Table of Contents
- 1 Here are our seven common table tennis mistakes:
- 1.1 Improper Materials: Playing With the Wrong Paddle
- 1.2 Lighten Up: Your Grip is Too Strong
- 1.3 Move Your Feet: You Have Poor Footwork
- 1.4 Watch Where You’re Standing: Your Position with the Table
- 1.5 You’re Overcompensating: Reaching for Balls
- 1.6 Be Unique: Not Having a Strategy or Plan
- 1.7 You’re Table Tennis Clueless: Know the Table Tennis Rules and Regulations
- 2 Ping Pong Problems Solved
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran in ping pong, there are still so many table tennis mistakes that you can make.
Identifying the common issues and recognizing them in your game will help you improve your skill. For beginners, playing ping pong takes practice and perhaps more focus than you realize.
However, once you’re on the way, you can easily improve your game and rise in the ranks of ping pong.
Here are our seven common table tennis mistakes:
Improper Materials: Playing With the Wrong Paddle
Especially if you’re playing at your local community center or simply just bought the cheap set at your local store, your table tennis paddle (also called racket or bat) can actually be a (very) wrong fit.
These paddles vary in size, weight, and grip. Just like with any other sport, having the proper one fit to your playing style, body, and game is extremely important to finding success.
Since you might not know how to choose the right racket, here are some basics that you should know:
Designed with six core pieces, the handle, blade, a forehand sponge and rubber, and a backhand sponge and rubber, each of these pieces can make a difference in your game and the way you play.
The first thing you need to know is your playing grip. Generally speaking, you will probably come to find that you are either using a Shakehand grip or a Penhold group. Both names are pretty explanatory, “Shakehand is holding the paddle as if you are shaking hands with the handle, except your pointer finger will be located on the back of the paddle. The penhold has your pointer finger and your thumb at the front of the paddle around the handle and the other three fingers on the back.
- The blade of the paddle is the hard part of the paddle that determines how much power each hit has. The lighter rigid materials are like attacking paddles where the heavier paddles that are made from foam or are softer are perfect for defensive players. If you play a quick game, you’ll need more than five layers on your paddle so that you have enough cushion to stop a fast-paced hit.
- The rubber part of your paddle is usually categorized based on tackiness and firmness. The firmer your paddle is, the harder your attack will be. The softer the rubber is, the more spin the paddle creates on your hits.
- The sponge, which is the layer in the paddle that is lodge in between the blade part and the rubber part comes in a thin, medium, and thick size. The thicker-sized sponge, which is normally 2 mm in size or bigger, makes the paddle suitable for a faster attack. If you are a defensive player, you’ll want a thinner sponge.
Read more: Full tips to choose the right paddles
Now that you’ve sorted out the right type of paddle, let’s head to other table tennis mistakes simply about the paddle that you might be making—like the grip.
Lighten Up: Your Grip is Too Strong
Even though you are right in using either the Penhold or the Shakehand grip, you still might be making a table tennis mistake by holding the paddle way too strong. If you hold the paddle too tight, it will incapacitate the muscles in your wrist and your arm, which will hurt your game.
Holding too strong of a grip will restrict and slow your arm movement. This will then make each of your movements and strokes jerky and non-flowing. Using these hard actions as you play will make it more difficult to adjust the angle when approaching the ball and switching from one stroke to another in between hits. If you’re too stiff, you’ll have less control of your movement.
You may find that your grip seems to be tightening the more stress that you experience during a game. Try your best to keep a looser and more relaxed grip so you can move freely and will be able to play quicker and transition easier.
Move Your Feet: You Have Poor Footwork
Although you might not think too much about it since the table is rather small, the ways your feet are positioned and moving are actually extremely important in table tennis. Just like in tennis, being able to move your feet before you strike the ball will allow you to have more control over your returns and engage in defense the best way you can.
In table tennis, even though the area is a lot smaller than tennis, it’s still important to use the proper footing to take the most advantage of each shot. If you perform this table tennis mistake and do not practice proper footwork, not only will your hits be less effective—and so will your defense—making awkward moves and twists to compensate for your poor footwork can lead to injuries.
Watch Where You’re Standing: Your Position with the Table
Just like the way your feet move are important, so is the way you are positioned in relation to the table. Standing too close to the playing table will have you struggling to return hits that come deep on your side. You need the proper space to be able to deliver the stroke correctly.
In general, try to aim for a distance range of 30 cm-50 cm between you and the end of the table. This will give you the proper amount of space to get ready to return the ball. You can always move in for shorter hits but moving backward while playing is a lot more difficult.
You’re Overcompensating: Reaching for Balls
When going through table tennis strokes, you don’t want to reach for balls which are too far from range. Range in table tennis can constitute as wide as your forehand or as wide as your backhand with an outstretched arm. If you go further than that, the power behind your shots will suffer. You’ll also not have the ability to maintain very much control over each hit.
Correcting this table tennis mistake leads to proper footwork and the position of your body. With every hit, you should move your feet to get closer to the ball. Whether you are going sideways, backward or forward, you should always be in a proper position for each stroke.
Be Unique: Not Having a Strategy or Plan
Even if you are just a beginner, developing a strategy, style or game plan is very important when competing in ping pong. Whether you are reading up on the best ping pong tips and strategies or have someone help coaching you along the way, it’s important to at least know the strengths and weaknesses in your game.
Not having a strategy, plan or style means that you don’t have control or initiative of the game. Even if you are playing against a lower-skilled or equally-skilled opponent, you’ll probably suffer a loss because of this table tennis mistake and not coming to the game ready with an approach.
Instead, while you’re practicing, work on tactics and game systems. Developing a unique style of play will keep your game less predictable. Working on your game individually is extremely important because it will help you take command of your progress.
You’re Table Tennis Clueless: Know the Table Tennis Rules and Regulations
Last but not least, to succeed in ping pong, you should at least know the basic ping pong rules! Even though when you play at home you can play by your own rules, if you’re planning on playing against other opponents in clubs and competitions, you should familiarize yourself with the official rules of table tennis.
Ping Pong Problems Solved
Ping Pong, for some, isn’t just a leisure sport played every now and then and making the slightest improvements to their game can help them truly get better. If you’re a beginner or have been playing for years, there’s always some table tennis mistakes you can improve on. Now that you know the proper form, proper paddles, and possible problems, you can have the best chance of fixing them and improving your performance!