Backhand topspin tutorials are useless

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hello everyone, I would like to share this thought with you to see if anyone actually agrees. I feel like forehand topspin mechanics are pretty much the same for everyone, like we can distinguish European and Asian styles, Aruna Quadri style and that pretty much it, the basics are common between these styles, so it makes sense to make tutorial for that because whatever you are preaching, provided it is correct will be also correct for anyone watching/reading the tutorial.

Backhand though, I feel like it is very very subjective and depends much on the player body, height and other paramters. Thats why you see very effective and very different backhands, take the 3 first ranking players right now, they all have different backhands, Kreanga, Ovtcharov, Harimoto, Pitchford and many others. So making a tutorial is like saying people who have exatly everything like me body-wise should play their bakhands like this, which of course not the case and everyone assumes it is a universal thing and must apply to you too. Some say you should take the ball from your stomach, others say a little bit to the left. Some use body/legs some use wrist more etc ...

The only thing that is common I feel : the blade head has to point towards you more or less before meeting the ball but other than that, do whatever makes this meeting as powerful as you can and thats it.
 
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hello everyone, I would like to share this thought with you to see if anyone actually agrees. I feel like forehand topspin mechanics are pretty much the same for everyone, like we can distinguish European and Asian styles, Aruna Quadri style and that pretty much it, the basics are common between these styles, so it makes sense to make tutorial for that because whatever you are preaching, provided it is correct will be also correct for anyone watching/reading the tutorial.

Backhand though, I feel like it is very very subjective and depends much on the player body, height and other paramters. Thats why you see very effective and very different backhands, take the 3 first ranking players right now, they all have different backhands, Kreanga, Ovtcharov, Harimoto, Pitchford and many others. So making a tutorial is like saying people who have exatly everything like me body-wise should play their bakhands like this, which of course not the case and everyone assumes it is a universal thing and must apply to you too. Some say you should take the ball from your stomach, others say a little bit to the left. Some use body/legs some use wrist more etc ...

The only thing that is common I feel : the blade head has to point towards you more or less before meeting the ball but other than that, do whatever makes this meeting as powerful as you can and thats it.

Let me guess, you are a forehand player and your backhand is not so good?

I think one feels comfortable with what one understands. There are as many different (and similar) backhands as there are forehands, but if you don't understand the stroke, then you see everything as different or everything as the same. So obviously, no, I don't agree.

Even the debate on Chinese vs European/Japanese forehand is very superficial, 95% of the difference is athleticism of the player and the materials (Rubber and racket) used. The ultimate goal is fast racket head speed to spin the ball, the mechanics to get it from player to player are subtly different but largely the same, but if one player can bring more athleticism to bear on the ball and recover faster, they can do more. This is true for forehand and backhand. There used to be a Chinese vs European/Japanese backhand debate as well, but this has largely gone away as well, as most players are now doing similar things. IT isn't as pronounced because the rubbers have always been very similar on for both places, but the Chinese reduced the size of the follow through by putting more into the backswing.

Finally, forehand and backhand topspin are ultimately trying to do the same thing, the problem is that it is hard to take full swings on both sides and recover in balance especially because backhand would then start across the body and requires upper arm motion to get there from the forehand side, so people tend to compromise with smaller strike zone on the backhand and taking it in front of them while forehand has more space to do a lot of things with larger backswing. But if you forget the size of the motion and shrink your forehand (like say Timo Boll), they become very similar strokes from an arm usage perspective.
 
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I wouldn't say they are useless. I actually have a few forms of the BH topspin stroke depending on the incoming ball.

The one geared toward recovery hits more in front of the stomach with more elbow, forearm and wrist. The one geared toward point-finishing power hits more to the side with more trunk rotation and upper arm.
 
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I wouldn't say they are useless. I actually have a few forms of the BH topspin stroke depending on the incoming ball.

The one geared toward recovery hits more in front of the stomach with more elbow, forearm and wrist. The one geared toward point-finishing power hits more to the side with more trunk rotation and upper arm.
But this is true for forehand as well? No one plays the same forehand stroke all the time either. Even Timo extends slightly more when playing kill shots.

