Table Tennis Ma Long’s technique

Table Tennis Ma Long’s technique

This is the ultimate analysis of Ma Long’s table tennis techniques. This tutorial includes several aspects of the advanced table tennis skills: Ma Long’s grip, Ma Long’s serve, Ma Long Ma Long’s service receive, changing the grip during the rallies, etc. This tutorial will answer these questions:

  • Should I change the grip during the rallies?
  • Does the professional player change his grip?
  • What is the best grip for a table tennis serve?
  • What is the grip when you receive a serve?

Basic techniques in table tennis

I’ve explained that, in general, there are 10 basic skills in table tennis. Every table tennis players should know these techniques.

In your first 2 years of ping pong career, you should focus to learn these techniques correctly!

You can also learn these basic skills in the category “Basic Techniques in table tennis”, or go to my online course on Udemy for free.

I’ve published a free coupon (100% reduction) to my course.

Here is the full analysis of Ma Long’s techniques, translated from Chinese Table Tennis World Magazine. You can download it here in PDF.

Ma Long fundamental skills in table tennis
Ma Long fundamental skills in table tennis (PDF available here)

Ma Long’s advanced techniques

These are advanced skills in table tennis to improve the consistency and the power of your shots. There are several aspects for you to improve!

But mainly, they involve around:

Today, there are some tips for you to “modify your grip” to enhance the power of your shots in table tennis.

Read more about Ma Long:

Ma Long’s specific grip for forehand

Ma Long’s forehand is one of the best in the World. His backhand is not bad. Very consistent, and fast too!

Ma Long has fast and strong backhand topspin
Ma Long has fast and strong backhand topspin

Today, we learn the advanced tips. If Ma Long does change the grip or not?

Let’s see his training session, for the forehand, and then the backhand. We will study something.

Ma Long forehand – multiball training

Look at his grip for the Forehand. The thumb is on the edge of the handle!

Ma Long's grip for forehand loop
Ma Long’s grip for forehand loop

Now, let’s see what is the grip of Ma Long for the backhand?

He changes or keeps the same grip?

Does Ma Long change the grip for his backhand?

Ma Long's neutral grip
Ma Long’s neutral grip

This is his neutral grip during the forehand rallies. The thumb is always on the edge of the handle.

You will see, to gain more power, Ma Long changes the grip for both Forehand and Backhand.

When he does the Backhand topspin, he moves the thumb up, to support his stroke.

Ma Long's backhand grip
Ma Long’s backhand grip

So the answer is: Yes, he does change the grip for his backhand!

Ma long backhand techniques

Ma Long's micro-adjustment
Ma Long’s micro-adjustment

Look! After finishing the stroke, he just releases his thumb. This is called as “micro-adjustment”. He does this step, to relax, explode, and then relax! So please, always loosen your grip after the stroke. And always apply pressure at the moment you hit the ball!

His backhand is very fluid and strong too!

Ma Long's fluid backhand mechanism
Ma Long’s fluid backhand mechanism

Note: To increase the power of your backhand, use more the lower part of your body. Look how Ma Long drops his racket and use his legs to “accelerate”, lift up his backhand movement!

Ma Long footwork for Backhand to Forehand transition

Ma Long using the 2 steps footwork pattern during the backhand to forehand transition.

This footwork pattern is the optimal one which helps you rotate your center of gravity from left to right and inversely.

Ma Long's footwork pattern for the forehand attack
Ma Long’s footwork pattern for the forehand attack

Advanced skills: change the grip for the serve?

A player asked me “I would like to know how to hold the racket correctly while serving.”

This is a very good question. The serve is very important in table tennis.

Every shot always begins with the serve.

That’s why the serve and the service return takes more than 40% of the rallies in table tennis.

Let’s learn from the Ma Long’s technique, his grip, his service and more. So Ma Long uses 3 types of grip:

  • Forehand grip
  • Backhand grip
  • Loosen grip for serve

I’ve explained in the previous video “Ma Long’s technique”. That the pro players do change the grip for his forehand, and backhand topspin.

Forehand grip

Ma Long's grip for forehand drive technique
Ma Long’s grip for forehand drive technique

This is the grip of Ma Long used for his Forehand drive. You can clearly see this is a neutral grip, his thumb is put on the edge of the handle (not the rubber). His index finger, and his thumb “pinch” the racket to support his forehand drive.

The grip for his powerful Forehand topspin is the same as the grip for the Forehand drive.

Look how he applied the pressure through his fingers.

Ma Long's grip for the forehand topspin
Ma Long’s grip for the forehand topspin

Remember: Relax, Explode, and Relax. Appy the pressure at the moment you hit the ball.

Backhand grip

Ma Long's backhand drive technique with Modified grip
Ma Long’s backhand drive technique with Modified grip

This is his grip for the backhand drive. His thumb is pushed up higher, vertical to the rubber. This grip supports his backhand drive. The pressure comes from the thumb during the stroke.

Learn: Ma Long active backhand block technique

So changing the grip for each stroke is necessary, which can increase the quality for each type of shots. Some coaches prefer “fixing the grips”, but I recommend you to “adapt and change the grip for each type of stroke”.

Grip for serve

Ma Long's grip for service
Ma Long’s grip for service

For the serve, you can’t use a lot of your forearm to create spin in your serve. The main source of spin is your wrist. So you should hold your racket loosely, to freely “accelerate” into the ball by using the wrist. That’s why Ma Long holds the racket loosely, mainly at the handle edge.

Ma Long's serve Specific advanced grip
Ma Long’s serve Specifically advanced grip

So he can impact a lot of spin with the quick acceleration from the wrist.

Index finger is on the handle with loosen grip
The index finger is on the handle with a loosening grip

Grip for serve receive

For the grip when receiving the serve, you should use the same grip. For example, when you receive the ball with your forehand, use your forehand grip.

Ma Long serve receive advanced skill - loosen grip
Ma Long serve receive advanced skill – loosen grip

Some players asked, “Do I have enough time to change my grip during the rally?”.

Yes, you have enough time to do that. Changing grip can help you increase the quality of the shots.

Look at this replay, you can see that Ma Long has anticipated, and changed his grip from the forehand to the backhand.

Read all the tutorials in the Advanced table tennis skills category here.

What is the personal racket of Ma Long? Read it here.

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Mark Westlake
Mark Westlake

I was watching your video on Ma Long’s backhand grip. It seems to me that he also rotates the paddle slightly. Does he rotate the paddle on the backhand side?



thank you coach. your tips are great for new players like us. I learn a lot from Ma Long grip.


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