Some Essential Ping Pong Tips for Playing Better

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In recent years, ping-pong has become one of the most popular games in the world when more and more people choose ping-pong to play and practice with their friends or partners. However, as this is a unique game requiring special rules and skills, many beginners face a lot of difficulties when practicing ping-pong. This paper aims to provide some tips for new players to practice this game and improve their techniques. 

Some Tips for Serving Ping Pong Ball

To succeed in playing ping-pong, you need to be good at serving as you cannot win a game without a good serve. Moreover, you should be careful and follow the rules strictly when serving in ping-pong, which helps you to avoid being called out by the official. The followings are some essential tips to advance your ping-pong game:

Holding the ping-pong ball flat in your palm

Holding a ball in a flat and open palm is required

Holding a ball in a flat and open palm is required

In the professional ping-pong games, the players must follow certain rules of the serves strictly. The first one is that the ball should be held in an open and flat palm after being picked up. It is illegal if the player grabs the ball and hide it, or hold it with the tips of his or her fingers. Then, the player is expected to keep the ball in their open and flat palm for few seconds before tossing it, throwing it up into the air. 

Keeping the ball in the right position

When serving the ball, you should make sure to keep your ball in the right position

When serving the ball, you should make sure to keep your ball in the right position

When the player is ready to serve, his or her hand holding the ball needs to be above the table. Meanwhile, the ball itself should not be crossed the serving line but must be visible to your opponent. In other words, the player must keep the ball behind the end line of the table and must not hide the ball. Leaning forward or hitting the ball near the net is prohibited. 

Tossing the ball in the right way

The player needs to toss the ball at least 16 cm

According to the rules of serves, the ball should be tossed at least 16 cm. Any toss under this minimum height will be considered as an illegal serve. Furthermore, the player needs to throw the ball up straight into the air, then toss forward. A common mistake that most beginners make is that they usually hit the ball straight out of their hands without making their ball go straight up into the air. Therefore, to avoid this mistake, the player needs to let the ball go up in the air, then hit it when it is going down. This is also another rule of serves in ping-pong. 

Some Tips for Spinning Ping Pong Ball

This section aims to discuss different types of spins, which are the fundamental skill to master the game.

The photo shows some common spins in ping-pong games


This is the main spin that most beginners will choose to do, mostly because of how easy it is to begin. You can use a small push to backspin and the ball will travel slowly. Backspinned ball will bounce up when it touches a surface; therefore, it will be easily attacked with a topspin. You will surely love this backspin type if you are a chopper.


Topspin is the most favorable service in table tennis due to the Magnus effect. The served ball is prompted to go down, which makes the ball land more on the table. 


Sidespin is generally added in the service, which your opponent will have difficulty in returning it providing that you make a good serve. This service is used far from the table – which is sometimes referred to as ‘hook shot’. Sidespinned ball won’t change much of its orbit when bouncing. On the other hand, its curve is a good option for left-handed players.

Mixed spin

A combination of several types, making it hard for your opponent to predict the landing spot. For example, top-sidespin is a mixture of pure sidespin and pure topspin. That being said, spinning a ball in ping-pong is no easy task, and it is never made up of one single style. In order to return the serve, one must adapt and change his or her racket angle to win the advantage.

Cork Spin

Though hard, its effectivenesses always dominate the difficulty. The served ball will either land from left to right, or vice versa, meaning that your opponent will sometimes miss the ball. Some skilled players have a tendency to add a corked spin in the lob – which is called a ‘snake shot‘. However, beware yourself as this service is a high risk or a high reward- you either win a point or end up losing one during a smash.


Does it sound strange? How can you serve a ball without any spins? This is not widely considered a type of serve. But to a minority of players, it still counts. No-spin is a dangerous weapon and a two-edged knife. For example, some skilled players will use a no-spin serve (called ‘float serve’) to make it go higher. When it reaches its maximum height, you can easily smash it down to your opponent’s side. A no-spin topside is an eyesore to choppers.

How to practice ping pong by yourself

In order to become a professional table tennis player, you should practice it regularly because ‘practice makes perfect’. It is ideal to practice this sport with your partner. However, it is still possible to practice and improve your ping-pong game by yourself if you do not have a partner. Depending on your budgets, backgrounds, abilities, and time, you can choose some of the following ways to practice ping-pong alone.

With the assistance of a ping-pong robot

Using a robot is the best way to practice ping-pong alone

Using a robot is the best way to practice ping-pong alone

Using a robot is one of the best ways to practice ping-pong because of some benefits. First, the robot will shoot the balls at you in the same way that a real player does. Besides, the time between each shot will be set up by you; therefore, you can manage your practice time and level depending on your abilities. Moreover, balls served by the robot will directly go to your position, so you can have more opportunities to practice your serve. In order to maximize your practice with robots, you should choose the ones which can work efficiently in a long time and have no technical problems during the training. You can read our post about the best ping-pong robots here if you would like to have detailed information about this machine. 

Practicing with your wall

Practicing ping pong with walls is suitable for everyone

This is the most simple and easiest way to practice ping-pong at home because the wall is all that you need. These days, not only beginners but also professionals practice ping-pong alone by using the walls of their rooms or house. However, to practice the game efficiently and avoid any accidents, you should make sure that your chosen wall is smooth and stable. 

Shadow play

This method is appropriate for the ones who desire to improve their technique. However, shadow play does not mean that you genuinely use your shadow to practice, but you will utilize a mirror and look at or observe your reflection. Thanks to this method, you are able to see your mistakes and correct them. This is a great idea to improve your skills at home.

Some Ping pong tips for beginners

  1. Invest in a good paddle: A paddle can be considered as the ‘spirit’ of a ping-pong game because you need to use it to hit and control the ball. Therefore, buying a paddle with good qualities is a good investment
  2. Paying attention to the spin: controlling the spin of the ball is the key to succeed in the ping-pong game. However, most beginners always try to hit hard but do not know how to create a good spin. Therefore, as a new player, you should learn how to create a good spin and practice it as much as you can. 
  3. Learning basic techniques can help you to be familiar with the game. You can start studying some techniques such as how to throw the ball, hit the ball, do some basic serves such as backspin. 
  4. Have a coach: sometimes you need to get a coach or an instructor who will instruct you the rules of serves, train you to do some basic serves, observe your practice, and correct your mistakes. A good coach with a standard table tennis table is a perfect combination.
  5. Mimic the techniques of experts: every professional is good at some particular skills; therefore, this method can help you to expand your knowledge of this game and motivate you in practice.

How to Play Better Ping Pong

Learning the rules of serves

Understanding of rules in ping-pongs helps you to master the game

Every game has its own rules; therefore, to master a ping-pong game, learning the rules of serves is vital. You can learn the rules from the guidebooks for beginners, friends, teachers, or even from online forums. Besides, you can watch matches on TVs or the Internet to observe and study the ways that professionals do the serves and figure out which ones will be the illegal serves.   

Having good ping-pong equipment

A paddle is vital in the ping-pong game

A paddle is vital in the ping-pong game

You need to have a good paddle to start practicing the game. A decent paddle has a bigger size than the ones you usually see in the toy shop. You should make sure only to use this paddle from the beginning as you need to get used to it and learn how to control the ball and practice different types of serves with this paddle. 

Practicing by yourself

Practicing ping pong regularly will enhance your techniques

Practicing ping pong regularly will enhance your techniques

Practice makes perfect. Therefore, to improve your technique, you have to practice continuously. Besides, it is essential to learn how to practice alone because you will not always have a partner to practice with you. Trying to have a practice routine with a detailed plan will help you to manage your time and practice more efficiently. 

Brixton Johansson

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