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Z-Form forehand topspin in table tennis

What is the Z-form in table tennis? A very important concept for the forehand topspin and forehand drive techniques.

Hello. Welcome back to PingSunday (table tennis tutorial every Sunday). Do you know the Z-form in table tennis? This is a very important concept in table tennis that helps you increase the power in your shot. Z-Form is a correct way to connect between the body, the forearm, and the racket.

Difference between Forehand Loop and Forehand Drive

A player asked me the difference between the forehand drive and the forehand topspin technique.

He asked me “Hi Coach, I’ve been having confusion between the forehand drive and topspin. I know in the drive the contact is flat, and the topspin comes naturally due to the equipment.”

Hi coach, I’ve been having confusion between the forehand drive and topspin.

question forehand drive vs forehand topspin
question forehand drive vs forehand topspin

There are some differences and also similarities between these 2 techniques.




Here is the main difference between the loop and the topspin:

The forehand loop has more spin and power. Because you hit the forehand loop with a longer stroke.

The forehand loop has a later timing. You loop the ball at a further distance. The drive is made closer to the table.

There are big differences between the drive and the topspin. The drive is for control, while the loop is for attacking.

You focus on the speed of the drive, but for the forehand loop, you focus on the spin and power. For the drive, you should focus on the early timing, hitting the ball. The stroke is compact for the drive.



Ma Long Forehand Loop slow-motion


In Chinese coaching, the coach often says “the forehand topspin is an extension of the drive”.

For the drive, the contact is flat and soon. For the loop, you should use the rotation of your own body to generate the spin.

For the forehand loop, you should also drop your racket down, lower than the drive. Remember Power from the ground. Use your hips and legs to generate the topspin in your loop. The topspin comes naturally with the stroke and the equipment.

For the drive, hit the ball sooner, use less of your body. Just control, and feel the ball during the strokes.

Z-form: Similarity between the forehand topspin and forehand drive

However, for both the forehand drive and the forehand loop, they share the same principle. That’s the “Z-form in table tennis“.

You should make a Z form between the racket, and the forearm for both the drive and the loop.

This is the best form o transfer the power from the body to the racket and to the ball.

Z Form Arm of Ma Long
Z Form Arm of Ma Long

A player asked me:

We need to make a Z form or by relaxing the wrist, it should form automatically?

Answer: When u relax you will become to z form automatically.


Another player asked:

I am confused in counter topspin and topspin


Topspin is to generate the Topspin attack. Counter Topspin is the shot to hit hard of this attack. When a Topspin ball comes, you have 2 options: block or counter topspin.


Z form - the correct connection between the body forearm and the racket
Z form – the correct connection between the body forearm and the racket

Another player asked:

No offense, coach., there is no Z form at all due to your wrist physicals structure unless you are not a human beings, you may just say relax your wrist before your loop. That’s it. Even in your drawing at 5:05, you can’t see the so-called Z form there. Your arrow on the right side is just your imaging. There is no Z form when Chinese coaches are teaching table tennis. Ask your Chinese coaches or friends if you have.


The z form is only the coaching tip to memorize. The true concept is to relax your wrist.


The amateur player tends to hold the racket too firm. So they can’t generate enough speed and spin in the forehand attack.

Amateur players hold the racket too tense
Amateur players hold the racket too tense

You should relax. Relax your wrist. Because the wrist will also add more power and spin in your forehand topspin. So the Z-form is the natural form of the forearm when you relax before hitting the ball. In France, the coach often says to the new player “casser le poignet” (to break the wrist).

pro players make a Z-form in the forehand topspin
pro players make a Z-form in the forehand topspin

Xú yínshēng (Editor-in-chief) also explained that before you hit the ball with your forehand, you should relax your wrist. Relax your wrist will add more spin and power. This is the same principle as the Z-form.

Z form penhold
Z form penhold

This is an amazing coaching tip from the Chinese coach.

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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.

9 thoughts on “Z-Form forehand topspin in table tennis”

  1. Hello Coach,
    Your videos and articles are very very helpful. I have a doubt sir. You mentioned in your article on holding the racquet in Shake hand grip that wrist should be in line with top of handle and in line with arm i. e. to maintain straight line. Here in above article it is mentioned Z-form where it seems wrist is at an angle downwards of arm in the picture. Please clarify my confusion. Thank you sir.


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