Jim Yang is our site founder. As a pro ping pong player in the past, he's also our main expert consultant. In his spare time, Jim teaches kids table tennis, goes hiking, and read more
Last updated: July 31, 2023
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Ping pong is more than a recreational sport. It’s also an art. An art that requires you to maneuver in specific ways to throw off your opponent and score more points. Just like any other art form, there are several ways to approach your technique. Of all the possible ping pong techniques, your chosen method of hitting the ball is the most important by far.
The way you hit your ping pong ball plays a major role in the effectiveness of your hit. This is why you should know how to hit a ping pong ball properly. Your grip on the paddle can also mean the difference between a comfortable shot and a possible hand injury, so it’s also important to know how to hold your paddle correctly. A firm hold on your paddle will increase the chances of an effective shot at your opponent.
In this article, we’re going to cover how to hit a ping pong ball properly. You’ll also leave this page with a better understanding of each technique, from forehand and backhand to Chiquita and cut.
How to hit a ping pong ball properly
Unless you have a flimsy grip on your ping pong paddle, there really isn’t an incorrect way to hit the ping pong ball. Before we go into how to properly perform each hit technique, it’s important to know how to properly hold your paddle. With a proper grip on your paddle, you’ll be able to effectively perform any of the techniques listed in this article.
Technically speaking, there are many different ways for you to hold your ping pong paddle, but here are the five most common methods:
The Shakehand Grip
The Penhold Grip
The “V” Grip
The Seemiller Grip
The Reverse Penhold
To hold with the Shakehand grip, the blade of the paddle should fit between your thumb and your pointer finger.
To hit the table tennis ball with the shakehand method, the paddle should be situated where the bottom edges of the blade rest right on the v formed by your two fingers.
After it’s placed into position, wrap your remaining three fingers around the paddle’s handle. Your index finger should rest on the outer part of your paddle to help maintain stability during gameplay. If you prefer more flexibility, wrap your thumb around the front handle.
The look and feel of this method should closely resemble how you would shake hands with someone. Remember, your grip should be firm enough to keep hold of the paddle but not so firm that your movement is limited. The paddle’s edge should also remain perpendicular to the ground so you can maintain aim.
How to hit a ping pong ball with a Penhold grip? Make sure the handle is at an upwards angle to get the right hold. Once it’s positioned correctly, wrap your thumb and pointer finger around the handle. This should closely mimic how you would hold a writing utensil.
For increased flexibility, keep the rest of your fingers relaxed. The Chinese Penhold requires the player to maintain a light grip on the outside of the paddle while the three fingers are in a relaxed position.
If you prefer more power, straighten your three remaining fingers. This is commonly referred to as the Korean or Japanese Penhold. All three fingers should maintain rigidity and be stacked upon each other.
Your thumb should be placed where you’re most comfortable, and your pinky and ring fingers can stand freely or wrap around the handle too. This grip is commonly used for wide-angle shots.
For the Seemiller grip, wrap all your fingers around the handle and rest your pointer finger on the back of the paddle near the bottom. Your thumb will provide the main grip on the paddle from the other side.
This method is good for players who want to hit a ping pong ball with spin.
The Reverse Penhold requires the player to hold the handle between their thumb and index finger. Their other three fingers should relax around the outside of the paddle. If this is your chosen hold,the paddle should angle upwards slightly so you can use both sides during gameplay.
Along with a proper grip, it’s also important to play with good gear. According to most reviews, these JOOLA table tennis balls are considered the best because they maintain a good bounce without being difficult to control. In terms of good paddles, many reviewers recommend the Butterfly Timo Boll ALC because of its good attack style.
When it comes to hitting techniques in ping pong, the forehand technique is the most basic and fundamental hit to use. It’s commonly preferred amongst beginners and is the foundation for many other techniques.
When using the forehand technique, you’re essentially hitting the ball with your palm facing toward your opponent.
For example, the forehand push
Trusted SourceTable tennis forehand push - Table tennis - essential skills and techniques - GCSE Physical Education Revision - OCR - BBC BitesizeA forehand push is a difficult defensive shot that requires the player to strike downwards on the back and underneath the ball to create backspin. When performed correctly, a forehand push is used to change the pace of an exchange or to return the ball in a very low manner.
is a defensive move that requires the player to hit the ball going downwards and at the lowest point of the ping pong ball. If this technique is done right, the ball will be returned lower than before, and you’ll slow down the pace of the gameplay. To properly pull off a forehand push, follow these steps:
Get into position. You should be square with the table, and your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Gently flex your knees and lean forward with your arms out front. Make sure you’re close to the table for this movie.
Prepare for the push. When you’re ready to strike, pull the paddle back to your strong side. You should be holding the paddle with a straight wrist and an open angle with your primary arm right in front of your body.
