than my original blog post which I wrote in I encourage you to spend some time developing your own version of the relaxed shakehands grip.
You want to get comfortable with it before you move on to playing shots. You should practice bouncing and controlling the ball with your shakehands grip.
It is worth getting it right! Additional help with your grip… Table Tennis University is a brilliant resource for online table tennis coaching. They have two FREE video courses aimed at new table tennis players and both cover the topic of grip.
The course contains 12 coaching videos covering all of the basics.
Lesson 1 is an 8-minute video explaining how to correctly hold your racket. Table Tennis For Beginners — with Tom Lodziak This course covers the basic skills and techniques you need to play the sport of table tennis. Lecture 2 is a 7-minute video focused on developing the correct grip.
I did a terrible job teaching stance to Sam. For the first month I basically let him stand however he liked and he developed a load of bad habits that he then had to struggle to fix later on. What that means is that you want to get your center of gravity as low as realistically possible and you want your feet to be at least 1.
Here is a video of Ryan Jenkins running through the basic stance.
Sometimes stance and ready position are used almost interchangeably. Let your upper body muscles relax and your arms and shoulders can even hang forward a bit like a gorilla!
Your leg muscles will need to be more engaged and ready to move. One way to achieve this is through deep breathing; breathing from your stomach. Take a big breath in, inflate your lungs, and then let it all out.
As you exhale allow your upper body to naturally drop down. You should feel your center of gravity sink, your balance increase, and your core become more solid.
From then on maintain your stance and engage in some belly breathing. This will help to keep you relaxed and low. Once you understand the basics of stance you can test yourself with some balance and agility drills. A great way to continue drilling in this new stance is to play one-on-one catch games using a table tennis ball with a partner.
You could even do some ball control skills in your new stance for example: hitting a ball against a wall while staying low and relaxed.
Many players are taught all the strokes first, from a stationary position, and then footwork and movement is added in further down the line. This seems like a bad idea to me.
Table tennis is an active sport where you need to play shots and then move. Punching is obviously really important in boxing but so is footwork. You need both and they are inextricably linked. The two go together.
Table tennis footwork is quite strange. This is going to feel very unnatural at first as very few other activities require this kind of movement.
That is why you have a whole day to work on mastering this type of footwork. You should concentrate on getting comfortable with the side-step footwork first, especially with lots of fast changes of direction. You can practice this going around a table tennis table in circles if you have one.
Then you can move on to faster footwork patterns or trying to cover large distances with one step. Table tennis is a very explosive sport and if you look at any of the top players you will notice that they all have massive legs.
This kind of movement is hard work! I would recommend keeping your bat in your hand while working on your footwork and also remembering to stay in your relaxed and low stance. This will keep you to stay balanced when moving and make the practice more realistic to the experience of actually playing table tennis.