Table Tennis General

Last updated 10 years ago

Steve Unknown

Steve Unknown Asked 13 years ago

Let's say I was ambidextrous and just starting out playing table tennis.  Would you recommend using just my right or my left hand, or trying to learn how to hit good shots with both hands? 

Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb Answered 13 years ago

Hi Steve,

I would recommend sticking with one hand. During a rally at the higher level you will not have time to switch hands. Also if you try and learn with both hands, you will cut your training time with each hand in half.

My advice is to pick what you think is currently your best hand and use that for all your Table Tennis.

Good luck.

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Thoughts on this question

Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Posted 13 years ago

being ambidextrous isn't really that huge an advantage in table tennis, unless the rule allows you to hold two racquets at once!  :o)

I guess it could still be handy (pardon the pun) in that you would have an option as to which hand you wanted to use.  But then again even if you are not ambidextrous you could learn to use your non-favoured hand if you really wanted to.  Just look at Nadal in tennis.  Amazing that he is a natural right hander who learnt to play left-handed.

Steve Unknown

Steve Unknown Posted 13 years ago

Ok, thanks guys!

farhoud Sixi

farhoud Sixi Posted 13 years ago

stick to your left hand cause most people aren't used to playing against it

phil Unknown

phil Unknown Posted 13 years ago

timo boll has used both hands in several matches in recent years

Ji-Soo Woo

Ji-Soo Woo Posted 13 years ago


That's amazing! (even more amazing than Nadal learning to play left-handed)  You'd think it would be an awful waste of effort to learn to become equally proficient both sides...but maybe there were tactical considerations.

Tevia Sapire

Tevia Sapire Posted 12 years ago

I don't think Timo trains to do this, but just hits a basic sroke with his right hand. He only uses it when he is forced to his far forehand side and he has to hit a running backhand, which is quite awkard for most players so he uses a running right handed forehand, which he probably finds easier. Also, Nadal is right handed, and plays left handed but this is because when he was a junior he used two hands to play forehand and back hand and his coach wanted him to play left handed, because he didnt play right handed. Nadal is amazing though.

Ebiye Udo-Udoma

Ebiye Udo-Udoma Posted 12 years ago

DONT LISTEN TO THESE GUYS. I am living proof you can play a fully ambidextrous style of table tennis. Watch a video of me in practice.

Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 12 years ago

Hi Ebiye,

Different people have different goals and as long as you are happy with your level then that is good. However if you do want to take the next step and become a better Table Tennis player, you will need to focus your training on one hand. Otherwise you will need to double your training effort for very little benefit.

Ebiye Udo-Udoma

Ebiye Udo-Udoma Posted 12 years ago

What would I need to do to improve my game? I can use one hand to set up the other, (example: a left hand backhand slice serve from the left side of the table and then use the right hand for the 3rd ball attack) I have more reach, and the different spins throws my opponents off balance.

 With ambidextrous athletes improvements on one side translate to improvements on the other and vis versa. Here are some videos of ambidextrous athleticism. Golf throwing Basketball

Ebiye Udo-Udoma

Ebiye Udo-Udoma Posted 12 years ago


If you look at some of the rallies from my practice match you notice that there are times when I use just one hand (typically when my opponent is on the offensive) but there are times when I can switch hands and really fool my opponent. Hitting forehands off of both sides means I can cover more ground while attacking my opponent with less footwork. When you train ambidextrously your opponent cannot attack a specific side and it gives you an advantage.


How would you know how long it takes to train to be an ambidextrous table tennis player unless you are ambidextrous yourself?

Jeff Plumb

Jeff Plumb from PingSkills Posted 12 years ago

Hi Ebiye,

To improve your game there are several areas that jump to mind immediately.

Firstly you can work on your serve. To stop a good player attacking your serve, you need to develop a good short serve where you can mix up the spin and placement. To complement that you need a really effective fast long serve to keep your opponent from predicting a short serve every time. 

Secondly you can work on improving your third ball attack. By improving your forehand and backhand topspin, you can develop a better attacking stroke that will win you lots of points. 

Thirdly you can work on improving your return of serve. Against any serve that will not bounce twice on the table, you should play a strong topspin stroke (as mentioned above you will need to improve your forehand and backhand topspin technique). For any serve that will bounce twice on the table you need to improve your short game and be able to push the ball back short or either play a strong flick or a heavy backspin push to make it hard for your opponent to attack.

The last thing I would suggest is to join a Table Tennis club. The more varying styles and levels of players you can play against the more opportunity you have to improve. In fact without joining a Table Tennis club it is almost impossible to improve your game to a high level.

I see virtually no advantage from being able to use both hands even after watching your video. As Tevia commented, Timo Boll does very occassionally switch to his right hand when he is forced way back from the table and plays a running forehand with his right hand. But he would not bother training for this as it happens so rarely and he has much more important areas to focus on.

Although you can play at your current level with both hands, there is a lot of room for improvement in your game if you are prepared to work hard. I believe you would be better off concentrating on using one hand for this.

Good luck with your Table Tennis.

gian crispino

gian crispino Posted 11 years ago

i think you should practice both hands. fooling your opponent would be easy and you can have different tactics and strategies by using two hands  

Leslie Yin

Leslie Yin Posted 11 years ago

Playing with both hands might help you playing at the very low levels but up against anyone else who is good and consistent with the basic technique, the ball will definitely be coming too fast for you to switch and still play a good shot. As a result you spent lots of time training for playing a forehand shot with your non preferred hand and rarely use it to good effect in a match, whereas you could've spent that time making your backhand into a formidable shot. 

gian crispino

gian crispino Posted 11 years ago

i agree mate. im not telling to switch ur hand during rally, what im saying is to switch hands after points. well it also depends on the player to be ambidextrous. I do it just for fun and not on real games

Judah Cagas

Judah Cagas Posted 11 years ago

hey udoma are u sure using both hands?if we are going to play im sure to put you down 4-0.yes you can use   both hands but during a high level rally your going to be confused.

Steve Vaugier

Steve Vaugier Posted 10 years ago

If you are going to switch hands, do it immediately after you return the ball as your opponent will be focusing on the ball and after he realizes that you have switched, it will be too late for him. Many times as i am playing rh and i pick up a pattern in my opponents' return, i will return a lh backhand slam. The most  common comment after this is done is "where did that come from". try it.

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