Improving your forehand topspin technique (with TTEdge)

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I decided to post this because of a recent web board post. This is an illustration of my improvement on what Brett Clarke called "the number one mistake" that amateurs make on the forehand topspin. First video is the old technique - the two last videos are more recent.

I have bad knees so I play my forehand topspin mostly with my arm. So the improvement is largely in how I use my arm. If you have any questions, feel free to pose. In the first video, I start looping about 6 minutes into the video. The others, loop from the beginning.



 
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What is "the number one mistake" that amateurs make on the forehand topspin?

I purposely left this out but now I realize that I wasn't looping at the beginning of the first video so people don't see my technique. But I would like people to compare my technique and see if they can spot it.

In the first video, I start looping about 6 minutes into the video. The others, I loop from the beginning.
 
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I see several differences between the first and last video:
- contact is more brushed
- timing is slightly later

but the most important and probably the one you refer to:
your finish-position in the last vid is much higher; eyeheight.

Am I right?:D
Yes, you've identified it. Some people would call it finishing on the same side of the body but other people like to say that the topspin must go over the eyes. There are some pros who finish lower, but they have some mechanics and other things that let them get away with it and there is usually some kind of triangle visible. In general, too many amateurs swing and finish with their elbow high and arm parallel and you don't see that triangle salute - it is more across the body like I did earlier this year.

The second video in the middle is the most recent actually.
 
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There are few reasons but the easiest one to understand is recovery - finishing on the same side of the body facilitates you entering the ready position, keeps you in balance and lets you transition most easily. The second one is holding line of site with the ball longer. Most people need to keep their elbow out to finish above their eyes so their racket path is larger and holds a longer light of sight with the ball.

Some good players finish lower (Boll, Mizutani, Maze), but their strokes are much riskier to emulate and they have the kind of low stances, timing, training and good footwork that can support this that amateurs do not have. But the reason I opened this thread was because many amateurs see good players finishing across the body, but cannot see that most of the time, the racket is going above eye level unless the ball is an easy ball or the good player cannot move into good position.

And it is very hard to loop backspin consistently if you are always trying to finish across your body. Trust me from personal experience.
 
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What NextLevel said. But there is, of course more. Efficiency.

Usual when a lower level player goes across their body and the elbow goes up, there is a curved plane that the bat face goes through. And that curved shape is inefficient. The blade face should stay in one plane.

I am not sure the words give the right image. If you have your arm straight and you bend your elbow to 90-degrees, the hand will describe half a circle. THAT IS GOOD. If you do that so the hand is always in the same plane THAT IS GOOD.

Say you had your hand on a table and you did that so that your and was gliding on the surface of the table as the elbow went from straight to bent: that would be good. Now say instead of a regular table the table was a drafting board and the face of the drafting board was at a 45-degree angle and instead of your hand, it was the FH rubber of your racket and it glided over the surface of the drafting board never moving closer or further away from the surface. That would be a good stroke actually. If you had a little pen on the tip of he blade, it would draw a quarter of a circle. But the bat face would be moving in the same plane across the surface of that table at a 45-degree angle to the ground.

Whereas, when your elbow rises and your racket ends up lower than your elbow, the racket has done something much less efficient from a movement standpoint and so there is A LOT of wasted effort in they stroke that ends across the body and lower than the head.

The angle of the plane for each stroke should be adjusted based on the spin on the ball. But the blade face should stay as much as possible in one plane. One plane is much more efficient and much more how the biomechanics of the skeleton would want you to create the stroke.

The curved plane of a stroke where the elbow lifts and the hand curves down, where the player is trying to arc around the ball (from under, up the back of the ball, over the top, down the front of the ball) is a harder movement on your forearm and shoulder, there is no way you could achieve the same bat speed, and it takes much more effort and you get much less from it and it would be a much less accurate shot.

Okay, there is much more than this too. But, now I have to stop.

LOL.

BTW: great idea for a thread by NextLevel. Thanks.


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Finishing low and finishing across the body are two different things. Of course, crossing your body way too much compromises the recovery, unless you're trying to hit a winner like there is no tomorrow. But you can finish a bit low and have a correct follow through, what is the disadvantage of that? In other words, why copying Boll's forehand is bad for an amateur?
 
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Finishing low and finishing across the body are two different things. Of course, crossing your body way too much compromises the recovery, unless you're trying to hit a winner like there is no tomorrow. But you can finish a bit low and have a correct follow through, what is the disadvantage of that? In other words, why copying Boll's forehand is bad for an amateur?