There is a coach on the internet who makes youtube shorts whose overall playing level I am suspicious of. But one video he made that I liked was to show how the backhand topspin can be played with a focus pivoting around the wrist, pivoting around the elbow and pivoting around the shoulder. Such things can expand an understanding of what is possible with a stroke.
 
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Let me guess, you are a forehand player and your backhand is not so good?

I think one feels comfortable with what one understands. There are as many different (and similar) backhands as there are forehands, but if you don't understand the stroke, then you see everything as different or everything as the same. So obviously, no, I don't agree.

Even the debate on Chinese vs European/Japanese forehand is very superficial, 95% of the difference is athleticism of the player and the materials (Rubber and racket) used. The ultimate goal is fast racket head speed to spin the ball, the mechanics to get it from player to player are subtly different but largely the same, but if one player can bring more athleticism to bear on the ball and recover faster, they can do more. This is true for forehand and backhand. There used to be a Chinese vs European/Japanese backhand debate as well, but this has largely gone away as well, as most players are now doing similar things. IT isn't as pronounced because the rubbers have always been very similar on for both places, but the Chinese reduced the size of the follow through by putting more into the backswing.

Finally, forehand and backhand topspin are ultimately trying to do the same thing, the problem is that it is hard to take full swings on both sides and recover in balance especially because backhand would then start across the body and requires upper arm motion to get there from the forehand side, so people tend to compromise with smaller strike zone on the backhand and taking it in front of them while forehand has more space to do a lot of things with larger backswing. But if you forget the size of the motion and shrink your forehand (like say Timo Boll), they become very similar strokes from an arm usage perspective.
Assuming I don't fully understand the stroke, how to go about to understand it ? I did almost everything and to your point I sacrified my forehand to have full swings on the backhand because I know my ability to adapt on the forehand is higher. I serve now mostly reverse pendulum or backhand to have the ball to my backhand. My post was provoked by a revelation I had yesterday and kinda confirmed in the practice session (pending confirmation on video), I've always had a good feeling and control using my body/legs on the forehand, there is a specific feeling I recognize when I hit that sweet spot, I just tried to focus on having that feeling on the backhand and it just came naturally but many tutorials on the internet tells you specifically that backhand is an arm thing basically
 
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I wouldn't say they are useless. I actually have a few forms of the BH topspin stroke depending on the incoming ball.

The one geared toward recovery hits more in front of the stomach with more elbow, forearm and wrist. The one geared toward point-finishing power hits more to the side with more trunk rotation and upper arm.
You say that but Youngseik or whatever his name is takes it always from the side and he recovers like no problem. For you it make sense what you have said there and it applies well to you but then we see other bakhands which they don't follow that which is my point
 
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Assuming I don't fully understand the stroke, how to go about to understand it ? I did almost everything and to your point I sacrified my forehand to have full swings on the backhand because I know my ability to adapt on the forehand is higher. I serve now mostly reverse pendulum or backhand to have the ball to my backhand. My post was provoked by a revelation I had yesterday and kinda confirmed in the practice session (pending confirmation on video), I've always had a good feeling and control using my body/legs on the forehand, there is a specific feeling I recognize when I hit that sweet spot, I just tried to focus on having that feeling on the backhand and it just came naturally but many tutorials on the internet tells you specifically that backhand is an arm thing basically

The backhand can be an arm thing just as the forehand can be an arm thing. You can throw frisbees with your arm no? But you can also throw them with bigger use of the body. IT doesn't even have to be rotation, just coiling the lower arm can generate a lot of power.

The first and most important thing IMHO to focus on if you want to play a two winged looping game is the use of the upper arm to position your elbow. You have to place your elbow somewhere that is largely comfortable for both forehand and backhand strokes with minimal movement of the upper arm for transition. Then the backswing of the forehand is largely activated by core rotation and use of the legs and the backswing of the backhand by leaning forward or pulling the racket back slightly with a light squat.

What usually happens in my experience with people with relatively poor backhands is that they want the same quality from both sides without accepting and growing out of the backhand limitations with time and practice (which will improve timing and quality). Some of them have grip issues and don't subtly adjust their grip to sometimes favor backhand. But if you find a specific approach to the backhand that allows you to do two winged transition practice comfortably and address most of the timing issues, start with that. Then try to grow it step by step. Without video, a lot of this might not address your specific problem, but I am speaking from the lots of people who started with good forehands unlike me, who learned in reverse. But even for me learning my backhand was a process. And learning to topspin on both side without sacrificing too much on either side was a process. Even Kreanga will tell you that his best backhands are not as powerful as his best forehands. You develop the backhand by evolution, not by revolution.
 
