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This is the first stroke every player should learn. Once you have mastered this shot, you can easily build upon it and learn more advanced strokes.
Dear Alois Good evening, i have been working on my forehand drive and i like to clear up some technicalities, when jeff demonstrates a forehand drive is the starting position for the drive, does he start above the table at net height so he is taking the ball at the peak, the reason i ask this is because when i practice my drives the ball is not going to where i want it to go, when practicing my topspin i am happy and my start position is at waist to above the table.
Hi Derrick, the start for the forehand should be around waist height or table height.
Awesome video, this is very thorough and informative, well done PingSkills team. This was the video I was looking for because I can never get forehand right, backhand was good but forehand always seem to get me.
Glad to help Rahul.
Those new videos are great with that HD camera because I can hear Alois very good when talking and I can see much better how Jeff plays the stroke. Thank you. I am hoping that the forehand and backhand topspin video lessons will be like this one.
We are working on it.
Dear Jeff and Alois,
Excellent job with the HD quality of your videos. Now I have no doubts what I see and hear. Thank you very much.
It's a pleasure Przemek.
Great video, however I have 2 questions as I am picking up the game again after a 10 years break.
For the forehand:
1 - is the swing to hit the ball arm driven or more shoulders/hips driven?
2 - is there any wrist action during the swing, contact and immediately after contact? From the video it appears that the wrist is flexible but stays in position with no flips or actions.
Thanks and regards,
The basic stroke is completed with the arm. As you want to produce more speed you start to incorporate other parts of your body like the waist, legs and wrist. The basic stroke we show you has little wrist to make sure you are getting the consistency of the stroke first.
Thank you very much Alois and Jeff! Your videos helped me TREMENDOUSLY! I'm a much better player, and I also get to help out my fellow mates with techniques I learned from here. Cheers from Mexico.
Great to hear Felipe. Glad to be able to help you and now your friends.
In this counter hit, u don't have to brush the ball just flat hit. am I right?
Yes it is a fairly flat shot but you do put a very little bit of topspin on the ball to add control to the ball.
Why are you showing the stroke with your right hand? You are not showing it very good with it. I recommend you to show the rest of the strokes with the hand you feel more comfortable.
ping skills is awsome!!!!!!!!!!!
Hey PinGskills the video is awesome but i have one doubt that when i play the forehand counter hit with my friends he always say me that why are you spinning the ball. how can i control this spin..?
Just contact the ball a little flatter. This will give you a stroke with less spin. Glad you like the video.
Since i learnt the topspin first, i have a tendence to close my bat a bit more and brush it instead of flatty hitting it and it is more of a mini topspin, is this alright.Also, is a speed drive a sped up counterhit?
I think it is better to make sure you can hit the ball with a flatter contact as well. This is a better base stroke to be able to do to make sure the ball goes on the table.
espectacular pero en la practica es mucho mas dificil
It does take practice, but if you concentrate on the start and finish position, this will help you greatly.
Sin embargo, toma práctica, pero si usted se concentra en el inicio y la posición final, esto le ayudará enormemente.
how many should you be able to d until you should move on and how long would yhou think it would take? Also, i noticed that jeff had his bat a bit closed when he did his stroke. Is that alright to do after you've mastered the flatter contact hit?
When you feel comfortable. At least be able to hit 200 in a row.
When you increase your level you can turn your bat forward a little and put a little more topspin on the stroke.
thank you.can we use it as a return for a nospin fast serve ?
Yes this would be a good stroke to use in that situation.
Can I smash the ball by using this technique if the ball is approximately 1.5 to 2 feet above the table? whenever I try to smash the ball using this technique, I end up sending the ball to the net.
I think a good guide is shoulder height. Once it is that height or higher it is in smashing territory.
is footwork important when first starting out?
Footwork is important. First get the arm actions correct but make sure you have good balance while doing it all.
which bat ur using?
Company of the bat???and how can i choose a perfect bat for me????
We both use the PingSkills Touch with XIOM Vega Pro.
Hello Alois and Jeff,
At what racket should the racket be? I think it affects my ability to do it correctly because the ball usually goes into the net or goes off the table.
Have the racket at 90 degrees to the table or close to it at the start of the stroke. really focus on the start and finish positions and yo uwon't go wrong.