Hit the ball. Once you’ve made contact with the ping pong ball, move your arms forward and release power from your elbow and forearm. As you hit it, aim to hit the ball at its highest point.
Shift your weight. While hitting the ball, your weight should shift from back to front.
Maintain your aim. Make sure you’re pointing to where you want the ball to hit, and take care that your arm doesn’t swing all the way across your body.
Repeat. Continue coursing through steps 1-5 continuously until the ball goes out of play.
While the forehand technique involves your palm facing toward the gameplay, hitting a ping pong ball backhand is the opposite. When using the backhand
Trusted SourceBackhand Definition & Meaning - Merriam-WebsterThe meaning of backhand is a stroke (as in tennis) made with the back of the hand turned in the direction of movement; also : the side on which such strokes are made.
technique, a player hits the ping pong ball with their palm facing away from the gameplay. This is where the term “backhand” comes from. You’re simply using the “back of your hand” to create power.
The Tustsuki shot is a relatively easy ping pong technique to learn and is widely referred to as a “shortcut” in the game of table tennis. While it depends on how you perform the shot, it’s commonly used as a defensive strategy to keep the ball in play. This method is the typical method taught to beginners for returning a ball that came at them with a downward spiral. To successfully perform a Tsutsuki shot, follow these tips:
Hit the ball right after a bounce. Hitting the rising side of the ball will increase the likelihood of success with the technique. Hitting it low rather than high prevents your opponent from smashing or driving the ball back to you.
Keep your feet steady. Maintain equal weight on your feet and lean slightly forward with your legs flexed a little bit.
Hit with a push rather than a rub. Pushing the ball is easier to master than a rub. It’s better to master a simple technique before moving on to purposeful spinning because it gives you foundational knowledge.
To keep control of the ball, this move can only be completed right after a bounce. It’s tricky to get this one right, so it’s important to make sure you follow each step carefully. To successfully complete a blocked shot, follow these steps:
Get into the correct position. Your body should be square with the table, and your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Flex your knees a little bit, and make sure you lean forward and keep close to the table. Your arms should also be in front of you.
Get ready to hit the ball. Move the paddle backward toward your strong side. The paddle should be held in an open position with your wrist straight and your arm slightly in front of the rest of your body.
Make contact with the ball. Move your arms forward and harness all of your strength through your elbow and forearm. Hit the ball at the highest point and move your body weight from the back to the front foot.
Follow through on your shot. Even after hitting the ball, keep your paddle in the direction of where you want the ball to go. Make sure your arm doesn’t swing across your body and get back to your starting position as soon as possible.
If you’ve executed the forehand drive properly, the ball should land within your opponent’s base or sideline.
Trusted SourceTable tennis forehand drive - Table tennis - essential skills and techniques - GCSE Physical Education Revision - OCR - BBC BitesizeA forehand drive in table tennis is an offensive stroke that is used to force errors and to set up attacking positions. A successful shot should land close to your opponent’s baseline or sideline.
drive is used as an offensive approach during gameplay. The use of forehand is meant to force errors on your opponent and set up other attack positions. To correctly execute a forehand drive, follow these steps:
Get into position. Stand on the balls of your feet with your legs slightly flexed. You should be facing sideways with your shoulder pointing where you want the ball to go. Keep your body weight on your hindfoot.
Prepare to hit the ball. Point your arm where the ball is coming from and rotate quickly to face forwards upon impact with the ball.
Make an impact with the ping pong ball. While hitting the ball, aim for the highest point of the ball in play.
Shift your weight forward. As you hit the ball, shift your weight from your hindfoot to your forefoot.
Maintain your aim. Keep your paddle pointed toward the intended target as you release the ball.
Repeat. Return to step one and continue to cycle through the process until the ball moves out of play.
On the other hand, the backhand drive is generally considered to be easier than the forehand drive. Because of this, it’s common for beginners to learn this technique before its forehand counterpart.
The backhand drive is an offensive move that only gives the ball a slight amount of topspin. To successfully pull off a backhand drive, follow these steps:
Get into your stance. Place your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart. Make sure your feet are pointing to where you want the ball to go. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward to prepare for your move. You should be close to the table and maintain your weight on the balls of both feet.
Prepare your backswing. Position the paddle backward and close to your belly button. Close your angle a little bit and keep your wrist straight. The rubber of your paddle should face toward your play direction.
Make contact with the ball. Move your arms forward and slightly up to create slight topspin on the ball. Use the power from your elbow and forearm while keeping your angle closed throughout the shot. Hit the ball at its peak bounce in front of you.
Maintain a small gap. There should always be a little bit of a gap between your elbow and the rest of your body for this movie.
