I am looking for that 'effortless forehand topspin mechanics' tip

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Hi there,

I am looking for that one special tip that will make my forehand topspin easier. And with easier I mean: more power with less effort.

I once got a great tip like this for my backhand topspin: "You should do the backhand topspin like you are throwing a frisbee". My backhand has really taken off since then. Before this tip I wasn't able to backhand loop underspin to save my life, and now it probably wins me the most points. My backhand has become so spinny and fast while simontaniously it feels effortless to put on the table.

I feel like I know the all the details about the forehand topspin quite well;
-Transfer your weight,
-rotate your hips,
-retract your free hand,
-have a relaxed swing,
-accelerate explosively and squeeze the racket right before contact,
-stop your shoulder,
-relax again and retract for the next ball,

I really try to apply these when playing, but for some reason whenever that ball comes thowards my forehand side, I only swing my arm at the ball without rotating my body... Its hard for me to have alot of dedicated forehand practice. We dont have any coaches for senior players and all my training is basicly practice matches. So the warmup before the first match is the only time I can dedicate thowards improving my forehand topspin against block.

So any tips to help me make the forehand feel less complicated and more powerful with less effort are welcome!
 
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Do the movement use a 2-5 lbs dumbbell instead of racket. 100-300 a day , after like a week, you timing and speed will increase.
Better yet, use a stick with 2-5 lbs of weight on one end. You're not gonna be able to swing that around without using your body. I used to use a 10lb curl bar with a 5lb plate attached for this.
 
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Hi there,

I am looking for that one special tip that will make my forehand topspin easier. And with easier I mean: more power with less effort.

I once got a great tip like this for my backhand topspin: "You should do the backhand topspin like you are throwing a frisbee". My backhand has really taken off since then. Before this tip I wasn't able to backhand loop underspin to save my life, and now it probably wins me the most points. My backhand has become so spinny and fast while simontaniously it feels effortless to put on the table.

I feel like I know the all the details about the forehand topspin quite well;
-Transfer your weight,
-rotate your hips,
-retract your free hand,
-have a relaxed swing,
-accelerate explosively and squeeze the racket right before contact,
-stop your shoulder,
-relax again and retract for the next ball,

I really try to apply these when playing, but for some reason whenever that ball comes thowards my forehand side, I only swing my arm at the ball without rotating my body... Its hard for me to have alot of dedicated forehand practice. We dont have any coaches for senior players and all my training is basicly practice matches. So the warmup before the first match is the only time I can dedicate thowards improving my forehand topspin against block.

So any tips to help me make the forehand feel less complicated and more powerful with less effort are welcome!
Throwing, frisbee, cracking whip, saluting aggressively all work for forehand as well.

Get the legs stronger - Anders Lind made some good videos on drills that will help - Forehand is essentially a lower body and footwork stroke in a way that the backhand isn't quite:



 
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Hi there,

I am looking for that one special tip that will make my forehand topspin easier. And with easier I mean: more power with less effort.

I once got a great tip like this for my backhand topspin: "You should do the backhand topspin like you are throwing a frisbee". My backhand has really taken off since then. Before this tip I wasn't able to backhand loop underspin to save my life, and now it probably wins me the most points. My backhand has become so spinny and fast while simontaniously it feels effortless to put on the table.

I feel like I know the all the details about the forehand topspin quite well;
-Transfer your weight,
-rotate your hips,
-retract your free hand,
-have a relaxed swing,
-accelerate explosively and squeeze the racket right before contact,
-stop your shoulder,
-relax again and retract for the next ball,

I really try to apply these when playing, but for some reason whenever that ball comes thowards my forehand side, I only swing my arm at the ball without rotating my body... Its hard for me to have alot of dedicated forehand practice. We dont have any coaches for senior players and all my training is basicly practice matches. So the warmup before the first match is the only time I can dedicate thowards improving my forehand topspin against block.

