- Speed drive
- In table tennis it is not similar to strokes from other racket sports like tennis. The racket is primarily perpendicular to the direction of the stroke, and most of the energy applied to the ball results in speed rather than spin, creating a shot that does not arc much, but is fast enough that it can be difficult to return. A speed drive is often the bread-and-butter stroke of a player's arsenal, used mostly for keeping the ball in play, applying pressure on the opponent and potentially opening up an opportunity for a more powerful attack.
- Loop drive
- It is essentially the reverse of the speed drive. The racket is much more parallel to the direction of the stroke ("closed") and the racket thus grazes the ball, resulting in a large amount of topspin. A good loop drive will arc quite a bit, and once striking the opponent's side of the table will jump forward, much like a kick serve in tennis. A loop drive is dangerous because of its topspin — while not as difficult to return as a speed drive, it is more likely to rebound off the opponent's racket at a very high angle, setting up an easy smash on the follow up. As the loop drive requires a lot of topspin, players generally use their entire body to generate the movement required. Variations in spin and speed adds to effectiveness of this shot.
- Chinese players categorized loop-drives in 3 variations based on trajectorMay 18, 2007
- (or is called the "ultra-topspin") Produces a more pronounced loopy arc, with a higherMay 18, 2007
- 2. The "Rush"
- Produces a flatter trajectory than a typical "Loop" but carries much stronger topspin than a regular speed-drive. It can be as fast as a speed-drive, particularly when executed by the European players who typically replace speed-drive with it. The ball seems to "rush" forward and downward upon hitting the table, and hence the nickname. (Compared to the "kicking" or "jumping" actions resulted from the high-arc "Loop")
- 3. The "Hook"
- Similar to a regular Loop, but carries a tilted topspin (or is referred as the "top-side" spin), it bounces sideway and downward upon hitting the table. Similar but stronger than the defensive "side-drive" described below.
- Counter drive
- It is usually a counter attack against drives.. You have to close the racket and stay close to the ball (try to predict its path). You have to hit the ball off the bounce (before it reaches the highest point), with a pretty short movement in a way that the ball goes faster to the other side. A well-timed, accurate counterdrive can be as effective as a smash.
- When a player tries to attack a ball that has not bounced beyond the edge of the table, he/she does not have the room to wind up in a backswing. The ball may still be attacked, however, and the resulting shot is called flip because the backswing is compressed into a quick wrist action.
- The offensive trump card in table tennis. A player will typically execute a smash when his or her opponent has returned a ball that bounces too high and/or too close to the net. Smashing is essentially self-explanatory — large backswing and rapid acceleration imparting as much speed on the ball as possible. The goal of a smash is to get the ball to move so quickly that the opponent simply cannot return it.
- The slice or is analogous to the speed drive in some respects — it is very simple, usually used for keeping the point alive and creating offensive opportunities. A slice resembles a tennis slice: the racket cuts underneath the ball, imparting backspin and causing the ball to float slowly to the other side of the table. While not obvious, a slice can be difficult to attack because the backspin on the ball causes it to drop toward the table upon striking the opponent's racket – in order to attack a slice, a player must lift the ball back over the net. Often, the best option is to simply slice the ball back again, which repeats and results in slicing rallies. Otherwise, another option is to flip or drive the ball, only when it is far enough away from the net. Slicing can have its advantages, but it's a shot worth avoiding. Players should only slice when their opponent makes easy mistakes. Offensive players should only slice for variation and not for general rallies. A slice can easily be counterlooped into the opposite corner, if it doesn't drop short enough on the table. The goal of most player's slice is to make it too short to be attacked upon, rather than attempting to over-spin the opponent.
- A chop or cut is the defensive, backspin counterpart to the offensive loop drive. A chop is essentially a bigger, heavier slice, taken well back from the table. The racket face points primarily horizontally, perhaps a little bit upward, and the direction of the stroke is straight down.
- The block or short is a simple shot, barely worthy of being called a "stroke," but nonetheless can be devastating against an attacking opponent. A block is executed by simply putting the racket in front of the ball — the ball rebounds back toward the opponent with nearly as much energy as it came in with.
- High level players may use what is called push block or active block, adding speed to the ball (with a small topspin movement). When playing in the Penhold Grip, many players use push blocks when being pressured on the backhand. Chinese pen-hold players refer it as push-block as they literally "push" their backhand forward, instead of simply blocking it.
- Side Drive
- This spin is alternately used as a defensive and offensive maneuver. The premise of this move is to put a spin on the ball either to the right or the left of the paddle. The execution of this move is similar to a slice, but to the right or left instead of down. This spin will result in the ball curving to the side but bouncing in the opposite direction when the opponent returns it.
- The defensive lob is possibly the most visually-impressive shot in the sport of table tennis, and it is deceptive in its simplicity. To execute a lob, a defensive player first backs off the table 8-10 feet (2.5 to 3 m, advanced players sometimes go 20 feet or 6 m or more); then, the stroke itself consists of simply lifting the ball to an enormous height before it falls back to the opponent's side of the table. A lob is inherently a creative shot, and can have nearly any kind of spin you can imagine. Talented players use this fact to their advantage in order to control the point. For instance, though the opponent may smash the ball hard and fast, a good defensive lob could quite possibly be even harder to return due to the unpredictability (and heavy amounts) of the spin on the ball. Thus, though backed off the table by tens of feet and apparently running and leaping just to reach the ball, a good defensive player can still win the point using good lobs.
- Stop (or drop shot) is a high level stroke, used as another variation for close-to-table strokes. You have to position the body close to the ball and just let the ball touch the racket (without any hand movement) in a way that the ball stays close to the net with almost no speed and spin and touches the other side of the table more than twice if the opponent doesn't reach it. This stroke should be used when opponents are far from the table and not prepared to get close to the table.
Information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_tennis#Types_of_shots