6 types of spin in ping pong – Role of Acceleration

6 types of spin in ping pong – Role of Acceleration

How many types of spin exists in table tennis? And how to increase the spin? This is the common questions that should know! The main difference between the professional players and the amateur players is the capacity of spin generation. What is that?

6 types of spin in table tennis

Spin is one of the 3 most important factors in table tennis: Spin, Speed and Power.  There are 6 types of spin in table tennis:

  1. Backspin
  2. Topspin
  3. Sidespin
  4. Mixed spin
  5. Cork spin
  6. No-spin

1. Backspin

Backspin is the main spin that the amateur player loves using. It’s not very difficult to make the backspin ball in table tennis. You can use a push to do that. Backspin ball will travel slowly. And the ball will bounce up when it touches the table. So backspin ball is easy to be attacked (by a topspin attack). If you are a chopper, you will love backspin ball.

backspin ball in table tennis
backspin ball in table tennis

2. Topspin

Topspin is the most favorite spin in table tennis. Due to the Magnus effect, the ball will have a tendency to go down. This effect will make the topspin land more on the table. That’s why many players try to make the topspin ball in their attack.

topspin ball is great
topspin ball is great

The ball with topspin tends to jump forward and jump downward.

3. Sidespin

Sidespin is generally added in the serve. A good serve with sidespin is hard to return. Is some shot, you can also add sidespin. For example, left-hand players like Xu Xin love to add sidespin in his loop. So forehand topspin-sidespin is the specialty of the left-hander in table tennis. So it’s hard to block the topspin-sidespin attack.

Sidespin is used far from the table, it is sometimes called as a “hook” shot. Sidespin ball won’t change much its bounce. However, the ball can curve greatly. You will love sidespin if you are the left-hand player.

sidespin is used mainly in a service
sidespin is used mainly in a service

There are 2 types of sidespin: pendulum spin, and reversed pendulum spin.

4. Mixed spin

Mixed spin is the combination of several types of spin. For example, pure sidespin + pure topspin will make top-sidespin. Or if you use a “boomerang flick”, you will get a top-sidespin ball too. So spin in ping pong is very complicated. It’s not one type of spin, it’s a mixed spin. So you need to adapt and change your racket angle to deal with these spins.

5. Cork spin

Cork spin is hard to generate. But it is so effective. It will bounce from left to right or right to left. So the opponent can miss the ball easily. Some professional players tend to add cork spin in the lob (it is called as a “snake shot”). Be careful! you can miss this ball during a smash.

cork spin will change the trajectory dramatically
cork spin will change the trajectory dramatically

6. No-spin

Really? No-spin is no-spin. It’s not a type of spin. But in reality, no-spin for me is a type of spin. You can use no-spin to attack and to win the point. Yes, it’s a real weapon, a really dangerous type of spin. For example, a good no-spin serve, also called as “float serve” can give you an easy high ball. So you can smash it easily. Or use can use a no-spin topspin to deal with a chopper! Chopper hates a mixed heavy topspin and no-spin attack.

Sometimes, Chinese coaches ask their player to use a “no-spin” attack, called as “fake topspin” attack. This type of variation is crazy! And used at the high level to mix up the pace of the game.

nospin is one type of spin in table tennis
nospin is one type of spin in table tennis

Speed or Acceleration for more spin?

Some players asked how to increase spin in table tennis? Here you are, science has proved that it is the “acceleration”!

For example, the advanced player will have the racket acceleration about 283 m/s/s. While the intermediate player will have only 185 m/s/s of racket acceleration. Both advanced and intermediate players have a similar racket speed ~ around 18 to 19 m/s. But the spin generated by the advanced player is much stronger.

So the key here is “acceleration”!

Racket acceleration impacts mostly to the spin and the speed in table tennis
Racket acceleration impacts mostly to the spin and the speed in table tennis

“Acceleration” is one of the most important fundamentals in Chinese table tennis.

What is exactly “acceleration” in table tennis?

It’s the fast contact at the moment you hit the ball.

Amateur players hit the ball with the constant speed (which is not good).

While pro players hit the ball very fast in a fraction of second (only at the moment the racket touches the ball). You should remember “Slow and then Fast”!

Advantages of “acceleration” in the stroke mechanism

How to increase spin and speed in table tennis? The only answer is to “accelerate” the ball! “Brush” into the ball!

Acceleration helps:

  • Increase the feeling because you hit the ball harder
  • Increase the power and the spin of your shots
  • Improve the timing because it reduces the moment you hit the ball
  • Increase the Magnus effect, hence increase the consistency and safety of your shots
  • More spin means that you can attack harder, faster (the secret of Chinese table tennis)

References:

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3 thoughts on “6 types of spin in ping pong – Role of Acceleration”

  1. Hello,
    I’m wondering, are we suppose to accelerate right at contact or is it slightly before ? If slightly is it like 0.5cm before or more like 5cm before ? I’m not sure we can talk about all this with cm but.. 🙂

    Thanks for your advice !
    Wil

  2. Very nice, I agree that acceleration of the racket is the key factor to produce speed and spin on the ball. Actually it is physics: there is a moment when the ball has the same speed of the racket (elastic deformation of the ball, rubber, blade reached their max levels related to the applied forces) in this moment the relative speed between ball and racket is zero, the ball is like glued to it. So if the racket in this moment is accelerating also the ball has the same acceleration. Then in the next moment the ball, rubber and blade will start to give the ball their elastic energy back transforming it in kinematic energy (speed). The final speed of the ball just out of the racket will be the sum of the speed of the racket (@ glue moment) + kinematic speed for elastic restitution + speed developed from racket acceleration. Considering rotational speed (spin) things above are still valid, just consider tangential speed instead because the ball is brushed. Also an important point to say is that there is an upper limit to the possible speed and spin of the ball and it is related to the elastic saturation of the materials. Using stiffer balls, rackets, rubbers allows to use bigger forces with the same amount of deformation and this produces more spin and speed.
    More thickness of the rubber helps to allow more deformation and therefore move saturation point far away.

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