If the incoming ball is bouncing higher, e.g. at shoulder height, does that affect the starting position? Otherwise, if you keep the same start and finish positions it seems like you would hit ball upwards and off the table (?)
Ideally you should move in or out to get the ball at the right height. If the ball is up at shoulder height you can probably smash it rather than counter hit it.
hi, i have a tournament this monday so this video is totally help me.but i have problem with my stamina.
That is something you can work on over time. You can do more aerobic work, such as long jogging, swimming, bike riding etc. to improve this.
i have trouble with getting the ball to go over the net and sometimes to keep it from going off the end of the table. i try to reposition my bat angle, but i am still having problems. do you have any hints for me?
Slow the stroke down first. Then really focus on the finish position of your bat. This is crucial to the ball going on the table consistently. For Premium members we have a lesson on this in particular. The Finish Position.
I think this technique is not good for beginners, they should better first learn to hit the ball with flat and straight stroke without much vertical movement, it has better control and it is not dependable on rubber. I experience big differences while playing your "little lifted" forehand with different rubbers - if the sponge is hard, it goes into the net, if it's soft it goes behind table.
You are right at the start it is important for the player to be able to get the ball on the table by pushing forward on the ball with a flat bat. This is covered in one of our earlier lessons we did on The Most Important Skill.
Thanks, this video contains main moments and good simply explanation.
Also note - this motion is optimum: simple and effective
It is effective for push and counterblow
I want see completive blow
great content however it would be further helpful if you can also suggest at what place the ball should contact on the racket. Should it be the bottom half and outter half of the racket face or nearer the top and closer to the thumb?
Hi Ricky, for this shot you should contact the ball in the centre of the racket.
This is fantastic video.It covers from scratch. I am getting fan of ping skill. I have been watching so many video on this site and the coaches looks so impressive to me.
Thanks Rohan. Glad that we are able to help you.
New to this website and really like. Thank you
I learned to play when I was 12-15 living in Germany (military brat) and became a very good player. Now, 50 years later, I am picking it up again. My strokes have been somewhat ruined by tennis, racketball and squash, but I am slowly getting them back. Where i have a problem with the forehand is with high bounce returns where I may hit around the shoulder height. Any suggestions for that shot?
Good to hear you are back into the game. I think those other sports also give you a lot of help with coordination.
For the higher ball you can either make a Forehand Topspin Against Block where you start with your arm higher up at around shoulder height or you can make a Forehand Smash.
The main thing with both these strokes is to start your racket up at around shoulder height and come through with your racket pointing to the side. Give them a try and let me know if it works for you.
how much spin do you think i should set the robot to when you are practicing the counterhit with a robot
Just put a little topspin on the ball to practice this.
Can i do forehand counterhit against push..
No the ball will go into the net if there is backspin on it. In this situation you need to do a topspin stroke to lift the ball.
thanks,that was a good helping video.
How should do serve that is very short and spins ?
my second question is how should improve my spin?
To get the ball short with spin you need to get a fine and fast contact on the ball.
the only stroke I mostly hit is the forehand topspin, and I have been starting to notice an error I'm doing. It's really frustrating not to get the ball in the table, because I either hit it to the net or out of the table. But this stroke looks MUCH easier, and I be it'll help my game! Thanks!
Focus on the finish position of the stroke in particular. See if this helps.
Today, I practiced the stroke, but most times, I hit the ball correctly, but other times it was an out or a net. I tried to figure out what the problem was, and I can't find what I did wrong. It happens every time I overthink it, and my mom says I shouldn't think about it too much. She said I should just play the stroke, and not worry too much. Does that make sense?
P.S. If you know another reason it might be happening, I'll be glad to hear it.
For the forehand counterhit, not the forehand topspin.
Your mothers advice is good. Sometimes we do overthink strokes. Just play them over and over and allow yourself to adjust slowly.
Sorry for bothering you again, but I noticed that in the forehand counterhit, you PUSH the ball, not TOPSPIN it. (Did I say that correctly?) Because when I play, I try to add topspin, and I don't think I'm doing it right. What do you thinK?
You do put some topspin on the ball with the counterhit but not as much as with a full topspin stroke. The little bit of topspin adds control of the ball.
