Maximizing Your Game with Table Tennis Return Boards

  • Date: January 31, 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.

If you’re a table tennis player, then you know that practice is key to improving your game. One tool that can help you up your game is a return board.

Return boards can help you work on your accuracy, consistency, and overall technique. In this article, we’ll dive into the importance of return boards, explain different techniques for using them, and provide tips for choosing the right one for your playing style.

So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this article is a must-read for anyone looking to step up their table tennis game.

The Importance of Return Boards

If you want to practice table tennis at home, it’s important to have a good return board. Return boards, also known as backboards, are panels that are placed behind the table tennis table to provide a surface for the ball to rebound off of during play.

When a ball hits the return board, it causes the ball to change direction, which can make it more difficult for the opponent to predict where the ball is going. This can be especially useful for players who rely on spin and deception in their shots. Additionally, return boards also help to reduce the chances of a ball going out of bounds during play.

Improving Performance with Return Boards

Return boards also play a big role in strategy. For example, if a player is able to hit the ball so that it bounces off the return board in such a way that it’s difficult for their opponent to reach, they can use this to their advantage and score points.

Players can use the return board to set up shots and create angles that would be difficult to achieve without it. The use of return boards allows for a more varied gameplay and open up more possibilities for players to execute different shots or playstyles.

Return boards can be a valuable tool for players looking to improve their performance. By practicing with a return board, players can learn how to use the rebound of the ball to their advantage and develop shots that are difficult for opponents to return.

Pros and Cons of Using a Return Board

Pros of Using a Return Board:

  1. Improved accuracy and consistency in shot placement: By hitting the ball against a return board, players can work on hitting specific targets and making more precise shots.
  2. Increased ball speed and spin: Hitting the ball against a return board can help players generate more speed and spin on their shots, making it more difficult for their opponents to return the ball.
  3. Convenient and time-efficient practice: Return boards can be set up anywhere, making it easy for players to practice without a partner or having to go to a table tennis club.
  4. Enhanced reaction time and footwork: By practicing against a return board, players can work on their reaction time and footwork, making them faster and more agile on the table.

Cons of Using a Return Board:

  1. Limited opponent simulation: Return boards are not as effective as playing against a real opponent in simulating the different types of shots, spins, and placement that players will face in a real game.
  2. Potential for repetitive strain injury: Practicing against a return board for long periods of time can lead to repetitive strain injuries, such as tennis elbow or wrist strain.
  3. Lack of creativity: By focusing solely on hitting the ball against a return board, players may become less creative and less capable of adapting to different situations in a real game.
  4. Decreased ability to read opponents: By practicing against a return board, players miss out on the opportunity to learn how to read their opponents, which is an important skill in table tennis.

Techniques for Using Return Boards

Proper technique is important to up your game when using a return board. First, you’ll want to stand facing the board, with your paddle ready. Then, you’ll want to hit the ball softly, aiming for the center of the board. The idea is to have the ball bounce back to you in a predictable way, so you can practice your shots over and over.

Now, you don’t want to hit the ball too hard, as this will cause the ball to bounce unpredictably and defeat the purpose of using the return board. So, aim for soft, controlled shots that keep the ball bouncing back to you in the same spot.

When you’re first starting out with a return board, it’s a good idea to practice your forehand shots first. Once you’ve got those down, you can move on to your backhand shots. And, of course, feel free to mix it up and try different shots and spin variations!

Choosing the Right Return Board

If you’re looking to improve your shot accuracy and consistency, using a return board is a great way to do so. But with so many different types and options out there, how do you know which one is right for you?

First and foremost, when choosing a return board, there are a few key factors to consider. These include:


Return boards come in different sizes, so it’s important to choose one that’s suitable for your space and playing style. Consider the size of your room and whether you’ll be able to easily set up and use the board.


The material of the return board can also affect its performance. Look for one made from durable, high-quality materials that will withstand repeated use.


If you plan on taking your return board with you to different locations, portability is an important factor to consider. Some return boards are designed for easy transport, while others are more suited for use at home.

When it comes to skill level and playing style, there are a few general recommendations to keep in mind:

  1. Beginner: If you’re just starting out with table tennis, look for a return board that’s lightweight and easy to set up. A basic board with a smooth surface and simple design is perfect for beginners who are just getting the hang of things.
  2. Intermediate: As you improve your skills, you may want to consider a return board with a more advanced design. A board with a rougher surface or adjustable angles can help you work on specific shots and techniques.
  3. Advanced: For advanced players, a heavy-duty return board with multiple angles and adjustable settings is a great option. This will allow you to work on even the most challenging shots and refine your technique.

How to make your own Return Board

Making your own return board can be a fun and cost-effective way to improve your table tennis skills. With a few simple materials, you can create a homemade return board that is perfect for your playing style and level.

Materials you’ll need:

  1. A piece of cardboard or foam board
  2. Duct tape or masking tape
  3. A marker or pen
  4. A ruler
  5. A sharp utility knife or scissors

Steps to make your own return board:

  1. Cut your cardboard or foam board to the desired size. A common size for return boards is 18 x 24 inches, but you can make your board any size you like.
  2. Draw a straight line down the center of your board with the marker or pen and ruler.
  3. Cut the board in half along the line you just drew.
  4. Tape the two halves of the board together along the line. The tape should be on the side facing away from you, so it won’t interfere with your shots.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have created a stack of as many pieces of cardboard or foam board as you’d like.
  6. Secure the stack with duct tape or masking tape along the edges.
  7. Practice! You’re now ready to start using your homemade return board to improve your accuracy and consistency.


Using a return board is an excellent way to improve your table tennis skills and accuracy. By considering factors such as size, material, portability, and skill level when shopping around for the right return board, you can make sure you get one that best suits your needs.

Additionally, making your own return board is also an option if you are feeling creative! With the right return board and some practice, soon enough you will be hitting those perfect shots with ease!

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