Learn from Miu Hirano’s style – New Trend Table Tennis

Welcome back. Today is Sunday, and we come back to the Ping Sunday free coaching table tennis. I’m EmRatThich, and we continue with the “New Trend in Table Tennis Series” – Part 3. Miu Hirano.

I’ve talked about Zhang Jike (part 1), Harimoto Tomokazu (part 2), and this is the part 3: Miu Hirano. She is considered the first female table tennis player who was successful with this new “style” in table tennis. For me, Miu Hirano is phenomenal, exceptional because she is the first female player who invented many “attacking weapon” with the new ball.

Miu Hirano - The new trend in female professional table tennis
Miu Hirano – The new trend in female professional table tennis

Training Camp in China

But first of all, a player from Germany has emailed me.

“Dear coach, I owe you more than a thank. By reading your blog (pingsunday), I know about the China Training Camp. And I’ve been selected this summer at Shanghai University of Sport.”

Admission to the China Training Camp 2018 (Free)
Admission to the China Training Camp 2018 (Free)

Congratulation! I’m very happy for you.

It’s great! Because this China Training Camp 2018 has covered the tuition fee and lodging during the summer. I hope you enjoy your training with the Chinese coach in Shanghai.

Original of the new trend in table tennis

I’ve explained the principal of this trend in my previous video. This trend will affect how young players train, tactics, and playing-style in table tennis. In the near future, you will see more another young players with the similar style like Harimoto or Miu Hirano.

Here is a research article “Effect of changing table tennis ball from Celluloid to Plastic” by the Japanese researchers, Yuki Inaba.

The difference between the new plastic ball and the celluloid ball in table tennis
The difference between the new plastic ball and the celluloid ball in table tennis

They have confirmed my observation about the new ball: The Y-axis is the vertical position or the height of the bounce, the X-axis is the distance after the bounce. You can clearly see that, the Plastic ball will bounce higher, and advance shorter, slower.

The red curve is for the Plastic ball. The blue one is for Celluloid ball (old ball). Even for a smash, or a drive with spin, the new ball will bounce higher, and advance slower. This will give the player more time to “counter-hit”. This is the reason for the new trend.

Miu Hirano has changed her style - attack on the bounce, shorten forehand stroke
Miu Hirano has changed her style – attack on the bounce, shorten forehand stroke

That’s is one of the reasons that the Japanese national coaching staff has modified Miu Hirano’s techniques. They want a new generation who can compete with the top Chinese players. A war is just beginning!

After only 1 year, Miu Hirano has changed completely. I remember watching Miu Hirano in the interview on TV Tokyo Channel.

Miu Hirano said,

“My forehand has completely changed. Instead of looping, as usual, I hit the ball off the bounce”.

So that means, Miu Hirano’s playing style is more like “counter-hit”, or “counter-attack” style now. She will use more shoulder to hit and hit the ball before the highest bounce. It’s rather risky because you can miss the ball, but higher reward because you dominate the rally with your speed.

What is “Counter hit” style?

Maybe some player will wonder, what is the “counter hit” or “counter-attack” style? OK!

So let’s see some example of Harimoto, and you will understand what I meant.

Harimoto Tomokazu has the quick counter attack style on both side
Harimoto Tomokazu has the quick counter-attack style on both side

Have you seen that? Counter hit style is hitting the ball very soon, on the bounce. Aggressive attack all the ball close the table. Focus on the speed. The racket position is high. It’s more like hitting than topspinning.

Counter hit all the long ball. Risky but high reward shot.

Miu Hirano’s success

In 2017, Miu Hirano is biggest phenomenal in table tennis. She was the first player who brought the new trend in table tennis. She has also changed her equipment for this new trend.

Asian championships 2017 was a real breakthrough tournament for Japan’s young Miu Hirano. She turned just 17 on the same day when she won women’s singles final and took gold medal!

Miu Hirano won Ding Ning - The declaration of the new style in table tennis
Miu Hirano won Ding Ning – The declaration of the new style in table tennis

Miu Hirano has won against Ding Nìng. It was a big surprise. Because at this time, players and coaches are not very familiar with this aggressive hitting style. Miu Hirano played a lot of long balls, and then attack to the wide corner. It’s so pressured to play with this style.

And then, Miu Hirano has won 4-0 against Zhu Yu Ling.

Miu Hirano swept all of the top Chinese players
Miu Hirano swept all of the top Chinese players

And in the final, she won Chen Meng to become the youngest Asian Champion in the history.

