Basic Skills in Table Tennis You Need To Know – A Beginner’s Guide

Fundamental competencies and Skills required in Table Tennis game

Table tennis is one of the most extensively played sports in the world and requires high-level competency in the gaming field. The experts of table tennis have been through years of consistent practice and passion making them able to master the skills and techniques to become the best of the best table tennis players.

Although this game appears to be simple and easy to play, it requires consistent effort and practice to learn just the basic skills.


While watching the game, the players seem to be playing in extreme comfort. Behind this comfort lies backbreaking hours of hard work.

Table tennis is not a simple game, it requires a mastery level of basic skills and highly balanced mental and physical strategies to become a professional table tennis player.

Besides the complexity of this game, there lies some basic skills and some technical strategies based on which any beginner player can improve his/her game with hard work and passionate learning.

How to Develop Advanced Level Table Tennis Skills:

To develop an advanced level of skills, beginners must learn the basic steps first and master the basics only before moving to the advanced techniques. By mastering the basic skills, one can improve his/her gaming performance and can enter the field of table tennis to an advanced and professional level.

Below are the names of some basic techniques which should be learned by all beginners:

  • Serving
  • Drive
  • Push and block
  • Flick and smash
  • Loop and Lob and lastly
  • Chop

Let’s discuss the skills and techniques required by any table tennis player step by step:

  • Body Positioning:

Before making the first move and hitting the shot it’s advisable to make sure that your body is in the right position. The correct and dimensional body position in a perfect angle to the table would greatly help you develop a strong grip to the table in all the moves including defending, serving, or attacking.

Hence your body should always be in the correct posture along with your arm alignment towards the table.

Your position and body language would give you another level of stability, alignment, balance, and a strong grip on the game.

  • Feet Positioning:

Make sure that your feet are apart for more than 1.5 of your shoulder’s gaps. The right distance between your feet would make you able to move from one side quickly and promptly to the other while hitting the ball. The correct foot position would not only fasten your movements but would also increase your response time to the ball. Table tennis is a game that teaches you more mental stability than physical, increasing your response time and decision-making ability. Also, check the Best Stiga Ping Pong Paddle.

Important Tip: An important and million-dollar tip for beginners is to make sure that your dominant foot is slightly behind the non-dominant one. For example, if you are a right-handed person then keep your right foot slightly behind the left foot and vice versa.Feet Positioning

  • Position of Knees, Ankles, and Toes:

It is advisable by the Table tennis experts that the knees and ankles should be able to allow you maximum mobility at a very prompt rate. The ideal position of knees and ankles is described in a way that both should be in a flexible position with a slight bending posture. The bending position would put a maximum of your body weight to your toes giving you the ability to quickly move backward and forward as and when needed ultimately enhancing your response time and precision to hit the ball.

  • Shoulder and Waist:

As per experts’ advice, the ideal posture of the shoulder and waist should be in such a way that the waist is bent slightly downwards positioning the shoulders in a forward position. When shoulders are in a forward position your body will automatically react to the competitors’ move in a split second.

Back and shoulders

  • Pinging Grip:

The way you grip your bat defines your expertise in the game. There are various gripping techniques that can be discussed in detail but here we will discuss only highlights. Basic and commonly used grips in ping pong are known as:

  1. Shake hand Grip
  2. Paddle Grip

Shake hand grip gives more strength to the player’s hand without getting tired in long playing hours. As the name is self-explanatory, when you are holding the paddle of your racket, it looks like you are shaking hands with 3 fingers wrapped around the paddle, thumb, and index fingers in the racket base.

However, the pen hold position is also used by many professional players.

The key point is to choose a grip once and for all and not to change it because once a grip is established, it will become your strength to beat the opponent.

After practicing the body postures, table tennis players are taught to master the skills involved in strokes.

Various techniques are adopted in strokes, but we will discuss four main stroke techniques. So, let’s get deep into it.

Holding the paddle

Basic types of Table Tennis Strokes:

  • Forehand Stroke:

 Forehand stroke or Forehand Drive is used when your opponent is in the attacking position, and you are in the defending position. The idea is to respond as aggressively as possible to the attacking move of the opposite player. Body position should be in such a way that your arms are in a quick responsive position. Putting some pressure on your back foot will automatically make your upward body in a forward position resulting in an aggressive response to the tennis ball. The key point to ponder here is to hit the ball when it’s at its bouncing peak. In this way, maximum pressure would be added to the ball making it spin and hit closer to the baseline of your opponent. 

  • Backhand Stroke:

Backhand stroke is used when the opponent defends your previous attacking move and is now willing to confuse you with the defending move. Make sure to carefully observe the peak bounce of the ball and hit it hard bending your waist forward and then lifting it in an upward direction. Also, Check the Benefit of Playing Table Tennis.

Your body should not be straight towards the table. It should be in an angled position to enable you to make split-second decisions.

  • Backhand Push:

In a backhand push, the player would make a shorter stroke that would not allow the opponent to stroke in an attacking position.

The body position would be maximum bent and leaned towards the table to give a precise small stroke.

  • Forehand Push

 It’s like a backhand push with the same purpose of preventing the opponent from making attacking moves, however, the difference lies in the body position. Also, Check the Fun Facts About Table Tennis.

Your dominant foot will be pushed backward and shoulders forward making a small and precise backswing.

Serve/ Service:

What is a service in Table Tennis?

A vital part of table tennis is learning how to serve the ball. Serve is basically the first move from any of the players to start the game after a pause and hence learning and mastering the serving techniques is highly important.

serve in table tennis

Experts advise on servicing techniques:

Experts advise that the serve shot should be very slow and as close to the net to the opponent as possible making it difficult for the opponent to return with an attacking shot and ultimately allowing you to make an attacking move in return.

If a player wins a toss to do the service first, that will increase his/her chances of winning if only the service is done in a tricky way.

Various techniques are taught by professional coaches in this regard however below are some basics:

  1. Backspin
  2. Topspin
  3. Sidespin

In backspin, the player is advised to hit the racket to the top of the ball facing it backward. The ball will automatically move first towards the back and then forward dimension making it hit the table closer to the net on the opponent’s side.

Topspin involves hitting the ball again on top and with the first bounce making it move in the forward direction. This technique would confuse the opponent giving them less time to make the move.

In a Sidespin, the ball is bounced to little height and tossed with the racket slightly from the side, hardly touching the ball.


Table Tennis is a passion and only passionate players can master the skills to achieve success. A professional and expert coach would help you better understand the skills involved in table tennis. Watching videos of legendary players who had won national and international trophies would allow you to learn which techniques they have been using, making you more professionally sound in the gaming field.

We hope this article will help you learn the basic skills of table tennis. Practice is the key to mastering any sport and becoming a pro in that.


1. How would I know which is the best serving technique for me?

This is a tricky question because all serving techniques sound professional, and it becomes difficult to choose one. But your coach would advise you on the best technique considering your body language and playing style.

2. Do I need a coach to learn table tennis, or can I learn by myself with a lot of practice?

Although practice makes a man perfect, You must have a professional coach first and then lots and lots of practice to become the best player. Practicing alone would not help you with the mastering skills.

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