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How to play Forehand Topspin Technique

The forehand topspin table tennis technique is one of the most fundamental techniques in table tennis. In this tutorial, let’s learn the forehand topspin (or forehand loop)

The old Forehand Topspin technique

Normally, we are taught in the table tennis club to loop the ball by the “old” technique. That means: turn the forearm back, rotate around the elbow, follow-through above the eyes, like a military salute. So the elbow is the main source of force by folding the forearm.

However, this old technique has 3 disadvantages:

  1. By using the elbow as your rotation axis, you can only loop the ball when the ball is high. You must close the racket to compensate for the high ball. You cannot add many spins to the loop.
  2. The force from the elbow and the forearm are not strong compared to the hip. It’s difficult to loop kill the ball. If you hit hard and the ball is still high, the ball will mostly go out of the table.
  3. The old technique doesn’t incorporate the lower part of the body but just focuses on the elbow. After the loop, you don’t know how to move correctly, and then less stable, less consistent in your next shot.

The new way to do the forehand topspin

How to forehand topspin in table tennis? The old forehand technique which is mostly taught in table tennis club has some problems. I will show you the Chinese techniques of the forehand loop with consistency, spin, and power.

Why do Chinese players dominate the table tennis rally with their powerful loop and counter topspin? The secret will be explained in this tutorial.

By using the slow-motion videos of the top Chinese players, I will analyze the techniques to perform a powerful forehand attack. You can easily apply these tips in your daily training.

Here is my video tutorial: “Table Tennis Forehand Topspin Tutorial”



Chinese Forehand Topspin Technique

The Chinese technique is different. The elbow and the forearm should be relaxed. The main rotation axis is not the elbow, but it’s your hip. You should drop the racket very low, and use your hip to generate the power. This way you can contact the ball very low. You can also loop kill the ball as you don’t need to close your racket.

How to forehand loop (chinese technique)
How to forehand loop (chinese technique)

The Chinese philosophy of the loop is not “how fast you fold your forearm”. But Chinese coaches emphasize “how well you do the weight transfer“. During the loop, you should transfer your weight from the right leg to the left leg (Andro coach Jens has explained this). This will add power and increase the quality of your shot.

Chinese philosophy concentrates on the lower part of your body. Do you remember my tips in my previous video: “Use the leg to hit the ball”. That’s your leg will hit the ball, your forearm is only a tool to transfer this force.

By focusing on your legs, you can move faster, you are well prepared for your next shot. That’s the main reason why Chinese player always wins in the loop – counter loop situation. As they know how to move efficiently and how to add power to the loop.

By seeing this slow motion of Ma Long’s loop, you can see that Ma Long mainly used his hip to loop, his elbow and his forearm are very close to the body, and he didn’t rotate his elbow anymore.

This is the reason why the forehand loop of Ma Long is the best in the world. As turning, rotating with your hip is much faster and stronger than folding your forearm around the elbow.

Best Ways to Play Powerful Forehand Topspin in Table Tennis.

  • Drop the racket as low as possible.
  • Move with your legs.
  • Hit the ball at a very low position. 
  • Do weight transfer to loop kill the ball.
  • Rotate your hip to hit the ball. This way your ball is very low and very fast.
  • Don’t focus on your elbow, focus on your hip as the main force axis.

Forehand topspin with sidespin

There are several types of spin in table tennis. Crazy amount of sidespin in table tennis

In table tennis, you can make a shot with a huge side spin. You can see that Xu Xin has made a sidespin attack with his forehand.

Forehand topspin techniques with side spin

Watch video above ☝.

And Tomokokazu Harimoto can also make a huge side spin with his forehand attack. It’s rather difficult to block the side spin attack.

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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 “How to play Forehand Topspin Technique”

  1. Hi Coach
    Love your posts – you seem like the most knowledgeable of all the TT bloggers. ??
    Based on your blog’s an advice I switched my forehand Rubber from tensor to Chinese hurricane 3. At first difficult but then my technique improved very fast and spin is amazing resulting I kick effect plus I love tackiness for serve!
    BUT, my Killshot is diminished. Even when I hit very hard with hip rotation – it’s not as fast as tensor.
    I prefer how Chinese rubber plays, but need more power. But I do t want to use booster because of health Hazzard and hassle of rebooting constantly!
    So what to do?
    Will another Chinese rubber like blue sponge privincial or nittaku h3 really be faster?
    I do not really want to go back to tensor but the lack of power is a problem! ?
    What do I do? Please help!

  2. Hi, my dear coach
    I am very very appreciate for your excellent techs that teach me correctly.
    thanks a lot for every things.
    I am looking to hear from your site all of the day.
    please keep going strongly.
    kind regards

    • Hi Conrado,
      The loop is to attack the long ball, in general with a lot of backspin.
      While the counter-loop is to deal with the opponent’s attack. To deal with the opponent attack, you have 3 options: defend it with chop, block it, or agressive return with the counter loop. Counter loop is the way to counter the attack with a very short stroke – similar to the loop, but shorter, and close more the racket.

  3. hi Ryan.
    The point 3: Rotate your waist before doing the Forehand topspin.
    For example, search the video “How to improve power Forehand EmRatThich”. You will see it clearer. Ma Long uses a lot of hip rotation in his forehand technique. This increase the power!

    • Hi Coach,
      Shouldn’t we be spinning the ball when it is rising, instead of “hit the ball at a very low position” (for topspin balls/during counter looping)? I am confused as most of the Chinese coaching videos suggest to contact the ball during rising or at the highest point of the bounce, not otherwise. Perhaps you can explain more.

      Thanks and a happy new year.

  4. Hi coach.
    My name is Ryan frim Indonesia.

    I still dont understand about point 3. Hit the ball at a very low position. Could you explain more?

    Thank you

  5. @Nikola. For me, a loop is an attack (using topspin) far from the table. So you have forehand loop, and forehand counter-loop.
    Forehand topspin is, in general, any type of shots (normally near the table), to return the ball with the topspin. Some players say that they are the same.

  6. Hi coach I want to know that what is the off table fitness work Zhang jike ,malong do ,since I have seen Zhang jike legs and upper back is so big and muscular ,please make a video on how do they do gym workout or any other workout for such powerful back and legs ,please tell me how do they programe there workout ?


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