Although the defensive style is competitive in modern table tennis, statistical analyses of it have been limited. The purpose of this study was to clarify the influence of playing style on the occurrence of missed shots, i.e. shots that resulted in a score for the opponent in table tennis. This study found that the defensive style decreases the incidence of missed shots, particularly after the fourth shot, although those of the second and the following shots also decrease. In matches played by a defensive player, missed shots were 6 to 8% less likely to occur than in matches between two offensive players. In addition, the defensive style reduces the likelihood of missed shots in a rally served by an offensive player, and the amount of reduction is about the same as in a rally served by a defensive player. By gender, male defensive players were less defensive than female. We also found it difficult to identify defensive players by the occurrence of missed shots because there might be players not categorised as having defensive style who were as defensive as defensive players.