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Table Tennis Drills and Skills to Practice

Grips and Racket Control

Bouncing the ball up and down:

It will help you learn how to keep on hitting the ball in the center of your racket.

– Do this by bouncing the ball up and down on your racket consecutively.

The longer you can keep doing this standing still without losing control or having the bounce away, the better you will control where you want the ball to go when you are playing.

drills and skills
drills and skills

Bouncing the ball up and down without moving your arm

It will help you learn how to control the ball with only your wrist.

– Do this by bouncing the ball up and down by only flicking your wrist. There should be no stretching out of the arm to get to the ball.

The more you do this, the more relaxed your wrist will be during games because a stiff wrist will restrict movement, and you will not be able to use a stroke to its fullest potential.

Alternate Bouncing:

It will help you move your racket faster and help you learn to use both your forehand and backhand quickly when your racket has to switch quickly from one position to another.

– Do this by bouncing the ball first on one side and then the other by turning your racket quickly to the other side. You will be alternating between your forehand and your backhand.

The more you do this, the better you will be at hitting the ball accurately in a short amount of time or when you have been tricked and need to quickly switch to the correct position to avoid losing a point.

Wall Bouncing:

It will help you develop better timing and aim at different distances and heights.

Do this by bouncing the ball against the wall using both backhand and forehand or folding up half your table to create a wall. If it is possible, draw a circle so that you have something to aim for. For beginners, you should start with a bigger circle and then gradually make it smaller. The same goes for distance because the closer you are, the faster it will come back to you, so start a bit back and then move closer.

The more you do this, the faster you will react and the better you will be able to aim at a specific part of your opponent’s table.

Backhand and Forehand Drives

Crosscourt Hitting:

It will help you perfect the way you hit the ball for games.

– Do this with a partner on the other side of the table. Using backhand and then forehand or vice versa, hit the ball back and forth across the table. If you start on the left side of the table, your partner should also be on the left side of their table, diagonally across from you.

Forehand and Backhand Down the Line:

It will help you hit balls going down the line.

– Do this by first hitting the ball with a forehand to your partner so that he/she will be able to hit it back with a backhand and send it back down the line.


It will help you practice and learn to smash effectively.

– Do this by serving to your partner, who will return the ball weakly. Then as it nears you, smash it back down to your partner’s side. Do it with either the forehand or backhand.


Topspin and Backspin Serves

It will help you learn how to serve anywhere and however you desire, especially with great speed.

– Do this by using both types of serves on both sides of the line. When you are serving, the ball stays low or is close to the table when it bounces. Try to hit the ball so that it zooms across the table rather than to make it spinny. Also, practice in various areas in front of the table and aim at many places.


Shadow Practice

It will help you move quickly from one side to the other without hesitation and visualize what it is like for the ball to come at you in different directions.

– Do this by pretending to hit balls the way you think they will come at you. You can start by thinking the ball is coming at you and use your forehand, and then you can jump to the other side and use your backhand. You can do this by randomly thinking up different ways to come back and use all the different types of strokes to practice. It is best to do this before an actual game to be mentally prepared to expect anything.

Blocking With Backhand and Forehand

It will help you in games when quick shots come at you.

– Do this by having your partner hit all areas of your side of your table using topspins. Try to block each shot by hitting them as soon as they bounce off the table.


It will help you learn to loop against backspins and use a backspin serve, one of the most common ways to start a match.

– Do this by having your partner serve you with a backspin. They should serve in a way that will force you to use either your forehand or your backhand, but instead, you should use loops against them. If your partner can block these, catch the ball and start over again.


Against the Wall:

It will help you learn how to chop quickly compared to rallying with a partner.

– Do this by either guessing or drawing a line three feet above the floor on a wall because this is about the net’s height. Then drop the ball on the floor and as it bounces back up, chop it against the wall just above the line, do this again as it rebounds back to you.

Against Topspins:

It will help you chop properly, which is nice and low to the net, so that you won’t have to worry about the return shot from your opponent.

