Table Tennis Loop is one of the most offensive strokes in modern table tennis. It is basically a heavy topspin shot executed by brushing the ball in an upward and forward direction. When you apply topspin to a table tennis loop, the ball moves uniquely. It stays close to the table as it travels through the air and bounces when it hits the table. This action forces your opponent to return your play in a manner that gives you the advantage.
The Table Tennis loop can be played as the Table Tennis Forehand Loop or the Table Tennis Backhand Loop. We will be looking at both forms of the Table Tennis Loop. Hopefully, at the end of this guide on the Table Tennis Loop, you should be able to decide which of them works best for you. Better still, you might want to master both variations to become a more rounded table tennis player.
But if you are still a beginner player, it is recommended to learn the “Beginner’s Guide” first.
What Is The Forehand Loop?
The table tennis Forehand Loop is one of the most popular attacking strokes in modern table tennis. It is similar to the Forehand Drive. As a matter of fact, it is a variation of the forehand drive and some coaches advise that beginners should learn the Forehand Drive first.
Its popularity is because many professional table tennis players incorporate it into their repertoire of skills. If you are looking to be score as many points as you’d need to master this stroke.
So what’s the difference between the Forehand Loop and the Forehand Drive?
Well, the difference between both strokes is intensity. The Forehand Loop has more speed, spin and power. With the Forehand Loop, you should be looking to hit and spin the ball more directly and with more force. For the Forehand Drive, the focus is on contact.
A well-executed Forehand Loop is really difficult to counter because of the way it arcs and accelerates. The Forehand Loop is a great attacking shot that you need to master if you intend to win ping pong games. Let’s look at how to play this stroke.
How to Play Forehand Loop in Table Tennis
The Forehand Loop is one of the more advanced strokes in modern table tennis. But if you are still a beginner player, it is recommended to learn the “Beginner’s Guide” first.
Interestingly, you could easily get the hang of this stroke with some Forehand Loop training. Thankfully, we have described some Forehand Loops steps that you can take to master the Forehand Loop technique.
- Step 1. Get your Forehand Loop footwork right. To do that, keep your right foot slightly further back than the left foot with your weight leaning forwards on the front parts of your feet and your knees bent a little.
- Step 2. Keep your upper body and shoulders relaxed but slightly bent. However, you want to keep the center of gravity of your body low with your upper body slightly hunched.
- Step 3. Keep both hands stretched out in front of you.
- Step 4. Adjust your position such that your hands are in line with your right foot.
- Step 5. Before making contact with the ball, make sure that your right foot is in line with the ball.
- Step 6. Before hitting the ball, get your body, arm and paddle lower while putting a little more weight on your right foot.
- Step 7. Keep your paddle closed
- Step 8. Rotate from your waist while flexing your elbow when you hit the ball. You must attack the ball with an aggressive brushing motion with a lot of speed and spin.
- Step 9. Hit the back of the ball if you want to lift it to get the forehand high loop. Make sure that you hit the ball on the top of the ball to get it to move forward.
- Step 10. Flow with the swing motion so that your stroke ends with your hips square to the table and your paddle in front of your face.
- Step 11. Check your motion so that when you finish the stroke, the paddle does not swing across your body neither do you get spun around. A well-executed Forehand Loop should end with your arm and paddle recovering and moving backward in line with your stomach.
When Should You Play a Forehand Loop?
The Forehand Loop is a great stroke to use when your opponent puts topspin on the ball they play towards you. With a well-executed Forehand Loop, you can quickly counter with a shot that has at least a medium topspin on it.
- Bear the following tips in mind when playing the Forehand Loop stroke
- Always keep your knees bent at the beginning of the Forehand Loop
- Keep your elbow slightly relaxed and extended during the swing
- Always try to brush the ball when hitting it.
- Adapt your stroke to match the direction and movement of the ball
- Always be mindful of your footwork during the stroke
What Is Backhand Loop in Table Tennis?
The backhand counterpart of the Forehand Loop is known as the Backhand Loop. This stroke is fast gaining traction among table tennis players, especially at the professional level.
