How-to become a table tennis master

By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Editor’s Note: Sports reporter Sara Seyydin caught up with Tom Spesick, president of the Auburn Table Tennis Club, Monday, for instructions on how to become a table tennis master. This is the third in a series of how-to articles in Journal Sports to appear Tuesdays. A summary of Spesick’s basic tips, instructions and insights follow.

One: Grip

 The two most common grips are the shaking hands grip and the pen grip. To execute the shaking hands grip, grab the paddle higher up on the handle with your middle, ring and pinkie fingers. Your index finger should be perpendicular to the handle. Your thumb should be parallel with the other three fingers, gripping the paddle. To execute the pen grip, hold the paddle by your thumb and index finger only, with the back of the handle resting on your middle finger.  

 Two: Stance/Footwork

Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees bent. Your dominant leg should be slightly back for more power. Stay lower to ground, toward the table, for maximum results. Be in this ready position at all times

Three: Spin

The main shot at the upper-levels is called a loop shot or top spin. Instead of hitting through the ball, graze over it. The rule is if your opponent hits a top spin, it’s going to go up in the direction of the spin. You have to be able to read their emotion and adjust your strategy. You can also execute a chop, in which you graze under the ball.

 Three: Serve

Legally you have to the hold the ball flat in your palm and throw it up 6 inches during a serve. You must be behind the table and the ball has to bounce on both sides. The serve is your best opportunity to be deceptive with your spin. Try to hide your spin to fake your opponent out. You want to serve short, so the ball stays quick and bounces twice on the other side.

Reach Sara Seyydin at





What: Auburn Table Tennis Club Open Play and Round Robin

When: Mondays 6:30-9:30 p.m., Wednesdays 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Where: Canyon View Community Center, 471 Maidu Drive, Auburn

Cost: Mondays- adults $3, juniors $1, first time guests free Wednesdays- adults $4, juniors $2, first time guests free

Details: Join the Auburn Table Tennis Club for open play and round robin games each week. For more information, call Tom Spesick (530) 613-0101or Bill Kochenderfer (530) 275-0899, or visit