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Andyzhao123
04-03-2018, 07:00 PM
For the forehand topspin as a beginner, should I have my elbow bent at a 90-degree angle throughout the entire stroke, or should I start with my arm nearly straight?

watcher
04-03-2018, 07:18 PM
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://m.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dg7fa-7XKC7s&ved=0ahUKEwirmtLO6J7aAhWIiFQKHehHAsMQtwIIJDAA&usg=AOvVaw1tbE6ZT-9i3as8FIdNYFTe

Like this guy :)

He starts hitting the ball around 15minute mark

Lightzy
04-03-2018, 10:11 PM
Two different philosophies..
One is that as a beginner you should first start feeling what a topspin feels like, and so just make sure to snap your elbow real fast to spin the ball, and then later add power by leaning on your right leg (knee bent) and then straightening the leg while rotating the torso from right to left.
The other is that you should start by getting the leg and body movement fundamentals, not use your arm at all except to angle the bat correctly, and then add arm/hand motion.

I personally feel the second way is 'truer' but beginners will miss the ball too often because of not getting in position.
The first way can inadvertently teach you to stretch your arm to reach the ball instead of moving your whole body to it, which is an awful, awful habit... so...

All of this is to say:
Best get a few private coaching sessions.

yogi_bear
04-04-2018, 02:50 AM
Elbows should be slightly extended and also learn to relax the arm to do this.

UpSideDownCarl
04-04-2018, 03:27 AM
The suggestion that a few coaching sessions would be helpful is a good piece of information.

Shadow strokes can really help your technique improve faster as well. If you know what an okay stroke looks like and practice shadow strokes in front of a mirror it really can help your stroke improve a lot faster. It would also be useful to have a good level player or a coach check if what you are practicing as a shadow stroke is actually good.

Shadow strokes won't solve all the problems of developing a good stroke because you don't have to adjust to the incoming ball. But they can help bypass the issue of "two different philosophies" that Lightzy correctly covered.

If you use shadow strokes to get decent mechanics into the muscle memory, you can learn to do a stroke where you use your body and your arm how you ultimately will want to.

In an "ideal" stroke the arm does bend at the elbow a certain amount. But it does not have to be a lot. Like your arm doesn't have to go from almost straight to very bent. And on smaller strokes the movement at the elbow joint can be small. But if your stroke is done with a relaxed arm movement, it will help the stroke and the elbow will bend, at least a little, during the stoke....just from having the arm relaxed.

This video has a little bit of okay information about the FH stroke:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnaY6ltLY-g

ttmonster
04-04-2018, 04:06 AM
IMO basic forehand don't start with a straight hand, as said in this video ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axGJPJJkw4k
however there are multiple ways to do the same thing ... but as most of the people has told you earlier , mastering the basic forehand is a cornerstone of fundamentals and no amount of discussion or watching videos is going to get you there unless you get proper coaching ... believe me there are moving parts than it looks on the video and its more complicated than it seems .. if one has to put it together by themselves ... best find a good coach ...

OldschoolPenholder
04-04-2018, 03:14 PM
Looks like Jeff is hitting slightly later in Carl's video and YangYang in monster's video seems to meet the ball earlier.

Is my old man eyes correct?

yuri.saldon
04-04-2018, 04:11 PM
Looks like Jeff is hitting slightly later in Carl's video and YangYang in monster's video seems to meet the ball earlier.

Is my old man eyes correct?I don't know what you consider early but my club philosophy is to hit the ball when is going up (I don't have the proper vocabulary to describe it)

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ttmonster
04-04-2018, 04:33 PM
Don't mean to be sexist , but in general women will take the ball earlier than men because of the more prevalent style of play that is taught to women , the general belief is that they will be able to use the incoming power and play with speed instead of taking the ball later and generating their own power .. however more and more there are players coming up who are leaning towards generating their own power ... e.g. compare the older version of Kasumi Ishikawa with the more recent version after the change from Tenergy to Hurricane on the forehand , or even between Liu Shiwen and Sun Yingsha ...

Looks like Jeff is hitting slightly later in Carl's video and YangYang in monster's video seems to meet the ball earlier.

Is my old man eyes correct?

UpSideDownCarl
04-04-2018, 07:09 PM
Timing of when to hit the ball sounds like a nice discussion. I think a famous statement from JO Waldner was something about him saying that to really master the sport you need to be good at all three distances. And then he explained that what he meant by distance was:

1) taking the ball on the rise.
2) taking the ball at the top of the bounce (the peak height).
3) taking the ball as it is falling.

