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How to execute a Table Tennis Forehand and Backhand?

Sports

How to execute a Table Tennis Forehand and Backhand?

Table Tennis Forehand
File Photo Credit: Suhaimi Abdullah/SportSG

By Averlynn Lim

MASTER YOUR TABLE TENNIS TECHNIQUE (2): FOREHAND & BACKHAND

Anyone can play table tennis. From the void deck to your local Community Centre or sports complex, you can see players from the age of five to 85 enjoying the game.

What makes table tennis so popular is the ease of which to pick it up. There are essentially two basic positions to learn – the forehand and the backhand. Every other shot thereafter are simply techniques applied to these two basic positions.

To get started, you’ll just need to learn four basic strokes: the forehand drive, the forehand push, the backhand drive and the backhand push. Once you’ve mastered these strokes, you can go on to more complicated techniques that will raise the level of your game.
  

Table Tennis forehand
File Photo Credit: Chandran Mookken/SportSG

The Forehand

A forehand shot is essentially hitting the ball with your hand’s most natural position. For instance, a right-hander would hit the ball from the right side of his body, while a left-hander would hit from the left side.

Executing a forehand drive or push can be broken down into four components – your stance, the backswing, the strike and the finish.

Stance
1. Position your body so that the ball comes to your natural side.
2. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
3. For right-handers, let your right foot be slightly behind your left (to generate power) 
4. Knees bent, body crouched (leaning forwards), both arms out in front of you.

Backswing
1. As the ball approaches, rotate your body slightly to the right from your hips.
2. Shift some weight to your back foot.
3. Keep your racket at about a 45 degree angle.

Strike
1. Once you’re ready to hit the ball, rotate your body back forwards.
2. Transfer your body weight back from the back foot to the front front.
3. Try to hit the ball at the peak of the bounce.
4. For a forehand drive (more power), try accelerating your forearm slightly as you make contact.

Finish
1. Your follow-through should leave the racket in front of your body, pointing in the direction where you’ve hit the ball.
2. Move back to your ready stance for your return

Table Tennis backhand
File Photo Credit: Chandran Mookken/SportSG

The Backhand

A backhand shot involves turning your arm slightly across your body to hit the ball. 

Like the forehand, the backhand can also be broken down into four components – your stance, the backswing, the strike and the finish.

Stance
1. Position your body square to the line of play – this means both feet should point diagonally towards your opponent.
2. Knees bent, body crouched (leaning forwards), both arms out in front of you with a slight bend at the elbow.

Backswing
1. As the ball approaches, bring your racket towards your body
2. Keep your body aligned and balanced.

Strike
1. Once you’re ready to hit the ball, move your arm towards the ball.
2. Tap the ball to push the ball forwards, and use your wrist for more power and direction.

Finish
1. Your follow-through should follow the ball to the direction you’ve aimed
2. Recover to your ready position and anticipate the next shot.


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