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1. BEGINNER 1.

1 Grip

Shakehand Shallow Grip Front Back

As you can see from the photographs, the index finger is extended along the bottom of the racket, with the thumb being relaxed on the blade, rather than the rubber. The bottom three fingers are used to grip the handle. Advantages The advantages of this grip is that it will give you extra power and allow easy adjustment of the racket angle due to the looseness of the grip, and the ability to use the wrist more. This increases the amount of power and spin that can be given to the ball, and also helps it to be effective against short balls that would bounce twice on the table. It is also easy to perform all forehand and backhand strokes with this grip, making it well suited to players who wish to attack from both sides of their body. Disadvantages A disadvantage of this grip is that any player using this grip has what is often called a 'crossover point', or an 'area of indecision', where the ball cannot easily be struck with either the forehand or backhand side, and a decision to use one or the other stroke must be made. What Type of Player Uses This Grip? This grip tends to be used by topspin style players, as well as drive style players. If the index finger is not placed on the blade, but instead allowed to curl around the handle with the remaining three fingers, it is called a hammer grip. This grip is not recommended due to its poor racket control.

Shakehand Deep Grip Front Back

this grip is similar to the shakehand shallow grip, but the hand is placed further up the handle towards the head of the racket. The index finger is extended along the bottom of the racket, with the thumb now being relaxed on the rubber. The bottom three fingers are used to grip the handle. Advantages The advantages of the deep grip is that it prevents the racket from moving in the hand as much, and removes some of the wrist flexibility. This can be useful for strokes requiring precise control and less power. It is also easy to perform most forehand and backhand strokes with this grip, making it well suited to players who wish to defend from both sides of their body. Disadvantages A disadvantage of this grip is that any player using this grip has what is often called a 'crossover point', or an 'area of indecision', where the ball cannot easily be struck with either the forehand or backhand side, and a decision to use one or the other stroke must be made. It can also be difficult to attack balls over the table, due to the lack of wrist movement. What Type of Player Uses This Grip? This grip tends to be used by backspin style players, since the defensive strokes used by these players require precise racket control but do not need as much power from the wrist. Defensive players are also less likely to need to attack balls from over the table, so the lesser wrist flexibility is not so important.

Traditional Chinese Penhold Grip Front Back 1 Back 2

As the name implies, this grip is similar to holding a pen for writing. The thumb and index finger hold on to the racket handle, while the other three fingers curl around the back of the racket. The photographs show one way that the thumb and forefinger can be held, and two versions of the way the three remaining fingers may be held. There are often many minor differences in the way players place their fingers for this grip, although the overall grip is still considered the traditional Chinese Penhold. Minor variations include:

holding the thumb near-parallel with the blade while curving the index finger; varying gaps between the thumb and index finger; having the index finger overlapping the thumb slightly; having one, two or three of the remaining fingers touching the blade; varying the position of the remaining fingers on the back of the blade, from the middle of the blade, all the way to placing them along the base of the blade. Advantages This grip allows the wrist to move quite freely, which will give good forehand strokes and all types of serves. It also allows the player to block and push easily on the backhand side. Another advantage is that the player does not have a crossover point where he must decide which side of the bat to use, since the same side is always used to play all strokes. Disadvantages It is not easy to perform a consistent backhand topspin with this grip, since the player is required to bend his arm quite unnaturally. The amount of reach on the backhand side is also less than that of the shakehand grip. Because of this, most attackers who use this grip cover most of the table with their forehand, which requires fast footwork and a lot of stamina. What Type of Player Uses This Grip? This grip tends to be used by players who prefer to stay close to the table and push or block with the backhand, and attack with the forehand, either with drives or topspin loops. There have been less than a handful of world class defenders that used this grip, due to the lack of reach on the backhand side.