– Do this by having your partner serve to you with topspin and then chopping it back. Your partner should then catch the ball and start the whole process again. Practice this with both your forehand and your backhand.

Against Forehand and Backhand Chopping:

It will help you feel the actual movements you might experience in a real game where the opponent hits both sides.

– Do this by having your partner drive to both the left and right-hand side of the table alternately so that you can alternate the use of forehand and backhand chops with each return shot.

Practice Drills in Effective Way

As in many other table tennis clubs in Canada, we have structured practices every day here in Montreal. So I have decided to describe one of our practices.

The first thing we do is a physical warm-up. Every player runs and stretches to prevent any injuries. Then, we have a technical warm-up at the table. We do forehand/forehand and backhand/backhand.

When the warm-up is finished, coaches give the players a footwork exercise to do with a partner. This exercise lasts for about twenty minutes (ten minutes for each player). The following practice implies service, and the two partners play the point according to the coaches’ instructions. After those two exercises, a break of about ten minutes is necessary.

practice tt drills
practice tt drills

When the players come back from the break, they play eleven points to activate themselves for the third exercise. The type of the third exercise depends on the proximity of the next competition. If the next tournament is in a long time, more technical aspects will be practiced. However, if the next competition is held sooner, the exercise will consist more of game simulations.

So this is a typical practice here in Montreal. I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Here are some exercises that you can take if you have no ideas.


  • One player is blocking with his backhand, and the other one does one backhand, one middle (forehand), and one forehand and then start over.
  • One player always hits the ball down the line, and the other always hit the cross.
  • One player is blocking with the backhand, and the other does one backhand, one pivot forehand from the backhand side, and one forehand from the middle.

Serve Drills:

  • The server does a short underspin service to the other’s backhand. The opponent returns it with a chop to the server’s forehand, and after the first topspin, the returner blocks with his backhand, one ball to the forehand, and one ball to the backhand.
    • The server does a long service (any spin) to the other’s backhand, then they do backhand. If the server wants, he can change direction, and it’s free.

More serve drills for your reference.

Service Practice:

  • You take a basket of balls. And you do the same serve for five minutes, and then you change the serves. You do the same exercise for 20 minutes, continually changing service every 5 minutes.

Defender Drill with Push and Chop

The push, chop drill is a standard drill sequence used when an attacker is training with a defender. See the above diagram for a description of how the drill is performed.


It is the fourth degree of complexity drill. The ball placements, strokes used, and spin all change, but according to a fixed pattern. The defender also requires pattern footwork. There are no random elements in this drill.

playing styles
playing styles

Player B (the defender) will get some good in and out footwork practice from the drill, which can also be quite intense aerobically if performed well. He will also get to practice his chop against a loop and his push return against a drop shot.

Player A (the attacker) will get to practice his loop attack against a push and drop shot against a chop.

Other Variations

This drill can be varied in several ways, depending on what aspect of the game you wish to emphasize. By altering placement, stroke patterns and introducing randomness, several variations can be designed, each with slightly different objectives. Some simple examples are:

  • The attacker can loop and drop shots at will instead of following a fixed pattern. It will make the drill much more difficult for the defender and allow the attacker to practice his loop against a chopped ball.
  • If a random element for the defender is desired, he can choose to attack any poor drop shots from the attacker, and the point can then be played out.
  • Both of the random elements mentioned above can be combined to keep both players on their toes. Remember, this will significantly increase the difficulty of the drill.
  • If the defender wishes to attack according to a fixed pattern, he may decide to push one of the attacker’s drop shots and attack the next drop shot to the attacker’s forehand. The attacker then counter-loops, followed by a chop by the defender again. It gives the defender attacking practice and provides the attacker with an excellent chance to counter-loop successfully and keep the rally going since he knows where the defender will attack.
  • The attacker may loop the ball to the defender’s backhand but drop it short to the defender’s forehand.
  • The attacker may loop the ball to any location but drop it short to the defender’s backhand. It will work the defender very hard defensively but make his counter-attack a little easier.
table tennis DVDs

I hope this will help you to do better practice and to enjoy the beautiful sport that table tennis is.