Chop Block in Table Tennis: How-To & When To Use It

The chop block in table tennis is a fast backspin shot that is excellent at disrupting opponents’ rhythm. And guess what… barely anyone is using it!

Here, I describe the shot’s inner workings, why it is so good, and when you should use it. You don’t want to miss out on this key table tennis knowledge!

What Is a Chop Block in Table Tennis?

A chop block is a hybrid-style shot that combines the chop in table tennis with the block. Chop blocks produce two types of spin: sidespin and backspin, which may surprise many.

For the shot, you contact the ball much more directly than a regular table tennis chop. You also strike the ball earlier. The usual goal with the chop block is to disrupt the rhythm of attackers and present a high backspin ball that quickly descends.

How to Chop Block in Table Tennis

here's how to do a chop block in table tennis from Alex Horscroft


You must be close to the table for a chop block to work effectively. You are trying to force your opponent to move inward.

Firstly, adopt the ready position, leaning forward on the balls of your feet with bent knees. Then, anticipate where the ball is going to travel. When executing a standard right-to-left backhand chop block, you have a good margin for error regarding sideways positioning. While it’s optimal for the ball’s path to align with your belly button, anywhere on your torso or even slightly to the left is feasible.


Depending on your style, you may want to hit your chop blocks as the ball rises or when it is at its peak. These have different outcomes. If you take the ball early as it rises, your opponent likely won’t attempt to attack.

However, if you play your chop block at the top of the bounce, your opponent may attempt to attack the ball. Often, this will result in a weak attack or a frantic switch to a push.


Unlike chopping, where you strike the back of the ball, you strike the side of the ball for chop blocks. Keep your racket face pointing upward, much like you were hitting an ordinary chop, and then swiftly hit the side of the ball diagonally. I recommend striking downward and to the left, as it is the easiest movement for the chop block. However, you can also strike downward and to the right too.

Remember, a loose grip and brushing motion are key here. You must produce a heavy backspin to override the ball’s topspin. If you don’t, the ball will ping off your paddle high, presenting an easy smash for your opponent.

Why You Should Use Table Tennis Chop Blocks

Chop blocks are one of the best ways to upend an attacker’s rhythm. The backspin causes the ball to cover less distance, forcing the opponent to move forward and adjust the angle of their stroke.

Not only are chop blocks difficult to return well, but they are also very unexpected—I don’t know a single player who chop blocks regularly!

As such, a chop block is the last thing your opponent expects, so if your execution is good, it will almost certainly give your opponent trouble. And no, you don’t need to be a chopper to chop block. While chop blocks are easier to hit with long pimples, they work just as well with inverted rubber, too.

When Should You Use Chop Blocks in Ping Pong

The best time to use chop blocks is against topspin strokes, particularly loops. I’d also recommend avoiding chop blocks on your forehand side. While possible, they are a lot harder, and chop blocks are difficult enough. Instead, use chop blocks on your backhand side. You will get far more out of it.  

More specifically, the key to chop blocking well is not to overdo it. It’s all about sneaky and throwing out a chop block when your opponent doesn’t expect it. If you abuse this defensive shot, your opponent will adjust and punish you for it.

My advice is to employ chop blocks when blocking against a looper. This works especially well if they stand a few steps from the table.

Closing Thoughts on Ping Pong Chop Blocks

The chop block in table tennis is a fast backspin stroke that works beautifully against most players, provided you don’t overdo it. While it can be difficult to learn as it requires a lot of skill, it is well worth picking up. And now that you know how to chop block in ping pong, it’s simply a matter of putting the time into training to learn it. Best of luck!

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Freelance writer. Table tennis enthusiast. Lover of all things online. When I’m not working on my loop game I’m probably binge-watching some fantasy show.