Office Table Tennis Tips

10 Simple Tips to Beat Everyone in Your Office at Table Tennis

Over the last 10 years, ping pong, or table tennis, has been growing fast in popularity in workplaces around the world.

This is great news since ping pong at work boosts the morale of workers, motivates them, and makes them more productive. Relaxing the mind and playing ping pong in between working hours helps people perform their best, so having a table in the office is a great idea.

However, many of us do not want to just play. We want to win.

We all know that player who seems like they’re unbeatable. Thankfully, I can assure you that that isn’t the case. Anyone can be beaten.

What if I told you that, following a series of proven steps, beating good casual players can be surprisingly simple? If you follow the 10 tips in this guide, you’ll be able to beat virtually any casual player easily.

We have extensive experience in table tennis tournaments and many years of training under our belts. So, let me tell you what I would do if I wanted to be the best player in my office. Let’s begin!

1. Develop good serves

In table tennis, the two most important shots are the serve and receive.

You can have the best forehand smash in the world, but if you never create opportunities with your serve and receive to put it into play, it won’t help you win matches.

The average table tennis rally lasts between just 2 and 5 strokes. That means your serves are used proportionally the most important shot in the game.

If you are serving, using serves that make the point develop in your favor is crucial. If you are able to learn really good serves, you can even win many points outright per game.

If you are receiving and you can neutralize your opponent’s advantage and even gain an advantage with a well-placed receive, you will have the upper hand on almost every point.

Here are five serves that I consider the best to trouble your opponents. All of these serves are incredibly effective. They are the same ones that professional players use!

Pendulum serve

The pendulum serve is possibly the most effective serve you can learn. A good topspin pendulum serve will win you tons of points outright.

A deep sidespin pendulum serve to the opponent’s backhand is going to make them unable to attack your serves, and they’ll pop up many balls.

Focus on contacting the ball on its side to generate tons of sidespin.

Backhand serve

This serve stands out, in my opinion, for how easy it is to perform.

If you do it fast and to the backhand of the opponent, you will surely get many chances to attack with your forehand, since the spin will direct your opponent’s receive toward your forehand side.

Backspin serve

This is possibly the hardest service to learn on this list, but it’s worth it.

To put backspin on the ball, you have to graze underneath it. This is going to make it so that when your opponents contact the ball, it will fall into the net.

Tomahawk serve

Another very effective serve is the tomahawk serve. This serve has sidespin and you can also add topspin or backspin to it.

The advantage of this serve is that it is relatively easy to execute and carries lots of spin.

Ace serve

Another incredibly useful service is the ace serve.

This is a fast down-the-line serve that is great for catching opponents off guard.

Below you will see a video of the 5 serves in order, the pendulum serve, the tomahawk serve, the backhand serve, the backspin serve and the ace serve.

2. Consistency is king

In this sport, the player who wins the point is the one who can successfully return one more ball than their opponent.

The key to winning in table tennis is to find the sweet spot where you don’t make mistakes but force your opponent to do so.

The vast majority of office players are going to make quite a few mistakes, which is normal. I have been training for many years and I keep hitting the ball long or into the net all the time.

You can take advantage of this. If you concentrate on just returning the ball to the other side and attacking when your opponent gives up an easy chance, you’re much less likely to lose.

To achieve this goal, pay attention to the opponent’s serves and any spin they’re applying. You can then react to push the ball back to their side of the table.. 

Try to react as quickly as possible to the direction of incoming shots and move your body across to where the ball is travelling. Catch the ball while it’s still rising or at the peak of the bounce to give yourself the most margin for error.

If you wait for the ball to drop by standing far away from the table, you’ll be far more likely to make the point-losing mistake yourself.

3. Hold the racket professionally.

It is crucial to grip the racket correctly.

In short, your grip should look like so (for most players):

Shakehand Grip Explainer

In addition to placing your fingers in the correct places, you must have a loose grip.

A very common mistake is to hold the racket too tight, like a baseball bat.

This is detrimental to table tennis as you won’t be able to have the delicate touch needed to get the ball on the table.

Remember that the ball weighs only 2.7 grams so you don’t need to hit it very hard at all.

4. Work on the fundamentals

The next piece of advice we have for you is to master the fundamentals.

The basic strokes of the sport are the forehand drive, forehand push, backhand drive, and backhand push.

It is very important that you perform these strokes with a good degree of success.

If you can do that, you will have a very safe four-shot arsenal with which you can win the vast majority of matches against casual players.

If you want to polish your shots but don’t have anyone to practice with, a very good alternative is to do shadow play

Read about the correct technique and hit the shots in the air, without the ball, linking one stroke with the other.

Play a backhand drive, move one step toward your forehand side and play a forehand drive. 

After that, play two backhands and two forehands. You can then start introducing many variations like two backhands, two in the middle, and two forehands, which will greatly help your footwork and coordination.

