Table tennis is one of the most incredible sports that is fast to master and needs little investment to start. It is also a game you can play even with little experience. It’s because of this that the popularity of the sport has grown outstandingly all over the world. Do you know the longest table tennis game ever played lasted for 8 hours and 40 minutes? That is how fun the game can be. But how many levels are there in table tennis?
There are three levels in table tennis. These are the beginner level, intermediate level, and advanced level. The players’ mistake rates, footwork skills, efficiency in their strokes, and their ability to follow all rules of the sport determine either of these levels.
There’s a lot you ought to know about table tennis and the general structure of the game. Read on this article to find out all these.
- What Are the Different Playing Levels In Table Tennis?
- How Do You master Table Tennis?
- What Are the 5 Rules of Table Tennis?
- How Do You Train for Table Tennis?
- How Long Does It Take to Become Good at Table Tennis?
- My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
What Are the Different Playing Levels In Table Tennis?
The different playing levels in table tennis are the beginner levels, intermediate levels, and advanced levels. Once you attain the advanced level, you can make it to play all professional and world-class games.
Players in table tennis differ according to their immediate skills and ability to control the ball. However, this may vary from one region to another based on different factors. Check the following factors under each level to help you know why you are at the present level you are in.
Here you are typically new to the game with no idea about ball control, power, and spinning techniques. Since you are interested in learning the sport, you may make several mistakes here; however, the errors may be inconsistent since you are trying harder to catch up.
Other common attributes you may have in this level are:
- You may have an idea of the different strokes in the game from seeing experienced players doing it. But your timing and the stroke level are probably very low.
- You may be unsure of how much you can move around the table to return a ball. As a result, you may stay stuck in a single position, rarely making a move, or moving too closer to the balls than you should.
- Because of minimal knowledge of the game, you may often find yourself preferring training for rallies instead of serve and return techniques. It happens when one thinks the serves are just for starting the game only.
- Concerning your interest in the game, you may have carried with you every necessary equipment relative to the sport. But it will not be a surprise if on reaching there you decide to place yours down and choose to use those recommended by the experienced players you meet in the game.
If you have been a consistent player to reach this level. It means you understand some of the basic techniques for making a score in the game. But you may be lacking the spin power to manage the skill and deliver it as effectively as it should be.
Common attributes for an intermediate level table tennis player are:
- You will likely try to avoid some of the minor mistakes, though you may not entirely miss them because of the pressure from experienced players.
- Although your ball delivery might not be that effective, you can tell when and how to go about a particular stroke. If you are an aggressive person, you will be attacking easy balls coming your way and scoring.
- You now have fast footwork, and can manage to balance yourself throughout the game after an attack. However, it could be challenging for you to know which position to stand for your next move.
- There is a high probability that you are getting better in different tactics and techniques in the game, but you might be too focused on the tactics you use. So, you forget to concentrate on what your opponent is doing to deliver such a hard shot. As you play more, you will probably learn more about specific techniques as you see them in an experienced player.
- By now you are doing better in practicing serves and return serves and rallying because you already know how important they are for your points.
The player has full control over the ball at this point, making timely, powerful, and swift attacks. However, it’s never the end of practice. At this level, you should keep practicing until you get to a level where you can attack from any position the ball finds you in. With better practice, you will also make it to focus on different tactical intelligence.
You can know you are in the advanced level if:
- You have minimal to no mistakes at all with high consistent strokes.
- If you hardly rely on forcing mistakes on your opponent to get points. It is because this is the norm in most individuals’ play.
- If you can employ different strokes any time with a top-up of a unique technique. It should be something you have learned so far over the period you have been playing the sport.
- You have attractive footwork worth making an example of. A perfect return serve is always a result of your ability to recover quickly from the previous stroke and anticipate it in advance.
- You worry less about the equipment you have and instead put effort into practicing both rallies, serves and return serves. It’s also at this stage that you already know what exact equipment you prefer and you have no problem with sticking to new decisions reached during a match. This happens mostly in tournaments.
How Do You master Table Tennis?
To master table tennis, you need to learn to use your racquet, get yourself a practice partner, and put more time into your practice than competing. Also, practice maintaining a good ready position and determining the ball’s direction of spin.
It will not be fair if I say it to lure you into the game, but I am telling you because it is true. Table tennis is very easy to learn and to play. Also, with determination and persistence, you’ll be able to climb the ladder into more advanced levels of skills very quickly. Here is what you need to know to master the sport.
Evaluate the Spin On the Ball
Although this may seem quite difficult at first, it’s quite simple. You only need to look at your opponent’s racket impact with the ball.
If the racket is moving from:
- The player’s left side to right side:- it is right sidespin.
- The opponent’s right to the left side:- it is a left sidespin
- Low to high:- anticipate a topspin
- Hight to low:- you should expect a backspin
Maintain a Good Ready Position
It is always the case after a stroke. It is crucial to get quickly into the correct position for the next ball. It should help you to return different serves and strokes.
The best way to always go about this is by:
- Move towards the ball and maintain balanced feet
- Strike the ball and return to your ready position.
- Repeat these two processes until the rally ends.
Always Use Your Racket
Table tennis rackets can differ from long arms or overly thick or thin arms. Therefore, it is always best to practice with your racquet and learn to use it. Just as you would always keep your phone charged, you should always keep the racquet in good shape. It includes washing it after every use or getting a special racket cleaner if it’s an inverted sponge rubber.
