How to Play Ping-Pong

Basic Ping-Pong Strokes

Table Tennis
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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:

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.