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The backhand is the second shot to be taught. It too can be done against backspin, but is best used against topspin. Beginners should probably push with their backhands against backspin, at least at the start. It is not as powerful as the forehand. Therefore, consistency and quickness are more important. It is done differently with all three grips, but we will only explain the shakehands grip backhand in detail. The others will be covered briefly.


Rotate the lower arm and racquet towards the stomach, bringing the racquet down to about table level. The racquet and arm should point slightly downwards, with the elbow at about a 90 degree angle. The racquet should open during the backswing. The elbow itself stays stationary. Do not use the shoulder, legs, waist, etc., at any part of the stroke!

Forward Swing

Rotate the lower arm and racquet forward and slightly up on elbow. The elbow moves forward just enough to keep the racquet going in a straight line.


At contact, snap the wrist up and over the ball, closing the racquet. The racquet rotates around the ball, creating topspin. For extra power, stroke straight through the ball with less spin, sinking the ball straight into the sponge and wood.

Follow Through

The arm continues to extend forward and slightly up, with the elbow extending forward to keep the racquet going in a straight line until the very end of the follow-through. At the end of the stroke, the racquet should point a little to the right of the direction the ball was hit. The elbow is now almost fully extended.


A backhand smash is simply a very hard backhand. Use a longer backswing and snap the wrist hard at contact. This is a very difficult shot, and most beginners won’t be able to do this shot for a while.

When teaching the backhand, make sure the player strokes the ball in front of the body, not from the side. The backhand can be more difficult to teach a child since the player has less reach on that side, combined with short arms, the range is rather small (even for multiball).

When coaching a righthander, guide the stroke with your own backhand stroke. Your right hand should be around the right side of his/her body, guiding his/her right arm. For a lefthanded player, you can either guide with your left hand or stand to the player’s left, facing him. Guide with your right hand and do what for you would be a forehand stroke.

Backhand Drive

Copyright Larry Hodges

Copyright Mark Nordby, Dan Seemiller, John Oros

Copyright USA Table Tennis

Teaching the FH  <


> Teaching the Block


Last Update : 06 Kasım, 2002

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