Basic Skills in Table Tennis

What are the Basic Skill in Table Tennis?

Table Tennis is a complex sport and it takes a certain amount of practice to master the skills. At a beginner level, there are some basic skills you will be introduced to when playing table tennis.

The game comes with a lot of rules and unless you are playing casually, you need to learn everything about the game. Some of the things you will need to know are the technicalities of the game which include the type of shots or strokes to play. You will need to practice these basic skills to improve your performance in table tennis. It is after you have moved from the basic steps, you can progress to the advanced skills in the game.

If you want to know how to play table tennis, it is important that you learn all the basic skills involved in the game. Also, practising the skills you learn will go a long way to improve your skillset. You can advance from beginner to an advanced player within a short time. Beginners need to go through each learning process carefully and not skip out on the important parts.

The first step to learning table tennis is knowing how to play shots perfectly.  We will try to explain each of the strokes in table tennis and what purpose they serve in the game. In this article, you will learn about all the different types of shots in table tennis.

Basic Skill in Table Tennis

Fundamental Skills of Table Tennis?

There are different strokes and spins involved in table tennis which allows players to earn points in the game. After learning the basic shots in the game, you also need to practice winning strokes in table tennis to beat your opponent. There are many types of strokes in the game but they can be classified into offensive strokes and defensive Strokes.

It goes without saying that the serving technique is an introductory technique for table tennis. A good serving can give you a huge advantage.


The service gives you complete and total control over your shot. The major benefit of this stroke is to force your opponent into making errors in the game. A good serve will make you gain winning points and could make your opponent miss the shot. It is an offensive shot and allows you to win by putting the other player off balance. There are many types of service in table tennis but the major ones are the forehand and backhand serve.

The forehand serves table tennis stroke is one of the first types of serve learned by beginners. This shot is used most of the time during the game.

In addition to forehand and backhand serve, we also need to know the spin of the serve:

The backspin is similar to a push or chop and this type of service can easily be executed with an open racket. The backspin serve involves the racket slicing the bottom of the tennis ball. It is also one of the best ping pong serve among athletes.

The topspin serve table tennis stroke like a drive is executed with a flat racket. The player will need to use the racket to graze the top of the ball and keep the racket at a closed angle to get a good amount of spins.

This type of serve is easy to execute as it only requires hitting the back of the ball in a left to right motion or the other way around. You can also make a sidespin strike by holding the racket in a front-facing position and brushing the bottom of the ball in a pendulum movement.

Table tennis serve
Table tennis serve


A drive in table tennis is not similar to the strokes in tennis or other racket sports. It is the major attacking stroke used by players to keep the ball in play. The drive puts players under pressure to make them vulnerable and then you can deliver an even more powerful shot. Drives require a light topspin which makes the ball move at a low trajectory. They are mainly used as offensive strokes in the game and will cause your opponent to make errors which is a win for you.

It is important that players master this type of stroke especially its two types, the forehand and backhand drive. When players master both forehand and backhand drives, it leaves little to no room for your opponent to attack. When executing drives, you will need to use your entire body to produce enough power and give consistent strokes. You should keep the right stance when you are ready to perform a forehand and backhand drive.

The forehand drive in table tennis puts your opponent under pressure and gives you control of the game. The shot keeps your opponent back in the baseline of the table. The forehand drive returns aggressive strokes and keeps the ball landing close to your opponent’s baseline.

The backhand shot is quite similar to the forehand drive. It limits your opponent’s aggressive shots and sends the ball to the opponent’s baseline.

Table tennis forehand drive


The Push is another offensive stroke in the game that is similar to a slice in tennis games because the racket slices underneath the ball when you send a backspin that makes the ball float slowly to the opponent’s side of the table. It is difficult for your opponent to attack when you make a Push stroke.

When making a push, ensure that the stroke is gentle and that you don’t rush it. If you make the push in a haste, it will produce a long shot that is too high. The push requires a more delicate and professional touch. It is the leading strokes that become more aggressive and in turn, produce more spins.

You can compare pushes to a backspin because this shot usually changes the pace of the game. When executing a push you need to be in the right position by keeping your right foot stepping in. A push is normally executed when returning low and close shots as the backspin serve. Also, your racket position matters especially when considering the force of the backspin that is being sent your way. If your opponent serves a heavy backspin, your racket will be at open angle. Also, there are two types of pushes in table tennis, the forehand and backhand push.

The forehand push in table tennis is one of the basic and most important shots in the game. It is one of the toughest to execute of the four and would require some practice to perfect this skill. The forehand shot is used to return short balls and prevent attacking shots from your opponent.

The backhand push is a favorite among players and an easy shot. It acts as a defensive shot to prevent your opponent from further attacking you.  This type of shot prevents your opponent from making a return shot.

Table Tennis Push


One of the easiest shots to execute in table tennis is a block. It can simply be done by placing the racket in front of the ball so it rebounds back to your opponent with the same force it came with. One of the benefits of making offensive strokes like this is that it gives little room for your opponent to recover to make a return. A block works to your advantage because it uses your opponent’s force against him/her. It is usually done after the ball bounces on your side of the table to keep the control and speed of the ball.

The position of your racket will depend on if it should be in a closed or open angle. When your opponent sends a heavy topspin, your rack will be closed. Most players use a block when there isn’t enough time to make a proper loop or drive. If you have good control of the block, you can use it as a good offensive shot.  Ensure you use your wrist when making a block and it should be facing the direction of the incoming ball. Your footwork also matters and should move towards the area where you intend to hit the ball.

