9 Expert Ping Pong Tips For Beginners From The World’s Best Creators

It’s easy to watch the world’s best players (or even just the best players at your local club) and admire how they play.

As a beginner, you can only imagine playing at that level.

However, it’s important to remind yourself that even the best players in the world started as total beginners. We aren’t born with the ability to play world-class table tennis.

So, your journey starts the same as everyone else’s. To help you out, we’re going to share some of the most crucial beginner tips that will accelerate your development and have you winning matches in no time.

We’ve gathered tips from some of the world’s best coaches and creators. You’ll read their best tip for table tennis beginners, then we hope you’ll go and follow them on socials to learn even more.

Larry Hodges – Daily shadow practise

If you spent five-ten minutes each day shadow practicing your strokes and footwork, you’ll be surprised at the improvement, not to mention the health benefits. Make it part of your fitness regimen. 

For example, every day do 50-100 forehands, backhands, forehand loops, backhand loops, and side-to-side footwork, alternating forehands and backhands or just doing all forehand, side to side.

 Adjust to your own style of play, i.e. if you mostly loop the forehand, do lots of forehand looping shadow practice. If you are a chopper, do lots of chopping. Vary the routine to include other moves you use regularly, such as shadow practice stepping in and flipping a short ball to the forehand, or a forehand loop against backspin followed by a smash or loop against topspin. 

When no one’s watching (if you’re shy), play out points as if they were real!
Larry Hodges

Larry Hodges

Larry blogs weekly at tabletenniscoaching.com. He’s a professional table tennis coach at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, a member of the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame, and a recipient of numerous awards for his contributions to the sport. He’s published over 2000 articles and 9 table tennis books.

Kevin Finn – Always carry a notebook

My best tip is more of a habit than a piece of technical advice: Carry a notebook in your bag and take notes on your game—cues you find helpful, “aha moments,” great pieces of advice from more experienced players, tactics you find useful, thoughts on your equipment, etc.

This simple practice is a SKELETON KEY that will unlock many doors on your path to improvement
Kevin Finn

Kevin Finn

Kevin is the owner and creator of Peak Performance Table Tennis. He helps both casual and competitive athletes improve their performance and play pain-free with custom online workouts, nutrition plans, and consultations. Visit PeakPerformanceTableTennis.com to download a free chapter of his best-selling book.

Follow Kevin on Instagram (@peakperformancetabletennis)

Matt Hetherington – Get a spin-producing racket and practice basics

For total beginners, the most important advice is to get a racket which can produce some spin first and foremost. Work on your coordination and basic techniques.

Most importantly remember that to master skills in table tennis requires a great deal of repetition – so it’s important to find enjoyment in that. You need to understand that it might be a lot of the same stuff over and over again, but it’s worth it when it all falls into place.
Matt Hetherington

Matt Hetherington

Matt is a certified ITTF Level 2 Coach and table tennis writer from New Zealand. He is a New Zealand National Representative and is now a professional coach at LYTTC in New Jersey, USA. He has previously worked as the Media and Communications Director at USA Table Tennis and as a blogger and equipment expert at Tabletennis11.com. His blog, MHTableTennis.com is a coaching blog covering topics across tactical, technical, physical, and mental.

Follow Matt on Tiktok (mhtabletennis) or Instagram (@mhtabletennis)

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Eddy Zeile – Perfect practice makes it perfect

The quote of “Practice makes it perfect” is rubbish. It’s “Perfect practice makes it perfect“.

The perfect thing to do is to keep it simple. Do what the sport is, which is putting a ball on a table. Try to only focus on consistency because the hardest thing in this sport is to make contact with the ball using a racket. Keep it on the table to grow your touch, control, timing and placement.

It will also build your confidence, desire and competitive work rate to do better. Any other shot or technique that you will try to learn going forwards will be easier and faster. 

Keep it simple – Just play, have fun and enjoy the game!
Eddy Zeile

Eddy Zeile

Eddy is a level 2 qualified coach and owner of Dublin TTC. As a former professional player from Latvia, he now coaches and shares his advice on the @DublinTableTennisClub YouTube account.