So any tips to help me make the forehand feel less complicated and more powerful with less effort are welcome!
Hi amay
I think you may benefit from shadow play in front of a mirror A 1 or 2 kilo weight might be an option. You should by imagining you are repeating a 2 shot sequence eg fh drive to shot at the middle of the table then fh at the corner of the table. Obviously this requires you to do the correct shuffle footwork between each shot. It will make sure you are getting all of the body involved. It's important to have an imaginary target for your stroke so that you can throw your weight in the correct direction. Remember to get your head close to the contact point as this will have the effect of pulling your trunk into the right.
I used to do a few sets of these in the gym, sometimes imagining playing against chop sometimes against top sometimes against lob always including the moving. to two different balls You don't need to strain, just get into the rhythm of throwing your weight forward and recovering.
As a reference it helps to try the same either at the table with a partner,or maybe with a robot. The key is to loosen your shoulder so that your stroke is driven by your legs. I found that even for power shots where you might want contact with a straight to create a long lever, it helps to start with the elbow at 90 degrees and just unfold it through the stroke like a throwing action.A bit like a pro lawn tennis players serving action -relaxed power
 
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I was told 2 very good tips to me. They may not fix the issue you have, but perhaps can come handy anyways...

- because I tend to anticipate too much the impact, I was told to "take a breath then go", this fixed my timing and actually, timing apart, the breath in and breath out synchronization feels beneficial during the stroke execution

- because I was struggling with brushing the ball especially when I had to pull the ball up and privilege spin over speed I was told "imagine you want to grab the ball with your hand"
 
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I feel like I know the all the details about the forehand topspin quite well;
-Transfer your weight,
-rotate your hips,
-retract your free hand,
-have a relaxed swing,
-accelerate explosively and squeeze the racket right before contact,
-stop your shoulder,
-relax again and retract for the next ball,

I really try to apply these when playing, but for some reason whenever that ball comes thowards my forehand side, I only swing my arm at the ball without rotating my body...

You could try to feel your foot ball (forefoot) on your right foot (if right-hander), that it starts from there, and propagates over the body - the kinetic chain. You name correctly the parts of that chain, but it is one thing. If you feel is starts down there - or essentially is done down there and the rest follows (and the hit is a by-product) - you can think not that you're doing it, but that it is doing itself. So I'd start with feeling it in the normal FH drive (as described), and there the FH drive can really feel truly effortless. With FH loop it maybe contra-productive to try to also be aware of the parts of the kinetic chain unfolding, while looping. So if I try to think about it, I mostly only use 1 check-point - and that is that I check that my non-playing hand is retracted at the hit point (as a proof of body rotation). Also, it doesn't feel right to say effortless loop - I think loop can be pretty effort-full and still be smooth and just right; the power increases - the effort increases. So I'd say a little bit of understanding and a lot of practice is needed, and you'll get there in no time.
 
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Thanks for all the replies! Those videos from Anders en Craig really look helpfull. Also the tip of starting with the ball of my foot ball sounds like a good starting point.

Also, it doesn't feel right to say effortless loop - I think loop can be pretty effort-full and still be smooth and just right; the power increases - the effort increases. So I'd say a little bit of understanding and a lot of practice is needed, and you'll get there in no time.
Yes you are right, effortless probably wasnt the right word. What I meant was easier and less effort for the shoulder.

And to be more specific, the problem I have with my forehand is when I try to hit foreward. Upening up with slow and spinny topspins feels easy enough. And I regularely play against long pimple users. I can lift their backspin relatively easy. But I struggle to hit a winner by striking foreward.

I had to quit back in 2017 because of a shoulder injury. I got a surgery to repair my thorn labrum and after I recovered from that I tried to come back to table tennis but my shoulder just didnt feel right. So I decided to call it quits before I injured it again.

When I quit playing I tried a few different sports. First I went to the gym, and later I started boxing. It wasnt until boxing practice when I realised I was using way to much arm in my punches. I really learned how to use the body, relax the arms and squeeze my fist at impact.

I guess I never realised I was using too much arm because a table tennis ball only weights a few grams. So if you hit it hard, it will fly hard. But if you hit a punching bag without properly using your body, it wont move. But when you do it right, it actually doesnt take alot of effort to get a solid punch.

