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Shorten Stroke to Improve Power in Table Tennis

Chinese table tennis coaching and education always focus on the solid foundation of techniques. Today, we learn the basic strokes in table tennis (Forehand loop) and how to improve the shot quality of this technique.

In the beginning, every new player should learn table tennis step by step and slowly. Chinese coach guides the new player in the very small detail.

Learning how to do "weight transfer" in table tennis
Learning how to do “weight transfer” in table tennis

This young player is learning how to drop his racket, and to learn the “power from the ground” concept.

Table Tennis Basic Strokes: forehand topspin shots

In table tennis, the shot is considered as a “quality shot” when it has both “spin” and “speed”.

Quality means “Spin” and “Power”.

The key to improving the power in the Forehand topspin is to incorporate the lower part of the body in the forehand shot. Not only, snap the ball with your forearm, but you should also do the weight transfer, and rotate your body.

To increase the spin of the shot, you should also “accelerate” into the ball, at the moment the racket hit the ball. That’s why you should relax your wrist, and quickly “brush” into the ball. Chinese coach focuses on this small detail.

The quick impact is the key!

You can clearly see the concept of Chinese table tennis technique. “Hit by the leg” and “Power from the ground”.

There are 2 forces during the forehand topspin stroke

  • forward force (to provide speed), and
  • “Lifting force” to lift the ball, to spin the ball.

The weight transfer of the body is the forward force. And the rotation of the body with your forearm is the lifting force. That’s why Chinese players use very hard rubber, to minimize the power loss, and transfer all of these force to the ball.

At the amateur level, if you want to improve, you need to repeat your technique every day. Repetition is the key!

Western coaching versus Chinese coaching

The difference between the coaching I’ve seen in China, and in Europe (or France) is: In China, they repeat only one technique until you master it.

While in Europe, the coach mixes up several techniques during the training session. So you have less time to master one technique. So my advice is: Focus on the quality, improve one technique first, feel it! Always aim to hit harder, faster and spinner!

So this training is the fundamental techniques. The coach will exaggerate some gesture, like drop the racket more, hit forward more, and use the leg more, longer stroke. This exaggeration is necessary for the new player! Because you will remember the stroke easier when you do the slower and longer stroke. So if you are the amateur player who wants to change, modify your technique, you should do a slow, and longer stroke first.

How about the top level? If you already have the fundamental in table tennis, you should improve the “explosiveness” of your shots.

Chinese coach focuses on the small detail of the technique for the beginner
Chinese coach focuses on the small detail of the technique for the beginner

Forehand basic strokes step by step

Based on Chinese coaching, there are in general 4 steps to perform the forehand topspin technique in table tennis: Ready position, Yin pai, Stroke, and Follow Through.

Ready position

  • Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • For right-handers, let your right foot be slightly behind your left (to generate power)
  • Knees bent, body crouched (leaning forwards), both arms out in front of you.

Yin pai

  • Yin Pai is how you prepare your shots.
  • Put your racket back.
  • Elbow close to the body
  • Keep your racket at about a 45-degree to 60-degree angle.
Yin Pai, prepare your stroke
Yin Pai, prepare your stroke


  • Do the weight transfer, use the  “power from the ground” concept.
  • The body mass should be transferred from the right foot to the left foot (right-hand player)
  • “Accelerate” and brush the ball to spin the ball
  • Rotate the hips to generate the power, hit the ball forward

Follow through

  • Your follow-through in front of your body, pointing in the direction where you’ve hit the ball. This will guide the ball forward.
  • Move back to your ready position for the next shot
Follow through and rotation your hip
Follow through and rotation your hip

Hit Strong at the right position

To improve the power of your forehand topspin, you need to hit at the right position. Hold your racket and “loop at the side of the body”.

This is not related to table tennis grip. But it’s a simple tip to improve the power of your forehand loop.

Best position to forehand loop in table tennis
The best position to forehand loop in table tennis
  • Look at Figure a. Don’t hit when the ball is still traveling in front of you because the ball is out of the optimal range of hitting.
    Hit when the ball is on your side, on the x-axis because it’s the best position to apply the force and to follow through and support the ball (add power and spin).
  • Please also remember to rotate your hip around the axis as shown in Figure b.
  • If the ball goes directly to your body, you need to move to the left and hit the ball in its optimal zone (Figure c)

These are the bonus part that I answer your questions. Ask me any question in the Contact Form.

Shorten strokes to improve the quality

Today, I will show you some tips to improve the quality of the shots.

Even at the top level, players need to train and improve their techniques every day. Because table tennis evolves fast. With the new ball, players need to hit even harder, faster to gain advantages.

Ding Ning is practicing how to “answer” to the mid-long ball at his backhand side. There is two option:

Chinese coach asked Ding Ning to shorten her strokes
Chinese coach asked Ding Ning to shorten her strokes

The coach has asked Ding Ning to “shorten” her strokes. The same gestures at the beginning, but she needs to flick, or to push, only at the last moment.

Shorten your stroke, to increase the “explosiveness” (power and speed) of your shots.
This will make the opponent harder to guess what is your next shot.

Longer stroke is easy to be predictable.

How to increase the shot’s quality in table tennis

You can clearly see that Ding Ning opens her racket like she will push the ball.

"Acceleration" at the last moment will increase the spin and the power of the forehand topspin
“Acceleration” at the last moment will increase the spin and the power of the forehand topspin

But at the last moment, she closed the racket, and flick the ball. This is the key at the high level! The split second but the great effect to surprise the opponent!

With this tip “Shorten the stroke”, Ding Ning has increased the quality of her shots. Faster and Explosive! Harder to predict!

So this is the routine in table tennis. At the new level, if you want to learn the new technique, learn the technique slowly. Do the longer stroke. This way, you will learn the technique quicker.

Until you have the good technique, the next step, you need to improve the technique. One way to do it is to “Shorten your stroke”.

Shorten your stroke will increase the “explosiveness”, the speed of the shots.

How to Improve Shot Quality in Table Tennis

Watch video above ☝.

Never give up your dream! Hope you improve your technique every day! Learn the Forehand techniques with the Chinese coach.

And enjoy more of this wonderful sport! That’s it for today! See you, EmRatThich.

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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.

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