Weight transfer on forehand topspin

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 6 years ago

Konstantin Goldobin

Konstantin Goldobin Asked 9 years ago

Hello masters,

I have recently realized that I often make one particular mistake when I try to do a forehand topspin (and sometimes even a forehand counterhit or a smash): instead of transferring my body weight from my right leg to the left one when I hit the ball I'm pivoting backwards on my right leg. It's kind of difficult to describe but I hope you understand what I mean. I was wondering if you have come across such an error in your students and if you could suggest ways of correcting it.

Thank you for all you do for table tennis lovers!

Best regards,

Konstantin


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 9 years ago

Hi Konstantin,

I think I know the picture you are describing.

What I get players to do in this situation is to focus on the balance in their feet while they are hitting the ball, slowly at first.  Firstly you need to feel more pressure on the left foot during the stroke.  It sounds like you know the feeling of what you are trying to do.  Start with the weight 70% on your right leg and 30% on the left leg.  At the point of contact the weight should be 50-50.  Then on the follow through it can be 30-70.  If you focus on this for a while at a slow pace and get that feeling, then start to play faster and more powerful strokes maintaining these ratios.

Let me know if it helps.


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Konstantin Goldobin

Konstantin Goldobin Posted 9 years ago

Hello Alois,

Thank you for the answer! The thing is, when I imitate the strokes away from the table I do transfer the body weight (I think) correctly, but as soon as I'm at the table everything seems to fall apart and I again start doing these awkward pivoting movements. I'm afraid I don't know how I can connect these two experiences...

Best regards,

Konstantin


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

This is a common experience.  Keep doing the stroke away from the table as part of practice.  Then when you get to the table do the stroke really, really slowly working on the weight transfer.  As you get the feel of it you can speed it up but still focus on the transfer.  The other thing to ficus on is the tension in your shoulder.  If you can keep the shoulder relaxed through the stroke you will find that your body wont need to turn around to complete the stroke.  Tension is a big inhibitor of playing correct strokes and I think the main place we develop tension is in the shoulder.

Keep working on it all.  It is a progressive improvement you are looking for.  It won't change straight away.


Konstantin Goldobin

Konstantin Goldobin Posted 9 years ago

Let me see if I get this right: if I do the stroke slowly, isn't the ball going to go to the net? As for tension, you're absolutely right, it's one of my biggest problems, I tend to accumulate tension everywhere: in the wrist, in the forearm, in the elbow, in the upper arm, in the shoulder. In addition, I often raise my shoulder and elbow up when I hit the ball. Very unpleasant experience I must say!


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

OK, you have found the root of the problem.  Really now try to focus on playing with less effort.  You are probably trying too hard. Let the strokes flow and see how little effort you can take to get the bat from the start to finish position.  You can feel this first without the ball.  Swing and feel the amount of effort you are using.  Then when you start hitting the ball see if you can replicate the feeling.

It will get better.


Soham Kulkarni

Soham Kulkarni Posted 9 years ago

even i have the problem of proper weight transfer.

while shadow play and while doing drills with training partner all things are fine and i even pull off decent amount of topspin with correct feet but as i play matches i seem to forget everything , it ends up with me playing half strokes.

i specially have problem when my opponent plays one long push which i attack, he manages the return with a block which is quite low and half long . This ball has troubled me for a quite long time . So i resort to sidespin pushes which are often flicked if a bit too bouncy .

 

some pointers please ?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

It is better if you can make another topspin rather than a sidespin push.  Think about your balance when you are playing.  I think this is the area that will help you in your matches.  Once you are balanced you will be able to do a lot more.


Soham Kulkarni

Soham Kulkarni Posted 9 years ago

thanks for the quick answer coach .

i recently asked a friend to film me playing . It seemed that i am not stable before executing a forehand topspin third or the fourth time  In a match .Revisited your video on "move stop hit "technique. It improved me . :-)

also incorporating shadow footwork of it to better it .


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Yes the Move, Stop Hit does work.  It is best when you start slowly with it.


Konstantin Goldobin

Konstantin Goldobin Posted 9 years ago

Hello,

 

Could you please share the link to Move, Stop, Hit? I don't know how to find it here...

 

Thanks!


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Hi Konstantin,

This is covered in the lesson on Footwork Basics.  Take a look through and let me know if it helps you.


Konstantin Goldobin

Konstantin Goldobin Posted 9 years ago

Hello Alois,

Thank you! Could you please describe the weight transfer for back hand strokes or give a link if this topic has been already covered?

Thanks!


