Table Tennis Ready Position

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The table tennis ready position is an important neutral stance which you need to master
So let's take a closer look

 By Martin Hughes
 Owner and Editor

Table Tennis Ready Position by courtesy of the ITTF

The ready position is a neutral starting position from which all table tennis strokes can be played.

Whenever you are receiving service in table tennis you should take up the ready position.

It's also the neutral position which you should try to return to after playing your stroke during a rally.

From this position, you are able to watch and wait to see what your opponent will do and be ready and able to move in any direction.

So if you want to improve your table tennis, you'll need to master this technique as the ready position is the starting point for all your table tennis strokes.


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Ready Position

Table Tennis Ready Position

For right-handers using an offensive attacking style, you should stand slightly on the left-hand side of the table.

You also need to give yourself a bit of room away from the table, so using a slightly bent arm, hold your racket in front of you so that you can just reach the end of the table.

Also, for right-handers, you need to have your left foot just slightly further forward than your right foot. This will help you to play the majority of your strokes with your forehand.

You also need to bend your knees in order to lower your centre of gravity. That's very important. A lot of players have their legs completely straight which makes it very difficult to play your strokes in a balanced way and to move easily.

Your feet should be slightly further apart than your shoulder width so that you have a nice solid base.

Your free arm is used as balance and, with your shoulders forward, your weight should be on your toes.

Your racket needs to be in a neutral position so you can be ready to play either a backhand or a forehand stroke.

That's your ready position.



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Here's a video demonstration of the ready position.

(If you have problems with the sound, there are captions/subtitles that you can turn on. Just click on the captions/subtitles button)

For left-handers, you should stand slightly on the right-hand side of the table and have your left foot slightly further back.

So, it's similar to the right hander's position, but you're just on the other side of the table, with your right foot slightly further forward rather than the left foot slightly further forward.

Players who have a defensive style of play usually adopt a ready position in the centre of the table so that they can cover most of the table with the backhand or the forehand.

Also, a defensive player's ready position is square-on to the table, rather than at a slight angle.

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For more information on how to play table tennis and improve your game, take a look at my other tips and techniques articles...

Basic Skills


Advanced Skills


Strategies and Tactics




Skill Tests






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