Serve. The serve is when you put the ball into play. Short serves are more effective because long serves are easier to attack. A serve is said to double bounce if it would have bounced twice on the receiver’s side if the receiver had not tried to play it. Serves can have sidespin, underspin, topspin, a combination of these, or no spin.

Push. An underspin shot made with a short stroke over the table. Often used to return a serve.

Flip. A shot with a bit of topspin made over the table with mostly wrist or forearm to return a short ball with some pace.

Drive or Hit. A topspin attacking shot made with a full stroke.

Loop. A drive with a lot of topspin. The topspin makes the ball arc downward, thus letting you hit the ball harder without it missing the table. A loop is made with a longer stroke and you carry the ball on the racket as you drive the ball into the sponge. The loop is the dominant shot in modern table tennis.

Slow Loop. A slow or medium speed shot with lots of topspin and lots of arc. The spin can make it hard for the receiver to handle.

Loop Kill. A very fast loop that is expected to win the point.

Smash. A drive hit with all your power.

Counter Attack. An attacking shot (drive, loop, smash) made in response to an attacking shot rather than in response to a less aggressive shot such as a push or a flip.

Counter Loop. A loop made in response to an attacking shot.

Block. A stroke made with a short (or no) stroke to return a drive or a loop. When you block, you use the pace of the incoming ball to produce the pace of your shot.

Chop. An underspin shot made with a longer stroke from behind the table.

Lob. A ball hit very high. It is generally done when you are positioned back from the table to give yourself time to get ready for the next shot. It is a defensive shot.