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Ways to Spin the Ball

Spins are very important to this game because it is the creation of these spins that makes the game and the returning of certain moves harder. Spins are created when the ball grazes the racket.

This can be done the best when it is grazed as much as it can and at the tip of the racket with an inverted or smooth rubber. Without a spin in the ball, the ball is easily attacked by the opponent unless they make a mistake and send it back low which could hit the net.

spin the ball
spin the ball

Topspin

Hit the ball with an upward movement, with the racket tilted so that the side you see does not hit the ball and so that the top part of the ball is constantly spinning away from you.

When the ball is hit this way, it will move in a downward arc, which could make it easy for the opponent to attack especially if it lands at the end of the table near them.

However, the ball does spin toward the player which will make them miss if they do not adjust their timing properly. When it is you who has to return this type of shot, keep the racket closed or tilted towards the table.

Backspin

Hit the ball with a downward movement so that it is almost like scooping the ball but not all the way because you should be stopping when the paddle is parallel with the table.

The racket should be tilted so that you can see the side that hits the ball which should make the bottom half of the ball spin in the direction that is away from you.

The ball should slow down after it makes contact with the table, if it is hit correctly, and can cause the player to miss if they are not expecting this. Since it is spinning toward the table, the player has to move closer to the table in order to hit it back.

This is a difficult spin for the opponent because it is difficult to attack and if they hit it back with their racket closed, they will hit the ball into the net. When it is you who has to return this type of shot, keep your racket opened or tilted towards the sky away from you.

Sidespin

Hit the ball with a sideways stroke and pull back or push forwards from yourself, depending which way you want the ball to spin. The racket should be perpendicular to the table and the ball should be spinning sideways.

The ball should be spinning sideways after it hits the table and which will force the receiver to correct their timing if they hope to reach it in time. The ball will be either have a left or right spin and move towards that side of the table.

The sidespin is really good for serves because it could cause the receiver to make a mistake such as causing the ball to “fly” over the table without touching it.

In order to return this type of shot, you must figure out if it is a left or right spin that is coming at you immediately and then has your bat ready at the opposite side. This means that if a ball coming from your opponent with a left spin will land on your left side of the table.

You Should Spin The Ball Instead of Hitting It

There are several reasons that make spinny shots more effective than speedy ones. Every player when gets too enthusiastic during a game has the tendency to go for an all-out shot or exert brute force to his stroke. Table tennis has small margins for error. So your strokes must be controlled at all times if you like to win.

Boll topspin schillings
Boll topspin schillings

Today I will explain the reasons why spin is more effective than speed.

Spin Reduces Air Drag

Air drag (air resistance to objects flying through its molecules) is highly reduced because of the turbulence created. The upper side of the ball travels forward and the downside travels backward. This reduces the air resistance imparted on the ball compared to a flat hit. So spinny shots are faster than flat shots!

Margin For Error Increases with Topspin

Let’s compare two different strokes. A topspin stroke with a 45-degree angle of the paddle and a flat hit. Both of the strokes exert the same amount of force/energy to the ball. Hitting the ball flat demands extreme accuracy and ball feeling to land on the table (the ball is traveling straight).

Using topspin, on the other hand, allows you to have a bigger margin for error. The ball follows a curvy path and it has the tendency to “dip down” onto the table making the shot more likely to succeed. To understand better the spin phenomenon watch this video below.

Better Control & Accuracy

When using a spinny shot, you hold the ball for a split of a second to your paddle. This split of a second is enough to provide your brain information about what you are doing with your shot (increased dwell time). So the longer the ball stays on your paddle, the more information your brain receives, the more knowledge about the stroke you acquire.

On the contrary, when hitting the ball flat the only information you acquire is about how “hard” the incoming ball is (a fastball compresses the rubber & sponge and gets into the blade, a slow ball just compresses the rubber). Ultimately, by spinning the ball you can learn to control and dictate its trajectory and develop accuracy shots!

Spinny balls “kick” after bounce

No need to analyze that. A flat hit causes the ball to travel in a predictable path. This is the reason that really hard smashes sometimes are returned back with “reflective” blocks.

When imparting spin to the ball, its path will be unpredictable after the bounce. Plus you can add variations in the amounts of spin imparted (heavy topspin, light topspin) or add sidespin to make it even more difficult to receive.

Ending, I will like to add a historical fact that change the evolution of the game completely. Till the 80’s Chinese hard hitters were dominating the game. Then the Swedes appeared and started looping every ball, they were the first team ever to cause the Chinese serious headaches.

They attacked with constant looping from forehand and backhand(back then pro players where playing forehand loops and backhand as a consistency shot with punch blocks or counter hit). Looping from both sides was a revolution!

The Level of Spin in Table Tennis

In most racket sport, the use of spin is very important. The level of spin in table tennis is much higher than other racket sport.

At the beginner level of the sport, the use of spin is not so important when compared with the advanced level. Two types of spin are introduced at the beginner level of table tennis, and they are topspin and backspin.

spin level

Without the knowledge of spin, it will be difficult for beginners to really understand and develop their basic table tennis skills. In the advanced level of the sport, the use of spin is very vital and inevitable.

Topspin and backspin

Though there are other types of spin, the topspin and backspin are more important in the beginner level. Simply explained, topspin is when the top of the ball is rotating away from the player and the bottom rotating towards the player. The racket grazes the ball from the top with a forward and upward motion. The table tennis topspin is mostly applied as an attacking shot.

The backspin, on the other hand, is the opposite of topspin. Backspin is when the top of the ball is rotating towards the player and the bottom of the ball is rotating away from the player. The racket grazes the bottom of the ball with a forward and downward motion. The backspin is mostly used as a defensive shot.

Topspin and backspin are also used for table tennis serves. If you are a beginner, it will be easier for you to learn the topspin and backspin serves.

The use of a combination of different racket components enhances the production of spin. For instance, the inverted sponge racket is used to create heavy spin.

The sidespin is another type of spin in table tennis. The sidespin serve is mostly used in the advanced level of table tennis.

Click here to learn how to apply and return spin

Most type of modern rubbers has a high level of spin and requires more experience to be able to make use of these rubbers. If you are a beginner, you will not be able to make use of high spin rubbers because they are very difficult to control.

My advice is that you start with an all-round rubber racket with medium spin and speed. this type of racket has more control, create less spin and pace to the ball.

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