Table tennis is more than just a recreational room party game. It is a complex sport that requires constant training, repetition and practice for those who want to improve. Table tennis is also a good way to stay in shape. The consistent movement and arm motion will raise your heart rate and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
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As with any sport, the key to improving your game is by starting with the proper fundamentals, and then adding skills and strategy. Here are five steps to improve your game:
Learn the standard ready position in table tennis. When facing the table keep knees slightly bent, torso leaning forward at the waist and your racket hand held forward with the elbow bent. Right-hand players should place their right foot slightly farther back than their left and left-hand players should do the opposite.
Work on proper footwork, which allows you to set up for more balanced and consistent shots. The key is to move your body so your arm can repeat the same motion as much as possible every time you strike the ball. Good footwork starts by placing your weight on the balls of your feet. Move quickly only when you are sure of the ball’s path rather than guessing where a shot will go. Do not jump or duck when moving, as this wastes time and energy. Stay balanced and make every effort to stop your movement and set up before each shot.
Practice the basic principles of a forehand and a backhand, using an upward motion to strike the ball. On both backhands and forehands, the paddle should be kept at an angle nearly perpendicular to the table, leaning forward slightly. Start your swing below the ball and finish your stroke above the ball’s path. As you contact the ball, the paddle’s upward motion will impart topspin on the ball, resulting in a powerful and consistent shot. Use smooth strokes–refraining from jerky wrist motions–over lots of repetition, while also practicing the transition between forehands and backhands. On transitions, your wrist should turn over so that on forehands your palm faces the table and on backhands your palm faces into your body. We recommend taking some group table tennis classes when starting out.
Choose good equipment that matches your playing style, visible after you have played enough times to clearly see the differences between various racket or paddle types. Most rackets are custom-made or pre-assembled to function as either offensive, defensive or all-around rackets. Offensive rackets favor fast, powerful shots, defensive rackets favor spin and control and all-around rackets are a mix of offensive and defensive styles. We urge you to consult with you coach as to what kind of table tennis equipment is best suited for your style. Here at the Newport Beach Table Tennis Club, we highly recommend Joola or Adidas.
Every Friday players have the opportunity to enter our Equal Challenge Tournament, which is an excellent way to evaluate your progress since you will have the chance to play against lots of different opponents. Beyond strokes, success in table tennis relies on how you create and implement winning strategies against opponents. Each player is different; so, in many ways, table tennis should be approached like a game of chess.
If you are looking for more personalized table tennis classes, contact us to receive more information and schedules.