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07 Simple Table Tennis Exercises for Beginners

Welcome back to PingSunday with coach EmRatThich. Here are the 07 easy training exercises for beginners to practice and improve your skills. You can do these exercises at home, or at your club. I advise you to do it regularly. Doing these 07  training exercises, you will improve very fast:

Every player should do the table tennis workout. Beginners can burn about 200-250 calories an hour. Advanced athletes can burn between 400-600 calories in one single hour of aerobic table tennis.

Table Tennis Training Alone at Home
Table Tennis Training Alone at Home

Training exercises program in China

This is the “Super Shadow training program” performed at Sanwei Table Tennis Club. This is the part 1, focus on the fundamental movements and transitions in table tennis. The young players do these 07 practice drills without the table. This training method let them focus more on the transition and the footwork. These aspects are crucial for new players in table tennis.

There are 7 exercises that every young player must learn. I recommend you if you want to improve, do this training plan at least once per week. 

1) “Small exchange”:

The small transition around the center of gravity.

Feel your gravity is important. Because in table tennis, you need to use your COG to generate the power
Feel your gravity is important. Because in table tennis, you need to use your COG to generate the power

The first step that you need to learn is to know where is your COG (center of gravity). Table tennis is the sport where you need to rotate your whole body. This is the secret that why Chinese player can hit very hard and very fast. They apply this principle to generate the force. You should also learn the concept of “power from the ground”. Top Chinese players like Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Zhang Jike mastered very well this concept.

Shadow Practice Table Tennis (Part 1)

Watch this video.


2) Forehand two points attack:

Basic footwork to use the Forehand at the middle of the table, and at wide forehand position.

Learn the basic footwork for your forehand transition. This is the key of to improve the consistency of your forehand loop
Learn the basic footwork for your forehand transition. This is the key to improve the consistency of your forehand loop

As I explained previously, unlike the coaching program in the Western countries, China focuses first on the background – the footwork. And they always start with the basic footwork pattern for the forehand attack. This drill is excellent to train the forehand footwork.

You can use this Shadow Play to learn the basic pattern in table tennis. It’s very important to the new players. Repetition is the key! You will improve and correct your bad habit by doing these strokes every day.

Within only 4 minutes, you will learn the basic footwork patterns in table tennis. Always incorporate your body into the strokes. Make a small step between a big movement to gain the consistency.

3) Forehand two points attack with the transition from the Backhand drive.

Chinese coach focuses a lot around the pivot position Because here is the place for the backhand - forehand transition in table tennis
Chinese coach focuses a lot around the pivot position because here is the place for the backhand – forehand transition in table tennis

These patterns are based on the real situation in the match. By training these situations, you can improve quickly your playing in the real match. Quick backhand drive, and then pivot to attack the next ball.

Chinese players are perfect because they practice the “real situation”. This backhand drive and then pivot is the most common situation in table tennis. By doing this 10 times, and then 100 times, and then 500 times, you will understand this. It works perfectly!

4) Backhand attack at 2 points.

Backhand attack - Focus on the speed, not the power
Backhand attack – Focus on the speed, not the power

For new players, focus on the consistency of your backhand. Don’t hit hard, but hit it fast! This is the key concept of the new trend in table tennis.

With the backhand attack, consistency is the key! Because it’s harder to make a powerful shot with the backhand than with the forehand. So focus on the consistency of the stroke!

This is the simple training drill but it’s very effective. By incorporating it with the footwork in this training program, you are on the right way to improve your skills. Some player just practice and practice but can’t improve. Especially, they struggle in the real matches! Because they didn’t incorporate the real situation in their training sessions.

5) Forehand attack at the pivot and then at the wide forehand position.

Learn to cover your wide forehand with the big step footwork
Learn to cover your wide forehand with the big step footwork

This exercise will help you learn the “big step” in table tennis. How to move the wide range, and then quickly recover to attack continuously. “Big step” and “quick jump” are the two most important footwork pattern. A new player doesn’t know how to cover the wide angle. If you want to advance to the next level, you should practice hard.

By doing this, trust me, you will find that you improve so so fast in a very short amount of time.

6) Relax.

Learn the backhand to forehand transition at the basic stance. You can notice that even when you don’t need to move, but you should rotate your body, and use a lot your waist to generate the power of the stroke.

Relax is the key of explosion
Relax is the key to the explosion

This principle applies to both Forehand and Backhand stroke. Look at how these players rotate their hips.

7) Forehand 2 points attack with the transition of the Backhand.

This is the most common situations in table tennis. So you need to repeat this exercise.

Improve your coordination and speed by repeating this exercice
Improve your coordination and speed by repeating this exercise

And finally, this is the complete exercise that covers what we have learned above. Learn the correct way to move, to get balance, and forehand topspin and backhand transition. If you practice this, congratulation! You are on the way to go pro in ping pong. This exercise is called as “2 point attack with the transition”.

Have you wondered “why the pro predict and move so fast“?

They are also human like you. Just because they train the right way! They practice the similar exercise. And get the feeling, get nature. The gesture has become their nature, their skills.

The only way that you can do like them, is to practice the same way, the same drills.

This is the part 1. There is also the “Shadow drills” part 2, that young Chinese table tennis player train every day. Stay tuned, and share this for your friend.

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Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.

6 thoughts on “07 Simple Table Tennis Exercises for Beginners”

  1. Hey,

    I need clarification on something. It is about the footwork at the two point fh attack. I watched it multiple times on superslowmotion. What I noticed is that when the player moves from the deep backhand to the middle the transition moves seem wrongly timed. I am not sure if it is meant like that or just wrongly demonstrated. Ok the player plays his second fh from the deep and while he or her is doing the weight transfer from the right to the left leg happens the small jump. I believe that 2nd fh cant be stable, when both feets are moving stability is compromised. Normall that smal step should happen after the 2nd fh from the backhand has finished. Starts at 28 sec and can be slowmotion watched with Kinovea for example.

    What is your take on it?

    • Yes but it doesn’t matter it can be seen after 28 secs and to be honest I can see that in all the footwork patterns. I don’t even see why your question matters, but maybe you haven’t understood mine?

      I said that the small step happens when the forehand stroke isn’t actually finished. Usually one should have feet on the ground while executing strokes for stability. So I am confused why here it is done differently . If it is just a wrong demonstration or actualy done like that by pro players.

  2. Sir, My son is 9yrs 6 month old and learning table tennis for almost past 2 yrs and competing in state level tournaments in beginner stage, I want him to improve on technical aspects and speed to be a better player so he can compete on higher levels.

    Pls suggest can he join the camp there in next summer, what are the processes needs to be followed.


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