Table Tennis: Modern vs. Traditional Playing Styles

No matter whether or not you’re playing on a professional table tennis table, your playing style has a lot to do with how you approach the game. Before long, all beginning ping pong players need to adopt a style and develop their abilities based on it. As a result, it’s an excellent idea to learn early about the different categories of playing styles in table tennis. Taking just a few minutes to read a description of each style can be enlightening – and will help you out in the long run. In the beginning, it can feel overwhelming trying to learn all of the terminology related to the sport. But you’ll figure it out soon.

If you begin playing at a ping pong center and spend time around other players who take the game seriously, it won’t be long before you hear discussions about style. It’s a natural part of the conversation about other players and how they play. You’ll listen to some people described as blockers, while others might be referred to as two-wing loopers. Everyone except you will be nodding their heads, understanding clearly what it all means. To fully grasp the lingo of table tennis, its good to begin by learning the generalizations about the various playing styles. Also, it helps to read a list of all the popular styles.

For purposes of a glossary, this list includes the many styles of table tennis play: two-wing looper, two-wing hitter, one-wing versions of either, penhold pips-out hitter, penhold looper, reverse penhold backhand, classic defender, modern defender, blocker and push/blocker. Each can be played in various ways, so it’s not always straightforward placing a player into a style category. Still, in assessing an opponent, it’s useful to think about their style – it helps you know what to expect during play. Also, styles are frequently divided into two major categories: modern and traditional.

The traditional method of grouping table tennis players according to style is to sort them into three groups: attackers, blockers, and defenders. The primary consideration is the amount of speed a player puts on the ball. But spin is also an essential consideration, although to a lesser extent. The more contemporary method of categorizing is primarily concerned with the level of aggression in someone’s play. Secondarily, the modern categorization method takes into account the stokes a player uses. Therefore, you may have a somewhat defensive top spinner or an aggressive back spinner.


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