While it may help if you're playing on a professional table tennis table, how you approach it is driven most by your playing style. By the intermediate levels, if not sooner, all ping pong players need to develop their abilities according to a style of play. Therefore, everyone with more than a passing interest in the game needs to become more familiar with the two significant categories of table tennis playing styles. Even taking a couple of minutes to read about each one can be quite beneficial in the long run. If some of the terminology sounds confusing at first, keep reading, and before long, it will make sense.
According to their style, the classic way of sorting table tennis players is to put them into three groups: attackers, blockers, and defenders. The first thing you want to consider is how much speed a player can put on the ball. However, never underestimate the importance of spin. Together with speed, it's the most determining factor in assessing playing style. The more updated way of categorizing playing style has to do with a player's aggressiveness. It also looks at strokes and how they are played. For example, you can have an aggressive back spinner of a defensive top spinner.
There are many ways to play table tennis. They include two-wing hitters, two-wing loopers, one-wing versions of both, classic defenders, modern defenders, blockers, push/blockers, and various styles of penhold including pips-out, loopers, and backhand. Because no two players are alike, each style can be played uniquely, depending on the person. Therefore, it's not always easy to pigeonhole players within categories. Most times, considering a player's style is essential when they're going to be your opponents in a game. Knowing their style helps you anticipate their moves and play well in response.
Table tennis centers are hotbeds of serious conversations about the sport and the techniques for successful play. If your community has a center, spend some time there to become a part of the discussions. You can also take opportunities to watch others play and begin observing how different playing styles work. Before long, you'll hear some players referred to as two-wing loopers, while others might be called blockers. At first, you'll be the only one not clear on what those mean. But it won't be long before it all makes sense, and you're as much a part of the conversations as everyone else.