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Modern Trend In Table Tennis [Updated]

Many table tennis enthusiasts know that table tennis has four principles: spin, speed, power, and placement.

A sport like table tennis can have a lot of different playing styles. But which playing style is a trend nowadays?


What is the new trend in table tennis?

The trend has shifted more from ‘steady and powerful attack’ at mid-distance (domination of the scene during 2020–2016) to ‘quick attack and counter hit close to the table (from 2016–now).

Since 2016, table tennis has changed a lot with the new ball. Chinese coaches and players have discussed the “new trend of table tennis”.


The diminution of spin

After the inorganic glue (speed glue) was forbidden and 40+ new material balls were used, the speed, power, and rotation of table tennis were all weakened in different ways. The rotation, the spin was reduced the most.

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


Harder and faster equipment

In the future, after a lot of research and development by major equipment manufacturers, all kinds of fiber materials will be added to the racket, and the slowing of speed will be almost non-existent. As well as the rubber being hardened and strengthened, table tennis is becoming faster than ever.

Tibhar MX-P50 harder sponge for the new plastic ball - good forehand rubber
Tibhar MX-P50 harder sponge for the new plastic ball – good forehand rubber

Butterfly will release a harder version of Butterfly Viscaria, Viscaria SUPER ALC, which fits very well with the new trend of table tennis.

Butterfly Viscaria Super ALC (4)
Butterfly Viscaria Super ALC (4)


The new generation of players

The new generation of players, on the other hand, tends to focus on the speed-first play system.

It’s not just the young players on the Chinese professional team who play with “speed first.” Tomokazu Harimoto, Jarko Jorgic, Lin Gaoyuan, and Lin Yun-Ju, the most exciting young players in the foreign leagues, do, too.

Lin Yun-Ju backhand banana flick
Lin Yun-Ju backhand banana flick


More backhand attack

With the new 40+ ball, you need to stay closer to the table. Backhand technology is better than forehand technology because it has a smaller movement gesture, which fits well when you stay close to the table. This makes the backhand more natural in terms of acceleration and leverage than the forehand.



Table tennis today is all about high-quality backhand fights, so that’s always the main thing. Those who have a backhand advantage are more likely to get a chance to change direction in a straight line or to run sideways, making the advantage into a winning trend.

backhand flick at the forehand corner Lin YunJu
backhand flick at the forehand corner Lin Yun-Ju

As a result, younger players like Fan Zhendong, Lin Gaoyuan, and Liang Jingkun use a forehand movement called “fast forearm” to better deal with this new table tennis trend.


Attacking on both sides for women

These things were even more clear for the women’s playing style. The new generation of female players are Sun Yingsha, Mima Ito, Chen Meng, Wang Manyu. They all have a very powerful and quick backhand attack.

Women's Doubles - Finals - Gold Medal Match, Hina HAYATA JPN and Mima ITO JPN beat CHEN Xingtong CHN and SUN Yingsha CHN 30. 2018 Pro tour Grand Finals
Women’s Doubles – Finals – Gold Medal Match, Hina HAYATA JPN and Mima ITO JPN beat CHEN Xingtong CHN and SUN Yingsha CHN Pro tour Grand Finals


Improve the power of your forehand

With the new ball, you need more power for your forehand attack.

In any case, because of the way the human body is built, the forehand system has a lot of built-in advantages, like more preparation time, more adjustment space, and more power. A high-speed match where it’s important to keep your shot stable but add more spin and ball placement changes may be the moment when the forehand system can keep moving forward.


The effect of the new trend on players

Today, I discuss this topic.

  • Part 1 – Zhang Jike.
  • Part 2 – Harimoto Tomokazu
  • Part 3 – Miu Hirano

Part 1 – Zhang Jike and the New Trend

at 09:04, Zhang Jike also explained the “new ball”. While other players, Ma Long, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, and Timo Boll have adjusted the timing for the new ball, Zhang Jike still has his perception of the old ball.


Part 2 – Tomokazu Harimoto and the New Trend

Tomokazu Harimoto adapted very well to the new trend.

