Table tennis is an Olympic racket sport where two players, or two teams of two players, hit the table tennis ball back and forth, across the net on a table, with wooden paddles. The manner of play is similar to that of tennis, hence the name.
The playing surface is a table, 30 inches above the ground that is approximately 9 feet long and five feet wide. A six-inch-high net divides the table in half. The table tennis ball has a diameter of 40 mm, is made of celluloid, and is hollow. This article will discuss a few basic elements of table tennis, scoring, rules, and basic strokes.
Official table tennis rules mandate table tennis matches consist of either a best of five or a best of seven series of games played to 11 points. The first player to reach 11 points with a margin of two wins the game.
In a best-of-five match, the first player to win three games wins the match. In a best-of-seven match, the first player to win four games wins the match. In the 11-point game format, players alternate serves every two points. If the game reaches a score of 10-10, players alternate serve every point until one player achieves a margin of two points.
Historically, a standard game of table tennis was played to 21 points with players alternating serve every five points. This method remains the preferred method for recreational table tennis players.
To start each point, the server tosses the ball, from an open palm, at least 6 inches into the air. The server strikes the ball with the paddle so that the ball bounces on his side of the table before bouncing on his opponent’s side. A table tennis player wins a point by hitting a shot that strikes the table and is not returned by the opponent.
A table tennis player loses a point if he fails to return his opponent’s shot, allows the ball to bounce more than once on his side of the net, fails to hit the table with his shot, hits the ball twice, places his hand on the table, hits the ball before it bounces on his side of the table, or fails to execute a legal table tennis serve.
Table tennis players have many strokes at their disposal. Offensive table tennis strokes include the speed drive, loop drive, and smash.
A speed drive is a shot hit with a square racket face swung parallel to the table that results in a hard, flat shot.
A loop drive is a shot hit with a closed racket face swung nearly perpendicular to the table. The loop drive in table tennis is comparable to a groundstroke in tennis hit with a large amount of topspin.
The smash is an extremely offensive shot that involves swinging the racket down on a high bouncing ball to generate a large amount of speed.
Defensive table tennis strokes include the chop and the block.
The chop is table tennis’s version of the slice. Table tennis players execute the chop by swinging the paddle from high to low with an open racket face imparting backspin.
Finally, the block is a simple stroke used to counter-attacking shots. To execute the block, table tennis players place the paddle behind the approaching ball and allow the ball to hit the paddle.
Players must strategically employ a mixture of offensive and defensive shots to win a game of table tennis.
When a beginner has more or less learned the basics of table tennis, this is the right time to teach some other techniques. This allows the player to become better not only in practice but also most importantly in competition.
Each match starts with a serve. There are two advanced techniques for this namely the sidespin and the pendulum. Both moves will involve the entire weight of the person to be able to create enough force and speed for it to reach the other end of the table.
Since a service won’t win a game, it is time to go on the offensive. Players already know what a speed drive is. A modified version of this technique is called the loop drive.
The power of this technique comes from the waist. The player should rotate it from one side to the other to create enough force to send it back to the other end of the table.
The next technique that is for defensive purposes is called the chop. When the opponent has hit the ball back into the player’s court, all the person has to do is slice away into the air making contact with the ball to send it back to the other side.
The reason why this technique is hard to master is that it will not only block the ball, but it will change the direction where the incoming volley will go. Those who successfully master this will be able to force the opponent to make forced errors, which means another added point for the player.
The flip is another smart move that if done correctly will work for the player. One foot will be ahead of the other, and when the ball comes, the wrist should quickly turn from one end to the next to complete the shot.
This is an unexpected move that can surprise the opponent and should be tried every so often to outsmart the other player.
The last advanced technique is called the lob. This technique is also for defensive purposes, which is a modified version of the counter drive.
Shots will be traded in the course of the match. When the player feels like the opponent is about to let it all out, it is time to move feet back and bend the knees further to get leverage for the shot.
When the ball comes, the player should use the strength from the legs and the waist to send the ball back to hopefully adding another point to the score.
There are other advanced techniques that the student can learn to become a better table tennis player. There is a forehand and a backhand move for each, and it is the discretion of the player which one to use in the game.
Some coaches already incorporate the advanced moves to the beginner while others wait a little longer. It is best to practice both techniques and then be smart enough to use it when the opportunity presents itself.
Watching videos how each of these advanced techniques is done can help, but it is always.
Best to put theory into practice to have a better understanding. One way is to have a mock-up game with a teammate, but if there is no one around, there is no harm in doing some shadow training.
Table tennis is a great way to enjoy a lazy summer afternoon or an afternoon in the year at all. With around, hollow ball hypnotically bouncing from one end of the table to the other, and taking off with almost rhythmic clicks to signal that a pass or hit has been made, ping pong seems to be the best alternative to an afternoon nap. With all the concentration that goes into the game, moreover, and with all the hitting, running, and picking up that has to be done, table tennis can also be a great way to lose weight.
In the hands of the pros, table tennis looks easy and seems almost like a dance. All you have to do is find a way to hit the little ball and keep it in play, right? Real table tennis, however, is far more complicated. There are two sides to one paddle, each with their uses. There are different postures that table tennis players assume in order to meet their opponents best. There are different ways to handle the paddle to give the ball its best spin and trajectory.
In other words, table tennis is a product not only of strength and concentration but knowledge of the physics that go into the game. You will need to understand the science of table tennis if you want to succeed in it and if you want to enjoy it more. A table tennis video may be able to help you out.
A table tennis video can teach you a variety of things. First, it will introduce you to the sport of table tennis, along with its history, rules, and big players. It will then take you on a tour of the sport’s equipment. Why do table tennis paddles have a smooth and a rubberized side? Why is the net placed so low, and the table positioned so high? What playing ground is best for maximum strength with minimum effort on the part of the players?
The table tennis video will explain all these and more, and how the environment in which you play affects the outcome of your game. The table tennis video will also show you how to handle the paddle to make the ball move a certain way. Be sure that you are holding a table tennis paddle while you watch the video so that you can follow the hand movements that you see on screen.
If you can position your television set and video player so that it faces your table tennis playing ground, then so much the better. Your table tennis video will also have tutorials on how to move your body during a game, and what postures you should assume to be less tired and still energetic. If you have friends or family watching the table tennis video with you, follow the movements along with them. Practicing table tennis in this way can be fun and educational, as you can critique each other for any mistakes in movement or posture.
Table tennis can be a joy to play and watch, and, if played well, can be a fulfilling game. Allow a table tennis video to help you. You can find such videos online, through your favorite video merchandiser; and even through your local video store or table tennis equipment suppliers. So instead of sleeping that summer afternoon away, have a great game of table tennis, and soon, with a lot of practice, you might even be in your table tennis video!