power like a pro

How to improve Power in Table Tennis

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In table tennis, there are 3 parameters that decide the quality of a shot. It is the speed, spin, and power.

Today, I will give you 2 simple tips that you can improve the power of your shot like professional players.

  • Tip 1: Focus on the moment of contact
  • Tip 2: Pinch to impact power

What is the difference: Spin, Speed, and Power

Some players said to me that, for them, Speed and Power are the same. But no, here are some differences:

  • The spin is the rotation of the ball. When you have the spin, you have control of the ball. So spin is the key in table tennis. Remember: “In Spin We Trust”
  • The speed is the speed, the velocity of the ball. Some ball can have a lot of spins, but weak speed (like heavy slow topspin). Some ball can have a lot of speed, but weak or no spin (like a smash). The Chinese coach also wants to say that the speed is also the speed of connection, the speed of backhand-forehand transition. For example, Kong Ling Hui is known for his speed in connection. He is the machine-gun style. While Fan Zhendong is known for Power, a canon style.
  • Power is the final concept of a Chinese coach. Chinese coaches said that when the ball has both Speed and Spin, then the ball is Powerful. Let’s look at this photo (Ma Long Powerful forehand attack).
Ma Long forehand technique
Ma Long forehand technique

So Speed and Power are not the same. Speed is only a part of the Power. When you punch, or loop kill the ball, the speed is fast. But you can miss this type of attack.


1. Focus on the moment of contact

Today, we talk about the Power in table tennis. So how to have a higher quality in your rally? How to improve the power of your shot? Why professional players shot is so fast, even with a very short stroke.

 

Tip number 1. You should focus on the moment of contact.

This is the key point to increase the power of your shot. The power comes from the acceleration before the racket touches the ball. And this moment is rather short, just about 200ms before hitting.

the moment of contact is very short - only 200ms
the moment of contact is very short – only 200ms

You can see that. The pro player has train to have great power, even with a very short stroke. The gesture is compact, but the ball is powerful.

In fact, the moment of acceleration is very short. So if you have a too-long gesture, you need to reduce and compact the gesture to improve the power of your shot.

Shorten the stroke to increase the power is not new. Chinese coaches have explained it a long time ago. I’ve explained this principle in this article, you should read it.

Meanwhile, new players, amateur players forget about this “amazing moment”. New players focus too much on a big gesture, but they forget the “moment of contact”. That’s why they can not impact the power to the ball. The big gesture, but the power is weak.

too big swing but very weak power - the problem of amateur table tennis player
too big swing but very weak power – the problem of amateur table tennis player

To improve the power of your shot, focus on the moment you hit the ball. Feel the touch, and impact on the ball. If you get this feeling, your level will go up easily. Why?

Do you know the weight of the ball? Is it heavy or light, in your opinion?

 

table tennis ball has only 2.7g which is very light
the table tennis ball has only 2.7g which is very light

Yes! because table tennis ball is very light. The mass is only 2.7 grams. 2 grams is nothing. So why you need a very big gesture, but you can not impact the power on the ball. So please, reduce the gesture, and focus on the “moment of contact”.

As I said, feeling is very important in table tennis. The feeling is the vibration from the blade when it hit the ball. To get this feeling, you need to accelerate and hit through the ball. And the only way to get this is, saying to yourself every time “the moment of contact”, “the moment of contact”. Try to feel it.


2. Pinch to impact power

So tip number 1 is “the moment of contact”. You need to shorten the stroke and feel the moment when the racket hits the ball. And tip number 2 “pinch to impact power”. So what is a pinch? “Pinch” is to “squeeze with fingers”. It comes from the grip. You should watch my video “the grip” and “the micro-adjustment”.

At the moment of contact, you should use the index and the thumb to “squeeze the racket”. With this tip, you will have power in your shot.

Always pinch your racket (shakehand grip) best tips to improve power and quality in table tennis
Always pinch your racket (shakehand grip) best tips to improve power and quality in table tennis
Losen grip and pinch only with the index and the thumb
Losen grip and pinch only with the index and the thumb

The Chinese national coach has asked the player to “pinch at the moment of contact“. You should use a firm grip in an upward motion to increase power when u contact the ball. Relax the wrist, and tighten the finger, pinch your racket.

Pinch to make a firm grip the best way to improve the power of your shot
Pinch to make a firm grip the best way to improve the power of your shot

Impact with fingers and upward motion

You can see that. Immediately, we can see a huge difference.

You can be a very good player. But it is not easy to become the best player. I want to say that Chinese coaches focus a lot on the small details. Because improving the small details is the only way that makes you from a very good player to the best players.

So to improve the quality of your shot, try to learn and understand the small detail in table tennis. Table tennis is a very technical sport.

You don't need a big muscle to make a powerful shot
You don’t need a big muscle to make a powerful shot

You don’t need a big muscle to make a powerful shot. But you need the right timing, the right acceleration, and the right feeling.

Here is another example. Wang Nan (王楠), the Olympic Champion has explained that even when you serve, or when you return the serve, you should try to grab this feeling. You should try to shorten the stroke, and accelerate quickly, only at the moment of contact.

Even the world-class player, they need train and learn every day to improve shot quality. So you should try to practice every day. One day, then you can feel what I said, and your level will go up quickly.

Feel the ball at the moment of contact explained by Wang Nan
Feel the ball at the moment of contact explained by Wang Nan

Here is another example. In 2011, the coaches in Centre-Val de Loire, France has made an exchange program in China. The French coaches have sent some young players to train in Beijing, China.

This was a great experience for many young players. Chinese coaches focus a lot on small details to improve the player’s techniques.

And I really like how the coach asks the player to tighten the grip to improve the power. Some young players don’t know how to impact the power to the ball. So their shot is not fast enough.

tighten the grip at the moment of contact - chinese coach
tighten the grip at the moment of contact – chinese coach

You need to understand there are 3 phases: Relax, explode, and Relax. You should “explode” at the moment of contact. To “explode” means to generate power, to release power when the racket hits the ball. And to do that, you need to tighten the grip. You should watch my video “5 tips to improve table tennis” to understand this principle.

OK. See you the next Sunday (if I have time). And don’t forget to comment, and give your opinion. If you have any question, feel free to discuss with me (emratthich@pingsunday.com).

Au revoir!

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Cameron
Cameron
6 months ago

Hi coach. It’s great to see more posts from you lately. Your advice is fantastic. I have a question, I hope you can help my confusion 🙂 I understand that the primary source of power is 1) leg and then 2) hip. So, the hip is the main axis of the shot. However, when I watched videos of forehand loop, I can see there is a point 3) where the elbow becomes the axis of the forehand – the point where it swings the blade in front of the body and finishes the stroke with the blade in front of… Read more »

Sumirat
Sumirat
6 months ago

Coach, when to use power from tighten the grip with power from the ground ?

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