I was wondering, when do you USE the foerhand counterhit? Should you do a top spin or a counterhit?
In most cases in a match you will use a bit of topspin with your strokes. The counterhit is a good control stroke that you can use to keep the ball on the table. It is also a good building stroke to develop your skills.
Hi,pingskills this video help me very much in my training.hope you make more videos to help me!thank u very much pingskills
No problems Adrian.
Hi alois,I am only nine and I am good at forehand counterhit.
How come when I watch the Olympians play they tend to have their starting position very low???
They are playing more of a topspin most of the time. With the topspin you can start lower. Take a look at this lesson on the Forehand Topspin Against Block.
hey....i just saw your video..its very nice...but i whenever i use this counterhit, the ball gets out of the table...plzz help me what to do?????....
Try to put a little more topspin on the ball. The topspin will get the ball onto the table. Also ensure that your bat has a little grip on the surface. If it doesn’t, you will not be able to generate any topspin and you will find the ball will go out or into the net easily.
Hi, Flois and Jeff!
Great thanks to you! I am very glad to see this video.
Excellent! Now I know important things on forehand counterhit.
Very important is about middle line. Thanks you!
Glad that you like it Juri.
while trying to play my counter hit the ball has a lot of topspin and speed so sometimes the ball goes out, so how can I avoid that and also,can you tell me what to do when I get stuck In one position while stroking and are not able to reach the ball.
please respond back
If the ball is going off the table, do the same stroke but turn your bat forward so it is facing a little more to the floor. You also need to make sure you are in the Basic Stance so that you are able to move when necessary. This will help you to reach the balls that are not coming straight to you.
excellent video, but please remove the German translation, it's horrible and the position of the text is unlucky choosen because it hide parts of the stroke.
Thanks for the feedback. We used Google translate to do some of them which is obviously not very accurate. You can remove the caption by clicking on the Caption icon on the bottom right of the video.
Very good lesson, I'm just starting with table tennis and all of these videos are extremely helpful to me.
Can you tell me how to perform a strong backspin serve?
Best regards to you all.. Nice Work!
Thanks. To do a heavy backspin serve you need to brush under the ball. The faster you brush it the more spin you will get. We do cover this in our lessons on Serving Secrets which is something you may get to later as part of our Premium membership.
This was definitely helpful...
Alois, is there a way to do a decent forehand counterhit with penhold? I haven't seen many penhold videos by you guys and would like to know. Thanks, love your videos. (I'm from Melbourne by the way)
Take a look at this lesson we have on Penhold Techniques for Table Tennis which will show you the penhold forehand. I hope this helps. Nice to hear from someone in our own part of the world sometimes too. Where do you play?
First off, thank you both for the incredibly helpful videos! As of now, my game consist of loops, smashes, blocks (and punches), and pushes. I was looking through the videos to see what I can add to my arsenal to expand my game and am going to work on flicks, but the counterhit seems so fundamental that I should already be doing it. I just can't figure out how it fits into my game.
So my question is when does a player make a conscious decision to use this stroke?
This is an interesting one. It doesn’t have a big use in a game situation if you are a strong attacking player, but it teaches you control of the ball especially when you are learning. It is between a block and a topspin, two strokes that are used a lot in a game.
As a beginner I was looking for a while to find a good resource to learn basic skills to play ping pong. This website is incredible with quality training videos, feel like I am in their academy. Thank you both Alois and Jeff.
It is a pleasure Abdul. Glad that you are finding it useful. Welcome to the PingSkills “Academy”!
HI Jeff and Alois..............your videos are so useful :)
Huge thank to Alois and Jeff. After years of unruly forehand stroke, I started getting a table tennis lesson last month. I watch this video over and over again. It really works for me.
Great to hear it Boyoung. Let us know if you have any questions.
It was a very useful video,but i face problems when my opponent hits a smash.
Take a look at the lesson on I Can't Return That Smash!
tnx a lot guys
pingskills really helping me! I've recently took a class in ping pong, about a month ago and my skill is really improving due to this awesome videos, to the point that my coach were really impressed by my progress, she asked me and i introduced your website and YouTube channel to her :)
keep the great work on, tnx again
Thank you Nafis. It is always nice to hear positive feedback.
