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Contact Point in Table Tennis (Increase Spin & Power)

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?

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:

  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 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 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.

racket array - Hitting position on the racket
racket array – Hitting position on the racket

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?”

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.

best contact point for forehand topspin
best contact point for forehand topspin

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.

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
Xu Xin's forehand topspin - contact position
Xu Xin’s forehand topspin – contact position

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 forehand loop
Liu Shiwen forehand loop
Liu Shiwen optimal hitting position for her forehand
Liu Shiwen optimal hitting position for her forehand

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.

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”.

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).

answer from a top Chinese coach
answer from a top Chinese coach

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

Ma Long personal racket in 2014 - He always hit at the same spot
Ma Long personal racket in 2014 – He always hit at the same spot


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).

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 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).

good position for heavy underspin serve
good position for heavy underspin serve

For the heavy topspin serve, contact the ball at the position (4,3).

position for topspin serve
position for topspin serve

For a fast long serve, hit the ball at the head of the racket.

position for fast long serve
position for fast long serve

If you want a no-spin serve, hit the ball near the handle of your racket

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


Change the contact point to improve your serve

You can change the contact point to make your serve more deceptive. It’s harder for the opponent to read your serve.

Here is the 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 this video: Watch the slow-motion of the top Chinese player’s contact point here:

Optimal contact point in table tennis
Watch this video: Optimal contact point in table tennis

 

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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.

16 thoughts on “Contact Point in Table Tennis (Increase Spin & Power)”

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    Reply
  2. Sorry, but I’m still confused. Can You please confirm if the best contact point for backhand topspin is closer to the lower half of the bat or to the upper half of the bat if we are holding it with the backhand grip almost horizontally. Thanks a lot for a reply!

    Reply
  3. Hello Coach! Can you please tell or add some pictures explaining contact point for backhand topspin. There is a picture for forehand showing the best point (3,3). But for backhand – is the best point (3,2) mirrored on forehand picture or the same? (we are holding bat the opposite way on backhand)

    Reply
    • Hi Darii,
      You are right. We are holding the bat the opposite way on backhand.
      The contact point is the lower point. If you hit upward, then you should hit at (3,2). The point (3,2) is lower than the point (3,3).

      Does it answer your question?

    • Sorry, but I’m still confused. Can You please confirm if the best contact point for backhand topspin is closer to the lower half of the bat or to the upper half of the bat if we are holding it with the backhand grip almost horizontaly. Thanks a lot for a reply!

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

    Reply
  5. 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 ?

    Reply
  6. 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.

    Reply
  7. Hi kakha,
    Yes, I’ve explained the grip for forehand and backhand topspin in my previous videos. The most important is, when you do the forehand topspin, apply the pressure on the index finger. When you do the backhand topspin, apply the pressure on both index and thumb finger.
    ERT

    Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply

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