Liu Guoliang has analyzed this defeat of Chinese Women Team. And he confirmed that Miu Hirano is the real talent.

He proposed that the team should “learn” from this defeat, and asked the team to study this “trend” in table tennis.

Japan won and Liu Guoliang asked his player to adapt as soon as possible
Japan won and Liu Guoliang asked his player to adapt as soon as possible

So now you understand that this new trend in table tennis is originally developed in Japan. This trend fits well Japanese table tennis players because they are smaller, and less physical strength, less power than Chinese players. So to compete with the full power-horse of Chinese player, they (Japanese) will rely on the speed and the aggressiveness.

Nowadays, this trend has changed the young generations playing table tennis. Miu Hirano, Hina Hayata, to Harimoto Tomokazu, and another young Chinese player.

With this success, Miu Hirano is banned in China from participating the China Super League.

What should I do with the new trend?

So if you are the female table tennis player? Or your daughter, your friend wants to adapt to this new trend? What should you do?

Quicker Closer and More Agressive in every shot - New Trend in Table Tennis
Quicker Closer and More Aggressive in every shot – New Trend in Table Tennis

Here is my quick advice:

  • Focus more on the counter-attack, and counter hit on the bounce.
  • With the new trend, you don’t need to serve short. But can learn a high risk fast, or long serve. And then counter-attack the next ball.
  • Put the opponent under pressure. Each time they serve, you attack the serve with the flick or the aggressive long push. It’s easier to attack the serve with the new ball now.
  • If you are a coach, you can incorporate some “fast rallies” counter-hit training for your players. And ask the player to attack at the wide angle on both sides.
  • Use backhand to hit the ball close to the table. This gives some advantages: Like using the own speed of the ball to win, make the opponent less time to react, and don’t block but counter-hit every ball.

I hope that this video can help you understand more the recent trend in table tennis, which focus a lot on speed, reaction time, and the aggressiveness in service, and service-return.


The trend is shifted more from “steady and powerful attack” at mid-distance (domination the scene during 2010-2016) to “quick attack and counter hit close to the table” (from 2016-now).

That’s it for today. See you 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Learn from Miu Hirano’s style – New Trend Table Tennis”

  1. I want a faster and spinnier forehand rubber. My current setup: Andro Kanter ALL+ blade, Forehand rubber: TSP 730-21 (chinese topsheet with Japenese sponge) (40 degree hardness) and Backhand rubber is Stiga calibra Lt Spin. TSP 730-21 is better suited to carbon balde because it is a lot slower than Hurricane 3 or Hurricane 3 neo provincial 39 degree.

  2. But don’t put Hexer rubber on a Andro Kanter All+ if your are a begginer!
    Put something like Palio CJ8000 spin. It is much better for begginer because it is slower than Hexer or Calibra.

  3. Medium soft rubber like Stiga Calibra Lt Spin or Andro Hexer duro.
    A good flexible and extremly light blade would be Andro Kanter ALL+.

  4. What material is recomended to try and learn this style more? Hard or soft Rubber? Short pips on BH like mima ito? Offensive blade?

  5. One can clearly derive from the printed graphs:
    Putting a lot of spin on the ball is NOT giving a higher trajectory with the plastic ball , but the ball is slower and losing momentum quicker ,so in effect with the same position to the table the attacker has to work a lot harder and the receiver will face a less dangerous ball when topspin is played.
    When using smash and spin is relatively low (60rps)the ball trajectory is highest and a lot higher than with celluloid,so you do not need to lift the ball over the net when taking the ball directly off the bounce.The graphs are a bit unclear in this respect as you would need a complete trajectory from hitting with the bat to bounce on the opposite side to demonstrate the overall advantage.Love physics ….there is a lot to find that may not be so obvious or intuitive.
    Clearly we all should quickly get rid off celluloid balls , as it will most likely harm your confidence to play more counterhit …

  6. You are right. ITTF has an initial idea that to “slow down the game” and to “stop the dominance of the China”. So they change the ball’s size. But it works on another way. The new ball has made a new trend which relies on “speed”. Now top players hit even faster, and stay closer to the table (Harimoto style). This style has many advantages with the new ball. So the game is not balanced and variation as before.

  7. It’s a real pity, that due to the new ball the game is going to change so dramatically. I can imagine people getting discouraged from watching/playing table tennis, when the new trend becomes dominant. A major part of table tennis beauty (spin and skill) will have to give place to fast hitting. I wonder whether the ITTF has ever considered any negative effects of their decision to change the ball. I guess they haven’t – it;s more about money than anything else I am afraid.


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