View Full Version : Topspin shots and swing timing

12-11-2017, 01:37 PM
In general, what would you say that is a good timing when performing topspin shots? This is with regard to the backswing and the transition to the forward swing and finish position. Usually I think one should already be done with the recovery and swinging forward when the ball bounces on your own half of the table, as a guideline.

In addition, once you start your backswing I believe there should be no pause when making the transition to the forward movement? It should be a fluid motion from the backswing to the forward and finish position. Especially important when trying a backhand topspin but I guess, on forehand too?

I tried not to involve leg movement and taking the ball on top of the bounce etc., to not complicate this question too much. I am looking for thoughts on timing of the recovery, backswing, forward stroke and finish position. I read some nice articles about this, but cannot find them anymore. I believe thoughts from forum members is even a better source :) If you got links to some videos or articles that go in depth on the timing, that is interesting too.

I think that quite often this happens naturally if you follow the ball path, but knowing about the details is nice.

12-11-2017, 02:11 PM
Knowing about the details is largely a waste of time. You learn the details by practicing and adjusting to the ball based on racket angle, contact point and swing trajectory changes while reading the incoming spin.

The main thing is to start your racket higher vs topspin, and start it lower vs backspin. The rest is practice. The theory makes sense only when you practice and someone is correcting your strokes.

12-11-2017, 02:21 PM
Only a sith deals in absolutes

In general, good timing for performing topspin shots is at the top of the bounce.

The timing that I feel is the norm is

1. your backswing happens when your opponent swings. As the opponent's ball is coming towards you (before it bounces), you should be able to observe how high the ball is, and how much spin it has, and adjust your backswing and racket angle. While all this happens, you position yourself with footwork.

2. W̶h̶e̶n̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶a̶c̶t̶u̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶d̶o̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶w̶a̶r̶d̶ ̶s̶w̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶d̶e̶p̶e̶n̶d̶s̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶w̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶a̶r̶e̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶a̶b̶l̶e̶ ̶(̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶l̶o̶s̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶a̶b̶l̶e̶,̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶e̶a̶r̶l̶i̶e̶r̶)̶,̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶ ̶c̶h̶o̶o̶s̶e̶ ̶(̶t̶o̶p̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶b̶o̶u̶n̶c̶e̶,̶ ̶b̶e̶f̶o̶r̶e̶,̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶)̶.̶ ̶I̶f̶ ̶I̶ ̶a̶m̶ ̶m̶i̶d̶-̶d̶i̶s̶t̶a̶n̶c̶e̶,̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶d̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶l̶o̶o̶p̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶l̶o̶w̶ ̶o̶p̶e̶n̶i̶n̶g̶,̶ ̶I̶ ̶s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶ ̶m̶y̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶w̶a̶r̶d̶ ̶s̶w̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶j̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶a̶f̶t̶e̶r̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶b̶o̶u̶n̶c̶e̶s̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶a̶b̶l̶e̶.̶

While the above is true, it's not the one key factor. The one key thing that determines when you swing is when the ball gets to you. If you are farther away, you swing later. It is very simple. Try to time your swing so that you hit the ball in the sweet spot of your swing.

I do not think you swing when the ball bounces; that seems a little too early, unless you are close to the table. You can see clearly in this video, that Ma Long swings when the ball gets to him. (You can watch the video frame by frame if you pause it and press the comma and period buttons)



As for pausing between your backswing and forward swing: how big of a pause are you talking about?

I̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶s̶a̶y̶ ̶t̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶r̶e̶ ̶i̶s̶ ̶n̶o̶ ̶p̶a̶u̶s̶e̶.̶ But at the same time, during that pause, I am adjusting my backswing (adjusting where my swing will start). Usually, you get time to 'pause' when the ball comes slower than you expected, giving you a little extra time to adjust. So it is ok to pause and adjust if you get the chance to (but don't pause and do nothing).

When your opponent is rushing and hitting fast shots, there may not be time to do that though.


EDIT: Timing is based on when the ball gets to you, and there's no pause. I take my words back.

Ilia Minkin
12-11-2017, 02:24 PM
This is what you need


12-11-2017, 10:20 PM
Just a small pause on my backhand backswing, I think. This happens especially against someone that plays a mostly defensive style. Good description there, songdavid98 :) It sounds very reasonable that it is based on when the ball gets to you.

12-13-2017, 10:39 PM
Here's another nice video on the topic.


12-13-2017, 11:07 PM
Practice hitting the ball only with body rotation, locking arm/shoulder/elbow/wrist in place and not moving them AT ALL. Like stone. Only the body rotates.
Then you will hit the ball in a very consistent way because if you miss it you miss it completely.
It will also give you the most powerful spin and most lethal