Understanding SPIN in table tennis, and using it

The spin. A technique that is even more crucial for the sport of table tennis, than it is for the sport of tennis, due to the much smaller surface area of the table tennis 'court' and the greater effort needed to keep the ball controlled. Given the claustrophobic-ally small area of the table tennis 'court', being able to understand, use, and counter, the spin, is a matter of life and death in table tennis. For those of you who feel you do not know how to do the above mentioned three, what are you waiting for? Jump straight down this article!

Countering the different types of spin

The many variations of spins can be categorized into three groups: topspin, side-spin and backspin.

How do you counter properly the different types of spin? Well, adjusting for spin is mostly about your racket angle:

1) Under-spin shots will go down off your racket, so you'll want to tilt up a little to adjust.
2) Topspin shots will 'pop up' off your paddle
3) Side-spin shots will 'shoot out' to the side

It is critically important to take note that the type of rubber on the paddle that you use also affects how significantly spin will influence the direction of your shots, so make sure that you practice returning some spin shots whenever you get a new paddle or replace your rubber

Have you had a rough idea of how to counter spins in table tennis, now let's move on to knowing how to execute them!

We will start with the most common type of shot with spin: the forehand topspin shot. A reason why it is so popular and common is that it can be played with a lot of power. The balls produced from such a shot will curve down the table, which gives you a feeling of being in adequate control over the directions of your shots. On top of these, it is also the primary offensive shot for competitive, or even professional, table tennis players!

These are some tips on a proper execution of a forehand topspin:

  • Always always look at the paddle as an extension of your arm
  • Make sure you stay one forearm away from the end line of the table
  • Ensure that your core is low
  • Ensure that your arm straight, and move it forward and upward
  • Ensure synchronicity between your hips and arm: move your hips in the same direction as your hitting arm

We recommends mastering topspin with your forehand before moving on to try the backhand version. The backhand is a naturally more challenging to master, although it has become more common in modern table tennis as players have gotten more athletic and hit the ball harder.

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