Table tennis is a fun and rewarding sport that requires proper hand-eye-coordination, agility and a sharp mind. Like most things in life, the more you practice, the better you’ll become. However, there’s nothing that can prepare you for the added element of playing a doubles match. You can practice for hours each day and still feel lost and confused once you get in front of the table for a doubles match. Although most of the rules are the same, there are some major differences that you need to be aware of. Keep reading for some essential doubles tips for beginners.
Serving is slightly different in doubles, so you need to familiarize yourself with the proper method. Instead of allowing the ball to hit anywhere on your opponents’ side of the table, you must hit it on the side that’s diagonal to your position. If the ball fails to reach this side of your opponents’ table, the serve will be considered illegal and you’ll forfeit a point. For this reason, it’s recommended that you practice serving balls to specific sides of the table. This will give you an advantage once you are placed in a doubles match where you must serve the ball on specific sides.
Contrary to what some people may believe, you must alternate turns when returning the ball in doubles matches. For instance, if you served the ball and one of your opponents returns it, your partner will then be required to return it back. After hitting the ball back, the other opponent will have to return the ball to you. This cycle will continue until one team makes a mistake.
Since doubles matches work on the principle of alternating returns, a good strategy is to serve the ball so your partner will have a clear shot at returning it. Table tennis is a strategic game that’s all about planning ahead, and this is one of the many ways to lay out a clear plan of attack.
Working With Your Teammate
The key to winning doubles matches in table tennis is to work with your teammate. Don’t be afraid to use hand signals to let your partner know where the ball is going. Just remember to avoid saying it out loud, as your opponents could overhead and anticipate the move. Develop a series of hand signals before the match and simply use them behind your body. This will allow your partner to better prepare for the return without your opponents catching on.