Ball high on my backhand

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 3 weeks ago

Michael Lam

Michael Lam Asked 4 weeks ago

Hi Alois and Jeff, 

When the ball is high on my backhand, should I "punch" the ball like Zoran Primorac does? Or should I lift my forearm higher, close my racket angle, and try and loop the ball?

Thank you

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 3 weeks ago

Hi Michael,

When you are faced with a high ball on your backhand, you actually have a few options at your disposal, and the best choice might depend on several factors such as the height of the ball, its position relative to the table, your own comfort and skill level, as well as what you're aiming to achieve with the shot.

Punching the ball, as Zoran Primorac does, is an aggressive method that works well when you want to take the initiative and put your opponent under pressure with speed. The punch is executed with a short, fast stroke and a relatively flat contact on the ball. It's very effective in situations where the ball is at a comfortable height and relatively close to the table. It's essential to time this stroke well to ensure accuracy and to maintain balance for the next shot.

Alternatively, if you prefer a more topspin-oriented approach, or if the ball is slightly higher or further away from the table, lifting your forearm, closing your racket angle, and looping the ball might be a better option. This allows you to generate more topspin, which can be more consistent and also place extra pressure on your opponent due to the arc and dip of the ball. The loop can also be a safer option if you're not as confident with the punch, as topspin will help the ball dip onto the table. In practice, you should aim to develop both shots in order to make your game more versatile.

A punch could be effective for quick counter-attacking play and staying close to the table, while the loop allows you to take control of the point with heavy spin, setting you up for the next shot, even if you're a bit further back.

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