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9 Important Backhand Techniques In Table Tennis

In table tennis, there are 3 ways to win consistently: your backhand, your forehand attack, and your service (ace serve). So backhand is one of the most important “weapons” to win in table tennis. Nowadays, you can go pro without a solid backhand technique.

The importance of backhand techniques

Today, having a good backhand is crucial in table tennis. Unlike 20 years ago, you can become a very good player with a one-wing style. But with the new trend, speed and power will dominate the playing style in this sport.

It’s not only the tool that helps you initiate the first attack. It’s also one of the best ways to win the point.

How To Play Table Tennis - Backhand Drive

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All of the top players in this modern table tennis have solid and monster backhand skills.

Zhang Jike has a famous "banana flick" - best tool to initiate attack by backhand
Zhang Jike has a famous “banana flick” – best tool to initiate the attack by a backhand
Fan Zhendong backhand is the top of the World. Even better than Zhang Jike's backhand. Faster and more agressive
Fan Zhendong‘s backhand is at the top of the World. Even better than Zhang Jike’s backhand. Faster and more aggressive
Harimoto Tomokazu backhand fits very well the new trends. Closer to the table, and quicker in every shot
Harimoto Tomokazu’s backhand fits very well the new trends. Closer to the table, and quicker in every shot
Mima Ito backhand with short pimple punching attack style
Mima Ito backhand with short pimple punching attack style

The game is changing so fast. You should also prepare for the best equipment that fits this trending. Take a look at the top 10 backhand rubbers for the new style “quick counter-attack” nowadays.

How many types of Backhand Techniques

Table tennis coaches in China divides backhand techniques into several categories:

  • Backhand drive
  • Backhand block
  • Backhand loop
  • Backhand topspin
  • Backhand quick-counter
  • Backhand banana flick
  • Backhand strawberry flick
  • Backhand serve
  • and Backhand Smash

Backhand drive

The backhand drive is a shortened version of backhand topspin techniques. It’s used to control the pace of the rally. Used when you are in a passive situation. Or you want to control, to reduce your unforced error.

Ma Long Backhand Techniques

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Backhand block

The backhand block is used mainly by strong forehand dominant players (like Ma Long’s style). It’s is used as the step to pivot around the left corner. The blocking technique is mainly practiced at the amateur level. At the higher level, the top player prefers using the more aggressive techniques: like flip, quick-counter.

The backhand block technique is used in an emergency situation. When you don’t have enough time to recover, add spin in your shot.

table tennis techniques backhand block and drive of Ma Long

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Backhand loop

The backhand loop is like the backhand topspin but is used far from the table. It’s is also used to play against the heavy backspin ball (from the chopper for example). It’s the old European style.

Table Tennis Fundamental Skills: Backhand Loop Against Backspin

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Backhand topspin

Backhand topspin is the standard technique that every player should learn. It’s is used from close to mid-distance. The most important tip to do the powerful backhand topspin is using the wrist and the hip to generate the force.

table tennis lessons: backhand topspin technique

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Backhand quick-counter

With the new poly ball, it’s easier to flat hit now. So the top player will hit sooner, and quicker. The trending is already confirmed several times. Tomokazu Harimoto is the first to have adapted to this trend. His backhand is the quick-counter style. He can hit every type of spin: backhand spin, serve, and even counter topspin.

Backhand quick counter technique is becoming more popular in table tennis
The backhand quick counter technique is becoming more popular in table tennis

For the female, Mima Ito did the same thing. But this time, with her short pips rubbers. So you should learn the backhand quick-counter technique. This technique is a higher reward shot for your table tennis weapon.

Prepare to counter Harimoto Tomokazu's style

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Backhand banana flick

The backhand banana flick is widely used nowadays. And it is used all over the table’s surface, even at the forehand side! (Crazy?). Yes (because players want to return the ball on the table aggressively!). It’s is used to return the short with topspin or sidespin serve. With spinny serve, don’t push it! If you push you will eat the spin! Learn to return it aggressively! It’s one of the best ways to improve your service returning skills.

Because it’s easy to add speed with the backhand flick than the forehand flick. Many youngsters love this style (like Harimoto, Lin Gaoyuan’s style). Faster, more aggressive, and quick counter-attack.

How to do a Backhand Flick in Table Tennis

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Backhand strawberry flick

The backhand strawberry flick (also boomerang flick) is used firstly by Japanese players (Koki Niwa, Matsudaira) and French player (Simon Gauzy). The principle is similar to banana flick, but the spin is reversed. Strawberry flick generates reverse pendulum spin, while banana flick generates pendulum spin.

It’s is used to return short sidespin serve to the middle of the table.

How to "Boomerang" Flick in table tennis | Learn from Zhang Jike

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Backhand serve

Backhand serve is mainly used by the backhand dominant player (like Ovtcharov’s style). It generates the reverse pendulum spin, and help you attacking first with your backhand. It’s, in general, a very good serve to learn.

Best Serve in Table Tennis for Backhand Dominant Player

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Backhand Smash

Backhand smash is very difficult. It’s better to smash using your forehand. Some unique European player has this skill (like Kreanga, Karakasevic). Beware of the optimal timing for each type of stroke. If you miss the timing, the consistency of your shots will reduce dramatically.

forehand smash technique in table tennis

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Remember: Timing, Footwork, PowerTactics, Equipment are the top-secret of Chinese table tennis.

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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.

6 thoughts on “9 Important Backhand Techniques In Table Tennis”

  1. Hi Coach, this is a good article.
    I saw on YouTube Ito Mima did a Unique Backhand, when I searched on youtube. I found “Ito Mima Chiquita Attack”. So, what is Chiquita Backhand?

  2. Great post again .
    I feel very very sad as well as it confirms drastically that my kid got coached very wrong over years now.
    In Germany coaches religiously stick to push the first ball if it is a short ball ….My kid never liked pushing , and she only reluctantly adopted this style to her game.
    Nobody really put any time in flicks ,let alone banana or boomerang flicks .
    She had that counterhit affinity born in , early hitting of the ball with pure aggression and all the years every coach first thing on the list was contain aggressiveness and play the soft ball …..With hindsight ,I should have trusted my gut feeling and let her develop her own style……


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