12 Basic Table Tennis Strokes

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If you want to know some basic table tennis strokes, here we are to help you out. We have compiled a list of strokes that all players are bound to know.
Let’s check them out!

1. Block

A block is a shot delivered to control an attack. For the most part, Players use this particular technique to counteract jerks, simply returning the ball safely.

The strike block is the forehand block empowered with a stronger thrust, and the sole purpose is to make the ball bounce faster. It is usually performed against an attacking opponent but in a rather unfavorable position (on the side), leaving room for the receiver to hit the ball into the empty space on the table quickly.

Forehand block

Backhand block

2. Brush

The brush is a technique in which the player hits the ball at a very small angle for maximum spin. By brushing the ball, you can produce the most powerful spin, but in return, the speed will be reduced. A “thin loop” can spin the hardest, but at the same time lose the speed advantage. In addition, if you can brush the ball with the precise technique, you can execute a short stroke that spins extra hard.

3. Chop

A chop is a stroke that creates a downward spin on the ball. When your ball is delivered in a short distance, and chop from a close range (on a tabletop), it is called a push, not chop. To execute a proper chop, you have to stand behind the table as you hit the ball. This is also the most typical definition of table tennis chopping ball

There is a special defensive style in which the player chops continuously with a very heavy downward spin, and the opponent frequently jerks the ball. But these chops are usually not strong enough to handle difficult spins. They are, most of the time, pulled to see whether the opponent is good at defending or attacking.

Forehand Chop

Backhand Chop

4. Counterhit

A counterhit is a positive technique against the oncoming loop. Instead of waiting before hitting, the player hits the ball at an early stage, usually when the ball is still going up after bouncing (before it reaches the peak of the bounce), taking advantage of the moment his opponent leaves their spot and giving them no chance to react. This stroke relies on the incoming ball’s speed and spins to push back very quickly without the player applying a great deal of force.

Some players will implement a trick called countertop for balls further behind the table (to counter the opponent loop shot). And this is very different compared to what we have been discussing here.

5. Drop shot

A drop shot comes to pass when the opponent is far from the table, just hooked the ball towards you, and you try to gently block the ball to keep it as short as possible, causing the opponent to hit the ball hurriedly. The idea of a drop shot is to make the ball bounce twice on the opponent’s side of the table so that it does not come off the edge of the table, and the opponent cannot handle it.

6. Flick

A flick on the table is a quick hit made against the balls close to the net. This shot usually uses the wrists and forearms and produces a fastball with a little bit of spin.

Forehand flick

Backhand flick

7. Lob against smash

A lob against smash is a defensive shot in which the player raises the ball to deliver a high ball, making it highly impossible for the opponent to hit the ball. This is a common defense. That said, this shot often has a disadvantage. A player of great skill can have a high percentage of winning with these shots simply by being patient waiting for the opportunity to unleash an attack against the ball delivered by the opponent.

8. Topspin

Topspin is a shot that produces a lot of spins. They come in a wide variety, some can spin like crazy yet having a relatively slow speed, while some can go fast but do not spin that much. Topspin is often the most popular form of table tennis. It is a perfect shot because spin helps the ball to fall in an arc on the table, while also going forward with great speed. On the other hand, the smash with a little spin also brings the player a safe chance to use the hit effectively.

Forehand Topspin Against Backspin

Backhand Topspin Against Backspin

9. Loop Kill

The loop kill is a very powerful loop with a focus on speed to finish off the ball. The loop kill can be thought of as a combination of a strong smash and a loop, intended for high speed with a little spin to help control the shot.

Forehand Fast Loop Kill

Backhand Loop Kill

10. Push

Push is a technique in which you chop the ball, but the chop is on the table. If you stand away from the table and chop the ball, then that is the chop, not the push. Contrary to popular belief, a push is not a block.

Forehand push & Backhand push

11. Reverse Penhold Backhand (RPB)

This reverse penhold backhand is the newly-adopted style of the penholders in which the players employ the rubber on the backhand side for hitting and looping. It acts as a game-changer as the penholders can aggressively play on both wings.

12. Smash

A smash is a shot with high speed that aims to make the final hit without spin. Some smashes may produce a little spin, but they don’t spin as much as the loop.

Forehand smash

We have just shared some basic table tennis techniques for your consideration. They might not be much, but they are all the fundamental aspects of table tennis and to step your game up, you must, at first, hone these skills.
Anyway, if you have further questions, please let us know in the comment box below.

Brixton Johansson