Topspin against backspin hooked wrist

Table Tennis Strokes and Technique

Last updated 5 months ago

Aanya Trivedi Aanya

Aanya Trivedi Aanya Asked 6 months ago

Hi Alois,

My 12 year daughter has learned to hit topspin but with an inward bend in the wrist and a hook action starting low and finishing much above the head. She adjusts and hits with a relatively free wrist when hitting on a counter / no spin balls but when there is reverse spin on a chop ball she tries to fall back and hit with that hook action effecting her consistency a lot. She is having a hard time implementing the change even though she understands how it should be. How can this be fixed?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 5 months ago

Hi Aanya,

It's great that your daughter is getting to grips with the topspin stroke. However, the issue with the 'hook action' and wrist position is something that can indeed affect her consistency and effectiveness, especially against backspin. Here's how you can help her make the necessary corrections:

Revisit the fundamentals of the topspin against backspin. Take a look at the tutorial. Forehand Topspin Off Backspin.

The stroke should start with the bat around knee level or slightly higher for most situations, with the bat angle slightly open to lift the backspin. The action should be upward and forward, finishing around head height in the follow-through.

Start with simple drills where the amount of backspin is controlled and not too heavy. This allows her to gradually adjust her technique without too much pressure from the spin variation. Use multiball training where you feed balls with consistent backspin for her to practice on.

To specifically address the wrist issue, you can do some shadow practicing without the ball. Have her focus on keeping her wrist in a neutral to slightly cocked position throughout the stroke, rather than bending it inward. You can also use a mirror or video feedback to help her visualize the correct action.

Set up drills that constrain her to use the correct technique. For example, you can have her play topspin strokes from a close-to-the-table position where there is not enough room for a big 'hook' swing. You could try putting some tape across the back of her wrist down the arm from just above the wrist to just below.  This will give her feedback when she bends it forward.7

Technique correction takes time and patience. Encourage her to be persistent, and don't expect immediate results. Muscle memory can take a while to adjust, especially when correcting a habit that's already been established.

If the issue persists, consider seeking help from a certified table tennis coach who can provide hands-on guidance and structured training suited to her playing style.

Remember, the key is gradual improvement. Each session should be about making small adjustments. Over time, these adjustments will accumulate, and you’ll start to see a significant change in her execution of the topspin against backspin.

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