Japanese / Korean Penhold Grip Front Back 1 Back 2

This grip is similar to the traditional Chinese penhold grip, but the fingers on the back of the bat are extended straight out rather than curled. The two most common variations are shown in the photographs, with the main difference between the position of the fourth and fifth fingers. In one variation they are kept close together with the third finger, and in the other variation they are spread out on the back of the blade. Advantages The extending of the fingers on the back of the racket adds to the power that can be generated from the forehand side, and this grip is also good for forehand strokes. The wrist can move quite freely in the direction of the left edge of the blade to the right, and vice versa, which will allow good spin to be generated from the forehand side, and when serving. Disadvantages The movement of the blade from the handle to the top of the bat is somewhat restricted by the extended fingers. This makes adjusting the angle of the bat more difficult on the backhand side. It is also difficult to hit a consistent backhand topspin with this grip, although several professional players have mastered this stroke. This grip also has a restricted reach on the backhand side, making it necessary for players to cover more of the table with their forehand side, requiring fast footwork and good stamina. What Type of Player Uses This Grip? Similarly to the traditional Chinese Grip, this grip is favored by those players who prefer to attack with the forehand. Players who use this grip tend to play a little further back from the table than users of the traditional Chinese penhold grip, using fast topspin loops with their forehand and blocks or fishes with the backhand. They rely on their speedy footwork to allow them to hit their powerful forehand as often as possible. A search through the ranks of top players over the last 30 years would struggle to find a single defender that used this grip.

Reverse Penhold Backhand (RPB) Grip

In the reverse penhold backhand grip, the back of the penhold bat is used to hit the backhand. Typically the fingers are held in a similar fashion to the traditional Chinese penhold grip. It is most common to put inverted rubber on the backhand, and use the backhand to produce a topspin ball which has a significant amount of left to right sidespin (for a right hander), due to the natural movement of the arm and racket. Advantages: On the forehand side, this grip is similar to the traditional Chinese penhold grip. On the backhand side, the use of the rpb grip removes the normal weakness of the Chinese penhold grip since it is able to produce a heavy topspin ball with good power and a wide reach. It is also very good at attacking short balls on the backhand due to flexible wrist movement. Some players will use a mixture of the rpb grip and the Chinese penhold block and push on the backhand side to give more variation. Disadvantages: If the rpb grip is used exclusively from the backhand side, it suffers from the same problems as the shakehand grip, in that the player will have a crossover point, or an 'area of indecision', where the ball cannot be easily struck with the forehand or backhand side, and a decision to use one or the other stroke must be made. If the rpb grip is mixed with the Chinese penhold push and block strokes, the problem that occurs is that the player must decide quickly which type of stroke to use, and adjust the bat accordingly. Another limitation of the rpb grip is that it is actually quite difficult to produce a topspin ball from the backhand side that does not have sidespin, and hitting down the line from the backhand side is more difficult than hitting crosscourt. What Type of Player Uses this Grip?: This grip is currently being used by attacking style players who prefer to play with heavy topspin on both sides. As a relatively new grip, it remains to be seen whether its use for other styles will become popular.

Forehand Drive Attacking stroke with topspin, most effective when place deep and angled with speed

Backhand Drive Attacking stroke with topspin, most effective when place deep and angled with speed. This stroke is almost identical to flinging a frisbie. It should be fluid from start to finish. Forehand Push Stroke that is low with backspin and would bounce twice on the receiver side with the second bounce close the baseline. To inhibit opponent from attacking Backhand Push Stroke that is low with backspin and would bounce twice on the receiver side with the second bounce close the baseline. To inhibit opponent from attacking Footwork Sideway movement over a small area close to the table is achieved by sidestepping. This is known as stepping footwork. The feet should never cross, otherwise the ability to move quickly will be lost. Running footwork, is used when it is necessary to cover a lot of ground. To avoid completely out of position, running footwork should not be used close to the table. Practice drill that cover footwork such as Falkenberg drill. Basic Ready Position Try to position yourself so that you are always just slightly to the left of the middle of all possible angles your opponent can hit, assuming you are a right hander. You stand a little to the left of the middle of all angles because you can reach further to the right (on your forehand) than on your backhand, and because your forehand is hit on the right hand side of your body, while your backhand is hit in front of your body. Your shoulders should be facing square to where the ball is coming from, and your feet should be as far apart as you can comfortably put them - about one and a half times your shoulder width is a good rule of thumb. Place your feet also facing the ball, and then move your right foot about six inches to a foot further back than the left foot, and you will have your basic ready position. The right foot is placed further back to allow you to transfer your body weight slightly backwards and forwards when hitting your forehand. If you have your feet too square you will not be able to hit with full power. Having the right foot further back will not affect your backhand much, since there is not much weight transfer on the backhand stroke. Get on the balls of your feet - not your toes and not your heels. Too much on your toes and you'll tend to overbalance forwards, and too much on your heels and you'll tend to lean backwards too much. Make sure your knees are bent, and you should have a slight crouch and a little amount of forward lean. Keep your feet light - some

