Friday, February 27, 2009

Shenzhen Ping Pong: reverse penhold backhand flip

This entry marks the last of this series of posts about ping pong.

A summary of this series:

[Click on a number to go to the link.]
1My personal ping pong history.
2The Shenzhen Century South China Table Tennis Club and the coaches.
3The forehand forehand warm-up drill.
4The reverse penhold backhand warm-up drill.
5The reverse penhold backhand loop.
6The reverse penhold backhand loop against the underspin serve.
7The reverse penhold backhand flip against the short underspin serve (this entry).
(I might talk about other drills and more advanced topics in a future series. Or not...)

As we have seen earlier, the reverse side of the paddle permits the penholder to pursue a similar offensive backhand game to that of the regular shakehands player. (More specifically, the last post (link here) showed the use of a backhand loop against the underspin serve.)

However, not all serves will come long. That is, the backhand loop cannot be used against every serve that comes to the backhand. In particular, a low, underspin serve that falls short enough to bounce twice after crossing the net cannot be attacked in this fashion.

The solution is to step in and use a backhand flip (aka "flick") to attack the short ball. As with the shakehands grip, for the penholder with a reverse side backhand, the reverse side can also be used to flick the ball.

The following frames illustrates the setup. First notice it is necessary to decisively step in over the table to place the forearm in the correct position for the stroke. (Merely sticking an arm out and not moving in won't work.)

After that it should be a smoothly coordinated stroke that's like a two-stage rocket. This is difficult to see even frame by frame. A description:
  • As a pre-condition, the initial contact (towards the back and side of the ball) critically requires achieving good grip on the ball.
  • The first part is like the first stage of a rocket, i.e. accelerate slowly from a standstill. IOnce you're able to feel and "grab" the ball, the wrist initiates the topspin necessary to overcome the (possibly heavy) underspin on the incoming ball.
  • Like a rocket, the second stage accelerates faster. The forearm (going forwards and to the right) takes over from the wrist to power the ball forward, completing the stroke.
With this in mind, observe the following frames:

Okay, let's go to the video! Two clips (optionally available in HD):

[Direct link.]

The second clip is against a heavier underspin serve:

{Direct link]

Together with the backhand loop, we've shown how to cover the entire backhand side of the table.


  1. Enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your fun experiences with us. Started to practice backhand flip.


  2. Excellent in details. Enjoy it very much. Actullay, playing ping pong 3 months. Will start practice reverse loop and flip definitly.

  3. wATCHING/ READNIG YOUR BLOG IS AWESOME. I am imspired. Cna you give me your email as I want to have a chat with you


  4. Some really juicy shit you've got there with your table tennis skills. Keep up with it, dude, for one day I may want to take on you in a hot duet.