Tahl at table

20 Winning Tips!

By Tahl Leibovitz

1. Try and play the ball directly at your opponent. Play the middle.

2. Try and go down the line more rather than playing balls cross-court.

3. When you serve, the bounce on your opponents’ side should be lower than the net. Your opponent is then forced to receive the ball moving his paddle upwards. This will cause the ball to travel slower and give you more time.

4. If you want to serve short the first bounce must be closer to the net. Serving long and the first bounce must be closer to the end line.

5. When you serve try and hit different parts of the paddle. To get under spin contact the ball closer to the edge of your paddle where it is facing the floor. To get no spin contact your paddle closer to the edge that is facing the ceiling. This is when you are using forehand serves.


6. To serve legal in table tennis Palm must be open, Ball must be tossed at least 6 inches. Contact of the serve must be behind the line. Nothing should obstruct the vision of the ball. You cannot hide the service with your arm.

7. You should understand the points of the ball to hit. There are many different points on the ball to hit, we will focus on four. The first is hitting the bottom of the ball. The second is hitting the top of the ball and the third is hitting directly in the middle of the ball. The fourth is hitting the side of the ball.

8. If the ball has heavy under spin make sure you make contact with the ball at the bottom of the ball. To do this your racket face must be completely open and then close once you feel the ball on your racket.

9. If the ball has heavy top spin and you want to counter loop you can contact the side of the ball because it has less spin on it. Remember however if you do your normal stroke, the ball will go off the table. You cannot move your racket too forward when dealing with a topspin ball unless that is the follow though of your stroke. You first need to make sure you move your racket to the side when you feel the ball on your racket or downwards towards the net. This way the ball will not sail off the table.

10. You need to play the ball at different heights. Many players master play from only one or two distances. It is best to play from 3 distances.

11. Distance 1……ball on its way up: You must hit the ball before it reaches its highest point after bounce. You should learn to use short and quick strokes with little back swing.

12. Distance 2….ball at its highest point: You should learn to use a RELAXED technique when hitting the ball at its highest point after bounce. A large variety of strokes can be successfully applied at this distance. Distance 3….ball on its way down: You hit the ball after it has reached its highest point after bounce, on its way down. This distance requires a technique where you use a large forearm movement before ball impact.”

13. It is important to know the rules in table tennis. Check online and go over the rules.

14. When you smash with the forehand try and get your shoulder back a little bit. Do not keep your elbow so close to your body. Make sure you pass though the ball and you go forward.

15. In a rally if you are looping, sometimes try and change the height of your loops.

16. Most important, when looping against under spin make sure your ball is not traveling in a straight line. Try to create an arc. This is very important on the backhand loop. When looping an under spin push with the backhand it is best if the ball travels slow and spiny rather than less spin and more speed.

17. When blocking with the forehand the stroke must be very compact. Try and use very little movement with your hand if possible. Most players are inclined to move the racket forward when they block because they are used to smashing and looping (against a passive ball) but, you need to move the racket more to the side. It is important to note that higher level players usually try and counter loop the ball with the forehand when they have the chance. It is also important to note that the Swedish beat the Chinese from 1985 to 1993 mainly because of the block.

18. When you block, try and take pace off the ball once in a while. Mix it up. Do not have one set block. Be able to block regular speed, or fast or slow. Taking the pace off the ball is very effective when you’re opponent is making a loop from away from the table.

19. If you are chopping with the forehand or backhand you can let the ball drop or you can chop the ball at a higher height. Chopping straight down on the ball and passing the racket through the ball quickly is good also. It is important to note that in table tennis you need to move the racket though the ball at a quick speed during most strokes.

20. It is important to understand spin in the sport of table tennis. The ball at times has such an amazing amount of spin and you need to find a way to control that ball. As a matter a fact, most top players in the United States win because they can make good spin on the ball. They do not win because of superior technique. I see many players here in the US losing to top USA players because they are unable to deal with the spin their opponent is imparting. Being able to control spin is so important in our sport.

Tahl plays with STIGA equipment:

Blade = Clipper Classic

Rubber FH = STIGA Boost TX, 2.3

Rubber BH = STIGA Boost TC, 2.3