Many beginners tend to focus on improving their forehand, but when they want to learn how to improve backhand technique in table tennis, they tend to find that the backhand and forehand are two very different beasts. Typically, a novice table tennis player excels at one and lacks ability in the other. This article is going to explain how to drastically improve your backhand with some practice.
- Access what is currently wrong with your backhand. Do you miss the ball too often? Are you lacking power while striking the ball? Is there absolutely no spin on the ball after you strike it? Once you have determined what you are lacking in terms of your backhand, move on to the next step.
What is your issue? If you are having trouble returning the ball, move to step 3. If you lack force behind your strike, move to step 4. If you want to increase your spin, move to step 5.
- Returns. If you are failing to return the ball the majority of the time, there is little you can do except PRACTICE! A good way of doing this is to find someone of equal skill level or someone who is willing to work with you and play a very slow-paced match. Do not attempt to defeat your opponent, simply try and keep the ball alive. And remember, whatever you do, always keep your eye on the ball. As you begin to feel more comfortable with your backhand, start to put more force behind your strikes. Eventually, it will become just as natural as your forehand (assuming you're better using it).
- Power. If you've been trying to increase the power behind your backhand, odds are you've become that guy who continues to attempt to slam the ball as hard as possible, only to see it die on the net or fly past your opponent. Before you can achieve a reasonable amount of force behind your strike, you need to achieve complete control of your less powerful strikes. If you cannot consistently play a medium paced game with few faults, how can you expect to slam it across and have it hit every time? That being said, a good way to practice building up your power is to find someone who is willing to work with you and have them feed you a mix of lob shots and medium speed shots. By alternating between the two, you will be forced to respond differently and adjust your power accordingly. A major component of power is knowing when to apply it. If you are given a lob shot, don't think, "I'm gonna knock this one out of the park." Remember, you don't get points for cracking the ball, but you do get points by giving something your opponent can't deal with.
- Spin. Spin is one of the most difficult table tennis techniques to master, and is one of the very last things you should work on. You must feel confident that you can return the ball consistently and with the correct amount of force in a given situation before you begin to perfect your spin. To start, grip the ball with one hand and roll it across the paddle. Now picture this taking place in midair. Which way will you attempt to spin the ball? Typically, if you're right-handed, with a backspin your arm will be sweeping to the right, thus putting right spin on the ball. A great way to practice spin is to have someone feed you lob shots. Keep your eye on the ball and sweep your arm to the right. The more side momentum (versus forward momentum) you have, the faster the ball will spin. To achieve the greatest spin, you want to make the sweep as fast as possible and just knick the ball at the right time without pressing the paddle forward. This will take a great deal of time and patience when you are first starting out. As you progress, you may attempt to use a more diagonal approach, applying more forward force with your spin. Once you feel comfortable with the easiest mode of spin, you can attempt sweeping in different directions using the same principles.