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Han Xiao – Table Tennis Coaching

Ask The Experts: Han Xiao, No. 141

Ask The Experts: Han Xiao, No. 141

Butterfly Table Tennis Question and Answer

Blade: Stiga Allround Classic
Forehand: Flextra
Backhand: Flextra

Question: I read the article written by Han Xiao (Modern Topspin Stroke) that compares the old technique and the modern technique for doing topspin. Basically, the modern one requires less backswing due to more modern equipment.

But, in that article, I couldn’t find any explanation about how this modern technique affects the way a player wins the game. Could you give me any explanation?

Thank you.

Ask The Experts, Han Xiao

Answer: Hi Ryan,

Thanks for your question about how a shorter backswing translates to winning points more effectively. In general, with modern technique and equipment, a player can generate more spin and power in a shorter period of time. Because points now are beginning with more aggressive serve returns and have very quick rallies, it’s common for players to have very little time to move and react. If you can generate spin and power more efficiently without losing shot quality, it gives you more time to move into proper position and allows you to play aggressive shots from different positions. It also gives the opponent less time to react to your attacks since they may not expect you to play as strong of a shot due to the short backswing.

One of the important ways a quicker, more efficient stroke allows you to win more points is that it allows you to effectively set up points with short topspin serves. If you can bait your opponent into an expected flip, you can easily gain the initiative with a strong third ball attack. This tactic is much less effective with a slower, longer stroke than a shorter, more explosive stroke.

Of course, there are times when you will need a slightly extended stroke, such as against very heavy backspin. However, having the option to consistently play strong topspin strokes with shorter strokes gives you a distinct advantage over the opponent, both in the opening of the point as well as in fast topspin rallies.

Best of luck!

Han Xiao


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