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The Neutral Position for Table Tennis/Ping-Pong

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The Neutral Position in Table Tennis/Ping-Pong
Diagram of the Neutral Position in Table Tennis

The Neutral Position in Table Tennis

© 2007 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Assuming you are right handed, when you are waiting for your opponent to hit the ball, in general your bat should actually be pointing somewhere between one foot to one and a half feet to the right of the ball, not straight at the ball.

Why is this?

Because if you are facing the ball, your bat is actually one to one and a half feet to the right of your body when you are standing ready and keeping yourself able to go to the forehand or backhand equally easily. So if you point your bat directly at the ball, you will actually be in a slightly backhand waiting position.

Pointing Your Bat at the Ball - The Problem

So what, you might say? Well, if you are pointing at the ball just like the player in the diagram, and the opponent hits the ball at the area between your bat and your belly button (your playing elbow, you are already in position to hit a backhand stroke - so guess which stroke you are likely to play? That's right - a backhand.

The problem is that you should actually be hitting a forehand when the ball comes to this area. Since your racket is pointing to the wrong location, you are more likely to play an awkward backhand than the forehand you know you should play.

Pointing Your Bat to the Right of the Ball - The Solution

Now compare what happens when you point the tip of your bat around a foot to the right of the actual ball location. When the ball comes to the area between your bat and your belly button, you are in position to hit your forehand, just as you should do. Balls that are aimed to the left or right of this area can be handled with your backhand or forehand as per normal. Easy!

Return to Table Tennis Positioning - Back to Base-ics

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