Well, if you are finishing low because you really kept your elbow stable and the whole movement came from the forearm snap, that can be good. But how many low level players can isolate the movement from the elbow joint and not add upper arm movement--which is how you can have your arm finish below the head and have a full followthrough on a stroke? If you can do that, it is a pretty high level short stroke.


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By the way, what I just said about the elbow snap and not moving he upper arm, NextLevel already said it when he talked about Timo Boll's stroke and it not being one that would be easy to copy.


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Oh good, I watched and guessed that you finish low and not brush the ball enough. I read after watching and see I was right.

I finish on same side of body or in salute position. Only difference is i bend knees and get low and stand up straight to get as much spin as possible.

Don't stand up! This is not the proper way to get spin. Rather, convert the twisting motion of the body (while remaining low) into spin you need.

Watch this video of Dima looping
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_UDleEh2N6I&feature=youtu.be

Notice his legs barely straighten, yet he manages to generate tremendous speed and spin. Constantly dipping low and standing back, and down again motion is not sustainable in high speed rallies. You are compromising balance and recovery, and exert unnecessary stress on your quads. If you feel you don't have a choice, then you are probably using low throw rubbers not to their best intended use.

Exception exists of course when playing against choppers, when you need that added lift to get the ball over the net, and you know you have enough time to relax and get ready again.
 
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Don't stand up! This is not the proper way to get spin. Rather, convert the twisting motion of the body (while remaining low) into spin you need.

Watch this video of Dima looping
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_UDleEh2N6I&feature=youtu.be

Notice his legs barely straighten, yet he manages to generate tremendous speed and spin. Constantly dipping low and standing back, and down again motion is not sustainable in high speed rallies. You are compromising balance and recovery, and exert unnecessary stress on your quads. If you feel you don't have a choice, then you are probably using low throw rubbers not to their best intended use.

Exception exists of course when playing against choppers, when you need that added lift to get the ball over the net, and you know you have enough time to relax and get ready again.
turning ur body and keeping it low is the first thing coaches teach in basic table tennis lol.
for forehand looping just relax then have a burst of power from ur arm and body, its the most instinctive stroke after you get your basics right.
you are the only one here who pointed the most obvious and simplest mistake lol.
 
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Finishing low and finishing across the body are two different things. Of course, crossing your body way too much compromises the recovery, unless you're trying to hit a winner like there is no tomorrow. But you can finish a bit low and have a correct follow through, what is the disadvantage of that? In other words, why copying Boll's forehand is bad for an amateur?

Generating sufficient arc and topspin is hard with a low finish - most people who do this end up side swiping the ball in some way, especially if they want to get power, and get more sidespin then topspin when they come across the body. Boll compensates with extremely fast wrist action, more than mere mortals can imagine, as well as a low stance. It's much easier to learn to loop the conventional way at a high level.
 
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Thanks for starting a thread like this, I found some very helpful info.

Here is my question, how do you loop a ball that is around eye level? I do not have a problem looping low balls but when I loop a ball that is around my eye level, I usually over shoot the table. I have a low and relaxed back swing. Should I need to modify my back swing and start higher?

Much thanks.
 
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My understanding is that with a high ball your backswing should be as close to the height of where you are going to contact the ball as possible. And you want to swing forward over the ball. But You could also watch video of a top player playing against someone lobbing for what to do.


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Thanks for starting a thread like this, I found some very helpful info.

Here is my question, how do you loop a ball that is around eye level? I do not have a problem looping low balls but when I loop a ball that is around my eye level, I usually over shoot the table. I have a low and relaxed back swing. Should I need to modify my back swing and start higher?

Much thanks.

You are going to have to come around the side of the ball more but usually, you want to catch a ball on the rise or on the fall when looping, depending on your preferred timing. Even "the top of the bounce" is usually on the very early fall. Off the bounce with a few exceptions is the late rise. Here are some videos by Brett demonstrating how to counter high topspin balls.

 
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I just do what my coach tells me. He is a very accomplished Chinese player. He has made my loop much better pretty fast.

Always do what your coach says and take him comments/insights from other people. One thing you should realize is that at the amateur levels, many things are possible but as you get better, limitations in amateur technique become easier and easier to expose. But in the end, you should always listen to the person you paid to develop you and accept the results without serious regrets as long as they are generally good.
 
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