table tennis fundamental skills

10 Fundamental Skills for Modern Table Tennis

Basic Skills

You are new in table tennis or you just want to come back and learn, from the beginning, the correct table tennis techniques. Table tennis techniques have changed a lot. However, people still using the old designed course, which is not adapted to the “new trends in table tennis”. Today, I will show you the new (re-designed) table tennis lessons for the beginner to learn the modern table tennis strokes. These are the 10 table tennis basics that every beginner should know.

What are the basic skills of table tennis?

Some coach has proposed the accelerated table tennis course (only in 10 days) to learn the fundamentals of table tennis. However, to master the correct techniques, a player should do the repetition several times. The proper mechanism needs the “muscle memory”. That’s why in a short amount of time (10 days), you can not master correctly the basic skills. Focus on basic skills during your first 2 years of training.

In your first 2 years of your career, you should master these basic techniques.

Based on the Chinese coaching, there are 10 fundamental skills in table tennis. 

  1. Forehand drive technique
  2. Backhand topspin close to the table
  3. Forehand push and backhand push
  4. Forehand flick
  5. Backhand flick
  6. Backhand loop the underspin ball
  7. Forehand attack the semi-long ball
  8. Learn Forehand fast serve
  9. Forehand pendulum serve
  10. Backhand sidespin serve

1. Forehand Drive Technique

The first fundamental table tennis skill that you should learn is the feeling of the ball. Driving skills helps you quickly get this feeling. Unlike many basic table tennis lessons, who propose you to learn the “grip” or the “stance” first. You can start learning the forehand drive first. During these training drills, the coach and yourself can quickly modify the grip based on the “feeling” and the “timing”. I, myself, found this approach can help new players improve much faster.

You should know: Professional player change the grip during the rallies.

Furthermore, the player tends to change the grip for each type of stroke. By fixing a new player to learn a not-flexible grip, it’s not good for the further improvement later.

2. Backhand topspin close to the table

Backhand topspin is the basic skill that every player should master. The biggest mistake of the beginner is “I will learn the forehand first, and then I let learning the backhand technique in the intermediate stage”. This is totally wrong! You should learn the backhand stroke mechanism as soon as possible. Because by learning backhand technique, you will understand how to use your wrist in table tennis. You also learn how to relax, the right timing of acceleration, and the correct gip.

Remember: A bad habbit is very difficult to correct. Learn the table tennis basics slowly but correctly.

Having a good foundation is very important in the eye of the Chinese coach
Having a good foundation is very important in the eye of the Chinese coach

3. Forehand push and backhand push

After having a good foundation of feeling the ball and having a relaxed grip, you will start to learn the “timing”. Timing is when to hit the ball. The best exercise is to practice the forehand push and the backhand push.

4. Forehand flick

The flick (or flip) technique is previously considered as the “advanced skills in table tennis”. However, in this modern table tennis era, the Chinese coach has moved this skill to the fundamental skills. If you can not aggressive return the ball, you will quickly be dominated in this modern age of table tennis. “Aggressiveness” is the key.

5. Backhand flick

The backhand flick is nowadays considered as the standard technique. Using backhand flick to return all the topspin or sidespin short serve. Backhand push is rarely used in the real match today.

Did you know that? There are 2 types of backhand flick: Banana Flick, and Strawberry Flick.

6. Backhand loop the underspin ball

Chinese table tennis focuses a lot on the use of the lower part of your body. When you master all of the basic skills, you should quickly incorporate your body (hip, waist, legs, abdomen) into your stroke. Backhand loop the underspin ball is designed to learn this concept quickly.

7. Forehand attack the semi-long ball

Table tennis tactics, in fact, turn around the service and service-return. Why semi-long ball? Best players use the semi-long ball a lot nowadays. Short ball is weak, and the long ball is easily attacked. A semi-long ball will let you attack right after your serve. That’s the reason why Chinese coach has introduced the forehand attack the semi-long ball into the basics training.

8. Learn Forehand fast serve

Forehand fast serve is an indispensable tool to survive in this modern table tennis. Unlike several training courses which didn’t focus enough on the quality of a long and fast serve. Look at the new trends in table tennis: Tomokazu Harimoto and Miu Hirano’s playing style. They incorporate the fast serve efficiently in the new trending “Counter Attack Playing Style”.

9. Forehand pendulum serve

Forehand pendulum serve is one of the best serves in table tennis. Easy to learn but difficult to master. Learning this service will let you add many spin variation. You should learn this serve as soon as possible. Learn to add sidespin and improve the deceptive spin to this serve.

10. Backhand sidespin serve

And finally, the last fundamental skill is the backhand sidespin serve. It’s the lest important skill but sometimes it can change the outcome of the match. Watch how Ma Long comes back after losing 0-2 to Lee Sangsu. Ma Long used the backhand serve which has completely change the result of the match. Backhand sidespin serve gives you the control of the placement and reduce the pace of the game. Having several types of service always help you to deal with the critical situation. To become the better player, you should have several effective serves.

Learn the backhand serve will help you change the tactics during the match.

That’s is the most important basic skills that beginners should master. The best ways to Learn How to Play Table Tennis is practicing these 10 Basic Table Tennis Strokes, which are adapted to the modern table tennis.

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