How Long Does It Take To Become Really Good At Table Tennis?

“How long does it take to become really good at table tennis?” is the question that we – personal ping pong coaches – get asked a lot, particularly by people who just started the sport and even amateurs.

It is understandable because who doesn’t want to know something about the day when their sweaty practice makes perfect, right?

However, considering that this question is comparatively generic in its nature, not to mention the time it takes to master a skill varies from person to person, we have set out to condense all of these inquisitions in one post.

In this post, we are going to explain all aspects that help you level up your ping pong skills, how you can prepare your physical and mental self for the change, and how to tell if you have improved.

With that said, let’s begin.


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General information

Well, let’s face it. Table tennis is no mean feat.

It requires the coordination of your whole body, from the utmost concentration of the mind to the sensitivity of hand movements. But most importantly, the difficulty of table tennis lies in the tricky speed and sophisticated techniques of the game.

That is why mastering ping-pong takes time, even a long time.

But before we dive into how long it takes to become really good at tennis, we need to clarify what “really good” suggests.

Let’s simply assume that it means having reached the top national level, being around #500 in the global ranking. Is it possible? Yes, this goal is totally realistic.

However, many coaches and players have fallen short of this objective due to many reasons, primarily because they have been adopting false training methods. Thus, the training routine does not bring out the desired quality.

Generally, from my perspective, I would say it takes from five to fifteen years of consistent and effective practice to reach this rank.

To be more specific:

  • If you practice alone out of intuition and passion, and without sticking to any training program, it will take you 50 years to forever to become really good. (Sad but true)
  • When you enroll yourself in a club and practice there once or twice a week, hopefully, you will have to spend at least 40 years more to become a National pro.
  • If you start playing table tennis at a tender age and train at least twice to three times a week with a professional coach, you will reach the top national rank within 20 to 30 years.
  • If you train at a professional institute three to four times a week with a nationally/ worldwide certified coach, you can reach that top-level within 15 years.
  • In the best-case scenario, either of your parents is a player-cum-coach ping-pong figure, and you practice with him daily; that process will shrink to around only ten years.

That pretty much explains why most professional table tennis players are at their peak from 25 to 35 years of age.

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Practice consciously

Having looked at the information above, can you tell us the shortcut to becoming a pro?

Sadly, there is no shortcut to success but practice and practice. Make sure you have advanced these basic skills:

Attacking strokes

  • Forehand drive
  • Backhand drive
  • Forehand topspin
  • Backhand topspin
  • Block
  • Service basics
  • Reverse pendulum serve
  • Service receive

Also, make sure you have integrated these skills in harmony with others, such as defensive strokes, transitions, switching, stroke adjustments, and shot placement.

Have a certified coach

After all, you cannot practice alone. You will need a coach that sees the strength in you, helps you point out your mistakes, and shows you the methodology to advance your playing style. Otherwise, you can be lost along the way.

Make sure you find a coach that understands you as much as he understands table tennis.

Keep up with the trend

It’s always good to learn something from the sensational figures in table tennis. For example, Mima Ito is very famous for her style – using speed to win. Using short pips, she takes advantage of the wide-angle and attacks around the bounce.

If you are someone who loves playing with speed, it’s your chance to try it out. Maybe someday, it will come in handy when confronting her, right? (Just kidding)

Don’t compare yourself to others 

Comparing yourself to others is detrimental to your well-being in every sense. It puts you under pressure for quick success and lowers your self-esteem.

Remind yourself that everyone’s route is different. What you can’t do today can be accomplished later.


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Final Words

After this post, we hope that you have taken good notes on “How long does it take to become really good at table tennis?”. Just a reminder, whatever happens, push it through, believe in yourself, and everything will turn out well.

Thanks for your time!