Learn the Different Table Tennis Spin Techniques

What is table tennis spin? As a beginner, you will need to know about spin in table tennis. At the advanced level, the use of spin is used to a great extent.

table tennis spin

To effectively develop your game without the knowledge of spin is difficult. You need to know how to use different types of spin.

Learning how to use table tennis spin involves a lot of time and practice. As they say, practice makes perfect.

The more you practice how to play different spins, the more you will know how to identify and apply spin.

Practice, practice, and practice will surely help you know and understand how to play and apply spin in table tennis. There are different types of table tennis spin.

Let’s take a brief look at the three main spin types: the topspin, backspin, and sidespin.

How to Apply Spin


Topspin is created when the ball rotates with an upward and forward motion away from the player. (see picture)

To learn how to apply topspin follow this few steps below;

• With your racket closed, graze the ball from the top with a forward motion to create a rotating movement away from you.

• Once topspin is applied, the ball rises as it rotates away from you and then curves downward, forcing the ball to land at your opponent’s side of the table.

Some useful tips to know about topspin:

  1. The spin’s effect will increase as the ball bounces on your opponent’s side of the table.
  2. Offensive players mostly use topspin to execute attacking shots.
  3. The forehand drive, backhand drive, and the loop all involve the use of topspin.
  4. Topspin is also applied in table tennis serves. There is the forehand topspin, and backhand topspin serves.


The backspin is the opposite of topspin.

Backspin is created when the ball rotates towards the player and the bottom away from the player. (see picture)

To learn how to executed backspin, follow the few steps below:

  • With your racket open, graze the ball from the bottom with a forward motion to create a rotating movement away from you.
  • Try to keep the ball low and make it travel in a straight line a little above the net level.

Some useful tips to know about backspin:

  1. Backspin is mostly used for defensive strokes.
  2. The push and chop strokes involve the use of backspin.
  3. There is also backspin serve in table tennis. The forehand and backhand backspin serves.


Sidespin is created when the ball is played forward in a way that the ball rotates sideways away from the player.

Unlike topspin and backspin, the sidespin can make the ball bounce to any direction and it can rotate left or right depending on how the ball is played.

However, as a beginner, you should focus on mastering the topspin and backspin, as you improve on your skills, you will know how to execute the sidespin efficiently.

Useful tips on how to return a ball with Spin

  • To return a ball with topspin, you have to hit the ball down and keep it low so that the Spin’s effect will not make the ball go off the table.
  • You must be cautious about returning a ball with backspin, or else the net will stop the ball. Hit the ball with your racket pointing up from the bottom and push the ball upwards against the Spin.
  • To return a ball with sidespin, calculate the Spin’s direction, if the ball is going right, place your racket forward and hit the ball with the left side of your racket. If the ball is going left, put your racket forward and hit the ball with the right side of your racket.

Surefire Spin Counter

Some people are curious on how to counter any spin. They are keen to know if there is a default stroke that can be used for any spin! Some players have tried to do a slight underhand push, and it has worked sometimes but not always!

For me, there is no default stroke to counter any spin. You can counter with an open paddle with some hard Chinese rubbers between low to medium spin (top, under and side). When the spin varies a lot, it is hard to counter with an open paddle.


era pipsize

As a first step, I would recommend mirror what your opponent do. If he is top spinning, counter with topspin. If he is pushing, then you may try to push.

Only when you are comfortable, should you do the opposite example, if your opponents give you backspin and the ball is comfortably high for you to loop then you can either loop or push-loop or slow-topspin back.

Using Frictionless Long Pips Before Banned

It was more or less possible before the frictionless long pips (FLP) were banned to return everything the same regardless of the spin (correct me if I am wrong but that’s my understanding although I had used only very little of FLP).

Using the slow FLP it was possible to return everything with an open angle, kinda like the push that being discussed about the same kind of angle. Some players still use slower friction LP to play this kind of game. Even some shorter pips like Dr. Evil can be effective when playing with no sponge, OX, but not as deceptive.


The frictionless pips and anti-top spins behave neutral to the incoming spin, but smart opponents can control you easily. Then can give you faster no spin to your pips and they take control. The slower frictionless long pips help in such situations. What your opponent going to do when the ball drops short over the net. You can be assured that your opponent will not attack fast.

The above theory applies to hard Chinese rubbers on carbon blades. The rubber is less prune to the incoming spin. I have played well against some of those Chinese rubbers. I cut some topspin with a heavy cut, and it comes back with a simple drive from my opponent.

Thus, for players who are seeking in countering the opponent’s spin, I would suggest them to use friction rubbers and develop skills to counter the spin. You will definitely focus on watching the ball carefully and try to mirror your opponents.

I found this article on how to read spin!

Actually here is the whole page I found!

After all, It depends on what sidespin serve your opponent dish out to you.

Let’s assume only side spins are used (in reality side + top or bottom spin). If the opponent gives you left-to-right sidespin (from his point of view), the ball will bounce off to your left if you block the ball perpendicular to its path.

Here you should try to return to your right side in order for the ball to be in play. Vice versa for a right to left side spin.


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Warren Davies

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