Why is Boll Strong? #4
(Courtesy of BUTTERFLY/TAKUREPO.com)
Q: Why is Boll strong?
A: Backhand Topspin Loop
Timo Boll (GER) ascended to the World no. 1 spot in March 2018. Young players have distinguished themselves one after another recently. Table tennis has continuously experienced various rule changes but despite all the changes why does his strength not fade away in this age of intense rivalry, even at the age of 37? We will unravel his strengths with the help of his former teammate Seiya Kishikawa (JPN) with whom Timo Boll both practiced and faced in matches many times in the past. Also we asked Timo Boll for self-analysis.
Witness by Seiya Kishikawa
“The quality topspin loop from both wings is Timo’s strength.”
“I think the topspin loop with heavy spin from both wings is his greatest strength. His topspin loop (the stroke imparted with heavy rotation on the ball) is so strong, something Japanese players seem unable to do. In addition, the ball travels quite low and short. It is difficult to counter attack; you need to respond with blocking play. It enables him to make series of relentless fierce attacks; you are at a disadvantage.”
“It is very difficult to deal with his topspin loop; it takes time to adapt. A player competing against Timo for the first time can lose the game quickly because they cannot adjust used to his heavy spin.”
Boll’s Backhand Topspin Loop
Bend both knees well and make a backswing with a low body position
Watch the incoming ball closely
Bend the wrist to the maximum
Bend both knees to create a low body position
Boll’s great strength is that he can make a topspin loop with heavy spin not only with his forehand but also with his backhand. Let us introduce some points in executing the topspin loop with his backhand against the backspin ball coming out slightly from the table.
In making the topspin loop with your backhand against the backspin ball coming out slightly from the table after bounce, the point is to prepare being low just like when preparing for the forehand topspin loop. It becomes easier to impart strong spin on the ball by moving the racket upwards from a low body position. Use his preparation movement as a guide; the body low to adjust his eye level to the ball for preparation. One more point to be noticed is his straigh back whilst bending his upper body forward; thus his smooth swing becomes possible.
The important point on the movement of the arm is to rotate the wrist so that the head of the racket is pointing towards yourself. This preparation makes it possible to stroke the ball strongly releasing the wrist quickly.
Adjust the foot position to hit the ball in front of the body
Wait for the ball until the right timing
Hit the ball in front of the body
Swing whilst releasing the wrist quickly
The essence of the swing for the backhand topspin loop is to move the racket upwards from a low body position and to stroke the ball whilst releasing the twisted wrist.
The point Boll pays utmost attention in using this technique is the position to hit the ball.
“For the backhand topspin loop, it is always important to hit the ball in front of your body, so footwork is very important. If it is a little bit deep to the backhand, step a little bit outside and if it is a little bit more to the middle, use your forehand or step with the other leg to the middle. That is always in front of you and then you can hit a good shot.” To hit a ball in front of you makes the shot more precise and you can utilise your power more.
Also, Boll says he pays attention to hitting the ball lightly; we would like you to improve your backhand topspin loop by making the use of his advice.