Hi, Alois and Jeff!
Great thanks for your video!
Now I have a pause with my table tennis,
because I am teacher for mathematiks
and my pupils have some exams soon .
Great thanks for you!
Thanks for the kind words Juri. I hope your students go well with their exams. :)
좋은 자료 감사합니다. Thank you good material.
Thank you Kwanchul.
Dudes, this is awesome stuff. Thanks
No problems Manan.
Many heard from many coaches that this stroke should add topspin. Is that correct ?
Yes there will always be a little topspin with this stroke for better control.
Someday. I want to be the best player. :) Thanks for the information.
No problems at all Dennice. Glad you like the video.
This video is very good and it shows the correct way to hit one of the most important shots one will learn in the game.
You guys are great
But why the premium membership for this website??
Thanks for your kind words. We need the Premium membership to keep the site running. It would be nice to be able to do it all for free.
I WANT TO SLOW MO
Do we have to generate spin to the ball
Yes it is best to put a little topspin on the ball. It will help with your control.
Ahoj video je skvele, jen tomu nerozumim, neumim anglicky. Uvital bych ceske tituly.
Hello video is great, just do not understand, I can not English. I would welcome the Czech title.
Hello. We are trying to get some English subtitles on a lot of them but it will take a long time with all the videos we have.
Ahoj. Snažíme se získat nějaké anglické titulky na spoustu z nich, ale to bude trvat dlouho, než se všemi videa máme.
During movement of the forearm, wrist also moves?
It can move a little. Initially keep it quite firm. As you progress you can relax it more.
really really thnx ping skillls for showing us these types of video.the place where i live has not too many facilities where i go and learn tt but bcz of u all today i m the best player of my city.if anyone asks me who is your coach i always says ping skills
Great to hear it Devansh. Thanks for supporting us.
I am 33 years of age. I am playing TT for past 7 years without any training, my backhand and return against spin is very poor.
I would like to learn it through professional trainer. Will i have to unlearn the things I've learned and start with basics?
Hi Jeff and Rosario, I would like to ask if this stroke can be used even against hard back or side spin. Thank you, Franca
Not really. If there is a lot of backspin you need to lift the ball over the net using more topspin or a push stroke. The strokes you are looking at are the Forehand Topspin Off Backspin or the Backhand Push. If you tried to use the counterhit the ball will tend to go into the net or off the side of the table with the sidespin.
Hi Y Singh,
I don't think of it as unlearning but rather as learning something new. Like cutting a new path in the brain. It won't take you long if you work on it and focus on the start and finish positions of the stroke.
Hi Coach. Thanks for investing time in this.
I am new, I'm starting to play and I'd like to learn.
My question is, does this return returns the ball with topspin? or added wrist movement has to be added to cause topspin?
The action of the stroke will mean that you are getting some topspin on the ball. This is created by the down to up action if the arm.
Hi! I think Illl have to give up on this moves. At least for now. I try to imitate them but without a coach or teacher to guide me, I can't correct my mistakes (I know I'm making 10000000 mistakes since the ball usually ends up going sideways out of the table, or to the net, I even hit the ceiling a couple of times)
Teacher Alois, is there a place you would recommend me from your videos to start with? Something that I can practice without having anyone correcting my moves? I was thinking Serving or returning the serve could be a good place to start if I can't get
Do you have any thoughts or advise on a place to start improving? I would really appreciate them. Thanks!
Don't give up on it. You will get it with some more practice. Make sure you are keeping it rally simple and really focusing on the start and finish positions of the racket. If you get the bat into those two positions you will start to develop the stroke.
Do the stroke in front of a mirror without a ball. With to see if the stroke looks the same as we show you in the video.
You create excellent videos. Both commentary and filming take my undivided attention all the way through.
Some more words which may be useful to you :
Start underneath, lift (over the net) & spin through.
I await my birthday when the family will treat me to membership.
Hi, I am having a hard time doing every skills that you need for this .
Make sure you are focusing on the start and finish positions first. If you do this you will start to get the stroke correct.
