Ok, so the man cave is looking good. The bar is stocked, polished and ready. Your newly acquired Ping Pong table is set up and ready to go. All you need now, before your buddies come around for that much anticipated tournament, is the knowledge to show them just how it’s done. Pay attention, as we will now give you a few tips on how to improve your Ping Pong game.
An interesting fact before we get started. Ping Pong and Tables Tennis is the same game. It’s just how it is perceived by the participants. Ping Pong is generally what the back yard or man cave game is called, as opposed to Table Tennis, which is what professionals like to call the game to distinguish it from the layman’s game, and to help people understand that it is a legitimate sport.
Yes, that’s right, it is called a paddle, although it is also known as a bat or a racket. Now were not sure why it’s called a paddle, maybe because it looks like someone cut the end of a canoes paddle when they invented the game, I guess it will remain one of life’s great mysteries. Besides all of that, it is important to call it by the right name, even if it’s just to impress your buddies.
TIP: Paddles have 2 different colors on each side because at a professional level, each side will have a different pattern set up for the individual to play forehand and backhand shots
At the beginner level, it doesn’t really matter about different colors and textures on the paddle.
Remember, the secret of a good Ping Pong player is knowing how to control the spin of the ball.
Most, if not all professionals, will tell you the same thing, “Use your own Paddle”. Now at the beginner level, you would think that this is not that important, but believe me, it is. There can be a multitude of differences between paddles, and this can alter the way they behave when used. You may have spent hours practicing that one shot that can’t be played, then you pick up another paddle and it just doesn’t work. So remember, pick a paddle, and stick with it.
Learn the Spin
Like I said earlier, the secret to Ping Pong is knowing how to control the spin of the ball, but it is also extremely important to know what your opponent is doing. Always watch how your opponent is holding the paddle, and how they are hitting the ball. Should the opposition player hit the ball from a low position to a high position, then the spin on the ball will be topspin. If the opponent does the opposite, high to low, then the ball will have backspin. So far so good, right? Now, if your nemesis hits the ball from their left to their right, then the spin will be right sidespin. Again, if the opposite applies, then the spin will be left side spin. It’s that simple. Always watch how your opponent hits the ball to anticipate the balls direction.
Ok, now you know what to look for, how do you deal with it? This part is going to be a little complicated, so don’t be scared to read it twice. If your opponent has put topspin onto the ball, then the best way to control or compensate for that spin is to angle the leading face of the paddle down, contacting the approaching ball above the center. So at this point it is going to be obvious that if the opposite of this occurs, backspin, then the front of the paddle will be face up, and the ball hit below the center will apply.
Sidespin is treated with the same respect. If Mr. Ping Pong has put a right side spin onto the ball, then your answer to that will be to have the face of you paddle angled to the right, and hit the oncoming missile to the left of the middle line of the ball. If the side spin is left, then the opposite approach is used. In theory, this all sounds very simple, but believe me it is not. Practice with your buddies slowly at first until you have a feel for your paddle, and can anticipate the ball spin and direction. As you improve, then speed up your game until it become natural for you.
Use Your Body
We have all watched professional Table Tennis players, those at the highest level, hitting the skins off the ball, but how do they get so much power into their shots? The answer is very simple, they use their bodies when they hit the damn thing. It’s as simple as moving your hips and shoulders backwards when you are in the backswing, and forwards when you apply a forehand shot. You need to coordinate this with your feet, as you transfer the weight from one side to other, it’s all about maintaining your balance. This is again a thing that will take lots of practice, but once mastered, will make all of your shots much more powerful, and harder to return, which is exactly what we want.
Practice, Practice, Practice
As any self-respecting man-caver would know, practice makes perfect. It is important to practice by yourself at first. This is why you bought the table that you can fold one half up. Make yourself a practice regime. Start by practicing one thing over and over until you find that it comes naturally. Mixing up you practice will just confuse the issue, and your body will not learn. The beauty about practicing with yourself is that once you are competent, then you can start to develop and practice strategies the can be used within the game. As all pros will tell you, practice is good for development, but when it comes to game time, you are there to win.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mastering Ping Pong. Keep in mind that like all things that need to be conquered, practice is the key. Happy playing, and don’t forget to unleash the beast, when your buddies come around for that biggest of all man-cave tournaments, the inaugural man-cave-Ping-Pong-masters.