Thanks so much for your comments on my question of bat angle adjustment for deep topspin drives. I had a chance to try this out at my club last night and here are my findings:
As I neared the end of the backswing, by using my forefinger to press against the right hand edge of the bat (as a right hander), and keeping my thumb a little higher up in contact with the blade (which helped with stability), the bat angle would open from approximately 45 degree angle to 80 degrees and my wrist would turn very slightly (and naturally) outward. Keeping low and legs bent, I started on the foreward stroke action, closing the bat to come over the top of the ball with the thumb dropping down to its natural position (so not to restrict wrist movement). As the bat hit the ball extra spin and speed was achieved by use of a fast movement of the wrist.
Using this method I estimate that my consistency in producing deep topspin balls to the last 11 to 18 inches of the opponent’s half of the table improved by about 40%. The spin and speed of the drive was also noticeable.
I tried keeping a closed angle of the bat throughout the stroke and, while it could work, I thought it was more inconsistent with different speeds of ball… One other benefit I found using the finger and thumb method to alter the bat angle was that I could vary the trajectory and speed of the topspin drive more easily than with a closed bat angle throughout (due to the fact there was more of the bat surface to use). This could prove to be very useful in upsetting an opponent’s rhythm.
Obviously this is an action which requires a lot of practise but, for me, I think it could definitely improve my consistency if I can develop ‘muscle memory’ in my forehand topspin drives.
No worries that’s great to hear its already helped the consistency of your shots. Adjusting with the finger and thumb will definitely help with variation as well like you said and being able to change the speed and spin to your opponents easier.
Like you said it will take practice to be comfortable but something that can really help your game!
Regards, Dan 🙂