Table tennis is a game that can quickly be won if the player uses predetermined tricks that are precise. You can easily score against your opponent if your game is planned well and executed accordingly. Planning helps you control the game and make it flow according to your will. Third ball attack is a good trick that can help you win a game.

Third ball attack is a table tennis trick that helps the server gain points through utilizing the return ball. The third ball means the shot you receive and return successfully after your opponent returns your initial serve. You can easily plan on how it should come, and how you can score with the attack you make.

The secret to being successful in your third ball attack is serving and returning the ball strategically and in a skilled manner. There are a number of things you can train on to perfect your third ball attack. The things you should practice on are as follows.

1. Setting up a forehand attack


You can make your opponent return your serve to your forehand, and then attack with it. This is very much effective but requires enough practice. You will need to serve with a reversed sidespin that will make the ball spin off to your forehand after contacting the opponent’s paddle.

Your third ball attack should be as much trickier as possible. It can have a fast topspin that will make the ball land on the opponent’s forehand.

2. A short but wide serve

This is a very important drill that helps you learn how to successfully return long and short shots. The serve features a short sendoff of the ball that lands to the right or the left side of the table. This makes your opponent to either return a short ball to your forehand or a long ball to your backhand.

To return the short ball, you should make a flicked forehand attack that crosses to any side of the table. If the opponent’s return is long, you should play topspin forehand that lands below the line.

3. A flicked forehand third ball

This is a tough shot that is very much efficient due to the flick added to the normal forehand attack. You should start by serving a short backspin that ends up at your opponent’s backhand. Your opponent then returns it shortly and to your forehand. This gives you a good chance to attack.

You should attack using a flicked forehand play that is wide. This will end up on the opponent’s forehand, but will greatly be spiced by the flick and the wideness.

4. Third ball backhand flick/topspin

This drill helps you master how to return both long and short backspins. In the drill, you should start by serving a short backspin that ends up on the table’s center. Your opponent will then push a short or long ball to your backhand. This will then give you ample room to return according to how you receive the ball.

If the opponent made a backhand push, you will return it with a flicked backhand that is strong. If the opponent’s shot was long, you should attack with a topspin backhand play.

5. A third ball topspin to the opponent’s cross-over

Aiming for the cross-over point of your opponent is a very good strategy that works better than even the corners. For this drill, you will have to first serve a long topspin that ends up at your opponent’s backhand. The opponent will then return it with a topspin backhand play that lands on the middle part of the ping pong table.

The third ball should be made with a forehand topspin that makes it land on the opponent’s crossover point (playing elbow). This gives him little time to decide on the kind of return that he should make.

6. Setting up a random receive

This drill helps you learn how to successfully return all the kinds of receives that you get. In the drill, you should start with making a slightly long sidespin that will land on the table’s middle part. The opponent will then block and send it to any position of your side. This means that your third ball will depend on the position of the ball.

Your third ball should either be a backhand or forehand topspin that should land at the opponent’s backhand corner. You can use varying speed and landing position depending on your opponent’s weaknesses.


Planning your table tennis play is important. Using the third ball to score is crucial and should be trained on as much as possible. Having varying options to go for helps you make your game hardly unpredictable. Train on all the above drills and use them to gain as many points as possible.



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