However, I have a feeling none of that information is for a beginner wanting to improve his stroke.

I personally don’t love the strokes from Ping Skills. But they give a decent view of a more than acceptable stroke with some technical details that can help you understand what you are trying for. And they let you see the stroke faster, slower and at different angles.

So a person who doesn’t have access to coaching and wanted to improve his her strokes with the practice of shadow strokes, that specific video would help the person see in the mirror if the stroke was okay.


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Andy44
04-04-2018, 08:56 PM
I think it helps to distinguish forehand counter technique (as in the PingSkills video) from forehand topspin which usually involves more elbow extension/flexion. Here's a good short topspin demonstration with Marcos Freitas:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoAQA3JgaXQ

rhouse
04-04-2018, 09:04 PM
Some good advice posted above. Others mentioned ping skills, but here is one of their topspin training videos that is pretty good for beginners and more focused on the basic stroke vs. the counter - it reviews the basic foot position, bat position, and shows fairly compact stroke to start getting the feel of things.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpVAPPzj3ZI

UpSideDownCarl
04-04-2018, 10:30 PM
And, for a beginner who is asking for a beginner FH topspin stroke, I would usually think of that as the fundamentals. And the fundamentals would be a FH counterhit.

A true beginner may not even be able to see that there is a difference between the FH counterhit and the FH topspin aside from the size of the stroke. So, drive topspin vs loop/brush topspin (heavier topspin) is often not distinguished at that level. I have even heard many players close to intermediate level who hit drives and thought they were looping.

But, again, if a video gives the beginner the idea of the form of the stroke and then he does shadow strokes in front of the mirror and uses the mirror to help him get a stroke with decent form, then shifting from smaller to larger swing or from drive contact to brush contact becomes easier to work on since the form of the stroke doesn’t really change much from a drive to a loop.

Beginner = start with the fundamentals.


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Andyzhao123
04-26-2018, 10:12 PM
After I've learned the forehand drive, which offensive forehand stroke should I move onto next?

hillwalker
04-26-2018, 11:55 PM
If you don't mind, can I add to this thread and ask another question.

I've heard that it can be good to practice your forehand while holding a tennis ball or similar object under your armpit, to force you to swing with your elbow and forearm and not your shoulder (I've also heard of people tying their elbow to their belt with elastic for the same effect?). I tried this, and it was actually an excellent as a footwork drill, as you can't hit backhands and you can't extend or retract your arm, so you *have* to move for every shot.

However you end up playing with "t-rex" arms as your elbow has to be held closely to your body so you don't drop the tennis ball. So I thought it would be fun to try this with a balloon, and try hitting forehands with a balloon held between your elbow and body, which would give you more space but still force you to fix your elbow. Is this completely insane, or could it be helpful?

UpSideDownCarl
04-27-2018, 01:04 AM
If you don't mind, can I add to this thread and ask another question.

I've heard that it can be good to practice your forehand while holding a tennis ball or similar object under your armpit, to force you to swing with your elbow and forearm and not your shoulder (I've also heard of people tying their elbow to their belt with elastic for the same effect?). I tried this, and it was actually an excellent as a footwork drill, as you can't hit backhands and you can't extend or retract your arm, so you *have* to move for every shot.

However you end up playing with "t-rex" arms as your elbow has to be held closely to your body so you don't drop the tennis ball. So I thought it would be fun to try this with a balloon, and try hitting forehands with a balloon held between your elbow and body, which would give you more space but still force you to fix your elbow. Is this completely insane, or could it be helpful?

Do you understand what the ball is for? Do you know why you would want to be able to swing with the only part of the arm moving being the forearm (elbow joint)?

I do think a larger ball like an 8” or 10” ball (like a baby’s toy lady bug ball) would work fine. Just curious if you know what I be isolation of the forearm would give you when you re-add the full stroke.


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hillwalker
04-27-2018, 01:20 AM
Do you understand what the ball is for? Do you know why you would want to be able to swing with the only part of the arm moving being the forearm (elbow joint)?

I do think a larger ball like an 8” or 10” ball (like a baby’s toy lady bug ball) would work fine. Just curious if you know what I be isolation of the forearm would give you when you re-add the full stroke.

(Now to be clear I am a beginner, and I'm just trying to sort through random advice from the internet and other amateur players in my club)

What I understand, is that the tennis-ball-under-the-armpit forces you to hit the ball by turning your hips, and snapping your forearm, and isolating those motions so you can concentrate on them, and then go on to incorporate them better into a full stroke? The forearm snap is to increase the racket speed and spin. The hip rotation is for efficient power from the legs and core.