players like to bounce from one foot to another, and others like to jump on both feet at once. For balls that are table height or lower, bend your knees more to get down to the ball, rather than bending from the waist. Using your knees allows you to hit the ball using your normal technique, while bending from the waist changes the way you have to swing, since your body is now leaning over. Keep your crouching position as much as you can while playing - this helps keep your center of gravity low, and will help you move around the court more smoothly. Standing up straight will raise your center of gravity, lock your knees and impair your ability to balance and move quickly. Rallying Footwork From the basic ready position, you will be able to cover 80-90% of the court simply by taking a simple shuffle step to the left or right. A shuffle step to the right is done by moving the left foot towards the right (not towards the right foot, which is further back), and just before touching the ground, moving your right foot to the right as well. The left foot will hit the ground first, and then the right foot, and then you will hit the ball. Try not to hit the ball while you are still moving, since it is harder to hit a stable stroke. Both feet should move the same distance, whether it is six inches or a foot and a half. Reverse the process to move to the left. Whichever direction you move, your left foot should still finish six inches to a foot in front of the right, when compared to your shoulders. For balls that are too far to reach with one shuffle step, you can use two or more shuffle steps, or use crossover footwork. A crossover step to the right is performed by moving your left foot to the right past your right foot (crossing in front of the right foot), and then moving the right foot the same distance to the right just before the left foot touches the ground. Once both feet have settled, the ball is hit. For the times when you want to move forwards or backwards only, use a simple shuffle forwards or backwards, keeping your feet in the same relative position. Don't worry too much about which foot should move first, it will happen naturally. For moving large distances forward or backward, normal running footwork can be used to get in position. Finish with one foot forward to allow you to push yourself back in the other direction after playing your stroke. When you are moving sideways and forwards or backwards, combinations of these basic methods can be used. For example, to move a small distance to the left, and backwards a little, the right foot should be moved diagonally backwards and to the left, and then the left foot moved the same way, using a shuffle step. To move further, you could move the right foot backwards and to the left, crossing behind the left foot, and then the left foot is moved the same way just before the right foot touches the ground. Serve and Serve Return Footwork When you are serving, make sure that you don't end up too close to the table. Most players serve from close to the endline, and then move a half step backwards, to give them room to swing properly, and not get caught by deep returns.

When you are returning serve, stand a little further back than you normally like to play, and as the server serves, move in to this position. If the ball is going to be long, you can stay at this distance and hit the ball. If the serve is going to be short, you can simply keep moving forward to reach the ball. When returning short serves, step in with the left foot for balls on your backhand side, and with your right foot for serves on your forehand side. Another technique used by the professionals for returning short balls to the backhand is to shuffle forward with both feet, while keeping the shoulders facing the direction the ball is coming from. Your left foot will naturally be in front of the right foot when you use this technique. Against very deep serves (or if you have come in a little too far) step back with the right foot for serves on the forehand side (or shuffle both feet back if you have time), and shuffle both feet backwards for deep balls on backhand side. Conclusion Resist the temptation to do things your way, or else you will regret it later when you have to correct your bad habits. Learn from the example of better players - footwork should be simple, efficient and consistent. Start off on the right foot(!) and you'll always be able to put your best foot forward.

Serve Start of the Service - Law 2.6.1

The Ball Toss - Law 2.6.2

Hitting the Ball Over the Net - Law 2.6.3

Serving in Doubles - Law 2.6.3

Ball Location During Service - Law 2.6.4

Hiding the Ball - Law 2.6.5

On serves you have complete control over all of these factors:


type of spin amount of spin speed of the ball placement of the ball to any location on the table