Move Your Whole Body for Forehand Strokes
A common mistake people often make when hitting forehands is hitting the ball with the arm alone. This limits the power you release the ball with as it also reduces its consistency. Therefore, your hips and shoulders should always move forward when hitting a forehand. When making a backswing, the hips and shoulders should also move uniformly backward.
Spend More Time Practising
The total time you spent practicing should be more than the time you spend competing. This time of practice is when you get to practice your serves and the tactics you just saw. Conversely, when you compete, you should be focused on winning the game by implementing every shot, serve, and technique you have practiced before.
Find Yourself Table Tennis Training Partners
This is one of the key things that determines your rising to higher levels in the game. Therefore, if you are a club member, you may need to make friends with someone nearby. Then, you can schedule practice times with each other. The easiest way to learn your weaknesses is to practice alone, but it is much better to do so with someone who understands you.
Ideally, it should be someone with the same level as you or just a little higher than you. You can also get yourself a table tennis robot for home practice. Although several clubs are already updating to using them, so you may not need to buy one for your home use.
What Are the 5 Rules of Table Tennis?
The five rules of table tennis are no touching the ball or table with a non-paddle hand, and the honor system applies in case of disagreements. Others are volleys are disallowed, any reverse bounce ball over the net is a point, and you must toss the ball before serving.
Table tennis has grown extensively, and although it’s easy to learn and play, different rules govern your playing. But the following are the most official rules that apply for any table tennis game in the world.
1. Honor System Applies on All Disagreements
Table tennis is sportsmanship and a world-class game. Suppose you disagree with your opponent over a point while playing without a referee. The honor system maintains that you should find a way to agree or redo the point.
2. No Touching the Ball With a Non-Paddle Hand
When you try to save a shot, you sometimes touch the ball or the table by accident in the process. However, it is only permissible to touch it with the paddle hand, not the non-paddle hand.
The table may also move toward your opponent if you touch it with your hand in any way. That is an automatic point for him.
3. You Have a Point From a Reverse Bounce Over the Net
If you hit a ball and it bounces back over the net after hitting your rival’s side, that is a straight point for you. It is also the same case if it happens for your rival.
4. Volleys Are Not Allowed
Table tennis does not permit hitting a ball before it bounces; that will be a point for your opponent.
I have an extensive article about volleys and table tennis that I highly encourage you to read. There are some gold nuggets where you can benefit from!
5. Legal Serving
The player must toss the ball up before serving. The toss should not be over the table surface; it should be behind the table surface.
A ball that hits the net during a service is a let, which means the point must start over.
Serves in table tennis can look weird, which is why I have explained it thoroughly in this article. Check it out and learn why table tennis serves often look weird.
How Do You Train for Table Tennis?
To train for table tennis, you should learn to endure and work on your overall body balance. You should work on your hand and foot balance for perfect body coordination as well.
Are you just interested in playing table tennis for fun, or do you aim to reach certain levels? If you are playing the game for fun, you should not be worried about going through intensive training before playing it.
However, if you have a goal you admire to reach in the game, you should go through the training session for your physical development.
So some of the best table tennis training tips are:
- Learn to Endure
It’s not about the kind of endurance footballers go through for 90 minutes or that athletes go through for hours. It’s a level of aerobic fitness that can guarantee your safe stay playing the game. Table tennis games can demand fast play that will generally need a physically fit body.
It will help reduce any chances of elbow, knee, or shoulder injuries. That’s the reason you need to be fit. However, in case you get injured, you should seek medical help immediately.
- Work on Your Body Balance
This is key before playing any table tennis game because the game is more of a one-sided sport. Unless you work on your body balance, too much playing of the game can cause certain imbalances, which may be challenging to fix. It always has something to do with your upper back and how you get it aligned.
- Work on Your Hand and Foot Power
Physical training helps to strengthen your arm and feet muscles, thus guaranteeing you more power when playing the game. With maximum energy, you can be sure of efficient techniques delivering significant points.
Your endurance, body balance, foot strength, and hand power activate the perfect coordination you need for your body to match the game effectively. This will help you in mastering new techniques without struggle, thus speeding up your game.
How Long Does It Take to Become Good at Table Tennis?
To become good at table tennis takes five to ten years full of dedicated practice. In this period, you will have learned and mastered all the basics of the sport. These include attacking and defensive strokes, match serving, shot placement, and muscle memory for match tactics.
Other things you will be able to learn over this period are basic psychology for dealing with different emotions and keeping your head clear. Nevertheless, most of these skills do not come naturally, so one will need to practice tirelessly to master them all. It isn’t like you need to attend class and learn them. Instead, you acquire them through experience in various matches.
You will also need to learn how to switch effectively between different strokes and work on your footwork and receive different serves among many others.
My Favorite Table Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here you can find my preferred table tennis equipment that I believe you could benefit too!
- Racket: My favorite racket choice is the beautiful Killerspin Jet800 because it fits my offensive and speed-focused playstyle. The two carbon layers, 2.1mm sponge, and 190g weight makes this racket powerful.
- Ping Pong Balls: New technology and design have made the JOOLA Flash Seamless 3-Star Balls stand out from the other balls. These balls are seamless, meaning they are more durable than any ball with a seam! Even when these balls come at a higher price, they will pay themselves quickly. As a bonus, the design makes me excited!
- Table Tennis shoes: The famous Butterfly Lezoline Rifones is my choice as it is for many others because they are designed specifically for table tennis standards. I like the excellent support, comfortable cushioning, and lightweight sole with great traction, which gets you exploding fast to whatever direction you need to.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.