Advanced TableTennis:

Techniques, Tactics & Technology

TableTennis the smart way


Articles by :   Jana. Srini.         Updated January 2019


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Have you ever met ANYONE (in North America) who does NOT claim they played “ping-pong” “professionally” for their high school or college or (native old) country ? We all play in our basements / bars-don't we ?  Come on How hard can it be ?  An  Olympic sport  ?  ROTFL. Well then...let us play a little game & see if any of the phrases below ring a bell to you ?

ReglueRepeal-95, VOC FakeBan, Durban Aspect Ratio Genocide, Liu's RPH, dual composites, progressive hardening, 2_color rule83, robotNazi, Reverse tomahawk, Rozeanu, Adham's "Big Ball Theory", Bergmann, hook & fade loops, Waldner, Barrier Appeling,  frictionless medium pips

Ok That is what we thought . Don't feel bad though. (Your title as legend of your neighborhood basements / bars will remain a safe secret with us).

TableTennis > A "very easy to learn" simple & fun "basement game" .... but a "very hard to master" athletic complex "Olympic sport" of obscene super-spins at insane speeds.

A note about technical papers at this site :-  The papers at this site are meant to address the issues & needs of players who are NOT professional players but upto a few levels below. The professional TableTennis players have a feel for the ball that is beyond ridiculous. They can see what the ball is doing light years before even an advanced player can. All this in addition to their incredible reflexes, foot-speed and athleticism. Many of the strokes that they execute come to them almost instinctively whereas lower level players have to consciously work on them. The goal here therefore is to try to help players a few levels below the professional level. 

     Additionally it is also important to understand the other critical differences between professional players and players at lower levels. As you may know there are borderline psychotics in any sport who try to blindly emulate professional players. TableTennis is no different. You see almost everyday a newbie asking in some forum as to what is the exact racket / rubber a professional uses and then try to go out order the exact same combination from a dealer, hoping that this will make them much better. The sad part is that most top professionals in TableTennis don’t use what an amateur schmuck uses. They use highly customized blades and rubbers and lowlives like us have no access. 

         Another example is tactics. Let me give another glaring example from tennis. At lower levels of tennis most players are at their worst in volleying and hitting overheads. If you try to dropshot a professional tennis player, they would easily come in and put that away with ease. But against an amateur tennis player you can bring them into the net (even tall fast ones) and pass them left and right (or even hit right at their bodies) and lob them and don’t even need great passing shots or precise lobs on your part.  What is my point ? My point is that thee are lots of differences in the way a professional plays a sport and a hacker plays the same sport. In TableTennis it is the question of understanding and exploiting the many weaknesses and style mismatches lot more so at lower levels.


    TableTennis recently became the first & only sport to be “officially” affiliated to ITTF by each and every one of 226 nation members of IOC, having already passed in popularity past volleyball & soccer etc. TableTennis is now also recognized by top neurologists & recommended at both ends of human life-cycle : for faster brain development of children as well as for therapy for Alzheimers’ , Parkinsons’ and dementia)  

Interesting note :- TableTennis was introduced as a demonstration sport in 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and became a formal event since1988 Seoul Olympics and now in an unprecedented early award move by IOC, Los  Angeles has been awarded to host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games in 2028 (July 21 to August 8th) following Tokyo in 2020 and Paris in 2024

Ping Pong > Silly mindless recreational "game" of backhand buffoons mostly played in USA ( one of very few countries where there is no formal varsity competitions in formal TableTennis in schools or colleges) using 99-cent convenient store paddles played in small basements (wearing jeans & sandals) or bar-rooms (wearing dress clothes & shoes like high heels).

TableTennis > World's most popular (the FIRST & ONLY sport formally registered with IOC & ITTF and played on every one of 226 nations on this planet) , fastest (on feet), athletic, forehand dominant, tactically the most complex (analogy used is downhill skiing while playing chess) individual “sport” of billion playing styles (as each player style is distinctly unique) played using $50 to $500 cutting edge high technology composite rackets wearing proper athletic attire (such as sprinter like super-light-shoes for explosive-acceleration) to create obscene spins with players & the ball moving at insane speeds, on a standard playing area larger than a badminton court and an official inter-school & inter-collegiate competition sport (except in USA & very few countries) for both men & women, leading to professional and Olympic participation. 