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You say that but Youngseik or whatever his name is takes it always from the side and he recovers like no problem. For you it make sense what you have said there and it applies well to you but then we see other bakhands which they don't follow that which is my point
Your framing of the technique probably reflects your understanding of it. Even in forehand looping, players take the ball at different positions relative to their body.
 
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If you try to imitate a pro player then yes, they are useless, because most of their backhands are ridiculous and unbelievable that they can even keep the ball on the table like that. For example, Ovtcharov's BH is starting very closed and opens up while swinging. This means that if you don't hit the ball EXACTLY at the right moment, you miss. This is not something for amatuers to copy. Another example is Ma Long who has a shitty BH and always takes the ball early with his arms reaching out a lot, which is also very difficult to do well.

If you watch tutorials for normal people you can actually gain something from that. Ti Long is my go to for online coaching, but it can never replace face-to-face coaching.
 
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If you try to imitate a pro player then yes, they are useless, because most of their backhands are ridiculous and unbelievable that they can even keep the ball on the table like that. For example, Ovtcharov's BH is starting very closed and opens up while swinging. This means that if you don't hit the ball EXACTLY at the right moment, you miss. This is not something for amatuers to copy. Another example is Ma Long who has a shitty BH and always takes the ball early with his arms reaching out a lot, which is also very difficult to do well.

If you watch tutorials for normal people you can actually gain something from that. Ti Long is my go to for online coaching, but it can never replace face-to-face coaching.
I hear you, the title was a bit exagerated because you know its a title. I'm not about the Pros, I mentionned them to maintain my point that they have very different techniques but a sound stroke and steady results, why is that ? my interpretation is because the stroke is subjective and very personal. My experience with tutorials is you could gain some stuff but it stay minimal, Ti Long video about the free hand when backhanding was the biggest gain so far but it was not enough in my case. Maybe I need private lessons, I only did it once but it was only for two hours.
 
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The backhand can be an arm thing just as the forehand can be an arm thing. You can throw frisbees with your arm no? But you can also throw them with bigger use of the body. IT doesn't even have to be rotation, just coiling the lower arm can generate a lot of power.

The first and most important thing IMHO to focus on if you want to play a two winged looping game is the use of the upper arm to position your elbow. You have to place your elbow somewhere that is largely comfortable for both forehand and backhand strokes with minimal movement of the upper arm for transition. Then the backswing of the forehand is largely activated by core rotation and use of the legs and the backswing of the backhand by leaning forward or pulling the racket back slightly with a light squat.

What usually happens in my experience with people with relatively poor backhands is that they want the same quality from both sides without accepting and growing out of the backhand limitations with time and practice (which will improve timing and quality). Some of them have grip issues and don't subtly adjust their grip to sometimes favor backhand. But if you find a specific approach to the backhand that allows you to do two winged transition practice comfortably and address most of the timing issues, start with that. Then try to grow it step by step. Without video, a lot of this might not address your specific problem, but I am speaking from the lots of people who started with good forehands unlike me, who learned in reverse. But even for me learning my backhand was a process. And learning to topspin on both side without sacrificing too much on either side was a process. Even Kreanga will tell you that his best backhands are not as powerful as his best forehands. You develop the backhand by evolution, not by revolution.
While I don't agree with evolution not revoultion thing because I learned TT as an adult and I don't have time so the least I could do is try to find shortcuts , I find some truths in it for the backhand. In my experience, the stroke is composed of too many little details, the evolution is just these details becoming a second nature. As of right now, when I serve with my backhand and expecting a ball to my backhand I have an explicit list of things to do:

- stay low after the service
- put on the backhand grip
- raise the elbow a little bit higher and to the right
- this one is controversial (press hard the blade using the thumb and the index)
- the free hand infront plz

Decent backhands come out of this but I can't guarantee to remember every step everytime, while for the forehands THERE IS NO LIST to begin with
 
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But this is true for forehand as well? No one plays the same forehand stroke all the time either. Even Timo extends slightly more when playing kill shots.