You must use this control to your advantage! Use it to either win points outright, to setup a third ball attack, or even to intimidate your opponents with your huge arsenal of variations! Although the serve of many top players may seem to like a simple and effortless motion, there is a lot of effort going into them, but it does not show since they have become so efficient at it and disguise it so well. You should put a lot of energy into most serves if you want them to be effective and

win you points. Sometimes this energy will go into speed, sometimes into heavy spin, and sometimes it does not go into the ball at all, but into a fake motion to make it appear like you're putting a lot of speed or spin into the ball, but the energy should almost always be there! So if you're putting so much energy into the ball, how do you make sure it does not bounce off the end of the table? Well the key is for short serves to put this energy into spin instead. You can do this by hitting varying the spot where you contact the ball. For example for a fast swinging pendulum serve, if you hit the back of the ball, you'll get a lot of speed, but if you contact the side of the ball, you can make the ball bounce very short and slow, but with a huge amounts of spin. Try it and you'll see what I mean! Mix this up with contact points a little more towards the top or bottom of the ball, and serve this in a range of locations, and you have a wide variety of serves with variations in spin, speed and location, all from a single swing with only subtle visible changes. The key point in practicing these serves is NOT to get as much spin as possible (although this can already win you many cheap point in lower grades), but to focus on variation and disguising the type of serves that you're playing.

The basic table tennis serving technique If you're a beginner, try the following exercises to help you master the basic table tennis serving technique ... 1. On your backhand side, position yourself at the side of the table, halfway between the net and your end of the table.

2. Hold the racket at an open angle - as if you were going to play a backhand push - and with your free hand, hold the ball between your thumb and first finger at a height of around 30cm (12 inches) directly above the racket.

3. Without moving your racket, drop the ball onto it so that the ball is projected towards your opponent's side of the table. The ball must first bounce on your side of the table and then go over the net and bounce on your opponents side of the table. 4. Repeat this several times until you're consistently successful. 5. Once you've mastered this technique standing close to the net, gradually move further away from the net, nearer to your end of the table, and repeat the exercise. As you move further away from the net, you'll need to play a forward stroke action with your racket to give the ball enough momentum to get over the net.

Advanced serve So if you really want to improve your game you'll need a variety of advanced services so that you can vary the spin, speed, disguise and direction of the ball. For advanced service technique, the use of the wrist is of paramount importance. Short backspin serve The short backspin serve makes it difficult for your opponent to play an attacking stroke, so it can be an effective serve to use. 1. Stand close to, and facing, the table and take a low stance. Keep your arm relaxed and your wrist loose. 2. Throw the ball upwards, as near vertically as possible, so that it rises at least 16cm (6 inches) after leaving your hand. 3. Allow the ball to drop and then, with a forward action, hit the ball with your racket striking the ball on the descent with a fast wrist action and brushing underneath the ball - so that it imparts maximum backspin onto the ball. 4. You should use as short a stroke as possible and keep your body movement to a minimum. You must ensure that the ball bounces on your side of the table and then goes over the net and bounces at least twice on your opponent's side of the table.

This advanced table tennis serve would normally be used to limit your opponent's chances of attacking the ball. It also increases the chances of you getting a return that is long enough to attack. Try to strike the ball on the bottom/back part with a fast wrist action to impart maximum backspin and ensure that the ball bounces on your side of the table close to the net as shown in the above diagram. This advanced table tennis serve can easily be practiced alone - Use multi-ball practice (i.e. have several balls).

Backhand sidespin serve The short backhand sidespin service limits your opponent's options on which shots to play, so it increases the chances of a weak return.

1. Stand close to, and facing, the table and take a low stance. Keep your arm relaxed and your wrist loose.

2. Throw the ball upwards, as near vertically as possible, so that it rises at least 16cm (6 inches) after leaving your hand.

3. Allow the ball to drop and then, with a sideways and slightly forward action, hit the ball with your racket. Use as short a stroke as possible and keep your body movement to a minimum. Strike the ball with a fast wrist action on the back/middle part of the ball so that it imparts maximum sidespin onto the ball.

The high toss service is one of the best table tennis techniques you can master and is favoured by many of the top players because the speed of the ball falling onto the racket helps you to impart extra spin and speed onto the ball. Forehand high toss serve from the backhand court

1. Stand close to the table in your backhand corner. Keep your arm relaxed and your wrist loose.

2. Throw the ball upwards, as near vertically as possible, so that it rises at least 60cm (24 inches) after leaving your hand. You must ensure that your free arm and your body do not disguise the point of contact of the ball on the racket.