So I have been trying to use the same principles in table tennis. But so far its been hard to connect my arm and body to hit foreward rather then up. I guess its because the stance is different. In boxing your feet are more positioned to move front to back. And in table tennis you have to stand lower and your feet are positioned to move side to side.

So I guess I will have start from scratch and try to fix my bad habits with the forehand drive like Craig demonstrates in the video, and then try to make that same body movement with a brushing contact. And then once I got that down see if I can accelerate more through the ball.

Im already getting ahead of myself lol, lets start with the drive haha... It all seems so easy, but when that ball comes thowards me I just find myself short on time and hit it with my shoulder.
 
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I'm also going to say one bad thing in this forum that many ppl would disagree with. Equipment makes a difference. You can definitely hit much harder much easier with something like outer carbon blade like Viscaria compared to some 5 ply wood blade lol. Same compared with D05 compared to unboosted Hurricane for eg.
 
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And to be more specific, the problem I have with my forehand is when I try to hit foreward. Upening up with slow and spinny topspins feels easy enough. And I regularely play against long pimple users. I can lift their backspin relatively easy. But I struggle to hit a winner by striking foreward.

That's surprising. It's the same technique/mechanics for me. Don't be afraid to stand quite wide and low.

I had to quit back in 2017 because of a shoulder injury. I got a surgery to repair my thorn labrum and after I recovered from that I tried to come back to table tennis but my shoulder just didnt feel right. So I decided to call it quits before I injured it again.

When I quit playing I tried a few different sports. First I went to the gym, and later I started boxing. It wasnt until boxing practice when I realised I was using way to much arm in my punches. I really learned how to use the body, relax the arms and squeeze my fist at impact.

I guess I never realised I was using too much arm because a table tennis ball only weights a few grams. So if you hit it hard, it will fly hard. But if you hit a punching bag without properly using your body, it wont move. But when you do it right, it actually doesnt take alot of effort to get a solid punch.

That's good. It also means proper breathing, exhale and tightening abdomen at hit, is ingrained in you.

So I have been trying to use the same principles in table tennis. But so far its been hard to connect my arm and body to hit foreward rather then up. I guess its because the stance is different. In boxing your feet are more positioned to move front to back. And in table tennis you have to stand lower and your feet are positioned to move side to side.

So I guess I will have start from scratch and try to fix my bad habits with the forehand drive like Craig demonstrates in the video, and then try to make that same body movement with a brushing contact. And then once I got that down see if I can accelerate more through the ball.

I didn't see Craig's video, but when I hear "brushing contact" a red alert goes on. I think this word often implies incorrect associations and visual imaginations - I never focus on that. Only on the technique/chain, and there whether it is to loop slow low backspin or over the table power-loop or behind the table loop against block is just a variable, but the core of the technique is the same.

The "brushing" is also sometimes associated with "wrapping the ball", where you might get the idea that some rotation around the ball takes place - it would also mean rotation in the shoulder - and you (especially after injury) most definitely don't want that.

Another thing which was important for me is following. When you retract your arm, try to go with your elbow back close to the body (possibly folding the arm a bit more than before). It is faster (when it goes close around the body), and it also influences the next stroke - the arm is not that far from body - which also could strain some of your shoulder muscles.

Baseball - Zack Greincke

Look how his body is rotated at the point of hit - facing front. Make sure it is the same when you hit. Notice also how his throwing arm goes sort of with a delay - the same applies to TT, it is essentially the same principle, because the principle is derived from the construction of the body.

Im already getting ahead of myself lol, lets start with the drive haha... It all seems so easy, but when that ball comes thowards me I just find myself short on time and hit it with my shoulder.

The focus on how the power goes from the ground (the foot ball) has also the side-effect that you don't over focus on the arm. Cheers.
 
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1. focus your weight onto the right knee if you are right handed when doing the back swing.
2. focus on completing the stroke from back swing to in front of your head, as fast as possible
Don't focus on hitting the ball, hitting the ball is a byproduct of doing 1 and 2 correctly.

