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How to create and counter spin in table tennis

Know the Secrets of Table Tennis Spin: Topspin, Backspin, & Sidespin

Spin is the angular momentum imparted to a ball. When you spin a ball, it behaves differently against the air than a ball without spin. This magic of spin in table tennis makes the game more interesting and challenging. It is the spin that creates doubt in your opponent’s mind and helps you dominate the game.

In Table tennis, there are three types of spin.

  1. Topspin: Forward spinning motion
  2. Backspin: Backward spinning motion
  3. Sidespin: Sidewise (right or left) spinning motion

Topspin in Table Tennis

Topspin in table tennis

Topspin is a forward-spinning motion applied to the ball, causing it to rotate in a forward direction as it travels toward the opponent’s side of the table. 

To create a topspin, you have to brush tangentially on the top of the ball. The movement of the racket will be from low to high.

Topspin creates a downward trajectory after the ball clears the net. This is a very effective attacking shot that forces the ball to move faster at a low angle after hitting the table.

There are three ways to counter a topspin attack.  

You can block it with a closed racket angle with your bat facing toward where you want to return. You may attack with a counter-topspin or defense it by brushing under the ball.

Backspin in Table Tennis

Backspin in table tennis

Backspin, also known as underspin, forces the ball to rotate backward as it travels toward the opponent.

To produce a backspin, brush underneath the ball, and move your racket from high to low.

Backspin causes the ball to float and drag the ball toward the net, making it difficult for opponents to attack.

If you receive a short backspin ball, you may either push (forehand or backhand) it with an open bat angle or may flick it. 

To flick a short underspin ball, your racket angle should be open at the start to counter the backspin and forwards with a closed bat angle.

To play a long backspin ball, you may use a long push shot or attack by topspinning the ball.

Sidespin in Table Tennis

Concept of sidespin in table tennis

Sidespin forces the ball to curve sideways during its trajectory. To generate sidespin, brush your bat against the side of the ball to add spin in a left or right direction.

If you move your bat from right to left and brush the ball on the left side, it will create left sidespin which forces the ball to curve in the right direction.

In opposite, if you move the racket from left to right and brush the ball on the right side, it will create the right sidespin to curve the ball in the left direction.

To counter sidespin, it is very important to understand the type of sidespin. Is it the right sidespin or the left sidespin? The angle of your bat should be in the opposite direction of the ball.

How to Create Maximum Spin?

To get a maximum spin in table tennis, you have to impart more rotational speed to the ball by faster-brushing action. For that, your racket will move faster to brush at the top, bottom, or side of the ball.

This is a combined effort involving your arm, knees, hip, shoulder, and legs. Your wrist should be flexible enough to create a fast snapping motion.

Another important concept is the contact point. The top part of the racket can generate more spin than the remaining part.

Also, don’t neglect the basics, i.e. proper grip, footwork, and racket angle for the creation of more spin.

Suggested Topic:

  1. 4 Essential Table Tennis Shots: Mastering the Basics for Beginners
  2. What are the Different Types of Table Tennis Strokes?

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