Table tennis, also known as ping pong, is a great sport to try regardless of your age or fitness level. What makes table tennis so special is that it is extremely forgiving and accessible for beginners, so you are guaranteed to have fun even as a newbie. Don’t let that fool you into thinking that ping pong is not a competitive sport, though! In fact, several international table tennis championships are held every year. However, before you start thinking about becoming a professional ping pong player, you need to learn the basics of the sport. So, check our next beginner-friendly guide for more insights!
Get the Essentials
Table tennis is one of these sports that come with an extensive set of equipment, which is why you must have all the essentials at hand if you are serious about it. Of course, you can always practice at a club, but it is better to have all the basic equipment you may need at home for some extra training sessions. First off, you will need to purchase a high-quality ping pong table. When you are browsing different models, focus on key aspects: portability and thickness. As a general rule of thumb, you should go for a fold-up table if you have limited storage space. As for thickness, opt for models that sport a 1-inch top, as they offer a better ball bounce. You will also need to purchase a paddle (racket). There are generally no rules to follow when picking a table tennis paddle, but just make sure that the handle is comfortable enough and offers a good grip. Finally, don’t forget to get some balls as well. Two or three packets of 40mm balls should be enough to get you started.
Practice at Home
It can be too scary to practice with someone else when you are just trying your hand at ping pong. Luckily, there are many ways to get the training you need from the comfort of your own home. If you are a fan of practicing alone, we recommend that you purchase a table tennis robot to improve your serves. The downside to this method is that such robots are pretty costly, around $2000. Alternatively, you can practice in front of a wall or change the layout of your table to the playback position.
Learn How to Hold the Paddle
Knowing how to hold your paddle properly is one of the earliest lessons you must master. In this regard, there are mainly two styles you can go for: the shakehand grip and the penhold. Both techniques offer great results, but most importantly, you should avoid gripping the handle too tightly to have more control over the paddle and the power you are putting behind your swings. You will also need to practice both backhand and forehand shots because you will be using only your dominant hand to hold the paddle.
Find Someone to Practice With
Had enough practice at home? Now, it is time to put your skills to the test. The best way to get better at ping pong is to train with someone else. Sure, flying solo can be good when you are trying out different strategies, but training with another player can help you pick up new techniques much faster. That said, it is best to pick a partner who is at the same level as you to avoid getting frustrated quickly. Your prospective partner should not be also overly competitive so that you can both enjoy your time and not feel too pressured to win every game.
Learn the Rules
Thankfully, the rules of table tennis are not complicated, so you will not have to study them for hours! As a ping pong player, your goal is to score points by hitting the other player’s side of the table. If the ball hits the net or falls off the table, the other player scores a point. When returning the ball, avoid hitting it more than one time with your paddle, as this will cause your opponent to score a point. Finally, avoid touching the ball and table with your body or non-dominant hand because, again, this will reward your opponent with a point.
If you are thinking about trying a light sport that is not too physically taxing, table tennis should be right up your alley. With its simple rules and minimal fitness requirements, it is the perfect pastime for everyone. If you want to improve quickly, you must practice consistently, preferably with a partner. We also recommend finding a professional coach to help put you on the right track.