Table Tennis Tactics Cheat Sheet



Tactics Against All Opponents

Versus all styles of opponents: 1) Vary spin and strokes and 2) place ball outside power zones



How To Play Each Style


Use heavy spin.  Play the middle.  Use chops and pushes.

When playing a skillful counterdriver, avoid topspin rallies since this is their strength. Use heavy spin on both under- and topspin shots. Counterdrivers are most comfortable with light spin. If the opponent lacks good footwork, work the middle of the table. By forcing them to quickly decide between a forehand or backhand return, you can succeed in jamming them. Try using chops and pushes to slow down the game and rally for position.



Be patient. Play the middle deep & short- not side to side. Deep loops. Drop shot to forehand.

When playing a chopper, be patient. Alternate your use of shots, favoring deep loops and short pushes. This will often throw the chopper off enough to return a high ball which you can put away with a smash. The chopper is likely to try to force you to make errors by using a variety of amounts of underspin. Expect the chops to vary from no spin to very heavy underspin. Finally, work the chopper down the middle more than side to side. The sides are often a chopper's strength while many have problems with shots hit down the middle. Move the ball in and out and use the drop shot, especially to their forehand side.



Break their rhythm.  Alternate aggressive shots with defensive shots.

Blockers, just like choppers, are often defensive players. Break their rhythm by varying the shots. Hit one deep and hard and then alternate with a short shot. Favor a high, spinny loop because blockers often like to use the power of their opponents to win points. Be patient, use just one power shot at a time, and sometimes trick the blocker into initiating an attack, in which they are usually weak.



Be aggressive.  Initiate attacks.  Play the middle.

When playing a looper, especially a consistent one, patience is out the door. Beat an aggressive looper with aggressiveness. Do all you can to initiate the attack. Your goal is to put the looper on the defense, where they usually are weak. As with choppers, work the middle to keep the ball away from their strength- the sides.



Play all zones randomly.  Move them out wide and then play their backhand.

Penholders tend to heavily favor their forehand. The obvious strategy would seem to be to exploit their weaker backhand, but since many penholders display superb footwork, this is not as easy as it might seem. To work their backhand, you need to move the ball around, especially out wide. Do this in random fashion so they can't predict where you will direct the ball next.