The block is a stroke that you need to practice more often, mastering this stroke will make it a useful arsenal against your opponent. Like the drive and push, there are two basic types of blocks in table tennis:

  • Forehand Block
  • Backhand Block

The forehand block is among the best defensive shots in the game and gives players more control. This type of shot allows you to control quick shots from your opponent and it is especially useful when receiving a heavy topspin serve. The forehand block is a fast response when you don’t have enough time to send a return stroke. It is used in training drills and is one shot you should practice.

The backhand block is also a similar technique in ping pong and it allows you to control your opponent’s shot. This type of shot is used to counter-spin shots. It is different from a backhand chop but will help defend you from a heavy topspin when you have little time to recover.

Table Tennis Block


The loop is similar to a drive in table tennis. When making this stroke, the racket is parallel to the direction of the strike which will cause it to touch the ball slightly giving a good amount of topspin. Normally, when a player makes a good loop, it produces a high arc making the ball jump forward when it bounces on the opponent’s side of the table. Playing a loop will require a lot of topspins.

There are many variations of loops in table tennis. The major ones are the spin loop, speed loop, hook loop and counter loop. These variations are based on the trajectories and improve the effectiveness of the shot. Loops are one of the most powerful strokes in table tennis. It produces a heavy topspin in most cases which will require a player to make use of their wrist while brushing the ball in an upward and downward motion.

There are two types of loops in this game, the forehand loop and the backhand loop. These two strokes force the ball to go low and skid off the table at a very high speed. When executing a loop, your movement will involve brushing the ball with a high racket speed unlike when making a drive.

Table Tennis Loop


When a player hits a ball that has not have bounced beyond the edge of the table and there is little room to make a backswing. At this point, there is still a chance to attack the ball and the shot made is referred to as a flick. A flick is not a single stroke and is sometimes compared to a drive or loop because of its similar characteristics. The only thing that separates it from these other strokes is if the backswing is compressed to a short wrist flick.

There are two types of flicks:

The forehand flick is used as an attacking stroke when your opponent sends a shorts ball. Players are expected to take the same stance as they would when making a short push stroke but you can change the direction and speed as well as the spin of the ball. This way you can either flick the ball short it long by changing your wrist. Athletes use the forehand flick for an upward brush to counter a backspin.

The backhand flick also counters a short ball but with players using both wrist and forearm to make this stroke. The stance is the same as with the forehand flick and the direction of the flick is usually an upward brush against a backspin. However, for this type of flick, you will need to keep your right foot under the table in the middle of the backhand area.

Table Tennis Flick


A chop is a much heavier and bigger push stroke. The position of the racket is usually in a horizontal and slightly upward facing direction. While the strike goes in a straight down position. If you make a chop with a lot of backspin, your opponent will find it difficult to return the stroke. The chop is a defensive shot and it matches the topspin of your opponent with your racket’s speed. Chops are not an easy stroke to execute and the aim of this shot is to confuse your opponent.

Table Tennis Chop


The lob is another defensive stroke used by players in table tennis games. This type of stroke pushes the tennis ball up as high as five meters above the tennis table to your opponent’s side of the table. The stance of the player when making this stroke will be to stay at least 4 to 6 meters away from the table. The lob stroke is one of the best shots for any type of spin in table tennis. A good defensive lob is harder to return because it is unpredictable. This stroke produces high amounts of spins and will earn players some good points in the game.

Table Tennis Lob


A smash is the stroke players use when the incoming ball bounces too high or is very close to the net. Here, the player will need a large backswing and a powerful speed shot. The aim of a smash is to get the ball moving at high speed so the opponent does not have enough time to prepare for a return. If a player executes this stroke properly, they can throw a series of smashes to make the opponent lose balance. The defense smash is difficult to win when the layer doesn’t get it right. There are two types of smashes, the forehand smash and the backhand smash.

The forehand smash is similar to a drive but has a longer backswing. This type of shot is faster and more powerful, especially when in contact with the ball. It will require bodyweight transfer and also the height of the ball. It is important that players direct the ball to a particular location when smashing instead of just smashing at random because it is an unpredictable shot. The opponent may likely hit the least expected location during play.

Table Tennis Smash


Professional athletes use both offensive and defensive strokes in their games. These strokes give players a winning chance and better gameplay. As a beginner, need to learn all these skills in this game and you can only do that with constant practice. The Forehand drive and Backhand are the most common shots used in the game. They are also the basic table tennis strokes beginners learn before any other type of shot. Another skill in table tennis, you need to learn is service. The two major types, the forehand serve and backhand serve will help you get started in this game.

Most beginners usually ask “what are the basic skill in table tennis?” To improve at this game, you need to first learn the basic strokes in table tennis which include the forehand drive, forehand push, backhand drive and backhand push. Knowledge of these basic strokes will make it easy to advance to other table tennis shots. The skills that you need to develop in playing table tennis are learning to hit the tennis ball consistently and to control the ball. You can start learning table tennis fundamental skills by learning the shots in the game and mastering them. Practicing table tennis techniques play a very important role in improving your game.

Also using the right table tennis equipment will give the best results.  You need to invest only in the best table tennis racket. There are rackets designed for beginners while some are meant for advanced players. Choosing the right racket that matches your skill level will also help your game.

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