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How To Play The Table Tennis Forehand Smash

Today we will learn how to forehand smash in table tennis (Chinese technique). Forehand smash is an important technique in table tennis that you can use to finish the point. However, during training, there are not many high balls to practice. Amateur players often miss the ball during the real match. They don’t have the correct technique.

Example of bad Smashing Table Tennis Skills

Hao Shuai is a talented player. He is a few left-hand players in the Chinese team. He is promoted to team A and is considered to be one of next top 4 in China Team. His career is very promising for a young 20 years old Hao Shuai (in 2003).

Hao Shuai has a problem in his forehand smash technique with the high ball
Hao Shuai has a problem with his forehand smash technique with the high ball

But there was an incident in the Quater Final, 2005 World Table Tennis Championships. Hao Shuai played versus Maze, he was leading 3-0, at 10-8, he lost all the high ball.

He can’t smash the ball effectively.

Since then, he is demoted to the team B. His international career is ended. He is now considered as the “Blue Player” in China Team. Blue Player will imitate, copy the playing style of the major rival opponent. Hao Shuai must copy the playing style of Timo Boll, and served as a trainer to the top Chinese players.

Timo Boll is also a left-hand player, spin oriented player (soft style). It’s similar to Hao Shuai’s style. So he is designed to learn and copy the style of Timo Boll. Blue players will be used before the Major Event Closed Training of China Team.

Hao Shuai is a
Hao Shuai is a “Chinese Clone” of Timo Boll

After the incident, during a party, the head coach Lui Guoliang slapped on the face of Hao Shuai for his “stupid” mistakes. In a Western country, it’s impossible to touch other people. But in Asian countries, it’s not offensive.

How to do do the Forehand Smash in table tennis?

What is a smash in Table Tennis?

A smash is an offensive technique in table tennis, that you should hit the ball as fast as possible to finish the point. Normally you should use the forehand smash to win the high ball (from a lobbed return). To perform a smash, you should lift up your racket at the shoulder height, and then hit it down, to make the ball go with high velocity and a little spin.

The principle of the smashing technique is using the whole body as a mass. Chinese player prefers to jump up and hit the ball down. This way, you can smash the ball harder and faster.

  • Hit when the ball at its highest position
  • Fix the wrist, use only your forearm to smash the ball.
  • Always hit downward, more secure.
  • Prefer using the forehand smash instead of the backhand smash.

Smash is a basic table tennis technique. Chinese player rarely misses this point. Hao Shuai is a very rare case. That’s why he is kicked out of the National Team A. There are 3 steps to do the forehand smash technique correctly.

  1. Backswing
  2. Strike at high position
  3. Follow Throw and  Recovery

Step 1. Backswing:

  • Rotate your body sideways.
  • Weight is transferred to the back foot (build energy).
  • Racket raised to a high position (behind the path of the ball)
step 1: Prepare the forehand smash stroke
step 1: Prepare the forehand smash stroke

Step 2. The strike:

  • Swing the body back.
  • Transfer the weight to the front foot.
  • Waist, hips, shoulders have finished rotating !!
  • Strike the ball when the ball is at shoulder height !!
step 2: Strike (hit the ball down)
step 2: Strike (hit the ball down)

And Step 3. Follow Through:

  • The body moves forward.
  • Don’t let the racket move too far from the body (to recover faster)
step 3: Follow through
step 3: Follow through

Tricks to improve the power and consistency of the Forehand Smash

There is 3 advice from Chinese coaching to have a good smashing technique.

  1. 80% of the power
  2. Learn the best timing to smash
  3. Move into the optimal position before executing the forehand smash


forehand smash technique in table tennis

Watch this video.


Use force in your smash technique

Some players think that you need to hit very hard to smash the ball. No! Smash in table tennis is very technical. Don’t use full of your force (100%) you will miss the ball. Just use 80% of your force which would be enough.

Use only 80% of your full capacity in the smash

Kong Linghui is merely an average powerful player, but his smash is very fast.

Chinese Smash Table Tennis Technique

Chinese philosophy focuses on the use of the whole body (legs, hips, waist, shoulders, and forearm) to add extra power to the shot.

For the smash, you should fix the wrist, don’t use the wrist to increase the precision of the shot. Zhang Jike lifts up his right foot, to increase the center of gravity, and then use all of the body mass, to hit down to the ball.

Don’t use wrist in your forehand smash stroke.

Chinese technique: Use the full body mass on to the ball. Zhang Jike lift up his right foot.
Chinese technique: Use the full body mass on to the ball. Zhang Jike lifts up his right foot.

Learn the best timing to smash

Another problem for an amateur player is the timing. They hit the ball too soon, or too late. If you hit too soon, the ball still has high velocity, and you will miss the ball. If you hit too late, your smash is not fast enough. (The problem of Hao Shuai).

The best timing is when the ball just starts falling down from it’s highest position. At this position, the ball is high enough for you to smash it down, and it’s not too fast.
You won’t miss the ball.

Ma Long smashed the ball at it's highest position (optimal timing).
Ma Long smashed the ball at it’s highest position (optimal timing).

Footwork in the forehand smash technique

The second problem is some player just stand still at one position. You have time to move to the optimal position before smashing the ball. You need to move. Bring up your racket.
Hit at the right timing. Hit the ball down. And move again for the next ball.

Use the footwork pattern to move side by side in the smash technique.

Hope you enjoy this ping pong lesson. Learn the forehand smash technique step by step, and improve your game.

See you next Ping Sunday Table Tennis Tutorial, 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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