Controlling Arm Strength

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 7 years ago

eugene lu

eugene lu Asked 7 years ago

 Hi alois, 

When doing the forehand topspin, I often hit the ball out. My coach says I need to control my arm strength and don't hit too hard all the time. But then he wants good amount of speed on the ball. He doesn't want me to put too much speed on the ball but just enough with good topspin. How to achieve this without hitting hard?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Eugene,

Focus on getting a lot of topspin on the ball.  This will give you a good margin for error and allow you to get good speed at the same time.  If you hit the ball flat and fast you have little margin for error which will lead to a lot of errors.

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eugene lu

eugene lu Posted 7 years ago

But it seems like I can't brush the ball much. I can't get the right feeling. What is the right feeling when brushing the ball

Linh Vu

Linh Vu Posted 7 years ago

I am very good with having a thin contact with the ball and brushing the ball. However, I don't know to how to loop with firmer contact. To have a thin contact with the ball and brush the ball, you should have:

1. soft rubber with some stickiness. Examples are DHS Hurricane 8 2.2mm hardness 38 no booster, DHS Hurricane Neo 3 2.2 hardness 39 with 4 layers of booster (to make it softer), Stiga (Astro) Airoc S, Butterfly Tenergy 05 FX, or any soft rubber with good (but not fast) speed.

2. carbon blade with 3-5 layers in total. fewer layers better. don't use slow to medium speed carbon blade. no fast carbon blade.

3. your racket angle should be 15-85 degree as against the ground surface. for underspin angle is near toward 85. for topspin ball angle is near toward 15. low or high ball angle is near toward 85. medium ball is near toward 15.

4. listen to the ball sound generated by your stroke. there should be no sound or little sound. if you hear loud sound, your stroke is not correct. you practice looping but no sound. don't worry about whether the ball is in the table. eventually it will be in the table after one week of practice.

5. when I first practiced the so called brushing loops, all of my balls were under the net. if all of your loops are under the net, you are doing it correctly !!! eventually it will be over the net. to begin with, it has to be under the net !!!


eugene lu

eugene lu Posted 7 years ago

So if you count by percentage, how many percent brushing and how many percent force

My coach has also told me to change to a soft rubber and I did. But I'm still not brushing well. Especially on the loop against block. On the loop against backspin and cab brush better although I still cause some errors. 

When doing the loop of block. I can't brush the ball to well. I have this feeling when I'm trying to brush, I need to tighten up my arm to try to grip the ball. If I relax, the ball will go flat. Same on looping backspin, when I relax my arm and loop, the ball will end up in the net.

Mike Deubig

Mike Deubig Posted 7 years ago


You might be relying on your arm speed too much for the topspin. My coach tells me all the time to use my body more, turn a little with momentum going slightly forward using a shorter swing and in a good finish position. It does work, my topspin has more spin and is faster as a result. When I use too much arm, my muscles tend to tense too much which slows down my arm speed thus I end up hitting the ball rather than brushing it or if I do brush it, it goes into the net because my arm speed is slower as a result of my muscles being tense. The strength of your topspin comes mostly from your core, rather than your arm speed. Once you get your technique down, then you can increase arm speed to go faster if need be. :)

eugene lu

eugene lu Posted 7 years ago

Hey Mike, 

This is 100% according to my problem. My coach also say that I'm using to much arm and not using the body. He also me to use my legs and waist more. And you are right, my arm does tense up and the contact and the ball will go "bang". But mine Is not going into the net rather than out. My coach told me that the arm itself can't generate too much speed and increasing the arm speed makes you inconsistent as you cannot control how much power using the arm. But then, I don't feel natural using my body then using the arm. What should I do?

eugene lu

eugene lu Posted 7 years ago

Also, when I'm doing footwork, my waist and legs are not functioning the most. When I'm in a fixed position my waist can still function. But when doing footwork drills the arm problem comes in, especially on the pivot footwork.

Mike Deubig

Mike Deubig Posted 7 years ago

Hi eugene,

I think they teach this here at pingskills which has helped me when my arm becomes too much of a focus rather than combining body and arm to complete the technique is...Focus on the finish position and work on moving your feet, do not warm up standing still, start slower if necessary to get your feet moving more. There are some good suggestions in PingSkills to help you with your footwork. :)

eugene lu

eugene lu Posted 7 years ago

Actually there is no problem with my footwork. Just my arm and waist during footwork. I think my forehand topspin has improved after you telling me my problems and telling me how to correct it. 

Thx Mike.

P.s. if you want to be my e-mail buddy, leave you e-mail in the comment and here's mine.

A few of the pingskillers also communicate with me through e-mail. 

Conrad Young

Conrad Young Posted 7 years ago

Good to hear others working on the same thing. My local coach tells me I'm using too much arm and shoulder as well, resulting in an inconsistent shot. Last night in a tournament I noticed the difficulty of timing so many different muscle groups together for one shot, especially after a few matches. For me, Jeff's FH loop is a good visual example of not using so much arm on the back swing.

eugene lu

eugene lu Posted 7 years ago

My problem can't be solved that easily. I thought I have solved the problem, but yesterday on training, the problem came back. When I'm doing it at home bouncing it on the ground, it was easier. When it comes to a real training where the ball is actually traveling faster, that arm problem kicks in. I'm using to much arm again and can't generate topspin. What should I do?

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