Optimal contact point in table tennis

Contact Point to get Max Spin & Power in Table Tennis

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What is the optimal contact point on the racket when serving and doing the forehand topspin? Today, coach EmRatThich explains the best contact point to get the maximized spin and speed of the strokes. Mastering the 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.

Why is the contact point important in table tennis?

The appropriate contact point on the racket that makes consistent deliver 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:

  1. Contact position on the ball
  2. 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 at the 3 hours position, you will make the highest normal force. This position will give the ball the highest speed.

 

Contact Position on the ball decides the quality of your shots
Contact Position on the ball decides the quality of your shots

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 more 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.

Best contact point for the forehand topspin

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?”

Is this contact point right for the forehand loop technique?
Is this contact point right for the forehand loop technique?

Well. This is your table tennis racket. First of all, let’s divide your racket into several parts.

Hitting position on the racket
Hitting position on the racket

Divide the racket into the 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 maximize speed.
  • Near the upper side of the racket to minimize the power lost.
best contact point for forehand topspin
best contact point for the forehand topspin

If you hit the ball at the 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.

Contact point of Ma Long forehand loop
Contact point of Ma Long forehand loop
Optimal hitting position on Zhang Jike racket
Optimal hitting position on Zhang Jike racket

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.

Ovtcharov forehand hitting position
Ovtcharov forehand hitting position
Timo Boll contacts the ball near the top edge of his racket
Timo Boll contacts the ball near the top edge of his racket
Ding Ning topspin the ball at the 3,3 position
Ding Ning topspin the ball at the 3,3 position
Fan Zhendong powerful forehand attack
Fan Zhendong powerful forehand attack
Liu Shiwen optimal hitting position for her forehand
Liu Shiwen optimal hitting position for her forehand
Liu Shiwen forehand loop
Liu Shiwen forehand loop
Xu Xin forehand topspin
Xu Xin forehand topspin

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 that the mark on his racket. The best contact point is clearly near the (3,2) and (3,3) position.

A good player always hit at the same position. Look at the mark on Ma Longs racket
A good player always hit at the same position. Look at the mark on Ma Longs racket

If you ask another Chinese coach about this contact point. You will get the same answer. On mytabletennis, there is a topic “Ask a top-level Chinese coach anything”.  They answer 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).

answer from top Chinese coach
answer from top Chinese coach

Question: Does this point vary when looping underspin and topspin ball?
Answer: No, same position for both top and underspin.

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).

contact position of backhand topspin Ma Long
contact position of backhand topspin Ma Long

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 make 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.
position for heavy underspin serve
good position for heavy underspin serve
position for fast long serve
position for fast long serve
optimal position for topspin serve

How to make a deceptive serve?

With the same motion, but now you change the contact point, you can change the spin of your serve. In the real match, if you want to serve a less spin, floating serve, you contact the ball near the handle of the racket.

Contact at the (1,2) or (2,2) position will make a no-spin, floating serve no matter what your serving motion.

This no-spin serve is very effective because the opponent will push the ball high, so you can easily attack this ball.

position for no-spin floating serve
position for no-spin floating serve

Top Chinese player often contacts the ball near the head of the racket to maximize spin. They always add “side-spin” to their serves.

  • Contact at (4,2) for pendulum serve.
  • Contact at (4,3) for reverse pendulum serve.
Contact point for the forehand pendulum serve of a young chinese player
Here is the contact point for the forehand pendulum serve of a young Chinese player

That’s it for today. I really want to thank “kroliknor” for his footage. I also want to thank my supporters! You are my motivation! I’m very busy, but your feedback has motivated me a lot!

Watch the slow motion of the top chinese player’s contact point here:

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Oscar
Oscar
1 year ago

Sir,

Let me know

What is the contact point of drive stroke to

1. incoming drive ball

2. incoming forehand topspin ball

3. incoming backhand topspin ball ?

michael
michael
1 year ago

Hi Coach,
where is the optimal contact point on the racket when doing backhand block, loop, and drive?
thanks in advance

Table Tennis in Hindi
Table Tennis in Hindi
Reply to  michael
3 months ago

For Forehand Topspin it is (3,4)

kakha
kakha
2 years ago

At first many thanks for your useful information. Could you answer me how to correct hold the racket when we hit forehand and backhand topspin? thank you in advance.

Lyndon La
Lyndon La
2 years ago

Is hitting position on the racket that shown the bottom view or top view ?Thank you

Haris Ansari
Haris Ansari
2 years ago

Hi Coach,
Sir what should be the posture of spine( Back) during forehand(counterhit ,topspin, and looping underspin ball), I play all these three with the same pose where my back is bent backward(not forward), thus my action look weird, I want to know how body action, contact point and action of our hand varies in counterhit , topspin, and looping underspin ball.

Roy
Roy
1 year ago

Hi Coach – For a pen hold grip, I am assuming the contact points for heavy spin serve stays at 4,2 and 4,3

Roy
Roy
1 year ago

Pen Hold Grip – I am assuming that 4,2 and 4,3 remains contat points for high spin serves

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