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Hi Konstantin,

For the backhand it shifts slightly from left leg to right leg.  It is similar to the percentages for the forehand but probably closer to 60% and 40%.  Because you are often more square on there isn't a big shift usually unless you have a lot of time to play the stroke.


Konstantin Goldobin

Konstantin Goldobin Posted 9 years ago

Thank you Alois! It's just when I watch Jeff playing the backhand strokes it seems that he shifts the weight from the right leg to the left, almost like for forehand strokes. But probably it's just an illusion.


Soham Kulkarni

Soham Kulkarni Posted 9 years ago

Hi coach,

 

whenever I hit a backhand topspin cross court I find it better to shift my weight but again doing it too much makes me unbalanced, but for down the line topspin I almost stand my ground without much weight shift.

am I doing the stroke correct?

 

the backhand topspin is my real strength as I often use it to hit winners, so I don't hand much consistency problems with it .

 

in jeff's videos you said to pick the ball from outsidE left hip for faster topspin . I find bit it awkward as I normally pick the backhands which are coming straight at me . Should I move a bit  so that I pick it from outside my left hip?

 

thanks in advance


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

Hi Soham,

You can hit the ball from in front of you.  Hitting from near your left hip just gives you more of a swing.

It is OK to not have as much transfer if you feel stable and still generating power.


Hendrik S

Hendrik S Posted 6 years ago

So would that mean for the backhand drive drive theres no weight transfer at all and what about the hip rotation? Somehow i got it clear for the bh topspin, taking it from the left and with weight transfer for much power if i got the time, otherwise just 50/50% and in front. But im really confused with the drive atm, as i found out that i seem to have even more weight on my right leg(as a righthander). Was quite surprising and now it would make sense that my bh is now worse compared to fh, which really improved, actually my bh was a bit stronger earlier(myb this weighting on bh is a new error).

So someone said jeff also looks like he has more weight on the right leg during bh stroke and idk, it feels comfortable sometimes, especially with the drive. What weight transfer and distribution on the legs would u recommend for the backhand drive and the backhand topspin again? Should it be really avoided to have more weight on the right foot during these strokes? Was it just an illusion with "jeffs weight distribution"? And also what about the weight during the bh flick? Sry, thats alot of questions :O I hope u can help, cause i am really a bit unsure about the weight distribution with the drive/flick on bh atm and google somehow didnt come up with some solid explanation.

Thx :)

P.S. About the topspin i found sth. at least. An interesting article about the possible future of an immense strong bh(like fh), with reversed weight transfer and linked video of practice from ma long, watch him :P

Ma Long doing multiball with head coach Liu Guoliang

Waist and weight transfer during bh loop

 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

 Hi Hendrik,

The waist turn is not that prominent.  Even if you watch Ma Long he doesn't utilise the waist very much.  Most of the power of the backhand comes from the arm and a little from the waist turn.  There isn't enough time in general to make too much movement. The backhand can utilise the wrist much more than the forehand.


Johan B

Johan B Posted 6 years ago

He does twist a bit and seems to use a lot of muscle strength in his torso to start the whip though :)


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

Yes there is definitely waist turn.  I think the core is important to initialise the movement and also stop the movement and recover.


Hendrik S

Hendrik S Posted 6 years ago

Ok, but what about the weight on the right foot n the drive/flick now =? (righthanded bh like jeff)


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

The more time you have and the further away from the table, the more turn and weight transfer there can be.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Hi Alois,

1) Is weight transfer "proportion" you described above the same for the stroke against block and the stroke against backspin?
2) Do you know any technical drills that may help to integrate the weight transfer in the stroke and focus on that specific component?


martinand bernard

martinand bernard Posted 6 years ago

shadow practice, I think is good, you can focus only on weight transfer if you want.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

Hi Ilia,

Against the backspin you will usually have more time.  You also need a bigger swing to overcome the backspin on the ball, however, wishing the strokes they are still proportional.  The more time you have the bigger each stroke can be.

You can use shadow play as Martinand suggested.  You can also use multi ball with a slow feed and plenty of time between shot stop allow yourself to focus on the transfer and movement.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Thank you guys. One more question. In the proper forehand technique, what is the proportion each muscle group contributes to the stroke? For example, is it true that legs account for 80% of the force, while waist generates the rest? What do you think?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

The body will work in unison.  For more power the legs are used more bu once you start to worry too much about each individual part you will get yourself all tangled up.  Watch the video on the Advanced Forehand Topspin.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Alois,

I've watched all your lessons zillions of times :) I've just returned from a training camp, where my forehand got reworked almost from scratch, so I'm trying to understand it more in details so I can avoid further mistakes. To me now it appears like proper forehand topspin technique is a kind of rocket science. 


