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How to use finger in table tennis (Chinese techniques)

Welcome back to pingsunday: A place to learn table tennis correctly and with fun. You would know how to use the wrist in table tennis. Now you will learn the advanced Chinese techniques: how to use the fingers to improve the quality (spin, power) of the shots.

Using Wrist is the University Level, and using Fingers in table tennis is the Master level.

So how to use fingers in table tennis?

A player asked “The master level is using Fingers. Which fingers does he mean? and how we practice it?”.

Using finger in table tennis can improve both the power and the control of your shots.

Using index finger in the forehand technique

Today, I will explain this advanced techniques in table tennis: Using Fingers. First of all, Ma Long said that you should use your index finger in the forehand strokes. The index finger is a support point, which helps you feel the ball and add the force to the stroke. You need to apply the pressure on the index finger.

Index finger force: Ma Long applies the force on the index finger to “guide” the ball, and to accelerate (add more power) if necessary.

Ma Long recommandation: use index finger for the forehand technique
Ma Long recommendation: use index finger for the forehand technique

Using thumb finger in the backhand technique

But how about using Fingers in the backhand strokes? You can easily see that Ma Long relaxes his wrist very well. He accelerates right before contact the ball in the backhand topspin technique.

He also uses his thumb to support the stroke in the backhand block technique. In the backhand shot, the thumb is moved upward. The thumb points to the head of the racket. This action will stabilize the shots. Look at the grip of Ma Long.

Ma Long uses the thumb in the backhand technique
Ma Long uses the thumb in the backhand technique

Ma Long also cited in his instructional video that:

  • You should apply the force on your thumb in the backhand stroke.
  • The thumb finger also “guides” the ball. This is the advanced technique because it requires you execute at the right timing.
  • You should hold the racket loosely. Or just pinch the racket between the index and the thumb as demonstrated by Ma Long. The thumb points to the direction where you want the ball to go.

Ma Long pointed out that you need to move the thumb up.

Apply the pressure to the thumb in your backhand stroke.

Professional players change the grip

You can clearly see that he pressed down his thumb before doing the backhand topspin. Look at his grip carefully. There are 2 phases: Relax, and apply the pressure. And he repeated: Relax the thumb and Apply the pressure. It’s so clear that the professional players do change the “grip” before and during the strokes.

table tennis master level: using fingers (Ma Long's technique)

Watch video above ☝.

Another example of using fingers in table tennis is the “little and the ring finger” of Zhang Jike. Zhang Jike applies the force to the little and the ring finger during the forehand stroke. This is unconventional. However, table tennis is a sport that focuses on the feeling of the ball. It depends on the personal feel, a large extent determine the quality of the ball. Zhang Jike needs to do that because he has the backhand grip. His thumb finger is moved very high.

Zhang Jikes backhand grip at the young age
Zhang Jikes backhand grip at the young age
Zhang Jike unique technique: Pressure on the little finger
Zhang Jike unique technique: Pressure on the little finger

At the young age, Zhang Jike has used the backhand grip. Look his thumb finger. That’s why he needs to apply the force to his little finger. Otherwise, his racket will fly away during the forehand attack.

This is the example of using the Fingers in table tennis (Master Level). The previous level (University Level) is using the wrist. [ratings]

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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.

10 thoughts on “How to use finger in table tennis (Chinese techniques)”

  1. I had read this post a while ago and as yet my technique was not good, I could not apply it. On a given day, training in a return board I was able to see the use of the index finger and the thumb and remembered this post. So I had to read it again and see if I had lost any detail. Continue with the beautiful work of teaching us, those passionate about table tennis.

    Guilherme Reis. (from Brazil)


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