There is a coach on the internet who makes youtube shorts whose overall playing level I am suspicious of. But one video he made that I liked was to show how the backhand topspin can be played with a focus pivoting around the wrist, pivoting around the elbow and pivoting around the shoulder. Such things can expand an understanding of what is possible with a stroke.
It is open to interpretation. In theory, FH and BH should be close to a mirror image of each other. In practice, though, the biomechanics involved is more nuanced for BH.

To keep it simple, the FH loop (slow, fast or what not) looks essentially like an enlarged FH counterhit. OTOH, to minimize recovery, the BH counterhit often resembles a BH flip, and looks far more different from a BH loop. It's reflected in the Chinese terms for the strokes, where 反手攻球 (BH counterhit/drive) and 反手撥 (BH flip) are used interchangeably.
 
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While I don't agree with evolution not revoultion thing because I learned TT as an adult and I don't have time so the least I could do is try to find shortcuts , I find some truths in it for the backhand. In my experience, the stroke is composed of too many little details, the evolution is just these details becoming a second nature. As of right now, when I serve with my backhand and expecting a ball to my backhand I have an explicit list of things to do:

- stay low after the service
- put on the backhand grip
- raise the elbow a little bit higher and to the right
- this one is controversial (press hard the blade using the thumb and the index)
- the free hand infront plz

Decent backhands come out of this but I can't guarantee to remember every step everytime, while for the forehands THERE IS NO LIST to begin with
I learned TT as an adult too, started in 2011, so regardless, there is no alternative to putting in the time.

The problem is the list, when you have a list, it means you have not understood what to do and you are following conscious process, and conscious process is a no-no in something as fast and complicated as table tennis. You just haven't developed the right system that feeds itself, you are still trying to put things together, which is okay when learning but not when executing. But you have to continue to build one thing at a time and just execute the whole.

Like I Said earlier, the biggest problem people with uneven forehand and backhand have is that they want to shortcut the process, I used to have a really bad forehand, and when I reached a certain level, I spent about 6 months just training forehand without playing tournaments per se. I never fully fixed the forehand, but it paid off over time and it no longer was a case where people just said "He has a good backhand, put the ball on forehand." Today, some people know me as forehand player, some people know me as backhand player, probably depending on which side they naturally play well. But for me, backhand always feels natural, forehand is a labor because my knees do not support easy footwork.

You just have to balance the strokes, build out both sides with practice, do the transition drills, do drills to adapt to spin and placement (on backhand, squatting on backhand topspin vs backspin is a technical necessity, many people just don't learn it or do it for some reason or the other) and then accept that even after all this, unless there are situations where this is costing you points vs better players or worse players, you might not even raise your level that much, you might just feel better about how you play.
 
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It is open to interpretation. In theory, FH and BH should be close to a mirror image of each other. In practice, though, the biomechanics involved is more nuanced for BH.

To keep it simple, the FH loop (slow, fast or what not) looks essentially like an enlarged FH counterhit. OTOH, to minimize recovery, the BH counterhit often resembles a BH flip, and looks far more different from a BH loop. It's reflected in the Chinese terms for the strokes, where 反手攻球 (BH counterhit/drive) and 反手撥 (BH flip) are used interchangeably.
This is technically true for optimization, but in a general context, even with the nuanced biomechanics, one can just mirror stuff and have decently good results. But I agree for optimal technique especially in practical play, the nuances matter a lot.
 
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Don't think backhand topspin tutorials are useless, maybe some of the finer details change based upon style but the fundamentals of the shot are still important.

It's not like a tall player hits the ball in a completely different way to someone a foot shorter than them. Maybe they can close the angle more and get on top of the ball in rallies better, but still the important parts of the shot from a technical standpoint are similar.
 
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Basically, a lot of what pro players tell you are useless because they already have close to perfect biomechanics from the body as a base. For eg Harimoto saying that all his BH is coming from his wrist which is clearly untrue as even in slowmo you can see his body working damn hard.

Imo, most important thing I learnt for my BH is below:

1) Thumb + index finger pressure points to create a lever arm to rotate the ball by Ti Long. With it you can generate stupid amounts of spin just with fingers and you can already land quite a decent shot without doing anything. You train this extensively against topspin.

