How To Play Ping Pong For Beginners

How To Play Ping Pong For Beginners

Last modified: October 10, 2023


Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a fun and exciting sport that can be played by people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a complete beginner or have some experience, ping pong is a great game to learn and play with friends and family. In this article, we will provide you with some basic guidelines on how to play ping pong for beginners.


One of the first things you need to learn when starting out in ping pong is how to hold the paddle correctly. There are different grip styles, but the most common ones are the shakehand grip and the penhold grip.

Shakehand Grip

The shakehand grip is the most popular grip used by players around the world. To hold the paddle in the shakehand grip, follow these steps:

  • Hold the handle of the paddle with your non-dominant hand.
  • Place the palm of your dominant hand on the back of the paddle.
  • Wrap your fingers around the handle and hold it firmly, but not too tight.

Penhold Grip

The penhold grip is commonly used in Asian countries and involves holding the paddle like you would hold a pen. Here’s how to do it:

  • Hold the handle of the paddle with your thumb and index finger.
  • Rest the blade against the palm of your hand.
  • Grip the handle with your other fingers.


Serving is a crucial part of the game in ping pong. It is the first shot that starts the rally, and there are several types of serves you can utilize. Here are a few basic serves to get you started:

Forehand Serve

To perform a forehand serve:

  • Stand behind your end of the table, with the ball in the palm of your non-dominant hand.
  • Toss the ball straight up with a small amount of backspin.
  • As the ball starts to descend, use your dominant hand to make contact and hit the ball diagonally across the table.
  • The ball should land on the opponent’s side of the table, preferably close to the sideline.

Backhand Serve

The backhand serve is similar to the forehand serve, but instead of hitting the ball with your forehand, you use your backhand. Follow these steps:

  • Stand in a similar position as the forehand serve.
  • Toss the ball up with a little bit of backspin.
  • As the ball descends, use your backhand to hit the ball diagonally across the table.
  • Like the forehand serve, aim for the opponent’s side of the table.

Basic Shots

Once you have mastered the grip and serving, it’s time to learn some basic shots in ping pong. These shots are the foundation of a strong game and will help you become a well-rounded player.

Forehand Drive

The forehand drive is an offensive shot used to hit the ball quickly and aggressively. Here’s how to do it:

  • Position yourself with your dominant foot slightly forward and your body perpendicular to the table.
  • As the ball approaches, step forward with your non-dominant foot.
  • Rotate your hips and shoulders, and swing your paddle forward in a smooth motion to make contact with the ball.
  • Follow through the shot, keeping your eye on the ball.

Backhand Push

The backhand push is a defensive shot used to return a difficult ball with precision and control. Here’s how to execute it:

  • Stand in a parallel stance with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent and your paddle in front of you.
  • As the ball comes towards you, use a short, controlled stroke to lightly push the ball back to your opponent’s side of the table.
  • Focus on accuracy and keeping the ball low and close to the net.


Playing ping pong can be a great way to have fun and stay active. With the proper grip, serving techniques, and basic shots, you can quickly improve your skills and enjoy the game even more. Remember to practice regularly, play with friends and family, and most importantly, have fun!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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