Backhand counter attacking play close to the table with the best precision in the world
Lin Gaoyuan, an exciting Chinese left hander, is climbing the world ranking ladder with his highly stable counter top spin play close to the table.
This special programme introduces Lin Gaoyuan’s techniques with some sequence images taken at a Chinese national team training camp.
The second edition we will focus on his backhand counter attacking play against topspin play close to the table.
Backhand counter attacking topspin used to be a highly problematic technique before the introduction of plastic ball. However, more and more players are aggressively introducing the backhand counter topspin because the spin factor of the plastic ball is less.
Among them, the precision of Lin Gaoyuan’s backhand counter attacking play close to the table is far above the level of others and it is for sure one of his flagship techniques.
Point 1: Force the opponent’s topspin to be returned to the backhand.
Control the service and receive, to give the opponent no other choice than to return a top spin to the backhand side.
Lin Gaoyuan’s backhand counter attacking play close to the table has the world’s best precision. The accuracy is enabled not only thanks to his fine technique but at the same time he “forces the opponent to stroke a topspin to his backhand side.”
Let us look at one good example.
The photos A-1 to A-5 show his forehand sidespin service which he often uses and then attacks the third ball with his backhand counter topspin close to the table.
With this service the ball curves enough to drift out of the table over the sideline of the forehand side for a right-handed player. In addition, the service length is tactically calculated and it is difficult for the opponent to judge if the ball will bounce once or twice on the table. Therefore, the opponent is forced to make a topspin stroke when the ball returns after bouncing once on the table. However, he has no other choice but to return to Lin Gaoyuan’s backhand because of the accurate ball placement. It is his favourite scoring pattern. He awaits the topspin receive to execute the backhand counter topspin.
Additionally, he is good at succeeding with his backhand counter topspin close to the table on the fourth ball, by receiving short with similar ball placement.
It is difficult to succeed with the backhand counter topspin, anticipation is needed; this is no exception for Lin Gaoyuan.
Please note that Lin Gaoyuan’s highly precise backhand counter topspin close to the table is made possible by inducing the opponent to return a top spin to his backhand side.
Point 2: Move a certain distance away from the table and await the topspin stroke.
Step back leaning forward with the upper body
Move a moderate distance away from the table
Lin Gaoyuan succeeds with the backhand counter topspin close to the table by moving a certain distance away from the table quickly; the movement comes after making the stroke to induce the opponent to direct a top spin towards his backhand (Photo B-3).
For the backhand counter attacking play close to the table, you are likely to rush against the opponent’s topspin; you cannot move your racket as you wish if you are too close to the table when you await the ball.
You have enough time for preparation as well as enough space to move your racket if you stand a certain distance away from the table, just like Lin Gaoyuan.
Be careful not to straight your upper body and quickly step back when you leave space between you and the table.
Point 3: Move the racket laterally, a moderate distance from the ball and finish the movement downwards to control the spin on the incoming ball.
Move the elbow away from the body on the backswing
Stroke the ball slightly straightening the upper body
Move the racket in a transverse direction
Make a follow through as if to hold the racket down
Next, let us check his racket movement on the backhand counter attacking play close to the table.
The movement basically is the same as the backhand topspin close to the table, as in the last edition; create a certain distance between the elbow and the body and move the racket, slightly straightening the upper body. The point to note is the direction you move the racket.
Lin Gaoyuan swings through the racket laterally almost horizontally (Photos C-2 to C-3), thus the ball is likely to go into the opponent’s court; that can change the distance of the ball if you move the racket in a transverse direction, not in an anterior direction. Be careful that the ball is likely to go over the table if you move the racket forward.
Another point to note is that he moves the racket downwards to finish in the follow through (the movement after stroke) (Photo C-4). The racket movement makes it easier to control the opponent’s heavy topspin as well as to create spin when you finish the racket movement downwards, just like Lin Gaoyuan.
Thus, the precision of Lin Gaoyuan’s backhand counter topspin close to the table is made possible by obtaining the two points, the overall length of his stroke and the amount of spin on the opponent’s return with the lateral racket movement as well as the follow through downwards.