2) BH counter / lift against underspin, also by Ti Long. This spin understanding allows you to apply 1) easily to underspin balls and you are no longer afraid of them.

After 1 and 2 you will have a basic BH able to open up consistently and rally against all sorts of balls but you won't have any loopkilling power.

So how to acquire loopkilling power? You need to incorporate the other body mechanics. Imo Ti Long is also good for this but there are some more advanced tutorials (unfortunately mostly in Chinese, a lot of English tutorials do not teach advanced understanding of the BH).

I learnt:

3) how to do explosive hip rotation and weight transfer and adjust for different ball placements/heights using the legs from Fang Yinchi from Fang Bo's channel. This is also a game changer because it allows immense power generation from a small internal rotation of the body. I tried other methods before this and none of them have this level of explosiveness.

4) methods to brush to deal with various types of spin, in particular heavy sidespin, sideunder, sidetop, topspin - also from Fang Yinchi but also Yin Hang. This is critical to defending and receiving fast long serves to your BH. This is also very important to have a stable chiquita - you have to apply different philosophies of contact against different spins. You can't just use a single method to deal with all spins.

5) how to use the lat muscles and free arm effectively from Sun Hao Hong - this is very important for chiquita due to the table being in the way. Most prominent from Lin Yun Ju - you can see how his back muscles work overtime to pull his elbow clockwise.

6) how to go down the line by Harimoto (Japanese tutorial) - pretty much by using the right leg to find the ball and then straightening the left leg to do a sudden body rotation towards the FH corner.

7) How to defend against incoming loops properly - also on Fang Bo's channel with a few guests

There's a lot of other stuff I learnt (sidespin countering and punching) but these are the main items I learnt to build my BH now (which is one of my biggest strengths). I am working to elevate my FH to the same level as my BH at the moment.

Also I highly disagree that FH is less technical than BH. Because amateurs can generate FH power much more naturally in general in the beginning, but it doesn't mean that it is a good FH (controlled, spinny, fast, consistent against all types of balls). The road to a good FH imo is filled with even more issues and traps than BH, because you can hit quite hard even with bad FH technique and you think you're doing well but in reality you're just building up bad habits....
 
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OP should know that there are so many different BH shots with different approaches to striking... but physics are physics. one must be in position and have leverage. One must be biomechanically efficient. One must generate kinetic energy with stance and explosion, how to amplify it, and deliver it to the ball in terms of speed, spin, or both. One must understand that the effective strike zone is small and less dynamic for adjustment than the FH strike zone and biomechanics for obvious reasons. One must be able to know the ways to adjust and shift the strike zones for certain things.

All of this applies regardless of the exact technique advocated.

People in Korea thought i was crazy when I BH loop underspin and finish the shot with my bottom three fingers off the blade... so I find myself agreeing with a concept blahness advocates strongly.

Players should know that there may be multiple approaches to a problem that are effective... but laws of physics always apply.
 
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You say that but Youngseik or whatever his name is takes it always from the side and he recovers like no problem. For you it make sense what you have said there and it applies well to you but then we see other bakhands which they don't follow that which is my point
You have to show me an example because he doesn't do it under typical situations. Even Kreanga doesn't do it all the time.

JYS vs LJK
https://youtu.be/-qMNm3ne1xY?t=2489
JYS vs FZD
https://youtu.be/CtLAb0U9Pso?t=3445

Kreanga vs Kim Minseok
BH exchanges, racket tip not visible from behind
https://youtu.be/Oocz71IhxkI
BH 3rd ball attack, racket tip clearly visible from behind
https://youtu.be/Oocz71IhxkI?t=38
 
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You have to show me an example because he doesn't do it under typical situations. Even Kreanga doesn't do it all the time.

JYS vs LJK
https://youtu.be/-qMNm3ne1xY?t=2489
JYS vs FZD
https://youtu.be/CtLAb0U9Pso?t=3445

Kreanga vs Kim Minseok
BH exchanges, racket tip not visible from behind
https://youtu.be/Oocz71IhxkI
BH 3rd ball attack, racket tip clearly visible from behind
https://youtu.be/Oocz71IhxkI?t=38

The examples you put are more of counter/block but even those when he is comfortable take it a bit from the side rather than the middle
 
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