If you are tired of watching people play intense ping pong games while you just sit on the sidelines, don’t worry. Learning to play ping pong really well can be done in just a few days.
When it’s well played, ping pong is a fast game, and it can look impressive to a complete beginner. When someone smashes the ball, it can even be hard to see where the ball goes.
However, most people are unaware of how quickly their reflexes can adapt to new games and challenges. As with any sport, the most important thing is to practice.
The Basic Grip
Holding the ping pong paddle with a shakehand grip is the best option for a beginner. This is the most natural way of controlling the paddle and provides a more even power distribution for both backhand and forehand shots. Westerners typically favor this grip.
To hold the paddle shakehand style, wrap your middle, ring, and pinky finger around the handle, and rest your index finger on the blade along the edge of the rubber. Your thumb should provide stability on the opposite side of the blade.
There’s a fancier way of holding the paddle called the penhold grip, used traditionally by Chinese players. It allows for a much better movement of the wrist, but it’s trickier than the common western grip. Hold the racket the way that feels most comfortable, but in general, westerners find the shakehand style much more accessible.
Practice the Fundamentals
On the first couple of days, it’s essential to practice the basic moves. The objective is simple: to score a point by bouncing the ball on the opponent’s side of the table. Most games are either up to 11 or 21 points, and the winner must win by two.
The fastest way to improve your ping pong game is with a partner. However, if you can’t find someone to practice with, place one side of the ping pong table perpendicular and play against yourself.
Practice the two basic moves, the forehand and the backhand strokes. A forehand shot is hitting the ball in your most natural position. For right-handed people, the paddle is held to the body’s right side. The forehand shot is the most basic attack stroke.
The backhand shot is the basic defense move, and it’s a little more complicated. The paddle starts close to the opposite arm and moves across the body. Practice these two moves over and over until they feel comfortable. Start slow and slowly increase speed and difficulty. Don’t worry about spinning the ball yet; spins and tricks will come later.
Working On a Winning Serve
When learning how to play ping pong really well in just 10 days, having a great serve is essential. It gives you an advantage over your opponent, and it can help you start games with the upper hand.
How to Approach the Serve
Serving in ping pong isn’t complicated, and it’s one of the most effective ways of improving your game as a beginner. Advanced players usually have a few ways of serving, making it more difficult to defend.
As a beginner, work on a solid, fast, and effective serve. This will make it a lot more difficult for your opponents to counter-attack. They won’t be able to smash or spin the ball since they’ll be too busy defending against your aggressive serve.
A great way of practicing the serve is with a practice net. It’s a net that can be attached to one end of the tennis table, and it allows you to practice your serve on your own as much as you want, and you won’t need to chase the ball over the other side of the room.
How to Work on Your Serve
Developing a solid serve is fairly easy. Start with a normal serve, bouncing the ball on your side of the table and again on the opponent’s side. Then, instead of creating two big bounces, try to flatten out the ball’s movement. The ball’s line of movement should be as close to the table as possible, almost in a straight line.
To do this, start the serve close to your end of the table. This gives you a wider range, and you will be able to add more power to the serve. Practice until it becomes easy, and try changing the power and direction of the serve. Being able to adjust the serve gives you an extra advantage.
If your opponent is really close to the table, try serving in a way that the ball will hit the table close to the edge. With a good speed, it will make it difficult for them to counter-attack.
Learning to Smash the Ball
After practicing with the first two steps, you should be comfortable bouncing the ball back and forth for a couple of minutes. However, you need to be able to spike the ball when the opportunity comes.
Essentially, you are trying to increase the power of your forehand shot. It’s also possible to spike the ball with a backhand shot, but that move will need a bit more practice. Having one strong attack move is already a big step, and usually, most intermediate players can’t spike the ball with a backhand shot.
How to Practice Your Smashes
When learning how to play ping pong really well in just 10 days, practicing how to smash the ball might be a bit trickier. A player should smash the ball only when the opportunity arises, and many times that can be once or twice every game. Therefore, you’ll need to ask a friend to help you with this part.
If you are set on becoming a great player in just 10 days, consider investing in a practice robot. The robot is an automatic throwing machine that propels balls at you one after the other at high speed, and you can keep smashing them until you get good at it. The problem with smashing the ball is the loss of control. By adding power, it’s a lot easier to miss the table and lose a point.
A Few More Key Ideas
Once you have learned the fundamentals, you can start learning more advanced moves, such as how to spin the ball. However, practicing the above fundamentals can turn you into a solid player.
When defending against a powerful serve, remember the backhand shot is your strongest move. You are holding the paddle in front of your body, so it gives you a slightly better angle. Finally, don’t try to smash it every play since this is a sure-fire way to lose points. Focus on putting the ball in your opponent’s court and wait until they make a mistake.