3. Allow the ball to drop and then strike the ball using a fast, loose wrist action so that you impart maximum spin onto the ball. Use as short a stroke as possible and keep your body movement to a minimum. Your racket should strike the ball when it is about 15cm (6 inches) above the surface of the table, i.e. the same height as the net.

4. Use different stroke actions to produce variations in spin.

5. Use your follow-through action to disguise the type of spin you've imparted onto the ball by moving the racket in a different direction to the direction used when you struck the ball. This advanced table tennis serve would normally be used to stop the receiver from attacking - and when you want to attack the return, so it's one of the best table tennis techniques to master.

With this type of service, you can create many different subtle variations of spin. You can apply sidespin, together with either topspin or backspin - and keep your opponent guessing as to what type of service he'll receive. By imparting sidespin on the ball, you can also encourage your opponent to return the ball to a specific area - which increases your chances of attacking the ball. Generally you should try to keep the service short over the net to limit your opponent's chances of attacking the ball, but you should also vary the length, speed and direction of your service in order to unsettle your opponent. 1. A long fast service may be produced using a slightly closed bat angle. The ball should make contact with the table within the first third on your side. 2. A short, relatively slow service may be produced using an open bat angle. The ball should make contact with the table around two thirds of the way down your half. 3. A particularly effective short service is one in which the second bounce on your opponent's side (if the ball is not played) makes contact with the table at or very near the end of the table.

Serve Return In preparing to return the service, you should take up the ready position (as shown in this picture). If you're still a beginner you should, depending upon the depth of your opponents service, return the ball using one of the four basic table tennis strokes:

Forehand or backhand push (from a short service) Forehand or backhand drive (from a long service) As receiver, you should try to vary the direction of the return by making good use of the available angles and lines of play. To force a weak return from your opponent, play your shots to their crossover point. The crossover point is the area in which the player has no obvious choice of forehand or backhand. For a right handed player, the crossover point is roughly in line with the right hip. Advanced service return Once you've mastered the basic push and drive strokes to return service, you should move on to mastering a variety of positive, rather than passive, returns. The three which are favoured by most leading players to return a short service are:

1. Short Push The short push return makes it difficult for your opponent to play an attacking stroke, so it can be an effective stroke to play. 1. Stand very close to, and facing, the table and take a low stance. 2. Keep your arm relaxed and your wrist loose. Your free arm should point towards the ball to assist with your balance. 3. Lean over the table and, using a very short stroke, hit the ball before it reaches the top of the bounce. The purpose of this stroke is to stop your opponent from playing an attacking stroke, so you should try to make sure that your shot is also played short over the net and to a wide angle. You should ensure that the ball bounces at least twice on your opponent's side of the table.

2. Fast Attacking Push Use the same technique as the short push (above), but use a fast wrist action to push the ball deep and fast. Aim your shot into the crossover point (the crossover point is the area in which the player has no obvious choice of forehand or backhand. For a right handed player, the crossover point is roughly in line with the right hip) or play it wide.

3. Forehand Flick Whilst the push shot uses an open racket, the forehand flick uses a closed racket. The technique used is the same but you hit over the back or top of ball, using a loose wrist action.

Spin - the hidden side of table tennis Spin plays an important role in the sport of table tennis, so if you're intending to play at an advanced level, you'll need to master this vital skill. Generally, the ball is struck with either topspin or backspin - although sidespin may also be added. Let's have a look at each of these table tennis techniques in turn ...

1. Topspin Topspin is produced by starting your stroke below and/or behind the ball and brushing the ball in an upward and forward motion.

2. Backspin Backspin is produced by starting your stroke above and/or behind the ball and brushing the ball in a downward and forward motion.

Viewed from above 3. Sidespin Sidespin is produced by brushing the ball in a sideways motion. Depending on whether your racket moves to the right or to the left, you'll impart different sidespin.

Spin effect

When you impart topspin onto the ball, it has a higher trajectory and 'kicks' off the table surface in an upwards direction.

When you impart backspin onto the ball, it has a much lower trajectory which causes it to stay low as it bounces off the table surface.

When you impart sidespin onto the ball, the ball will bounce off your opponent's racket in the same direction that your racket was travelling when you hit the ball - as shown here going to the left ... going to the right ...

Viewed from above

Viewed from above