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Table Tennis Advanced Techniques: Using Wrist

Should you use wrist in table tennis? A player asked me “Should we use the wrist in the Forehand Topspin Stroke in Table Tennis?” This is a very good question, but there are 2 opposite answers. Some coaches say “You should fix your wrist in the Forehand stroke”. Another says “You can use the wrist”. So which one is the correct answer?

Deng Yaping (one of the best female table tennis player in the history) once said:

“In table tennis, using the shoulder is Elemetary School level, Using the elbow is the High School Level. Using the wrist is the University Level. And using your fingers in the stroke is the Master Level.

Using wrist is the advanced technique in table tennis.

Using wrist in the backhand technique

We already know that using the wrist is crucial in the backhand stroke. The wrist is the main rotation axis to topspin the ball in front of your body. You should use the wrist not only for the backhand flip, but also for the backhand topspin far from the table.

Using wrist is crucial for the backhand techniques (Fang Bo backhand flick)
Using wrist is crucial for the backhand techniques (Fang Bo backhand flick)

Using wrist in the forehand technique

So the question is: Does using the wrist in the Forehand topspin increase the quality of the shot? It’s unclear to confirm that because the main rotation axis for the Forehand is your waist/ hip. So wrist is only the additional force. Should we use the wrist?

Let’s me share a story about my old coach. He gave me great pieces of advice. At the beginning, I didn’t understand it, but many years later, I can feel his advice are amazing. For example, he asked me to topspin with my legs. I said myself, “What, why hitting with my legs, but not with my hand”. Later, I understand that it’s the main concept of “Power from the ground”.

Ma Long uses his wrist in the forehand topspin attack
Ma Long uses his wrist in the forehand topspin attack

Beginner should fix the wrist

So if a coach says “No, you should fix your wrist in your Forehand Topspin”. He has the reason. You should learn the basics first. Use your hip, and rotate to hit the ball. Some players don’t do the basic, but just snap the ball with the wrist. This is a very bad habit and can lead to the wrist injury. However, if you master the basic technique, you should also use the wrist in your forehand loop.

This is a training session of a young player with Zhang Yining. She is considered one of the greatest female table tennis players in the history of the sport. You can see that the young player has a solid technique. Her forehand loop is very consistent. She does the weight transfer and applies “Power from the ground” to lift the ball.

Should you use wrist in forehand topspin table tennis?

Watch video above ☝.

Advanced player should learn to use the wrist

However, coach Li Sun asked her to relax more the wrist, and use the wrist in her forehand stroke. Relax and Increase the Explosiveness in the shot. Relax, and contact the ball at the head of the racket. Hit like the cowboy whip. You can see that Chinese coach focuses on the small detail in every technique. That’s why their technique is the top. Using the wrist is the way to learn the fine technique.

“Using wrist in your forehand topspin to increase the explosiveness of the shots”

Now, you understand that to achieve the superior, best quality shot, you should use your wrist. However, it’s the additional detail, not the main force, learn the basics first, and then add the wrist later.

So what are you waiting for? Go to the training hall, try to relax, and use the wrist in your shot. You will feel something different in your table tennis. [ratings]

Next level: Learn to use the finger to master your table tennis techniques.

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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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