The above is learning to use weight to hit the ball and not your arm/power
 
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I don't think there is a quick tip for playing effortless. You need to learn the basics and slowly fine tune it so that the Transfer from link to link gets smoother over time.

Regarding only being able to hit the ball with the arm in matches: it can be a lack of fundamentals but it also happens when you play better opponents. Good opponents make you rushed so that you kinda need to improvise and you can't use your ideal technique.

If you compare a top 200 player in the world his technique probably is not much worse than a top 10 in the world player but the top10 player can execute his technique at an even higher pressure.

Pressure of opponent makes technique fall apart. Obviously you need to learn fundamentals first, beginners can't even execute technique against easy feeds but once you reach a certain level it is about making your technique more resistant against pressure (ball speed, spin, placement) so you can execute it when you have less time.
 
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Imagine discus throwing starting from below your hip and slightly behind you in a fast salute motion?
 
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And to be more specific, the problem I have with my forehand is when I try to hit foreward. Upening up with slow and spinny topspins feels easy enough. And I regularely play against long pimple users. I can lift their backspin relatively easy. But I struggle to hit a winner by striking foreward.

I am going to ignore the rest and just focus on this: if you want to hit a powerful FH loop, driving forward against backspin and you want the trajectory to be direct and fast, the timing of when you contact the ball may be important (not just the mechanics of the stroke).

If you can take the ball early (on the rise, just before the top of the bounce, or right at the top of the bounce) you can swing more forward and less up and come more over the top of the ball instead of spinning up the back of the ball because, if the ball is still rising or right at the top of the bounce, 1) it will be closer to the net, and 2) the ball still rising will give more impact to your racket for you to propel the ball over the net. Also, almost, or at the top of the bounce, you are likely to be taking the ball from a higher point than if you are looping after the ball starts to drop: that makes it more possible for you to clear the net without needing as much arc on the ball.

I did not read a lot of the thread so, maybe someone else explained this as well. Good deal if it was explained. But if you want to be looping vs backspin and have the loop fast AND spinny, spinning forward over the top of the ball on the rise or just before the ball gets to the top of its bounce is going to make your shot project forward much more than any other contact timing.

I have seen lots of people with "unique" stroke mechanics who, because of their contact and their timing on contact, they could do the shot your are asking about because they set up and had the ball in their power zone (ideal strike zone) so they could make contact while the ball was still on the way up and just before the top.

You do need a fast racket speed for that. But.....timing is very important for that shot.

PS: any chance you can show footage of you trying to do the shot you are taking about so we can see your form, technique, contact and timing?

Without seeing what you are doing, all of our comments are guesses even if some of them turn out to be helpful.
 
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Okay, one more thing: practicing shadow strokes could improve your stroke technique. Practicing shadow strokes with footwork would make it so you can get your lower body and upper body to learn how to coordinate with each other. Some of what your legs do, works in opposition to what your upper body does. Like for a right handed player, the right foot will push back and down as your hips turn forward, your torso turns forward and your arm swings forward. A lot of the lower body coordination stuff is not that different from how, when an uninjured person walks naturally, when the left leg swings forward, the left hip will swing forward a tiny bit with it and your right arm (opposite arm as leg) will swing forward and the upper body will turn fractionally forward to counter balance what the legs are doing. But....TT stroke mechanics are a bit more complicated than walking.

But there is one important detail: if you are thinking about the mechanics in a match, that is NOT what you want. The mechanics should be committed to muscle memory so you can focus on many other things like what your opponent is doing. If during training and match play, you are mainly focusing on mechanics, then you want to do something like a lot of shadow strokes, shadow strokes with footwork, self hitting and using a robot to just hit hundreds and hundreds of thousands of FHs.

After training, you look at video to see your form. But during training, unless you are just working on the most basic aspects of mechanics, you should not be too focused on the specific form of what you are doing.

And if you can slow loop backspin with decent spin, then your technique is at least at a decent level. So....that information should not apply to you. But still, we really can't tell without seeing footage.
 