I know as a basement player, I often tried to hit a powerful shot by whacking at the ball with a straight arm, no hip rotation, and just a big wrench at the shoulder. Hello strained rotator cuff.

UpSideDownCarl
04-27-2018, 01:38 AM
That is pretty good. Those are most of the reasons and all the important ones.

The only thing I would add. When you have a stroke where you have the habit of keeping the angle of the elbow fixed, it is very hard to change that and add the forearm snap that gives you that acceleration and spin.

So, yeah, a ball that was 8” or 10” from a store that sells balls for babies or young kids would work well. Much better than a balloon.


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hillwalker
04-27-2018, 01:44 AM
That is pretty good. Those are most of the reasons and all the important ones.

The only thing I would add. When you have a stroke where you have the habit of keeping the angle of the elbow fixed, it is very hard to change that and add the forearm snap that gives you that acceleration and spin.

So, yeah, a ball that was 8” or 10” from a store that sells balls for babies or young kids would work well. Much better than a balloon.

Thanks! I'll try and get some video next week for everyone's entertainment.

UpSideDownCarl
04-27-2018, 02:09 AM
When I got home I checked and my 10" ball is a good size for what you are talking about.

maurice101
04-27-2018, 09:45 PM
Different coaches might offer differing answers to this question. My coach take on this question is that he wants me to straighten the arm slightly to straight on the end of the backswing in all forehand topspins. It depends on how much time you have. If you have a slower ball you have more time to straighten the arm more and go more behind you too. He stresses the need to be relaxed in the arm and start the forward hip rotation slightly before the arm swing so the arm straightens a bit naturally without thinking about it. So you do not try to straighten the arm at all, it just happens from the forward hip rotation and slight delay in arm motion. This can be hard to see in pro strokes as it is subtle. The relaxed form allows the wrist to move too at the end of the backswing too.

Andyzhao123
04-28-2018, 12:08 AM
For the forehand topspin, is it better to start with the same bent elbow throughout the entire stroke, or to have the elbow slightly bent and have the forearm snap at the moment of contact? I'm not sure which to use since the Chinese style rubber I use (Skyline TG3) needs good power to use to its full potential, which putting some arm force would help with, and that there aren't many Chinese style players who play forehands with the same elbow angle throughout the entire stroke (other than some players like Xu Xin, who has a wider swing).

UpSideDownCarl
04-28-2018, 01:18 AM
For the forehand topspin, is it better to start with the same bent elbow throughout the entire stroke, or to have the elbow slightly bent and have the forearm snap at the moment of contact? I'm not sure which to use since the Chinese style rubber I use (Skyline TG3) needs good power to use to its full potential, which putting some arm force would help with, and that there aren't many Chinese style players who play forehands with the same elbow angle throughout the entire stroke (other than some players like Xu Xin, who has a wider swing).

If you watch the Chinese players FHs closely, all of them have excellent mechanics. All of them start with their arm more straight than when they finish. So, at some point in their stroke, their elbow starts to bend. The timing for those large strokes is that the elbow starts to bend more just before contact.

But if you think to do that and you have a habit of keeping your arm stiff and your elbow joint fixed at one angle throughout the stroke, it is very hard to learn to get the bend in the elbow at all. And even harder to have it timed well to the contact.

And if you tried to do a stroke where the angle of bend in the elbow did not change at all through the stroke, the racket would move much slower than if there was that snap from the forearm (elbow joint).

UpSideDownCarl
04-28-2018, 01:33 AM
I made this video in October to answer a specific question from a member. But this might help you guys understand the mechanics of the stroke.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wc0ImOA4-WI&t=2s

In the video, I don't overemphasize it, but if you look how much faster my hand moves when my arm starts straight and ends bent and I have the weight transfer and the core rotation in the stroke in comparison to any of the other movements, you may better understand why you want all those things at the same time.

1) Weight Transfer
2) Core Rotation
3) (Further from the table for sure) Upper arm starting almost straight and ending bent to about a 90-degree angle.

I am not a pro table tennis player. But I am a movement analyst. So, even though I can't do the shot as well as a high level player (I am really a mid level intermediate player at best), but I may be better able to analyze, break down and explain the mechanics of the stroke than many pros since since analyzing human movement and mechanics is what I do for a living. :)