Honestly, this is the best table tennis instructional video I've ever seen, and I've seen many. The others did not explained the basic stroke technique, which now obviously explains that I was not getting it done right. Thanks Alois, I think this will change my game a lot because this basic shot was my weakest and most inconsistent.
Good to hear it Lawrence. Thanks.
what I'd the opponent hits it back near your body ? Should I move back or sideways more
Very interesting video.
In 2:42, you said that one of the common errors is they swing too low.
Well, i have played table tennis for many years and during forehand stroke session, my finishing hand position is not in front of my eyebrow but rather tend to finish in front of my chest. No coaches or senior players ever remind me about this "error/problem" and when i saw several videos (including a lesson video from ITTF -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abe_FicwtAE) not every international player do the same thing.
Could you explain the reason about this finished hand position, and what is the advantage of having this technique?
Thank you very much.
WE emphasise this finish because when learning the stroke, it gives you a definite finish position. I find that most players will swing too low and turn their bat angle if they don't have this finish position. It also makes it very easy then to transition to the topspin stroke using this technique.
If the player hits it close to you, it is best to move to the side. This will keep you in a good position for the next shot. If you move back you will allow your opponent to move you around too easily.
I've tried this technique and I can confirm that focusing on the finish position reduces the chance of swinging too low, not once did I put in the net, which was usually my most common unforced error, now I can see that it was because I was swinging too low as the coach said. Thanks Alois! and like RW said, and I also said earlier, it was never explained like this before but as they say, the proof is in the eating :)
Thanks for your answer. I just want to confirm something from your answer.
You said: WE emphasise this finish because when learning the stroke, it gives you a definite finish position. I find that most players will swing too low and turn their bat angle if they don't have this finish position. It also makes it very easy then to transition to the topspin stroke using this technique.
As far as i know, the common remedy for every stroke if the ball is going off from the table (either it stuck on the net or outside the table) is to adjust the bat angle. Even if i use this forehand technique that you teach us in the video above but the ball still off from the table, then i believe that the solution is to change the bat angle. Am I wrong? CMIIW.
If it is true, then what is the difference between finishing hand position in front of eyebrow and the lower one (if both of them still need to adjust their bat angle)?
The other important factor is how finely you brush the ball.. The higher finish allows the bat to stay in one plane all the way through. For more speed you can still finish up that high but finish more in front of your head.
Just tried the technique from the video above yesterday and the result is AMAZING. Just by adjusting the finish position, my forehand stroke (and my forehand topspin) becomes much more stable, and i feel much easier for recovering my position.
Yesterday, i remember that i won a point by doing 4 consecutive forehand topspin (until my opponent failed to block it). 4 consecutive forehand topspin to win a point is something that i never experience before because usually i fail to do (mostly) second or third consecutive forehand topspin due to late recovery.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH COACH. I really appreciate it.
I have another question. If i want to make my forehand stroke slower (and maybe for fast blocking), which option is preferred?
A. Shorter backswing with the same finish position
B. Normal backswing with the lower/shorter finish position
C. Normal backswing and finish position with slower hand speed (the ball will little bit "floating").
Hi Riyanto, I am glad the forehand technique worked for you. It is very simple but very effective.
For the block make the finish position a little lower, so a shorter finish position. For a slower counterhit, have the same stroke but move the arm through slower.
After several times i tried the new technique, i totally agree that my forehand drive and topspin are far more accurate and consistent compared my old technique (finishing position across my body). But, since i have used this new technique, i often have a problem to hit a ball ON THE TABLE using forehand topspin because the new technique has shorter range and tend to brush the ball little bit more upward (which is no problem at all if the ball goes off the table).
This especially annoying thing for me when the ball (no spin or light spin) is going to bounce on the table twice and the second one is very close to table line. When this event occur, using the new technique i often doubt to perform forehand topspin because i don't want to break my rubber by brushing the edge of the table, but using the old one i didn't have any problem at all. I just perform my forehand topspin with very closed bat angle and finishing it across my body (with the consequence that my position is not stable and the recovery will be very late).
Any solution coach?
Stay closer to the table and follow the flight of the ball well. If the ball is going to bounce close to the end line on the second bounce, then you can go more forward but still get the bat going more upward to get more lift and accuracy.
Thanks for your reply.
