High-speed backhand topspin close to the table
Overall there are many powerful players in the Chinese men’s team, but there is one player who distinguishes himself with speed, not power; his name is Lin Gaoyuan. He is climbing the world ranking ladder with his highly stable counter attacking play close to the table. He is the most exciting member of the Chinese team.
This special programme introduces Lin Gaoyuan’s techniques using sequence images taken at a Chinese national team training camp. The first edition will cast a spotlight on his backhand topspin close to the table.
“My specialty is my backhand strokes, so I want to continue improving my strength.” His strongest characteristic is his backhand as he himself mentions.
His backhand topspin close to the table especially is one of the best of its kind in the world, it has high precision and his timing is early.
Point 1: Swing not only with the arm but use the momentum created by slightly straightening the upper part of the body.
Keep low in backswing.
Slightly straighten the upper part of the body while stroking the ball in an upwards direction.
The photos A-1 to A-6 show his backhand topspin close to the table against a long topspin ball.
Lin Gaoyuan moves his elbow away from the body to make a space, prepares for the shot by turning the wrist, pointing the racket head to his backhand side (photo A-2). He moves the racket upwards compactly, turning the wrist to finish the racket head in an upwards direction (photos A-3 to A-5).
The point to note is the transition of his body position. Lin Gaoyuan takes a low position. He bends his upper body as he makes the backswing (photos A-1 to A-2) and straightens his upper body a little during the stroke (photos A-3 to A-5) to make more power and more stability.
Thus, Lin Gaoyuan generates power with a compact movement by making the use of the momentum of lightly straightening his upper body in addition to the movement of his arm.
Point 2: Straighten the upper body smoothly using the momentum of pushing from the floor with the toes.
Push from the floor lightly with the toes.
The characteristic of his movement is to slightly straighten the upper body, but the movement of the feet is important.
Looking at the photos of his backhand topspin close to the table, taken from the side (B-1 to B-4), and having an eye to his left foot, we notice he moves his racket, transferring his weight to his toes; his heel does not touch the ground (photos B-3 to B-4). Thus, making the use of momentum created by pushing from the ground by his dominant left big toe (right big toe for right-handed players), the upper body straightens spontaneously and makes the racket move smoothly. In addition, making the use of the momentum created by pushing from the floor with the leg, it makes it easier to have the right timing for stroke.
We tend to try to move the arm quickly when you think of “stroking the backhand topspin close to the table,” but the movement only with the arm cannot gain enough stability or power and it is also difficult to contact at the right timing point. Lin Gaoyuan’s backhand topspin is highly precise because he moves the racket in harmony with his whole body.