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Table Tennis Push Techniques

Forehand push and backhand push are one of the 10 basic techniques in table tennis. Every new player should learn and master these techniques.

Today, let’s learn how to do the forehand push and backhand push techniques in table tennis. The tutorial is demonstrated by Zhao Yiyi.

The purpose of push techniques

The push technique is a fundamental technique. The push technique is very important.

It’s one of the best ways to control the ball when you don’t have the opportunity to attack. A good push can also prevent the opponent to attack first.

There are 2 types of push technique:

  • Forehand push
  • Backhand push

Firstly we study the forehand push technique.

Forehand push technique

The forehand push is similar to the backhand push. The definition is a quick action, over the table, to push the ball short with backspin. Due to the lock of the wrist in the forehand stroke, the forehand push doesn’t have enough spin. In general, you should use the forehand push for the long ball. You need to forehand topspin every long ball.

To do a forehand push correctly, you need to prepare both for footwork and your stroke preparation.

  • Stand close to the table
  • Upper body slightly leans forward
  • The arm is naturally relaxed!
forehand push step by step
forehand push step by step

For the footwork,

  • step your right foot forward to the table.
  • Put the body center of gravity on the right foot.

For the stroke mechanism:

  • “Yin Pai”, elbow close to your body.
  • Relax your wrist! Very important!
  • Open your racket! Remember don’t contact when the ball is too far from your body!
  • Hit the ball! The force direction is forward! By doing this, you will have a stable shot.
  • Brush the ball at the bottom, around 4 o’clock.
step your right foot forward
step your right foot forward

Backhand push technique

The backhand push is a fundamental table tennis stroke. It’s normally a defensive stroke to control the ball with underspin (or backspin). Sometimes, the push is used as an offensive stroke when you push very long, and fast. Backhand push technique is a little different. The important point is where is put your elbow.

“Yin Pai”, put your elbow outside your body, but close to the body.

backhand push technique tutorial
backhand push technique tutorial


How to play a backhand push

The key point to do a backhand push is: contact the ball very soon, and quick acceleration. Based on Chinese coaching, many amateur players just hit the ball too late (after the 2.5 timing position), so their ball is pushed up too high, and can be attacked easily.

  • The best timing to backhand push is: contact the ball very soon, just after the first bounce on the table (position 2).
  • Acceleration will increase the backspin to your push. It’s harder to attack your ball.
  • Some player just uses the forehand to push. It’s a very bad habit. To push effectively, you must use also the wrist. Much quicker acceleration, and higher spin.
  • Other tips: Acceleration right before you contact the ball. Lower your body to minimize the distance between the body and the ball. Use the body to guide the ball through the pushing.

Important points to do a backhand push step-by-step:

  • Relax your wrist.
  • “Cut” (push) the ball at the bottom.
  • Use your wrist, and “accelerate” into the ball at the moment of contact. Some amateur players forget to “accelerate” into the ball, so the push has little spin.

Slow push and fast push in table tennis

There is 2 type of push technique: Fast push, and a slow push.

  • Slow push: Easy to perform, mostly used by beginners.
  • Fast push: Require better timing, used by pro.

For slow push, you contact the ball after the highest position, position 4-4.5 timing.
The slow push will generate long and heavy underspin ball.

The fast push will return the ball faster, but less spin. For fast push, you contact the ball at the early timing, position 2 timing.

 Fast pushSlow push
SpinLess spinHigher spin
AdvantagesMake opponent less time to responseHigher spin and long ball. Easier to be attacked. Placement is crucial.
Timing position23.5 to 4.5
Quick Push vs Fast Push


If you don’t know the timing position (from 1 to 5), you can read the tutorial “Optimal timing in table tennis”.

timing position in table tennis
timing position in table tennis

3 tips to do play a push in table tennis

To do this technique properly, you need to apply these 3 tips:

  • Choose the right timing
  • Take the initiative
  • Adjust the racket angle

Tip 1: Choose the right timing

The timing is very important. It affects the spin and the speed of the ball.

For the fast push, contact the ball earlier (like the pro). Professional players tend to push earlier to make pressure on the opponent.

relax your wrist to maximize spin in your shots
relax your wrist to maximize spin in your shots

Slow push is easier to perform. Push the ball later can increase the spin, but slow push can be attacked easily. Amateur players tend to contact the ball late and normally make the ball long.

Use fast push to surprise your opponent!

Tip 2: Take the initiative

Use backhand push only when you can’t attack the ball. For the no-spin ball or topspin ball, don’t use the backhand push. But you should take initiative by doing the backhand flick, or backhand topspin.

Learn to attack first!

Attack all the long ball! Don’t push the long ball!

Tip 3: Adjust the racket’s angle

Always adjust the angle of your racket depends on the amount of incoming spin.

For less underspin ball, you should close more your racket.

For heavy underspin ball, open more your racket’s angle.


How to play a push in table tennis

Watch this video.


These are the basic table tennis techniques that every player can do it easily. Learn more about another fundamental technique here.

For these shots, focus on the consistency, and control the placement of your push.

Learn more about the basic techniques in table tennis:

The push is used to return the serve passively!

These are another backhand and forehand technique that can help your return the serve actively.

Hope you enjoy this ping pong lessons.

Please share this tutorial with your friends.

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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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