Fast Chiquita to enable his fast attack
A Chinese up-and-coming southpaw Lin Gaoyuan, who is climbing up the world ranking ladder with his highly stable counter attacking plays close to the table.
This special programme will introduce Lin Gaoyuan’s techniques with some successive pictures taken at the training camp of the Chinese national team.
The fourth edition features his Chiquita.
Chiquita is a technique to return the ball on the table with a backhand topspin stroke; now many top players have acquired the stroke as one of their basic techniques; Lin Gaoyuan is no exception. His effective Chiquita stroke is the opening gambit to release a fast attack.
We focus on his fast Chiquita stroke among his techniques. Let us look at his stroke with regards to the playing pattern executed in a diagonal direction (to the backhand side of the right-handed opponent as he is left-handed). It is played against the service received short to his forehand side (service with side and back spin).
Point 1: Move wide to the forehand side and face the opponent in a diagonal direction.
Move to the forehand side.
Point the body in a diagonal direction.
Keep a good balance using the free arm.
The first action when receiving the service with the Chiquita stroke close to the net on the forehand side is to move wide to the forehand to stroke the ball in front of the body as shown in the photos A-1 to A-3.
The point to learn from Lin Gaoyuan is to face the body towards the diagonal direction (photo A-3).
The advantages by facing the diagonal direction are to make it easier to add power to the stroke and to make it difficult for the opponent to predict the ball placement, because the player can wait for the ball enough by standing in a slight diagonal direction.
Check also how he keeps a good balance by raising the free arm (the right arm for the left-handed Lin Gaoyuan) to the height similar to the racket.
Point 2: Make a backswing keeping a comfortable distance from the ball.
Have an adequate distance away from the ball.
Keep a good balance by putting the weight on the left foot.
In this case when receiving with the Chiquita, a player moves quickly to the forehand side to stroke in front of his body, raising the elbow and making a backswing twisting the wrist to the maximum. Pay attention to the distance between the body and the ball.
Lin Gaoyuan makes the backswing while keeping an adequate distance away from the ball (photo B), this makes it possible for the racket to rotate without being blocked by his body.
One of the reasons why a player cannot stroke powerfully in receiving the Chiquita is the distance from the ball; the racket movement is restricted if the distance is too close. Pay attention not only to the movement sideways but also the “balanced position” when executing the Chiquita against the ball coming short to the forehand. The preparation is the point to note, being an adequate distance from the ball so that the racket movement is fully possible.
The fact to learn from Lin Gaoyuan’s backswing is that he keeps good balance while leaning a little to his forehand side. He bends his left knee on which he puts his weight.
Point 3: Move the racket in a straight direction being mindful of the downwards finish.
Release the twisted wrist in preparation.
Finish the stroke by pushing the racket downwards.
Lin Gaoyuan moves the racket sideways in a straight direction releasing the twisted wrist in preparation after moving to the forehand side and taking a backswing adequately away from the ball (photos C-1 to C-3).
Thus, the speed of the ball can be increased by moving the racket sideways, not upwards. Take note the movement that does not change the height of his elbow.
Take a close look at his follow through (the movement after stroke) (photo C-3).
Lin Gaoyuan follows through moving the racket downwards, just like the backhand counter topspin close to the table and the backhand topspin at mid-distance introduced in other editions; thus, the advantages are that the ball will not go over the table as the flight distance is restrained even when stroking powerfully. The reaction to the next ball can be quick because the racket stays close to the body.
The common characteristic of Lin Gaoyuan’s backhand technique is the finish of his stroke by pushing the racket downwards. This is the finish to prevent errors hitting too long and to prioritise the preparation for the next ball. It is one of the pillars that enables his effective fast attacking play close to the table.