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

Hi Ilia,

Don't make it too complex.  If you start to break it down too much you will only confuse yourself.


Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Posted 6 years ago

In the end what matters is the stroke's consistency, at increasing levels of spin and speed. If you are reasonably satisfied with that, you can continue on the muscle memory built up. Most likely your execution will never match Ma Long's but that would be an unreasonable expectation. Film yourself: does it look like a decent stroke?

Once you got a decent foundation, you can apply what I call "rotating focus". During drills focus on the legs for a few strokes, then shift the attention to the waist, then to the stroke mechanics itself, like the start position, end position, contact point, timing ... and over and over. This will allow to zoom in on what might be problematic areas (for me it is contact point for example) while the other aspects remain stable.

I find this a useful device for breaking a stroke down in a "holistic" way. Similarly looking at yourself filmed will give a holistic view of whether your stroke looks natural or not.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

>In the end what matters is the stroke's consistency, at increasing levels of spin and speed.

There is one more variable: recovery and ability to make multiple strokes in a row in case of time deficit. One may have a powerful stroke with good consistency, but if they're able to use it only once in while only when they have a lot of time, it is not very useful. For example, I used to generate a lot of power from twisting my body too much. Though the resulting power may be terrific, I could use it only when I had a lot of time. So recently I was told that I should limit my backswing and generate more power from legs and weight transfer so that It should result in same (or even greater power), but shorter and more time-efficient.

>
Once you got a decent foundation, you can apply what I call "rotating focus".

That is a good idea, I will do it during the shadowplay.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Hi guys,

I've just watched this video of Zhang Jike practicing his FH. When I watch I see very little weight transfer if any. Do you agree with me? Or I'm missing something?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

The weight transfer is only marginal but it is there.  It is not a transfer of 100% but just from 70% to 30%.


Marcin Lonak

Marcin Lonak Posted 6 years ago

For me, ZJK does clearly on this video makes the weight shift. I think because he does many not too harmful topspins( May be consistency or technical focus) he doesn't add too much of the weight shift. With his monstrous leg muscles, he is able to make a devastating topspin wich probably wouldn't help in training for consistency. So he keeps his weight shift presend but smooth.

thats what I see


Hendrik S

Hendrik S Posted 6 years ago

Yep there is definately some weight transfer. you can see it best from 1:42 and on.

Alois how is the weight transfer on the forhand drive again actually?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 6 years ago

The weight transfer would be from right foot to left foot for a forehand topspin.  Again there isn't a lot of transfer, it isn't like jumping from one leg to the other when you are in a balanced position.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

>Again there isn't a lot of transfer, it isn't like jumping from one leg to the other when you are in a balanced position.

Even when attacking backspin balls?


Marcin Lonak

Marcin Lonak Posted 6 years ago

Hi Ilia, 

i think your lastest question was regarding the video with ZJK. He is playing ts of block and not topspin of backspin there.


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

>He is playing ts of block and not topspin of backspin there.

Thank you, Captain Obvious.


Hendrik S

Hendrik S Posted 6 years ago

xD

@ Alois

Sry what i meant with drive was the counterhit, not ts


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Actually, Alois already talked about the transfer when looping backspin, that it is a bigger stroke. I'm just concerned about this phrase: "it isn't like jumping from one leg to the other when you are in a balanced position." I actually was told by a coach that if one wants to make a good third ball, they should try to really push off with the right (for righty) leg after the backswing. It is supposed to throw the weight forward generating the power needed...


Hendrik S

Hendrik S Posted 6 years ago

Yea, atm im also not really sure if this was meant to be the answer to my question or yours.. Theres definately a difference in the intensity with the legs between counterhit<topspin<topspin on backspin i guess. But im also not sure how much exactly :)


Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Posted 6 years ago

I've seen the small jump in some of the old videos in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3gR_fh_JnU&list=PLQ-PbK0KLfSYKnXQauDhMAEpRLszQAyYT

But in others they don't.

It seems in more modern videos by Chinese teams and the top pros' training there is no such jump, favoring stability and not exaggerating the thrust.

Then again, when playing such heavy backspins as coming off Joo SeHyeuk's pimples, even Zhang Jike jumps:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfpXuiYap94

 


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Good point Dieter. But sometimes player throw the weight so much that they are completely off balance. For example, watch the shot of Joo at 0:13 : https://www.facebook.com/ITTFWorld/videos/vb.170002659696412/1294587413904592/?type=2&theater . It is soo great!


Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 6 years ago

Oops, I didn't attach the link.



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