There are four basic strokes that every table tennis player should have in his or her arsenal: the drive, push, block and smash. The drive, both backhand and forehand versions, are the basic offensive actions in table tennis, while the backhand and forehand push are the go-to defensive actions a player takes.
Drives deliver topspin strokes to the opponent following a low trajectory. The key is to hit the top half of the ball when performing drives. Pushes are employed when the ball is coming at the player in an actionable manner, meaning he or she can easily redirect the direction of the ball using a gentle stroke. The block is simply returning the ball using the force delivered by the opposing player. The smash occurs when the opposing player returns the ball soft and at a high trajectory, making it easier for the player to return the ball with force.