How to Spin the Ball in Ping Pong

How to Spin the Ball in Ping Pong?

Last Updated on March 24, 2024

Do you only play for fun or are you trying to improve your game? If you want to get better at ping pong then mastering your spin shots will be a very helpful tool. It’s a central part of the game that shouldn’t be overlooked if you want to beat your opponent and move your skills up a level. But there isn’t just one spin shot to learn—there are three! Here, we’ll give you tips on how to spin the ball in ping pong and hone your techniques while learning each spin.

What are the Different Types of Spin Shots?

The three types of spin you can use when playing the game are topspin, backspin, and sidespin.

The way the ball spins depends upon the air pressure that meets it after you’ve hit your shot. The air impacts either the top, back, or side of the ball, and the resulting spin depends on the part of the ball which moves. The place and force with which the ball hits the table also contribute to the spin it makes.

How to Spin the Ball in Ping Pong

How to Spin the Ball in Ping Pong

Let’s look at how you can perform each spin shot. That way, you can better learn how to use them tactically and give yourself an advantage when playing the game.

The Topspin Shot

Out of all of the shots, topspin’s the one that will help you the most. The point of this spin shot is to propel the ball forward with speed towards your opponent’s side of the table. The reason why it’s more difficult is that it can become easy to miss the table when you have to hit the ball hard. But execute it perfectly and the point is yours!

To perform the shot, you move your bat forward into the closed racket angle and strike the ball while moving your bat upwards. The position of your bat, place you strike the ball, and speed with which you hit it, are all factors that affect the level of topspin you create.

By moving your bat forward, the ball moves less distance while curving downwards towards the table. When you perfect the spin, it lands just over the net with a flatter bounce than a normal shot would give.

There are a few benefits to a topspin shot. They include:

  • Less likelihood of hitting the net
  • A shorter distance travelled allows it to drop farther from your opponent’s reach
  • Your opponent finds it more difficult to return the shot

However, if you’ve found yourself on the receiving end of a topspin shot, there are two ways you can return it.

With the first, if you’ve edged nearer to the table you can move your bat forward and playback with a topspin too. The greater the spin they’ve applied, the further you have to move your bat, so you’ll want to keep a close eye here on the other player’s technique.

The second way to counteract a topspin is by stepping further away from the table. This give you more time to make your move and become more effective in successfully returning the shot. Here, you’re best using the undercutting technique.

The Backspin Shot

Backspin can especially be advantageous when playing a serve. If you reverse the steps used in completing the topspin, that’s how to spin a ping pong ball with backspin. Here, you move the bat back into an open angle. Then starting from a high position you’ll move it downwards to meet the ball on the bottom (and undercut it).

This spin shot can make the ball look like it’s floating, as it can lengthen the time it hangs in mid-air. The ball slows when it lands on the table and therefore doesn’t move as much. If you gain enough backspin, the ball can change the direction from which it hits the table and propel back towards the net.

A huge advantage here is that it can be hard for your opponent to predict what way the ball will travel. If they fail to return, you gain the point.

Here are the benefits of using backspin:

  • Makes it easier for your opponent to slip up
  • It can be a difficult shot to counteract and return
  • It may come in helpful when returning serves

In order for you to successfully return a backspin, you’ll want to move your bat forward while hitting the ball. You can do this either by undercutting or counteracting with a normal batting play. Either way, it will be best to add some forward movement to it.

The Sidespin Shot

When you slice a ball on its side, it naturally moves in a sideward direction. Strike the ball with your bat on either side. The action is fairly similar here to that of a backspin except you’re moving the bat on its side rather than downwards.

If you’re able to slice the ball on one side it will curve towards the opposite one. So if you cut it on the left side, the ball will move to the right.

By blocking a sidespin shot from your opponent with a normal batting position, it will move in the other direction. If they’ve performed the shot well when hitting the ball on the right side, for example, the ball will travel to your left. Try your best to return with a shot back to the right (or even with right-hand spin if you can). Apply the same techniques but for the other side when having to return a left sidespin shot.


In this guide, we’ve shown you how to spin the ball in ping pong using three different shots. You can play it with topspin, backspin, or sidespin. The type of technique you’ll use will depend upon the situation you’re in, the position of the ball, and the speed with which it’s traveling. Not only will learning how to spin the ball in different ways be important for your game, but knowing how to counteract them will be beneficial too. Use this as your guide for understanding spin shots while taking your ping pong game up a notch.

author avatar
Ashton Brown
Ashton Brown spent a lot of time in after school programs as a child. In a local community-run recreation center in Boston, they had a ping pong table, and since then he has always played. He had a ping pong table in his college dorm, and a mini one in his office for giggles. After playing for years, Ashton wants to show you how to get started with ping pong, learn the tricks of the trade, and equip yourself with everything you need to be better at the game.

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