Play Table Tennis Better: Learn New Techniques

The more you learn about ping pong, the more you understand it is a cerebral game laden with technique. Concentration and finesse are critical against opponents with a range of playing styles. The best players are picky about everything from a table tennis racket to the lighting in the playing area as they compete. As you move from advanced beginner to intermediate play, there are many things to learn, from how to put a spin on the ball to how to play against spin. It takes thousands of hours of practice to become a pro, but even at levels a rung or two below, the level of play is intense.

If you're starting to learn more about table tennis, understanding how to score a game should come first. A game goes to 11 points as the serves rotate two per player. It's a departure from the old-style 21-point games. If you're lucky enough to have a table tennis center in your town, it's an excellent place to watch some games and play them yourself. Practice helps as much as it does in any sport, and training exercises are crucial as well. They isolate things like footwork and help you develop skill levels you'd never achieve by only playing practice games. Excellent players hone many skills over time.

A significant first step for nearly all table tennis players is purchasing their first racket. When you come to this point, you first need to decide on which grip you'll use. Your playing style should dictate your choice – you want to select the one that will provide the best match with how you play. Players with experience will tell you that it's nearly impossible to change your grip once you get underway, so it's a significant initial decision. Your grip influences the spin and speed you put on the ball, and it drives your technique in two of the most vital areas of the game.

Skill-building exercises can take many forms, and they isolate every area of a player's game. Many of the secondary skills that support excellent play are overlooked by those who never do drills. Never doing them will leave you at a disadvantage compared to those who have taken the time to perfect each one. Those skills come together later as you become a more advanced player. There is greater enjoyment in playing well, and you'll have more incentive to continue to improve when you're winning a significant amount of the time. Putting in the time as you're just learning pays many dividends later on.

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