Contact Point in Table Tennis (Increase Spin & Power)
by Coach EmRatThich
Mastering the optimal contact point for each stroke is very important. It will help you make a deceptive serve. And improve the power of your strokes, which is the key of table tennis techniques.
What is the optimal contact point on the racket to get maximum spin and speed in table tennis? Coach EmRatThich explains the best position for serve and forehand topspin. Learning from the top Chinese player: Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Ma Long, and Zhang Jike.
Why is the contact point important in table tennis?
∎ Page Contents ∎
The appropriate contact point on the racket makes consistent delivery in every execution. Hit the ball at the right position and the right timing on the racket is very important in table tennis. Many players lose power on their forehand topspin attack because they contact the ball at the wrong position. Today, we learn the optimal contact point for the serve, and for the forehand loop. A good contact point will maximize the power of your shots.
There are 2 types of contact points:
Contact position on the ball
Contact position the racket
1. Contact position on the ball
The ball is divided from 0 to 12 o’clock like a normal clock. The top position is 12 hours. The bottom position is 6 hours.
When you hit the 3 hours position, you will make the highest normal force. This position will give the ball the highest speed.
For topspin, you can close the racket angle more, and hit at the upper top position (from 12 hours to 3 hours).
With the tacky Chinese rubbers, due to the advantage of the tacky topsheet, you can hit at a wider range (from 12 hours to 5 hours). This action will lift the ball, and increase the spin of your shots. This is one of the main advantages of hard-tacky Chinese rubbers.
For the backspin shot (like chop, push), you can contact the ball at the lower part position, from 3 hours to 6 hours.
2. Contact position on the racket
The contact position on the racket is more complicated on the ball. The racket is divided by a 4×4 array. I will explain it right now below.
Divide the racket into a 4×4 array like this. Point (1,1) is at the bottom left. Point (4,4) is at the top right.
Based on the Chinese coach, the optimal contact position for the forehand loop is the point (3,3). This point gives you the most consistent quality.
Near the head of the racket to get maximum speed.
Near the upper side of the racket to minimize the power loss.
Best contact point for the forehand topspin
What is the optimal contact point on the racket when doing the forehand topspin? Today, coach EmRatThich explains the best contact point to get the maximized spin and speed of the strokes.
A player asked me
“Hi coach. When I do the forehand stroke, the contact point is not at the center of the bat. Is it correct?”
Well. This is your table tennis racket. First of all, let’s divide your racket into several parts.
If you hit the ball at point (2,2) or (2,3), you will lose some of the power. If you hit at the point (4,2) or (4,3), this point offers you the highest velocity of the racket, but you may miss your shots.
Contact point of the forehand topspin of the top players
Let’s analyze the contact point of the top player’s forehand topspin techniques.
Let’s take a look at the top player’s technique. You can clearly see that Zhang Jike hits the ball at the (3,3) position.
A good table tennis coach can also quickly identify if you are a good player or not by looking at your racket.
A good player always hit the ball at the same position.
This is the personal racket of Ma Long. You can see the mark on his racket. The best contact point is clearly near the (3,2) and (3,3) positions.
The answer confirmed my coaching theory: Pro players hit at the same contact point.
Question: When doing a Forehand loop, where is the contact point on the racket surface? Answer: This is the position (near the top edge of the racket).
Question: Does this point vary when looping the underspin and topspin ball? Answer: No, same position for both top and underspin.
Best contact position for the backhand
What is the appropriate hitting position for the backhand?
For the backhand side, it depends on the type of spin. Backhand push the underspin ball, you should hit at (3,3) or (3,4). But if you want to backhand flip, or backhand topspin the ball, you should contact at (3,2).
Best contact point for table tennis serve
The contact point is very important for the table tennis serve. By varying the contact point, you can increase or decrease the spin, and speed of your serve. Mastering the contact point is the key to making a deceptive serve.
If you want to maximize spin in your serve, you should contact the ball near the head of the racket. Because on these points, the velocity, the speed is highest.
If you want to make the heavy underspin serve, contact the ball at the position (4,2).
For the heavy topspin serve, contact the ball at the position (4,3).
For a fast long serve, hit the ball at the head of the racket.
If you want a no-spin serve, hit the ball near the handle of your racket
Table tennis coach in France since 2012, founder of pingsunday.com (the best online coaching program for table tennis players). Born in Vietnam in 1983, Ph.D. in Université Pierre Marie Curie. Read more about him.