Complete your drive. Follow the swing through, moving forward and upward. You should finish the move with your paddle at around chin level. Don’t swing your arms too much across your body, and make sure to get back into starting position as soon as possible.
The forehand smash
Trusted SourceTable tennis forehand smash - Table tennis - essential skills and techniques - GCSE Physical Education Revision - OCR - BBC BitesizeThe forehand smash is a fast, hard and powerful stroke that aims to force the opponent away from the table or to win a point outright. However, the shot is not always about force and requires the player to use good timing, technique and precision simultaneously.
is a fast, hard, and very powerful technique that is typically only used by expert players. This is a fast way of hitting the ball in table tennis. While this move is typically used to gain fast points from opponents, it’s important only to use it during the right time. It’s also a move that requires expert precision, so it may take a lot of practice before getting it right. To perform smash in ping pong, follow these steps:
Get in the right stance. Stand on the balls of your feet with your knees flexed slightly. Position your body sideways while pointing your shoulder at your target. All of your body weight should be supported on your back foot.
Aim to hit. Your free arm should be pointing toward the ball while you raise your paddle with your playing hand. The paddle should be in a high position so you can generate both downward and forward power.
Make contact with the ball. When the ball bounces off the table, rotate quickly to move forward. Hit a ping pong ball hard at its highest point and transfer your weight from your back to your front foot.
Move back to your original position. If you plan to perform another forehand smash, repeat these steps. If you’re going to use a different move, follow that moves specific steps.
The forehand serve needs to be thrown up from a flat palm, and it also needs to reach at least six inches of air before gameplay can begin.
The forehand serve
Trusted SourceTable tennis forehand serve - Table tennis - essential skills and techniques - GCSE Physical Education Revision - OCR - BBC BitesizeA table tennis serve can be hit either forehand or backhand. It must be thrown up from a flat palm into the air to a minimum height of six inches and visible to their opponent at all times.
s the most basic forehand move. In many cases, it’s the technique used to start each match. Here’s how to properly execute a forehand serve:
Get into position. Like most forehand moves, you should stand on the balls of your feet with your legs flexed slightly. You should face sideways with your shoulder pointing toward your target, and the ball should be held in front of you with your dominant hand holding the ball and holding your other hand back.
Maintain your stance. Your weight should be supported on your hindfoot, and your body should be low to the table.
Toss the ball. Gently toss the ball in the air, but make sure it gets at least six inches of air per regulations.
Hit the ball. When the ball drops, use a forward stance to strike the ball flat and use a fast arm to hit right in the middle of the ball. While hitting the ball, you should shift your weight from the back foot to your front foot.
Follow through. Your paddle should continue pointing toward the target to maintain good aim.
Prepare for your next hit. Start back at your beginning stance and use your preferred technique during gameplay.
A stop refers to the technique where a player returns a short hit ball back to their opponent. This can be completed by positioning the paddle slightly upward and hitting the ball with just enough power to make it over the net. To maximize success, hit the ball close to the net.
The flick technique is an offensive strategy that blocks short hits. Depending on the direction the ball is spinning toward you, position your paddle to hit it so it changes directions back at your opponent.
This is a newer method in the world of table tennis. With this method, raise your elbows up and pull the paddle toward your belly. Swing from there and use the momentum to swing up and complete a drive hit. Slightly rub the left of the ball with your paddle, and this will cause the ball to turn right. The best position for this move is to be low to the ground and attract the ballbefore you hit it.
A cut is the term used when a player returns the ball to their opponent by rotating the ball downward. Unlike the other techniques in this article, this one will require you to stand further back from the table.
The cut is considered a defensive move and sets you up for a counterattack if desired.
To complete this move, hold the paddle in a high position and attract the ball to the side of your body before hitting it back to your opponent. Make sure you hit the ball near your body to maintain control.
How to hit a ping pong ball with side spin? For that, you should brush your blade tangentially to the ball in a sideways motion. Moving left or right, you can impact the direction. Moving the racket to the left, you’ll perform the left sidespin and to the opposite to perform the right sidespin. This way, you can curve a ping pong ball.
How fast is a ping pong ball hit?
The highest speed a table tennis can reach is about 60-70 mph.
Regardless of which technique you prefer to use, knowledge of how to hit a ping pong ball properly is essential. It’s also important to have a few techniques in your brain to switch up your gameplay and confuse your opponents. We hope this article was informative and helpful, and we hope you found what you were looking for.
A forehand push is a difficult defensive shot that requires the player to strike downwards on the back and underneath the ball to create backspin. When performed correctly, a forehand push is used to change the pace of an exchange or to return the ball in a very low manner.
The forehand smash is a fast, hard and powerful stroke that aims to force the opponent away from the table or to win a point outright. However, the shot is not always about force and requires the player to use good timing, technique and precision simultaneously.