A friend of mine was a late bloomer in Ping-Pong sport. The last time he held the paddle was around when he was in the 7th grade and now plays Ping-Pong at his workplace. The thing is he doesn’t want to get embarrassed for silly mistakes in his game while playing with his colleagues and he’s right. No one likes to get embarrassed in front of people.
So he came to me and I shared some tips with him. I thought why not write an article which might help other beginners too. I have been a table tennis coach for long and have trained many beginners. I am going to mention the seven common mistakes I have observed in them.
If you’re a beginner like my friend, this article is for you. Keep reading and you will know.
1. You Stretch to Reach for Balls
This is the most common among all the beginners. You always try to reach the ball even if you might swing and miss but won’t move your feet. Well, if somehow you manage to hit back the ball that is farther for your backhand or the forehand, your shot might not be perfect and powerful.
The key is to move. Use your feet to get closer to the ball. And your hand will automatically be in the perfect proximity of the ball. Step-side, stop and hit the ball with the desired spin. A rule of thumb, Get closer to the ball with your feet, not by stretching out your hand.
2. You Hold the Paddle Too Tight
There are certain things that might go wrong if you hold the bat too tight. As you hold it tight, your muscles in your wrist and the forearm is going to be tightened, losing its flexibility. Furthermore, it restricts your arm movement and the speed of your hand which will ultimately result in stiff shots.
Moreover, you will get the difficulty in switching the shot angle, that is when you want to switch your shot from forehand to backhand or vice versa, it will be tough to do so. All in all, you won’t have the feel and control.
Handle the bat just right, no more no less tight. A looser grip aids in better ball spinning. It will let you change the bat angles swiftly for the various shots. You will be playing faster shots with a more relaxed body and will move quickly to hit the shots right.
3. You Stand Too Close to the Table
Standing too close to the table will drain you, literally. If you’re too close to the table, you will find it hard to return the ball shot very deep towards you. And spinning the ball also will be a tough task. Moreover, you will not have enough space to play your stroke and might give the points to your opponent.
Instead, stay a little far from it, you will have ample space and the rise after the pitch of the ball to return it back. However, you can always step closer to hit the balls pitched short on the table. But yeah, you need to step back as soon as you shoot the ball to be ready to return the next ball.
4. You Hit the Ball Too Hard
Unlike Cricket or Baseball, you are not supposed to hit the ball out of the stadium using your utmost strength. Do not hit it hard. The fact is if you hit the ball too hard, you will not be able to spin or play your shot as you want to.
Use 70%-80% of your power to hit the ball. This much force will be enough for a ball to make it to the other side, right? More importantly, as you decrease the power of your shot, your muscles can swing the paddle in a way to get the desired spin and get the techniques right.
5. You Have Floppy Control Over Bat
Floppy bat control can cause bad strokes and you might lose the grip over the game. The angle of the bat should be consistent during the shot. If the bat angle remains constant during the stroke and changes just even when the bat and the ball come in the contact, the game won’t go smooth and you will never achieve consistency.
Floppy pad handling is the reason behind the inconsistent shots. That happens when the bat flops on the contact of paddle and ball. This feels ridiculous, I know, I had been there.
If you’re facing problems of a floppy bat, try a bit more pinching the bat between your thumb and the index finger. This will give you a firm grip to avoid floppy shots.
6. You Stand With Your Right Leg Forward (for Righties)
Do not stand with your right foot forward than the left one. Noobs often do this mistake while they play such shots. Well, when you play backhand shots with the right leg forward than your left on, you can play okay. But, as soon as you need to change the shot to forehand you may get stuffed.
So here is the hack for you, put your feet equally, either square to the table or your right foot slightly back than the left one. This will help you when you got to change from backhand to forehand.
Same implies for the left-handers. The only difference is they have to consider the leg movements another way around.
7. Your Fronthand Stroke Overshoots
This tip is for you if you’re like other beginners who swing the bat and their bat reaches to the left arm shoulder crossing from your front side. Technically there wouldn’t be any flaws in the stroke but the thing is you will find difficulty in the next shot as you will have to get your hand back the long way in the initial position of the stroke.
For this mistake, here comes another thumb rule for you. Imagine a vertical line in front of your body which will cut your body in two equal halves.
When you swing your bat while performing forehand stroke, the bat should not cross that line. This will help you to be ready for the next shot, and the next, and the next, and so on.
As I have said, no one likes to get embarrassed, you shouldn’t be too. Learn, practice and work on your mistakes. There is no way out to playing better other than practice and rectifying mistakes.
You can always practice at your home. Ping pong tables and other accessories are vastly available on E-commerce platforms. However, it is a big confusion because there are a lot of products from various brands. Check out the link to my website in the bio and look what suits you the best.
Author Bio: Brian is a sports enthusiast and a table tennis coach at Triumph Sports NY. He also works closely with the Sports Administration Department in Harrisburg. Being an advocate of sports benefits, he started his own world of Ping Pong where everyone can take away the lessons he has learned.