Activities Sports & Athletics How to Play Ping-Pong Basic Ping-Pong Strokes Share PINTEREST Email Print Braxton Bruce Photography/Moment/Getty Images Sports & Athletics Table Tennis Basics Playing & Coaching Gear Baseball Basketball Bicycling Billiards Bodybuilding Bowling Boxing Car Racing Cheerleading Cricket Extreme Sports Football Golf Gymnastics Ice Hockey Martial Arts Professional Wrestling Skateboarding Skating Paintball Soccer Swimming & Diving Tennis Track & Field Volleyball Other Activities Learn More By Greg Letts Greg Letts is a world-ranked table tennis player and an Australian Level 1 table tennis coach. He wrote the eBook, "How to Win at Table Tennis." our editorial process Greg Letts Updated May 24, 2019 In order to play a good game ping-pong, you need to master the basic strokes first. Without a solid foundation in the basics of table tennis, you will struggle to use the advanced techniques of elite players successfully. Learn how to play ping-pong the right way with these tips on different positions. Note: The positions and strokes shown here are just a few of the many you will need to know to play a great game of ping-pong. Basic Strokes: Step by Step Here are some of the basic ping-pong poses so you can improve your game. The Forehand Counterhit -- Side View: With one foot ahead, this is the basic "ready" position. The Backhand Counterhit -- Side View: Check out the backhand counterhit position here. The Backhand Push -- Side View: This stroke is the foundation of all backhand backspin strokes The Forehand Push -- Side View: It is the foundation of all forehand backspin strokes that can make it easier to learn the more advanced strokes such as the forehand chop, which is essential for advanced defensive play. Serving Positions Serve up the ball in a variety of ways using any of these positions: The Forehand Backspin Serve: This is just one way to serve up the ball. The Forehand Topspin Serve: Here is another position for serving. The Forehand Pendulum Backspin/Sidespin Serve -- Front View: This is known as a pendulum serve because the movement of the bat is similar to how the weight on a pendulum moves. The Forehand Reverse Pendulum Sidespin Serve -- Side View: Similar to the aforementioned movement, this movement moves away from the body unlike the traditional pendulum serve. The Backhand No Spin Serve: This serve can be performed from your backhand corner but you typically use this to serve from the middle of the table. The Forehand Tomahawk Topspin/Sidespin Serve -- Side View: The movement of this serve is similar to how American Indians were shown waving their tomahawks in movies. It can be performed anywhere along the endline. The sidespin on the ball will tend to make the receiver's return go towards the server's forehand side. Rally Strokes Click on these links to learn more about different rally strokes. The Forehand Loop Against a Push -- Side View: This position lets you hit the ball around six inches over the net with medium-fast to fast speed and heavy topspin to help bring the ball down on the other side of the table. The Backhand Block Against a Loop or Drive -- Front View: Against a light to medium backspin, you want to hit the ball over the net slowly to medium speed and add a backspin for better ball control. The Forehand Smash Against a Lob: This shot is used to hit a lobbed ball very hard onto the playing surface in an effort to keep your opponent away from the table. You'll want to angle the ball away from your opponent so that he or she cannot reach it, or play the ball straight at your opponent so that he or she cannot get out of the way in time -- having to play a cramped stroke. Once you have mastered the basic strokes, find out how to use them together to play your best table tennis.