Follow Eddy and Dublin TTC on Instagram (@dublinttc)

Brian Zhao – Believe in yourself

Believe that you can improve because we all can. When solving problems, first ask why. Then figure out how.
Brian Zhao PandaPong

Brian Zhao

Brian is the player behind the incredible @PandaPong channel on YouTube. He brings a witty and entertaining style of videos alongside excellent insight into technique, strategy and equipment reviews.

Spoiler: Brian isn’t actually a Panda.

Elliott Chan – Focus on your backhand

The best piece of advice that I would give to total beginners at table tennis would be to just enjoy, try to play as often as possible, and really enjoy the sound of the ball as well as the satisfying feeling of getting the ball onto the table.

In terms of a more technical tip, I would recommend putting more focus on your backhand instead of your forehand when you start learning table tennis. Nowadays, in the modern table tennis era, the backhand is already starting to dominate at the highest level, especially in Europe, so you will have a huge advantage if you have a better backhand than others.
Elliott Chan

Elliott Chan

Don’t sleep on Elliott’s smart analysis on his YouTube channel, Rational Table Tennis. As one of the top junior players in the UK, Elliot brings a unique perspective on how to succeed as a developing junior. His latest rankings place him as the 10th best Under 16 player in England.

Tim Cudjoe – Play with other keen improvers

Find what works best for you and build around that. Play with players that enjoy the thrill of learning. Most of all have fun!
Tim Cudjoe

Tim Cudjoe

Tim is the amazing content creator and social media manager at the brilliant PingPod in New York. His Instagram (@timcudjoe) is full of incredible behind-the-scenes footage of all the content used to promote PingPod. There’s no better place in the world to watch beginners learn how to play and spot most impactful tips/tricks.

Anton Andersson – 5 simple steps to improve

I have 5 very simple steps and if you follow them I can guarantee that you will improve as a table tennis player.

1. Be relaxed in your body and play safe. 
2. Have your racket right in front of you between every shot so you are ready with both backhand and forehand
3. Always bend your legs.
4. Have the weight on the front of your feet
5. Never stand still, use small jumps between your shots.
Anton Andersson

Anton Andersson

Anton has seen viral success on Tiktok with his incredible range of skills, guides, comedy and tactics. A professional player with Lyckeby BTK in Sweden, Anton knows what it takes to perform under intense pressure and find those little edges that win matches.
Follow him on TikTok (@antonander97) or Instagram (@antonander1997)

David Bruce – Practise a range of spinny serves

Authors Note: I don’t consider myself one of the world’s best table tennis creators! However, this is my favorite tip for beginners and I thought it would be useful for people.

In every match you’ll ever play, there’s only one shot that you have full and total control over.

Your serve.

You’re also guaranteed to serve for 50% of all points you’ll ever play. That makes it incredibly powerful if you develop strong serves that your opponents struggle to return (or return badly).

You don’t need a partner, robot, or even a table to practise serves. Anything that’s around the height of a table allows you to practise your contact and feeling with the ball.

As a beginner, you’re main aim is to generate lots of spin and place the ball in awkward places for your opponent. If your opponent’s can’t return just half your serves, that’s like a 5-0 head-start in every game.
David - Founder of Racket Insight

David Bruce

David is a long-time player, coach, and umpire who founded racketinsight.com as a way to share helpful table tennis content online. You can read more about him on our ‘About‘ page.

Keep up to date with RacketInsight on Instagram (@racketinsight) and TikTok (racketinsight)

What an awesome list of tips for beginner table tennis players. A huge thanks to everyone who contributed their expertise to this article.

If you’re just starting out with your table tennis journey and reading this article, I hope you picked up a few tips that you can take with you next time you’re in front of a table. If you want more, check out the best table tennis YouTube channels.

We also have some awesome resources here on Racket Insight, including a super detailed beginners guide to table tennis, as well as our equipment recommendations like the best rubbers and best blades.

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The Controller

David's been playing Table Tennis since he was 12, earning his first coaching license in 2012. He's played in national team & individual competitions, although he prefers the more relaxed nature of a local league match! After earning his umpiring qualification in England, David moved to Australia and started Racket Insight to share information about the sport he loves.

Blade: Stiga WRB Offensive Classic | Forehand: Calibra LT | Backhand: Xiom Musa
Playstyle: All-Round Attacker

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