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After training, you look at video to see your form. But during training, unless you are just working on the most basic aspects of mechanics, you should not be too focused on the specific form of what you are doing.

And if you can slow loop backspin with decent spin, then your technique is at least at a decent level. So....that information should not apply to you. But still, we really can't tell without seeing footage.
Well what a coincidence! Last night I tried to do something I have never done: Record my gameplay and watch it back.

And right after seeing the first few points I noticed I am standing way to upright, and that my poor footwork is causing me to not use proper mechanics in every shots. And just playing more active in general would be a good improvement. I'm literally playing like a bag of potatos lmao.

The footage isnt the greatest, I failed to get the right angle of the tables I was playing on so in a few sets where Im playing on the right side Im not fully in the frame. Its hard to position your phone properly when your camera stand is a backpack haha. Also I had to cut out alot of footage simply because people where standing in front. So here it is;
And just to make it clear, this is me:
1704461463732.png

I have to admit that the last year I have been neglecting my fitness. Put that together with me having an office job for the last 2 years (I used to work in a steel workshop) and the result is that now Im probably in the worst physical shape I have ever been. Looking at this footage has made me realise this more then ever.

But also watching this footage made me realise that my technique isnt as bad as I thought it was. Whenever I execute a stroke poorly its mostly because Im out of position, and Im too upright. And sometimes I dont keep my elbow in position during the stroke.

What I also noticed is that a well placed ball is better then a powerfull ball right at the opponent. The rally at 5:50 is a perfect example of that.

I should also cut myself some slack, I havent played for the last 5 years and I have only been playing once a week since last September and looking at my movement Im even surprised Im able to hit shots at all.
 
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Well what a coincidence! Last night I tried to do something I have never done: Record my gameplay and watch it back.

And right after seeing the first few points I noticed I am standing way to upright, and that my poor footwork is causing me to not use proper mechanics in every shots. And just playing more active in general would be a good improvement. I'm literally playing like a bag of potatos lmao.

The footage isnt the greatest, I failed to get the right angle of the tables I was playing on so in a few sets where Im playing on the right side Im not fully in the frame. Its hard to position your phone properly when your camera stand is a backpack haha. Also I had to cut out alot of footage simply because people where standing in front. So here it is;
And just to make it clear, this is me:
View attachment 27982

I have to admit that the last year I have been neglecting my fitness. Put that together with me having an office job for the last 2 years (I used to work in a steel workshop) and the result is that now Im probably in the worst physical shape I have ever been. Looking at this footage has made me realise this more then ever.

But also watching this footage made me realise that my technique isnt as bad as I thought it was. Whenever I execute a stroke poorly its mostly because Im out of position, and Im too upright. And sometimes I dont keep my elbow in position during the stroke.

What I also noticed is that a well placed ball is better then a powerfull ball right at the opponent. The rally at 5:50 is a perfect example of that.

I should also cut myself some slack, I havent played for the last 5 years and I have only been playing once a week since last September and looking at my movement Im even surprised Im able to hit shots at all.

I only watched a few shots. On your BH vs backspin you take the ball way way earlier than on FH. On FH vs backspin, you are backing off and waiting till the ball is falling, long after the top of the bounce. If you do that, you have to arc the ball so it lands on the table. You can't make it a really fast shot without much arc because your contact point is after the ball has dropped below the net.

But, long before you address that issue, you have to reset after each shot way way way faster. You are not ready for the next shot coming at you and so you are reacting to the incoming balls after they are on your side of the table. You have to be ready for the shot coming to you before your shot bounces on your opponent's side so you can watch what your opponent does with the ball BEFORE he has actually hit the ball. If you only see where the ball is going after it bounces on your side, there is no way you can be anything but late.

The reason you are slow to react to the incoming ball is that you need to reset much faster and be ready to watch what your opponent does with the ball as he is doing it. You stroke is fine. But you will continue to be late and taking shots from out of position as long as you are still watching your shots and not resetting much faster.
 
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