Correcting my forehand topspin

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 8 years ago

Claus Hamacher

Claus Hamacher Asked 8 years ago

Dear Alois and Jeff,

As an adult beginner I've been playing for 1,5 years now and - thanks to your website - I have progressed from total beginner to - let's call it advanced beginner. Some strokes work really well and get me a lot of points (my serve e.g.).

My problem is that some of my other strokes are way too inconsistent due to a lack of correct technique.

One problem in particular is my forehand topspin.

Of course I have looked at all the videos explaining how to execute the stroke correctly. I know about the starting and the finish position. But even when I thought I was doing it right it seems that in fact there are a lot of deficiencies in the way I execute the stroke.

Therefore my nephew (who is a good player) and I have been trying to analyse what I am doing wrong. Here are the findings:

1.   I hit the ball too late. Instead of hitting it in front of the body, I hit it almost behind my body. 

2.   There is too little forward momentum in my movement. I am not bringing my right shoulder forward. The stroke is too vertical as a result.

3.   I don't use the lower part of my arm to accelerate the movement before i actually hit the ball.

4.   My bat is too open when i hit the ball. It seems that even though I hold the bat correctly at the beginning of the stroke, I open the bat shortly before I hit the ball. This means that there is not enough topspin on the ball to take a nive curve downwards. As a result I too often miss the table or hit the net.

All these little mistakes combined seem to be responsible for the fact that i fail to win crucial points.

I am very anxious to correct my technique here. I've been trying to follow your suggestion to think of it as a new stroke I am learning, but this is hard when the wrong movements are already so deeply ingrained. Can you recommend any special exercises to correct - step by step - my forehand topspin?

Thanks very much in advance and accept my apologies for this rather lengthy question.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Claus,

Sounds like a lot of little errors.  Perhaps you are over analysing the stroke.  Without seeing it perhaps it is all due to tension in the shoulder.  I find this is often a source of the problem with the forehand topspin.  This can be a result of trying too hard.

See if you can think about swinging through without focusing on hitting the ball on the table.  Only focus on the stroke and technique and getting it to feel really smooth.

Technically think about finishing with your bat further in front of your head.  Think about a stick pointing out from your forehead about 10 cm and you stroke finishing at the end of that stick.  This will also get your bat to turn more over the ball rather than starting with yor bat too vertical.

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