Trembling wrist

Table Tennis Strokes & Technique

Danilo Bojović

Danilo Bojović

Last updated on 23-Apr-2017 12:30:02 PM

Hi coaches,

I have a pretty big problem. When I am playing forehand drive or forehand topspin my wrist is trembling, while I have not got that problem with my backhand. Also I can not block. The ball is going at least 1 meter in height. That is very annoying. What should I do? I am training 1 year and this problem started about 5 months ago.


Alois Rosario

and Alois Rosario said...

Hi Danilo,

This is an interesting issue.  It will be because you are not as confident with the forehand stroke.  So the arm and wrist are not sure of where to go so they are struggling to find the correct path.

In training, work on the stroke and gain confidence in it but doing the stroke repetitively initially and feel where the bat and arm are moving.  As you gain confidence in this because you are seeing he ball go on the table often, you will start to gain a smoother stroke in matches as well.

Comments on this question

Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco commented...

on the 20-Apr-2017 11:43:03 AM

Hey Alois,

I kind of have that same issue. Even when I start a serve, I notice that my racket sort of trembles and when I serve, the serves are sometimes weaker than expected, they are lets, or I simply fail the serve. When I perform a forehand topspin sometimes and I look back at the racket, I notice it kind of trembles as well in the air. It's kind of getting in the way of me improving, and I'm pretty confident in most of my shots, but I don't really understand why in the serve and in my forehand if those are my strongest advantages in my game, aside from my backhand, which the only problem I seem to have there is pretty high balls to my right (I'm a lefty) and I tend to slam with my backhand side for some reason. Backhand slams from close table game are very powerful, but anything else kind of makes my racket tremble. What do you think?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills said...

on the 21-Apr-2017 06:07:36 AM

Hi Gabriel,

I think it is probably the same thing, a lock of confidence in the stroke or which way the bat needs to move.  Practice of the stroke and serve will help.

Rufuss Thoo

Rufuss Thoo, a premium member said...

on the 22-Apr-2017 07:10:05 PM

Alois, could it also be that Danilo and Gabriel are 'strangling' the bat - gripping too tightly.  Muscle tension can easily cause trembling in the hand.  It is probably still related to a lack of confidence in the shot, causing the muscle tension, but ensuring the soft, relaxed grip you talk about elsewhere may help reduce/eliminate the trembling.


If it persists though, or happens away from the table, I'd see a doctor.  It could be a physiological issue, such as pinched or misfiring nerves when the arm is in a particular position/rotation.  I had a squash opponent that experienced this and required specific, target exercising to overcome.

Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco commented...

on the 22-Apr-2017 11:43:49 PM

I've been thinking, and you are right, Rufuss, that I sometimes tend to have a petty hard grip on my racket, and I do get a bit of wrist pain when I flick a ball I should just hit normally, between my index and thumb towards the wrist area. I've been working on lessening the grip I have on my racket though, so hopefully over time I can get used to playing with a soft grip. I also noticed when I was playing yesterday, I get all of a sudden a bit tired and my legs and arms start shaking a bit, so I'm pretty sure thats either because I'm nervous, tired, or not sure what it is I'm going to do. Next time I'll go to the doctor, I'll probably ask what it is and what I can do to reduce it, but this usually happens when I play against very good people or against players with less experience. I'm guessing it's because of the worry that if I lose to a very good player, I won't be good enough to play against other people their level, or if I lose to a player with less experience it'll be embarrassing and probably another indication that I won't be good enough to play against other people. I still don't really know what to do in this situation, because it happens quite a lot where I go to. This should just be psychological, but I don't really know what to do to stop this from happening.

Rufuss Thoo

Rufuss Thoo, a premium member said...

on the 23-Apr-2017 11:55:47 AM

Hi Gabriel.  It does seem like this is purely a psychological issue for you, rather than a physical one and kudos to you for analysing and recognising it.  From what you've said, I'm guessing you have a high level of anxiety about losing and so become fixated on NOT losing.  This is having 2 impacts on you. 1) you become really anxious about every point because losing a point might mean losing the set while at the same time you are thinking about the set and match result rather than playing each stroke and 2) you are raising your stress levels to the point where the adrenaline is impeding your performance and affecting your muscle control.  This goes back to the 'fight or flight' response that adrenaline is designed to support.  Too much tough can be paralysing.

Alois refers to this same scenario in the piece on activation level and bringing it back down to where your activation level delivers peak performance in a competitive situation.  I used to play golf and squash competitively and had to deal with issue in both sports.  The key for me was to play socially competitive games where the focus was on enjoying the sport with a bit of competition thrown in so winning or losing was not the focus but just an ancillary outcome.  This way, I learned to focus doing the best shot each and every time and let the result take care of itself. I even frequently lose track of the score entirely.

So, try trying matches with friends where the result doesn't matter, you can have a laugh at bad shots and even go for ones you wouldn't normally try in a serious comp.  If you can this type of match more often than serious competitions, you should find you start taking the more relaxed, shot-focused approach into those comps as well.  Good luck.


Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco commented...

on the 23-Apr-2017 12:20:25 PM

Thanks for the information, I will be sure to try all of this out. You are absolutely right about playing and enjoying the sport instead of stressing out each and every thing you do wrong in the sport; I used to enjoy playing table tennis, but recently I started playing very competitively alongside a few Cuban national players, and every time I do something wrong, they really want to point it out and correct it as fast as possible, adding to that stress. I appreciate the fact they want to help me and they see I have potential, but it gets me thinking about many things at once and I can't really "play" the game if I have to use all these techniques without practice. They have been telling me for a few months to play in a tournament, which I will next week, and I seriously have no idea what to do if something like this were to happen during the matches. I'll just try to practice focusing on the stroke itself instead of the points and try to practice the shots I need for the tournament then.


Many thanks for the information again!

Rufuss Thoo

Rufuss Thoo, a premium member said...

on the 23-Apr-2017 12:30:02 PM

That's sounds like a good approach Gabriel.  Have fun at the tournament  :)

Ask your own questionAsk your own question

Back to questionsBack to the questions

Table Tennis Topics

Table Tennis Questions

Sign Up For Free Weekly Tips To Improve Your Table Tennis

Become a free PingSkiller and receive our famous weekly newsletter, ask the coach questions, and comment on our lessons & blogs

Create a free account