The major problem with promoting the sport of TableTennis in a country like USA can be paradoxically attributed to the very countries that have utterly dominated the sport in recent times (except few short spurts of dominance by the Swedes & Hungarians) as they keep referring to the sport as ping-pong though they have a highly scientific & thoroughly professional approach to the sport though it seems totally unintentional …… this may be just a problem related the usage of the language in China, Japan & Korea (& most other Asian countries where TableTennis is more popular)  except the Indian sub-continent where TableTennis is referred to by it its formal proper name, given that India was one of the twelve original  founding members of the ITTF in 1926, though currently TableTennis is less popular than it used to be like in USA dominated in the 40’s (since the great sport of cricket is now like a religion in the Indian sub-continent……though interestingly another great sport of  field-hickey is still the official national sport). This has created  a serious image problem to the sport in USA, the one of only a very few countries where TableTennis is not a formal varsity sport at the secondary schools level but seen as a silly basement game of ping-pong.. So when powerhouse TableTennis nations like China, Japan &  Korea keep referring to the sport as ping-pong as equating it to silly basement game, it only causes great difficulties in promoting the sport in USA & North America ( & it would not hurt if the Canadians don’t just stick to just one indoor sport of ice-hockey and played the this indoor sport a little more LOL)   

If you are a non-player or a beginner, click on 4 links below before proceeding to other advanced topics that follow at the bottom of the page.

                 Below are a series of articles I have written over a 15 year period , most of which are based on questions that are repeatedly asked of me as a master level player ,coach & umpire and based on my research in various forums worldwide related to TableTennis at all levels.  My focus in writing these articles had been primarily to help to think for yourselves whether you are a beginner or advanced player, as you may initially not agree with at all regarding some of the controversial topics presented here from the world of TableTennis and also the concepts of effectiveness vs efficiency.  Even if you were created to be a born TableTennis player with lightening reflexes , foot speed , hand speed and innate feel for the ball,  to be able to play a close to the table block and smash style, you still need to understand other mortal styles who need to be able to spin the ball and solve myriad of spins to survive in TableTennis.....which makes TableTennis the most complicated individual sport (under almost all playing styles) given the speed at which it is played in a small area and the extreme complexity of rackets (many consider it bad for the sport) , which even many world-class players cannot comprehend (and most younger Americans who are not intimately familiar with TableTennis will find this claim of being the most complicated "sport" to be not only ludicrous but also downright hilarious)  You may think you are efficiently training on many techniques and tactics of TableTennis but they may be totally ineffective when applied to you as an individual.  For example if you are an excellent hitter on your backhand but are unable to loop,  it is basically a waste of your time forcing yourself learning to loop using inverted rubber (just because it is the fashionable thing to do and submit to peer pressure), while you should be using short pips on your backhand instead. On the flipside most players go thru life mindlessly practicing how to ONLY “hit” the ball using smooth (inverted) rubber while the sport of modern TableTennis is based on looping ( super-heavy topspin)  the ball instead of just hitting the ball. Therefore I suggest all beginners that they read the article about learning to loop. Similar thinking applies to intermediate / advanced players but at a higher level of analysis of equipment as well as techniques and tactics.   


Images courtesy of the ITTF

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Some random notes & observations



Ping & Pong  >  4 letter words for a TableTennis player  ?  :

 Addresses myths and little known facts about the "sport" of TableTennis


Guide to beginners coming to TableTennis


Your first racket


Secret underground world of TableTennis in USA


Quit TableTennis now (Stop wasting your time) (an absolute  MUST read) 


Learn to loop or get the bloody hell out of TableTennis (another MUST read) 


Serve & Serve Return Tactics   


Grips : Which one is the best (for you to use) ?  


 Choosing a rubber (racket covering) to match your playing style)  


What is your skill level in TableTennis ?   


Whose serve is it ? Keeping score in TableTennis


Unorthodox & Advanced Strokes


Understanding & attacking Side Spins


Ultimate multi-ball drills


Stroke Based analysis of rubber sheets


Who should (& absolutely should NOT) be using short-pips


Exploring (long) pips rubber designs


Uncontrolling your long-pips


Racket-twirling : Techniques & Tactics


Ideal Blade Design for Modern Chopper


Come to the divine side of TableTennis