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There are a lot of ways you can serve. Short serves are perhaps the best method because it makes it very hard for your opponent to gain any kind of advantage. You can also mix and match serves to keep your opponent guessing. Height 1 is when the ping pong ball has bounced and is on the way up.
You can hit the ball just before it reaches maximum height using a bit of a backswing coupled with a short, quick stroke. This has the effect of catching the other player unprepared and can often win you the point. Height 2 is when the ping pong ball has bounced and is at its highest point. The key here is to use a relaxed technique for the best effect.
Here are where flat shots are usually best performed. Height 3 is when the ping pong ball has bounced and is about to hit the table. This would normally require a large forearm swing before the impact. Forehand loops are most effective at this height. You may have picked up the habit of taking a longer swing in playing basketball, golf or tennis, but in table tennis, having a shorter swing is better. The reasoning behind this is that a longer swing allows more room for error and it incapacitates you for a longer time.
Both the backhand and the forehand should use short, powerful swings to get you back in position more quickly. Beginners should start with a basic paddle to get a feel for the game.
After you feel like you cannot get any more performance out of the racket, you can go ahead and get a better table tennis paddle. Use it when practicing and in tournaments. Treat your paddle with respect — keep it inside a case and use a special cleaning solution or a simple mix of soap and water after each use. The general rule here is that the lower the ball is in relation to the net, the harder it will be for your opponent to counter with a variety of moves.
This way he will be forced to step back but may not have the necessary reflexes to do so, giving you another point. Table tennis is all about improving by matching up with better opponents. Table tennis clubs typically group their players by skill level.
The game is just as psychological as it is physical. Beginners often get into the habit of trying to smash the ball each time it comes on their end. Take a deep breath, visualize winning the next point and see where you could improve or switch tactics. Utilize the pause when serving to think about your service strategy and the impending return.
You should not always try to serve with as much spin as possible. You can do this for the backspin serve for example, by swinging your paddle normally but making contact with the ball at the base of the racket, closer to your hand the paddle has the slowest speed there. This way your opponent will get under the ball expecting heavy backspin but the ball will be returned high over the net, making it easy for you to score.
To maximise the power output, you want to rotate your upper body while lowering yourself a bit on the side with the paddle right if you are right handed. This is the same advice that coaches give to boxers. Hit the ball from the hips and your shots will become tremendously powerful. This is especially true when topspinning a ball when it has backspin.
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But that's the problem. There are too many! So it's really hard to find the good ones. In fact, I've now watched so many table tennis videos on YouTube that I've lost count. But of course when I DO find one, it keeps me coming back for more. I have to keep looking!
After all, where else can I see the best players in the world up close?