Have you prepared for this trend? How to modify your style?

In the beginning, the ITTF wanted to reduce the speed of table tennis by increasing the ball size. And they think that the international scene is more balanced (reducing the dominance of Chinese players). But in reality, the trend shifted to a much faster style!


Part 3 – Miu Hirano and the New Trend

Miu Hirano was the first player who brought the “New Trend” to table tennis in 2017. In this video, I will explain the origin of the “new trend” in table tennis. And what should you do to adapt to this trend in tactics, playing style, service, and attack? I will explain the “counter-hit” or “counter-attack” playing style in table tennis.



What is the new trend in table tennis equipment?

The table tennis equipment will evolve with time.

The heavier, larger, different material, higher bounce, less spiny ball once again changed the way of modern table tennis once again. So, as the coach said, the emphasis has dramatically changed in certain ways:

1. The tactics will be now stay close to the table. This changes the Men’s game of distance loop to loop to the hybrid of the Modern Women’s game but with power on both sides. In retrospect, the 1970s and the 1980s style, especially with the C-Pen and the J-Pen players, stayed relatively close to the table to make the game even faster.

2. The focus now is not on the serve but the serve ‘receive’ itself. As you can see, most of the short serves do not have a lot of ‘bite’ and bounce higher than ever. Often the serve is longer than halfway line, which is the no man’s zone where straight banana or strawberry flips will be the way to getting ahead on your opponents, as keeping your services would be exceedingly difficult. Also on the long serves, the fraction of the second more and the higher bounces will have players teeing off their loops for straight scoring. Therefore, for the servers. Now the focus is even more on the location and the placement of the second bounce which would be crucial. I strongly suggested that more and more players should be doing the wide serve out swerving away from the table to instantly have an open table to score on the third ball.

3. Also the Men’s traditional power loop-to-loop backhand counters are the thing of the past. You will see much shorter rallies as the focus is on straight scoring right away. So instead, you will see players trying to see the slightest opening of the court of the opponent and exploit it quickly. The ball will be going from forehand to backhand more frequently as they will mix up the diagonal and down the line play, rather than just overpowering or waiting for the slightest error.

4. In the new game, players like Harimoto would be countering at every chance. So all-out attack would be expected as the game will be even faster playing up close. I am expecting players would be staying close at the table all the time, even with quick blocks/chop blocks instantly trying to get back to the rallies. With that in mind, you will see a few up-and-coming players going to C-Pen or even J-Pen so that they can use their banana and strawberry pushes to devastating effect.

5. With that in mind, players in this modern game must be adaptable to all situations. That means learning all the shots and especially sound ‘footwork’ is a must. As well as quick feet to get to all kinds of wide shots as players will quickly try to move their opponents off the table.

6. Those with sound and efficient strategies will win outright by a large margin. Brilliant players like Waldner and Werner Schlager who never allowed themselves out of positions, quick thinking, often have several gears during the match, will be winning most of the matches by simply out-thinking their opponents by the way of surprise.

7. I also will see different styles of equipment which will have advanced materials on the blade and rubber to give it a much softer feel on the serve. Yet are light and quick to hit the ball as early as possible. Definitely, the short serves will get better once again. The focus will be more on a much ‘lower’ toss, which will have less potential momentum with the great emphasis of generating, even more, spins to compensate for the loss of the ‘bite’. Coaches are very smart to adapt. I think that the best teams with the most comprehensive preparation with the new ball will be coming out ahead. Don’t be surprised if the ranking order still stays the same. Players will probably have to change their techniques, timing in their hitting. Most of all, there will be a great change to a low ‘throw’ blades rather than the traditional high ‘throw’ ones they have been using.



Conclusions:

The new trend is:

– Hit sooner, faster, quicker

– Stay closer to the table

– Aggressive attack all of the serve (because the ball is less spin-dependent and bounces higher)

– Focus on speed, borrow the opponent speed, hit on the bounce, on the table, and counter-attack every ball



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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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