I have another question. What is your view or your opinion about "WRAPPING THE BALL" technique during forehand/backhand stroke/topspin?
Sorry I don't know what that is.
This is the website that explain the "wrapping ball technique". I hope i can read your comment/view about it. Thanks.
Hi coach , I having trouble with this shot.
Really focus on the start and finish positions in particular and take it slowly.
I like the idea of a single plane for the bat which simplifies the stroke.
Alois i'm not sure what you meant. Do you think this "wrapping" idea is relevant or not ??
No I don't.
When do u got to play this kind of stroke?
the finish position has resolved my inconsistency on this shot, I'm no longer netting the ball, but now my returns are too high, my opponent is attacking my returns more now, I wanted to know if the best adjustment wool be my bat angle or my playing height?
also, do you recommend keeping the bat angle the same throughout the entire stroke?
and at what point in the swing should we try to hit the ball? misdoing or at the start position ??
You play this shot in a rally where there is not much spin on the ball and you are looking to control the ball.
Glad to hear that you are getting the stroke more consistently. To get the ball lower, you can adjust the angle of the bat but also just think about getting the bat to move a little more forward on actual contact. This will make a big difference to the height of the ball.
thank you for the video ;)
This stroke always has been difficult for me to develope. Since I began playing table tennis the way I am used to hit the ball in forehand style is a little chop, not really a big chop and must of times I used the side spin. Must players using forehand spin shots usually prefer to use top spin, I imagine that it is more consistently, right?
So, lately I have begun to change the way I play when I use forehand strokes... It's getting hard but I'll keep practicing till I get the mechanic
Yes the topspin is a more attacking stroke and by adding a little topspin you gain consistency. Keep practicing this and see if you can make it more consistent and relaxed.
If the ball arrives at 2 feet above the table do I move the bat up to compensate for it and still finish with the bat at head level?
That would make for a pretty flat swing.
Yes start a little higher but you can still brush over the top of the ball to generate spin.
I think it is a bit hard to make the ball going to the forehand side of the table. What should I do to improve the accuracy?
One little trick is to put a target on the table. Make it a small target like a coin. See if this focuses your attention and improves your accuracy.
in forehad counter hit at what angle we are supposed to keep our bat?
Start with it flat. If the ball is faster or has more topspin then you can tilt your bat forward slightly.
What is the average time needed to learn this stroke for a 15 year old?
i play everyday for about half an hoir and just wanted to know whether i'm too slow at learning this stroke or taking more than 3 days is normal?
It can take weeks or months to learn the stroke to a competent level to play in a match. Just work at your own pace.
I started playing tennis last month. But I have been very bad at it till now. I almost lost hope. After watching this video I will start afresh. Thank you sir. You helped me a lot. I really want to play well
That is good to hear Varsha. Keep working hard and you will improve.
When i try to add speed to the ball it usually goes outside the table what should i do to improve tbis?
Make sure you are still getting a little topspin on the ball.. The topspin will bring the ball down onto the table again.
That means i should adjust the angle of my racket to face a little onto the table?
And just brush the ball on contact as well to get the topspin.
Thanks Alois but should I be doing 5 lessons 1 day and then revising the next 4 days a week
Do one lesson a day and if you feel you need to go over it the next day then do so.
thanks. for the next few days I will go over my skills
Thanks this video helps I'm hoping to be in the table tennis Olympics someday
That sounds like a great goal to have.
Well, I hope to become the best in my city then later the world if possible
Great goals to have. Work hard and see where you can get to.
Yeah, I liked the idea of not crossing the midline. And finishing up by your eyebrow. I think i will ask people to slow down a bit in the warm ups so i can develop consistency like it showed in the video. Same starting and finishing point. Everyone's always anxious to start lashing the ball at you. I'd prefer to see how many returns i can get with consistency and up the amount i can get and increase speed as i get more consistent. It's not easy to get people to resist the big smash!!
Yes you are right Margie. A lot off players just want to hit the ball hard. Consistency off the stroke is important.
Great Lesson. But, where in the balls trajectory is the optimal point to hit it? Right after the bounce, on the rising, at the top, or descending. Thanks for all your help.
The top of the bounce is optimal but you can hit it at various positions depending on whether you want to give your opponent less time or not.