During the extension to the lockdown I have been looking to develop my backhand topspin close to and further
back from the table. When counter top spinning in a rally I use my elbow and wrist to generate speed
which seems to work quite well from a distance of roughly about 2 feet from the table. However when I am
further back about 3 or more feet I feel I could make more use of the shoulder and body turn to get more
power. (See video below)
At the point just before contact with the ball my right shoulder has already turned inwards and my bat is
close to my left kneecap. Legs are bent and then straighten to produce maximum topspin. My weight has
already transferred from the left leg to the right and my arm comes through fully with my hand snapping
through from about a 45 degree angle to the wrist to being full extended. This gives me maximise power
through speed and spin. In essence, in terms of stroke style, the backhand drive action is similar that
of the forehand topspin drive.
I know that this requires precise timing, especially in a fast rally against an experienced opponent,
so good footwork is essential to produce this type of stroke with any consistency which is why I am trying
this out with the robot where you can have control over the ball placement.
The video link attached shows my backhand topspin starting from a mild open up speed to a more powerful
stroke further back from the table.
I would value your opinion on the production of the stroke itself and how best to develop it further as a
strong offensive stoke.
Best wishes to you both for 2021
I can tell from what you’ve said here you have a good knowledge of what is needed for the shot and how to generate power and speed which is important! I can see a big improvement since before lockdown and videos you have sent in the past so that is very positive. I think keep focusing on the points you mentioned above, also making sure to hit the ball at the top of the bounce. One thing I would say is really try to keep your body weight forward and low as you contact the ball, sometimes as you contact you raise up slightly which can cause the contact quality to be lost and lose the spin as well, so just really think about leaning forward into the shot.
When further back, as you said yo need more body rotation and a little more help from the shoulder, it’s interesting because I’ve actually been working on this area of my game recently as well and being really confident in my backhand side. I have found really focusing on the elbow being the pivot area of the shot has helped me a lot, so almost feeling when away from the table your elbow goes slightly in front and then the forearm snaps out and extends forward from the elbow, this helps with consistency and also timing and making sure you don’t use to much shoulder. To make this really work well you need to get a fast acceleration in the lower part of the arm and be nice and loose. But overall this looks very good so keep up the practice your definitely on the right track. Any questions on things I’ve mentioned here just let me know.
Regarding the forward body weight and keeping low…good points.
I think the main reason that I was rising up may have been due to the fact that originally the robot was set for maximum backspin and slow to medium speed. To get under the ball I bent my knees slightly which, in turn lowered the bat. I then raised up slightly in an effort to maximise topspin.
In the last video I changed the robot to heavy backspin and fast speed when playing further back from the table. Perhaps by keeping the lower arm loose and lowering the bat even further would also automatically lower the shoulder and force the elbow forward. This should also increase the body rotation slightly and hopefully keep my body weight forward and low. You are spot on about the elbow being used as a pivot and I will try to make adjustments based on your advice.
I think the trickiest part of this stroke will be the timing aspect so can I send you another video of the revised action for your comments?
Hi Alex, yes that makes sense with the robot settings because when set in backspin robots often get extreme amounts of spin. I definitely think getting down in the legs and like you said also getting the elbow forward and shoulder down slightly will help against the backspin for sure. The timing isn’t easy but it looks like yours is already pretty good, the elbow pivot helps with this too. The adjustments are small but will help progress this shot definitely. Of course feel free to send in another coach corner with a video once you’ve had a go at these changes and we’ll be happy to have a look and give feedback again. Thanks, Dan