How to Spin a Ping Pong Ball: The 6 Best Techniques Explained

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Last updatedLast updated: November 26, 2023
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Ping pong can seem like a relatively simple game. You hit a small ball with a paddle, wait for your opponent to return it, and then hit again. And while this may be your technique when your first start out, once you become confident with your abilities, you will soon want to know how to spin a ping pong ball. This extra bit of style can both intimidate your partner and lead you to win more games. When you see it in action, you can’t help but be impressed. Learning how to put a spin on a ping pong ball may take a bit of practice but once you understand the steps behind it, you will be able to master it quite easily. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know in order to craft that perfect ping pong ball spin. We guarantee it will lead to greater success.

How to put a spin on a ball

Ready to hit a ping pong ball with spin? There are actually different types of spin and they all require slightly different techniques. If you’re struggling with producing the right spin, you might want to try paddles that have reverse rubbers as some paddles actually have anti-spin rubbers.


Creating a solid topspin can take a bit of effort to master but it is well worth it if you do. To start with, you will be hitting the ball after it has bounced on the table as you will need to come at the ping pong ball from below. You want to hit the ball at the equator (middle) and create both a forward and upward motion with your paddle.

While you will probably start fairly slow with the move, the faster you go, the more topspin you will be able to create. When a ball is hit with a topspin, there is a better chance that it will land on the table.

The topspin is the most popular move in ping pong and is often used when someone is on the attack. In order for you to have a fighting chance against your opponent, it is definitely a move you need to master.


This type of spin is the most common form that amateurs use. This is mainly because it is one of the easier spins to master. To start your backspin, aim to hit the ball at the equator or slightly below it. You actually want to start your ping pong stroke above the ball and then as you hit the equator, move your ping pong paddle in a forward but downward motion.

Practice your backspin as this motion will pop up in other types of spin. The drawback to using a backspin is that it will make your ping pong ball travel more slowly. As a result, your opponent will be able to get to the ball faster. As well, this move can be countered by a topspin attack.


As you can imagine from the name, a sidespin occurs when you hit the ball with your paddle on the side of the ball. You can create a sidespin from either the right or the left side, depending on how you hit the ball. Basically, if you hit the ball and move the racket to the right, the ball will move in the opposite direction, to the left.

The faster you move your paddle, the faster your ball will move. Furthermore, a sidespin often occurs with either a topspin or a backspin. This type of spin is often used when you are serving, so the better you understand it, the better you can be prepared for your opponent to use it when opening a game.

Mixed spin

Now that you understand the basic types of ping pong spins, it’s time to get a bit creative. When you combine two types of spins, you actually create a mixed spin. This is often a sidespin plus a topspin or backspin.

You may find yourself accidentally creating a mixed spin, simply because you can’t control how your paddle hits the ping pong ball when it is going so fast. That’s ok. Take your time to analyze where your ball has landed and then try to repeat the hand motions you used for this to happen. Over time, you’ll be able to better control your ball and the type of spin you use.

Cork spin

True ping pong masters will understand the beauty of a cork spin. It is hard to create but if you can master it, you will be greatly rewarded. What happens in a cork spin is that your ball will actually bounce across the table from right to left, instead of moving forward.

This is a tricky move as your opponent can mistake where the ball is heading to and completely miss it. If you find yourself against an opponent who has mastered the cork spin, be sure to take notice of how they achieve it and maybe even ask for a tutorial.


Yes, there is a way to play ping pong without using a spin on your ball. Aptly named the no-spin, basically it means that the ball is moving without spinning. Most players start by hitting the ball this way as beginners need to just focus on the mechanics of the game and not worry about fancy moves.

To create a no-spin move, hit the ping pong ball near its equator. You will want your racket to be at a 90-degree angle with the ball. After you hit the ball, it will move forward and you’ll notice it either doesn’t have a spin or has very little spin.

How to play against a spin

How to Spin a Ping Pong Ball: The 6 Best Techniques ExplainedThe more you practice perfecting your own spin on ping pong balls, the better you’ll be able to detect when an opponent plays with a spin. While it can be hard at first to notice a ball moving so fast, the more you play, the better you’ll be able to detect it.

Different spins can be played against in different ways. For example, if your opponent hits the ball with a backspin, you may want to counter with a topspin. Also, if your opponent hits with a side spin, you may want to also counter with a sidespin to bring the ball back towards the middle of the table.

Practice Spin Against Table Tennis Robot

One of the best ways to practice counter spin is to practice against a table tennis robot. You can practice against backspin, topspin, side spins by changing direction of the robot head. Robots such as Suz 201 or Newgy are great started robots that come with a net and table feeding tray. Lots of practice against spin will make you a master ping pong player.

How spins affect your play

The more basic, no-spin way of playing ping pong is fun but can be a little boring. There’s no thrill to figuring out where your opponent will hit the ball as it simply moves where it is hit to.

While this is a good way to start learning the game, you will probably want a more challenging path. Learning different spins provides that challenge and allows you to really practice your skills.

What can help you spin better

The more moves you have in your arsenal, the better you will be able to play, and most likely win. Different spins are often used at different times of the game, including when you serve or when you are trying to end the match.

Furthermore, if you can recognize what spins are being used, you are better able to counter-attack them. While beginners shouldn’t worry too much about adding spin to their game, once you become proficient with the basics, you should start practicing spins.

Sometimes, too, you will hit the ball with a spin accidentally. If you notice this, take a minute to try to re-construct what you did so you can replicate it.

Above all else, make sure you have the right paddle. A product like the STIGA Pro Carbon racket can help you create the perfect spin on your ball. Furthermore, you can always replace the rubber on your paddle with one made for crafting the perfect spin. For example, the Tibhar Evolution produces extraordinarily high spin.

Final thoughts

The more you know about ping pong, the more fun it becomes. There is actually a lot of technique to this game and if you understand how spins work, your game can really improve. Whether you are starting out with the more basic backspin or want to master the all-important side spin, having these tools means you can play a variety of games. Take the time to practice each spin as it is only through practice that you will be able to achieve your results. Furthermore, challenge yourself against more experience opponents. If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to know how to spin a ping pong ball in no time. Who knows, you just might find yourself at the Olympics Trusted Source Table tennis at the Summer Olympics - Wikipedia Table tennis competition has been in the Summer Olympic Games since 1988, with singles and doubles events for men and women. .


Table tennis at the Summer Olympics - Wikipedia
Table tennis competition has been in the Summer Olympic Games since 1988, with singles and doubles events for men and women.
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