For anyone who has become fascinated with the sport of ping pong, there is a quick realization that it's a very cerebral game legendary for technique. Playing well requires a high level of concentration and finesse – and the ability to compete successfully against a range of playing styles. Nearly all players regard a table tennis racket as the most essential piece of equipment. Many other details also figure in, such as the level of light above the table used for play. People progressing to the advanced beginner and intermediate levels are learning more about all of these. They make the game more interesting.

If you haven't already, learning to score a game is a crucial step. Gone is the old 21-point game, replaced by an 11-point version that's used today. The serves now rotate two per player. The games move faster and reflect the quicker pace of play. If there's a table tennis center in your area, you can start playing there to practice and try your hand against more worthy opponents, and watching others play who are better than you can be instructive as well. Others' moves and playing style may inspire you, and it can inspire you to do better. You're also well advised to find out more about useful training drills that isolate particular aspects like footwork so you can focus more on improving.

The day that most players remember most was the day they purchased their first racket. Usually, it is stepping up from very ordinary ones that causal players use (and share). As you step up, deciding on a grip is one of the significant considerations. It needs to line up with your playing style, and you need to buy one that will enhance your shots and comfort using it. It's a table tennis axiom that no one ever changes their grip, so think carefully before you establish yours. As you improve as a player, you'll want to add spin and speed to your shots, and the grip factors into both. Don't hurry into deciding.

Many will tell you about the value of skill-building training drills that isolate specific elements of play if you talk to table tennis coaches. You touch on them when you practice, but deconstructing the game and focusing on them is different. If you never train and only practice, you'll be at a disadvantage when facing opponents who have prepared. It all comes together later as you become a more advanced player. It's possible to pick up some of the skills later but learning them as you're developing your game and playing style often works the best. Talk to some coaches and work with one if you can.