Drives in table tennis sports is a light topspin stroke that creates a low ball trajectory. It is an offensive stroke in the game. These strokes give you control of the game and give you an advantage over your opponent.
They won’t have plenty of options when responding to these strokes. Players need to master the forehand and backhand drives. When executing drives, players use the entire body’s movement for a consistent and powerful stroke. When playing drives, you keep the ball in play, and then when your opponent is under pressure, you get an opportunity to give a more powerful shot.
It is easy to learn the forehand and backhand drives, even though some players find it difficult to master. It would require some practice to master these strokes and it is one of the basic strokes taught to beginners.
The Forehand Drive
What is Forehand Drive in Table Tennis?
The forehand drive is stroke players use for attacking opponents. This stroke throws the opponent into making errors in the game. The purpose of this shot is to make the ball land on the opponent’s baseline.
Players use forehand drive as an attacking sign on the opposition. They usually set this behaviour to make the opponents commit errors in the match. Moreover, your goal is to throw the ball close to the opponent’s baseline of the table.
The forehand drive is in four parts, which are stance, backswing, strike, and finish. When you get these steps perfectly, you can easily do a basic forehand drive.
How to Play a Forehand Drive in Table Tennis?
1. Correct Position
The first step to getting a forehand drive is knowing how to position yourself. You can only hit the ball right when you have the correct stance. Your feet should be set apart at least shoulder-width. Some coaches will insist on two shoulder-widths apart. If you are a right-handed player, you can place your right foot slightly further back from your left. Keep your knees in a bent position while your body looks like you are leaning forward. Your weight should be resting on the balls of your feet and not on your heels. Also, put your two arms forward towards the direction of the incoming ball. This is the stance you take for a forehand drive.
2. Right Backswing
The next part you should work on is your backswing. This is the part where you target the ball that is being sent to you. If you don’t have the right backswing, you won’t put enough force to make your shot and eventually lose control of the ball. To get your backswing, you need to rotate your body to the right side from your hips and move your weight on your back foot. You should remember to keep your position on the same stance.
3. Reasonable Strike
The strike comes as a forward movement when you want to hit the ball. In this case, you are doing the exact opposite of the backswing. You will need to rotate your body on the left or front side of your hips. Your weight will move from your back foot to rest on the front foot. Your racket angle should be closed so that you can hit the ball at its peak after it bounces. Then you leave a small gap between your body and elbow.
4. Quick Restore
The finish is the point where you end your shot. At this stage, you should ensure you don’t over-rotate and finish with your racket behind your neck. Your finish should end with your racket pointing in the direction where you hit the ball. After you make your strike, the racket should move forward and upwards.
Finally, it needs to be quickly restored to a ready-to-hit position for the next shot.
Tips For Playing Forehand Drive
- Avoid moving your shoulders when rotating your body around the hips. This way you can get the perfect forehand drive.
- Keep your body slightly away from your elbow so you’re don’t limit rotation and for better flexibility.
- Control your hands there, but only your body should handle the movement when striking. Your weight naturally transfers some of its weight to the arm to get better results.
- Your wrists should be kept straight to avoid any errors. If your arms are bent, it can cause the racket to face a downward position.
- Your rackets angle should be kept at a closed angle all the time. This is a mistake some players make when doing the forehand drive. You should practice more to improve your racket angle position.
- Remember to stay in the right position for a forehand drive. This drive is played mostly by the sides of the court. The reason is that the low flying ball will need a smash to continue the game.
The forehand drive is an aggressive shot and one of the most important shots to learn in table tennis.
The key steps to this stroke are simple and easy to execute.
Players when executing the forehand drive should remember three things, positioning, the shot and recovery.
Also, with consistent practice, you can get better at this shot and gain more confidence to execute the forehand drive.
The Backhand Drive
What is Backhand Drive in Table Tennis?
The backhand drive is usually associated with a topspin shot. However, the two are different because in this type of shot, players raise their arms higher so the ball goes a little higher than a topspin. For a forehand drive, you will need to use the front of your hands to produce this stroke but the backhand drive required ls players to use the backside of their hands.
The difference between the forehand drive and backhand drive can also be seen in the movement of the body. Players are not expected to do a full-body rotation like the forehand drive. The backhand drive is usually taught as a second shot by coaches and is used to control rallies. You can use this stroke as a counterstroke especially when playing offensive.
The backhand drive like the forehand drive can be played in four parts. This breakdown allows you to understand how you can easily master the shot. Some players find it difficult learning the backhand drive but with these simple steps, you can make the stroke with ease.
How to Play a Backhand Drive in Table Tennis?
1. Correct Position
Your stance should keep you directly in the line of play. Your feet also have to be facing the same direction but normally it would be pointing diagonally at the opponent’s backhand corner. Like the forehand drive, your feet should also be set wide apart slightly. Your body should be crouched and your arms facing your front while it is bent at the elbow.
2. Right Backswing
The backswing position for a backhand drive does not require anybody rotation. You also don’t need to transfer your weight on any foot. If you are a right-handed player, you can move your body back in a way that looks like you are leaning on your left hip. The racket angle should be a bit closed for a backhand drive.
3. Reasonable Strike
Your strike should be very simple. Your racket should be positioned facing the direction of the ball and also upwards. You should use your elbow for movement as a beginner because one of the mistakes players make is applying more of their wrist to make a shot. You should remember to keep the racket angle closed throughout the time you make your strike.
4. Quick Restore
The finish like the forehand drive will leave your bat in the direction of where the ball was hit. You should have your seem slightly bent but not completely straight. Finally, you also need to quickly restore the posture like a forehand drive.
Tips For Playing Backhand Drive
- Keep the racket at a closed angle throughout the game and avoid making the mistake of opening the angle. This mistake usually happens when players are trying to move their shoulders with the racket.
- When playing the backhand drive, ensure you don’t try reaching for the ball. This will make you change your stance and ruin the stroke. Keep your position and wait for the ball to bounce before striking the ball.
- The direction of the racket is also important when making contact with the ball. For a backhand drive, you should keep the same direction even after you have made the drive.
- Your body weight should be utilized when making this stroke to get a very powerful shot. The backhand drive will require the force of the weight from your entire body to give more power to the stroke.
- Avoid limiting your movement to your wrists when making a backhand drive. You also need strength from your shoulders and arms for this shot.
Backhand drive strike is one good attacking technique in table tennis.
The stroke is versatile and has a little similarity with the topspin stroke.
It is one of the basic strokes beginners should master in the game.
You need to remember all the details when playing this aggressive shot and avoid making errors.
Backhand drive gives players an edge over their opponents and gives you control of the ball. If used the right way, it could earn you some good winnings.
My name is Cosmos Boll and I’m 26 years old. I’m Chinese and live in Shanghai.
I am a table tennis enthusiast and a professional table tennis coach.
My idol is Timo Boll who is the greatest player in the world.