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Learn to Play Table Tennis: Lessons for Beginner through Advanced Levels

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The next generation. An athlete coaching a boy in table tennis.
blue jean images/Getty Images
Pictures say a thousand words, especially when you're trying to learn a sport that is both a simple and as complex as table tennis! Try these step-by-step pictorial lessons and one-sheet how-tos that provide easy introductions for ping-pong beginners as well as valuable tips for advanced table tennis players.
  • How to Play the Basic Strokes of Table Tennis
    It's easy to learn the basic strokes of ping-pong, and once these are mastered you will build on these strokes to play the advanced shots of modern table tennis, as played in the Olympic Games. Learn the fundamentals from step by step explanations, photographs, and videos.

  • How to Choose Your First Ping-Pong Paddle
    Are you looking to copy the top Olympic table tennis players? It's virtually impossible to do with a cheap table tennis bat, but you don't have to spend a fortune either (and in fact it's not a good idea to spend too much), so here's what to look for when picking your first serious ping-pong paddle.

  • Beginner's Guide to Serving
    The serve is one of the most important areas of table tennis, but also one of the most difficult to understand as a spectator. Learn why the serve is crucial, and how to improve your own serve.

  • Beginner's Guide to Returning Serve
    The return of serve is the receiver's first chance to nullify the advantage held by the server. Find out why the return of serve is important in Olympic table tennis.

  • Ping-Pong or Table Tennis? Which is the Correct Name?
    Commentators at the Olympics seem to use ping-pong and table tennis interchangeably - which is right? Does it matter?

  • How to Put Your Strokes Together
    Once the serve and return of serve are completed, the players will fight for control of the rally. Learn how to put your own strokes together to maximize your chances of winning each point.

  • The Magic of Spin
    What separates table tennis at the Olympic Games from ping-pong in your basement? The answer is simple but also incredibly complex - spin!

  • Advice For Your First Tournament
    Are you inspired by the ping-pong players at the Olympic Games? Want to enter your first official tournament? Here's some handy advice on what to expect and how to play your best.

  • What to Bring to a Table Tennis Competition
    Ever wondered what the pros carry in their table tennis bags? Here's a heads up of the equipment they carry, and what you'll need to be fully prepared for your own competitions.

  • Doubles Tips for Table Tennis
    Although no longer contested as individual events at the Olympics, doubles is still included as part of the teams competitions. Here's some tips on how to improve your own doubles play, and which will help you understand what the top Olympic players are doing out on court.

  • Table Tennis Training for Beginners
    Want to make it to the Olympics? You'll need plenty of training - here's how to get started on the right foot.

  • Ping-Pong Footwork for Beginners
    Speaking of feet, it's important to know how to move them and where to put them! Find out the basics of table tennis footwork here.

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