If you do this, you will find that you will be much more coordinated when you are playing and the shots will flow naturally.

It is important that you return to the ready position in between shots.

5. Develop your own playstyle

In table tennis, we all have a style of play.

It is very important that you recognize what your strengths are and try to take advantage of them.

Do you have a good forehand smash? Play deep backhand topspin serves so that the ball pops up to your forehand.

Do you feel comfortable pushing the ball? Serve backspin to enter a push-to-push rally where you will have the advantage.

Are you better with your backhand? Stand more in the middle of the table.

If you know which shots you’re good at, you can work so that your matches revolve around your strengths.

6. Work on your placement

Casual players are usually good when you play all your shots to the same spot, but they don’t have good footwork.

That’s why if you move them from side to side, you are much more likely to earn more points.

Try to practice hitting the ball to both corners and the middle.

If you can alternate shots to both corners, your opponents will never have any breathing room, and you will be able to exploit their lack of proper footwork.

Another thing you can do is play a short ball and a long ball after that.

If you do it right, it will usually result in easy points for you as most casual players are not used to getting in and out of the table quickly.

7. Purchase a good premade racket

An important point to keep in mind when taking table tennis a little more seriously is to have your own racket. This way, you can learn how it works and you can have much more consistency.

Chances are the rackets in your office are going to be very worn out and their rubbers won’t have much grip at all.

If you want to perform the techniques that we just talked about like all the different serves or the drives and pushes, you will need a racket that has grip.

You don’t need to buy an expensive custom racket, there are many good quality premade rackets that have more than enough spin and speed.

For example, we’ve tested the Killerspin JET400 and we loved it.

These rackets are not too expensive and have high-quality blades and rubbers.

You have probably never played with a proper racket since sporting goods stores only sell cheap, poor-quality rackets.

The change is extremely noticeable. With poor quality rackets, you cannot play proper table tennis.

If you want to win at table tennis, you must have a good racket.

Once you have your racket, it is important that you clean and care for your table tennis racket properly so that it will last as long as possible.

8. Keep the ball low to the net

A key tip for casual players is to keep the ball low to the net.

The vast majority of casual players don’t attack with enough spin to get the ball up and down on the other side of the table.

Also, most casual players use rackets with no spin, so they will probably never be able to perform topspin shots. Loops cannot be played with poor-quality premade rackets.

Because of this, you mustn’t leave high balls.

If you play the ball low to the net, your opponents will never be able to attack you they won’t have enough margin for error to get the ball to land on the table.

If you find that most of your shots are travelling high over the net, you have to close the angle of your racket so the contact side is facing further towards the ground.

This will neutralize your opponent’s ability to attack.

9. Play to your opponent’s weaknesses

In table tennis, we all have relative strengths and weaknesses. Even the best in the world have them.

It is important that you think about your opponent’s weaknesses and take advantage of them.

If they don’t move very well, placement is the way to go. Move them side to side. Get them in and out of the table.

If they have a killer forehand smash, play towards their backhand, or make sure to keep the ball low to the net when you play to their forehand.

If they’re good at playing backhand shots, aim for the corners.

All this must be implemented from the serve and receive. If your opponent doesn’t get in and out of the table well, serve short and then play the next ball long.

If your opponent isn’t good at backhand shots, serve long with sidespin to their backhand.

The idea of ​​table tennis is to play to your strengths and the opponent’s weaknesses.

Most casual players aren’t going to think about tactics, they’re just going to play points to the best of their ability.

If you do, you will have a huge advantage over them.

10. Think about your matches after they’re done

Related to the previous point, one of the best tips I can give you is to analyze matches once they are over.

It doesn’t have to be a very in-depth analysis, simply acknowledging how the match went and why you won or lost provides valuable information.

If you played a game, won and you’re able to identify why you won, you can try to replicate in the future what brought you success.

Conversely, if you played a game, lost, and you can identify why you lost, you can try a different game plan the next time.

If you lose and keep playing the same way, chances are your opponent will keep winning.

If you think about why they beat you, you can try to avoid it next time.

Maybe they were good at backspin rallies so you have to serve topspin.

Maybe they were good at dominating the game with their forehands so you have to play to their backhands.

Maybe they were moving you side to side so you have to work on your serve and receive to move them before they move you.

The ability to recognize situations and change for the better is what separates a normal player from a great one.

Alvaro’s been playing Table Tennis since he was 15 and is now ranked within the top 200 in his native Argentina. He loves to compete in provincial tournaments and is always looking for ways to improve. Alvaro made his favourite memories with a racket in hand, and he joined the RacketInsight team to share his passion with other players!

Blade: Tibhar Stratus Power Wood | Forehand: Nittaku Fastarc G-1 | Backhand: Rasanter R42
Playstyle: Forehand Looper

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