How to Win At Ping Pong (8 Strategic Tips)

Does it ever feel like you play the ping-pong well, but you just cannot seem to win it? You come close to victory; however, it always gets you in the end? It can get frustrating, especially if you believe you are good at it. If so, you are not the first to be disheartened by the results.

Everyone goes through a bad patch because luck is always changing. However, as you wait on fate to turn things around, there are some tips and tricks you can employ to make your skills better.

Every game comes with some tactics that, when applied correctly, can do wonders for the player. Although these tactics can only work if you focus on three necessary skills-

  • Your aptitude to keep the ball in play.
  • Your ability to play the ball towards particular areas on the table.
  • Your potential to give pressure to your opponent by utilizing various kinds and quantities of spins and speeds to create the winning shots. 

As the primary goal of the game is to keep the ball going, there is much more to it. Here are a few strategies that you can work on to make sure you always win.

8 Tricks to Getting Better At Ping Pong

1. Be In Control of The Pace

In this game, the one who controls the pace takes the lead. It is all about the measure of control and speed at which the game is going. Ping-pong is strategic like chess, but you play it with lightning speed.

Some players find it challenging to discern the tempo of the game; however, if you start with slower shots and gradually lead up to faster ones, you can be the one to take it all the way.

Always feel the pace of the game and ensure you are a few steps ahead. Mastering the overall rhythm of your game is like imposing your tactics on your opponent.

When you switch up the shots’ pace, it renders the opponent to make more errors while trying to fit in the flow.

Often during matches, coaches will instruct their students to change the pace, as they know its impact on the game. Always be aware of where the game is going and how to hedge your bets accordingly to emerge triumphantly.

2. Know Your Strengths and Pattern

Before we dive into more tricks, you must be aware of your standing in the game. Knowing your strengths, weaknesses are of the utmost importance.

You can always anticipate that an intelligent opponent must have all your stronger and weaker areas sorted out by the end of the game, and it is highly likely that they will count on them in the future.

Be prepared for an onslaught on your vulnerable points, and try to make them as hard as possible to exploit. If your opponent fires a tricky serve that leaves you perplexed and you fail at returning it, then you can definitely expect its recurrence.

Always keep your flaws in check and make sure you study yourself enough to know where you stand firm. Ping-pong is more than just a physical game; it requires immense mind games as well.

3. Study Thy Foe

Never fail to analyze your opponent. You may ace all your serves and services, but if you cannot be smart enough to study your opponent throughout the match, then you may as well accept defeat.

It is about understanding what makes your competitor tick, which is vital to reaching the end of the game.

Does your foe crack under pressure? Does it rile them up enough to play even better or worse? Can they keep their emotions in check, or do they succumb to anger? You must also examine what kind of player they are: attacker, defender, or all-rounder.

A skillful opponent will always have a particular pattern they follow as the game nears the end, and they are hungering for a win; it is up to you to assess them then manipulate it in your favor.

Play to their strengths and weaknesses, but be mindful of your own, too.

4. Spice up The Serves

Serving in Ping Pong

The secret to getting the winner title also lies in mixing up your serves. Do not stick with just one serving technique; you must make use of various if you want to win.

No matter what shots you decide to play, be they fast, slow, tricky, or a combo, just ensure that you are doing it correctly.

Your ping-pong technique needs to encompass accurately consistent shots instead of risky ones.

Here are some hacks you should incorporate:

  • Make controlling the ball your priority.
  • Intend your shots for areas difficult for your rival to get.
  • Stay one step ahead in serving tricky shots.
  • Be the attacker

You can always do a deep serve towards your opponent’s elbow or target areas that will flummox them enough to cause a delay in their reaction and make them commit unwarranted errors. This way, you stay in control of the tempo.

However, make sure you serve correctly, avoiding swift or in-table serves so that you don’t risk losing on serve.

5. Head in the Game

Keeping a cool head and calm demeanor while playing would lead you to victory. Do not lose focus, and do not switch strategies midway.

Once you serve, stay concentrated. If you serve tricky shots and are controlling the flow of the game, then keep going. Maintain the balance and stability until you win.

The ending few points of the match are not the moment where you should decide to try out an entirely different game plan. Stick with what brought you this far in the game and slowly but surely take those tactics to the end.

Only employ a new strategy at the last point if you are confident that it will benefit you. If you find yourself leading the game, do not get too excited because one should never celebrate too early.

Stay focused and calmly work for the finish line; do not entertain any distractions.

6. Work that Footwork

Ping-pong not only requires quick and efficient handwork, it also calls for swift footwork. Many ping-pong champions are famous for being unrealistically quick on their feet because they understand what it means to win the game.

Enhanced footwork will boost the quality of your shots and make your move faster. The four main footwork patterns are:

  • Two steps: You should make use of this after your service to swiftly return to your position.
  • Crossover: This pattern is for turning around and serving an attack.
  • Quick jump: Make use of short yet fast hops to move forward back toward the table.
  • Side by side: This is for the constant left and right movements.

Many players fall short in fully comprehending that footwork is the foundation of ping-pong. If you cannot be quick on your toes literally and figuratively, then you are foregoing a massive part of this game.

7. Ace Your Service and Return of Service

The service is the most critical stroke in the game as it offers the only situation where you get cumulative control over how and where you wish to play the ball.

Play your service in a way so that your opponent fails to return the ball or hit it back in a position where you can both continue playing.

You must establish what kinds of service your opponent cannot play and use that to initiate the first attack.

Also determine if your opponent is better at the backhand or forehand. What spin and serve they feel most comfortable with. Alter your services, so your opponent does not see it coming.

The return of service should be done in the same fashion. You must deduce which hand approach your opponent goes for with the racket, what serves they employ, and then use your speed and placement to return your service in a precise manner.

8. The Percentage Play

With all said and done, here is another tip for you. Always gauge the percentage.

Many players choose to decide their fates and attempt to hit tremendous winning shots in the final points that even the experts would think twice before attempting. Oftentimes than not, it leads to glory.

If you wish to go for these bold shots, then you must focus on playing the final points the same as the rest of the game. Be as assertive as you can, but also stay balanced and in maximum control of the ball.

If the opportunity presents itself, take it but do not go overboard or you may lose.

If the chance to attack does not appear, concentrate on making it tough for your competitor to attack and keep anticipating another possibility. You must not force an opportunity that is not favorable; just play every ball as it comes.


While all these strategies are sure to make you a winner, you must never forget your one true friend: practice. Work on your weaknesses, clear your head while playing, and you will have a smooth road to victory.

Understand how well you fare in the game and then take it from that. Fortune favors the bold and those who seek glory, always get it.

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Bradley Anderson
Bradley Anderson
Bradley Anderson hails from the northwestern United States and brings nine years of professional table tennis experience to SportsDean. He began playing as a child in local table tennis leagues and continued playing through college, where he founded and coached his own players’ association, the Table Tennis Teamsters, in 2011.

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