Ping Pong Lessons for Beginners

Ping Pong Lessons for Beginners

Welcome back to the PingSunday tutorial of coach EmRatThich. Summer is finished. The new league season has started. Today, we study the table tennis lessons for novice players. If a new player comes to me and asks me to correct his technique. I will first ask him to learn the 10 basic skills in table tennis. Then I will explain him this first ping pong lessons.

There is also an online table tennis course that you can take to improve your skills.

First lessons for starters

So what is the first lesson that I can give him? Or which part of his technique that I will look at first?

For me, the first thing I want to correct is “Does he hold the racket correctly?”. This is the first lesson that every new player should know.

I will look at this hand and the grip first.

ping pong lessons that you should learn first
ping pong lessons that you should learn first

Having a correct grip is crucial in table tennis. It lets you feel the ball, and perform the technique properly. If the coach didn’t correct the grip at the beginning,
the bad grip will become the bad habit. And it’s very difficult to correct it later.

Chinese coach focuses on the first lesson in table tennis
Chinese coach focuses on the first lesson in table tennis

Remember: You will never improve with a wrong grip.

Unfortunately, I still see many new players who don’t know how to hold the racket correctly. Holding the racket is like the ABC lesson.

wrong grip will prevent you to improve fast in table tennis
the wrong grip will prevent you to improve fast in table tennis

It’s the base, the fundamental of your technique. If you don’t know to hold the bat correctly like the player in this video, no need to train furthermore. It’s like a waste of time.

Hand calluses are playing style fingerprints

I also asked some coaches in France “If I show you a hand of a player, without watching him play, can you guess his playing style? Backhand dominant of Forehand dominant player?”

Having a correct grip is crucial
Having a correct grip is crucial

But they say “No!” or “Not interested in my question”. An experienced coach just needs to see the hand calluses and can tell you if you have a good grip or not.
He also can guess that if you are a forehand or backhand dominant player.

Look at your hand! You will know your playing style!

What is the hand calluses?

The hand calluses are the dead, the hardern skins on your hand. The calluses are formed at the place that you apply the pressure, so it’s like a fingerprint of your playing style. The good players will have the similar calluses.

grip of the backhand dominant player
the grip of the backhand dominant player

So If you come to me, my first question is “Show me your hand, show me how you hold the racket”. Look at your playing hand, I will explain it right now.

This is my hand. Now let’s see what is the calluses patterns on a correct grip. You can clearly see the calluses. There are 3 calluses on the bottom of the little finger, ring finger and middle finger.

 

Knowing your playing style

So hand callusese = the index of your playing style

A good coach by just watching your hands can guess exactly your playing style. He doesn’t even need to watch you play. Amazing? Right?

There are 2 types hand calluses in table tennis

  • Holding calluses
  • Pressure calluses

And there is also the callus on the side of my little finger. So these calluses are called the “holding calluses”. They are formed because you hold the handle of the racket. So every player should have these same calluses positions.

Calluses patterns on a correct grip
Calluses patterns on a correct grip
Holding calluses - same for many top players
Holding calluses – same for many top players

But look! I don’t have the callus on the bottom of my index finger. But if you have a callus here, that means you have a bad grip or you don’t know how to hold the racket. I guess that if you can see the hand of Ma Long or Zhang Jike, they won’t have the callus on the index finger neither.

Bad grip will have the callus on the index finger
Bad grip will have the callus on the index finger

Now, let’s see the “pressure calluses”. Turn back your hand, and look at your thumb. You should see one or two calluses on your thumb. These calluses are formed because you apply the pressure while doing the stroke. These calluses are the fingerprint of your playing style.

Pressure calluses for backhand shot
Pressure calluses for backhand shot

The callus pattern for forehand players

If you have a big callus on the base of your thumb, you are a forehand dominant player. Forehand players should practice the best tactics to serve and attack.

But if you have a bigger callus on the side of your thumb, you are the backhand dominant player. So only by seeing my hand calluses, I can conclude that I’m a forehand player, who prefers using my forehand to attack.

How did I know that? I’ve explained the correct grip in the previous video. You must have a loose grip, and you should apply the pressure only at the moment you hit the ball. If you ask other Chinese coaches, they always say this same principle.

Forehand dominant player will have this type of callus
Forehand dominant player will have this type of callus

The callus pattern for backhand players

For the backhand strokes, you apply the pressure on the side of the thumb (like this). So you must have the callus on the side of the thumb.

For the forehand stroke, the index finger will press the racket, and the edge at the bottom of your thumb will be under pressure. That’s why the bottom of the thumb must have a big callus.

Callus for backhand player in table tennis
Callus for backhand player in table tennis

Correct Grip in table tennis

Here are the best way to hold a table tennis paddle. The correct grip example that you should follow!

  • Hold the grip loosely

Losen grip and pinch only with the index and the thumb
Loose grip and pinch only with the index and the thumb

Loose and comfortable grip helps you to increase the speed, the acceleration of your short. Therefore, the spin and the speed ehance.

  • Hold mainly by your index and thumb (to pinch)

You should not hold the racket tightly with the middle, and the ring finger. Just hold by index and thumb. This method is proven by many top Chinese players.

Apply the pressure on the thumb for the backhand strokes.

Pressure for the backhand stroke
Pressure for the backhand stroke

For the forehand stroke, apply the pressure by using the index finger. Learn to apply the pressure only at the moment of contact.

Pression on the index finger for the forehand topspin stroke
Pression on the index finger for the forehand topspin stroke
  • Make a straight line with your forehand during the stroke

Another point that I want to emphasize is: You should hold the racket so that it can make a “straight line” with your forearm like this. This is very important!

Straight Line - best way to correct the bad grip in table tennis
Straight Line – best way to correct the bad grip in table tennis

This is a very important point. Many amateur players just hold the racket the wrong way. They hold the racket too perpendicular. Which is not good! If you hold like this, you can’t make a powerful topspin shot. But you can only block on your forehand side.

Fix it now! Or you can’t improve your techniques!

a good example of the correct neutral grip in table tennis
a good example of the correct neutral grip in table tennis

I really love coaching in table tennis. I want to say that table tennis is very technical. So you need to practice table tennis techniques in small details. These small details can make you from a good player become the best player.

Do you have a good grip? And how many calluses that you have? Tell me by commenting below. See you, EmRatThich! I hope that this ping pong lessons will correct your bad grip and help you improve fast! Feel free to ask me any question! Or if you want to offer me a coffee 🙂

Please share this table tennis tutoring for your teammate who wants to practice table tennis.

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3 thoughts on “Ping Pong Lessons for Beginners”

  1. I really liked the way the grip on the handle was explained. I think I have been holding the bat too firm and must loosen my grip and try to hold the bat parallel to my forarm. When I read about correct play it seems to sink in a lot more than just watching videos. Thank you.

  2. You are right Billy. If you watch the pro A players in France, (top 50 in the World), you can see how loosely their grip. I watch them playing personally, and play with them. So I know it very well. I’ve also talked to Liam Pitchford about his grip 🙂

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