It is a basic skill in ping pong that is essentially an advanced topspin stroke. It is derived from the Backhand Drive, so it is a great idea to master the Backhand Drive before learning the Backhand Loop.
Although a lot of table tennis players don’t develop a backhand loop. You can never go wrong with having mastery of the Backhand Loop because it is one of those techniques that handle some of your opponent’s techniques, like the backspin of backhand side.
How to Do the Backhand Loop in Table Tennis?
The backhand loop is not so popular among table tennis players because of its level of difficulty. As an advanced topspin stroke, the Backhand Loop technique is not easy to learn, and you would need to invest some time and effort to master it.
But here’s the thing. Without a mastery of the Backhand Loop, you are at a tactical disadvantage when playing against certain table tennis players. Once you get the hang of the Backhand Loop key points like the stance and positioning, you are halfway towards mastering this stroke.
With the right Backhand Loop teaching point and some practice, you will be able to add the Backhand Loop stroke to your repertoire of skills. That said, here are some steps you could take for your Backhand Loop training in table tennis.
- Step 1. Stand with your feet some 1.5 shoulder widths apart with your knees slightly bent. Make sure your feet are facing the direction that you intend to hit the ball.
- Step 2. Keep your upper body relaxed with the weight leaning on the front parts of your feet.
- Step 3. Keep the muscles in your leg springy so that you can move around the table as quickly as you need to.
- Step 4. Keep your upper body in a crouched position with your center of gravity low. Let your shoulders droop but relaxed. If your stance is right, you will have enough strength in your legs and body, which should give you enough power to play the stroke right.
- Step 5. Keep your left hip behind the ball if you are right-handed and vice-versa. You must shift your weight properly as you make the stroke. Your legs and your core generate the power for the stroke, so they need to be well aligned at all times.
- Step 6. Stay close enough to the table to be able to hit the ball without reaching too far or let the ball drop as it comes to you. Try to gauge the right distance.
- Step 7. Use your elbow as the pivot that creates the force that propels the stroke. Keep your paddle lower than your elbow when you start the Backhand Loop stroke. You then use your elbow as a fulcrum to lift the paddle, after which you follow with a snapping motion of your wrist.
- Step 8. Try to hit the ball at a 45-degree angle that is close to the top of your racket. That allows you to produce the spin that lifts the ball over the net.
When Should You Play a Backhand Loop?
Mastery of the Backhand Loop gives you more control of a game and allows you to choose your attacking play. So you could play the Backhand Loop when you want to attack a ball as the topspin makes it difficult for your opponent to react to your shot. A great time to play the backhand loop will be at the start of a rally if you are against an opponent that pushes your serve back or serves then pushes.
- Try to hit the ball while it is rising or at the top of the bounce.
- Hit the ball at the top of the bounce just above the center.
- Always start with your paddle held low and in the direction of your left hip if you are right-handed and vice versa if you are left-handed.
- Ensure that your paddle makes about an equal amount of force and spin when you hit the ball
- Try to balance the weight around your feet at all times.
The Table Tennis Loop is a great stroke to learn but like with most strokes, there are always mistakes with the execution of the stroke. We will be looking at the common mistakes with each of the forms of the Table Tennis Loop. Hopefully, you will be able to avoid them when playing a game of tennis.
Common Mistakes in Forehand Loop
- Hitting the ball too far in front of the body
This is mistake occurs when a player tries to hit the ball before getting to them instead of waiting for it to get close enough. Say about as close to the shoulder joint as possible. It is common to see some players hitting the ball as far as two feet in front of them. This adversely affects the angle of the bat and the backswing. As such, when they hit the ball, it either flies far higher than the player wants, or the ball does not hit the table.
- Hitting the ball with the elbow too far back
This mistake occurs when a player hits the forehand stroke at the side of their body with the elbow held too far back. This weakens the shot and makes the Forehand Loop less powerful.
- Hitting the ball too close to the body
With this error, the player’s arm is bent such that the angle of the crook of your arm is too small. Since the distance is short, the arm cannot generate the force needed to make the stroke powerful enough to affect the opponent’s play.
Common Mistakes in Backhand Loop
- The ball landing in the net
A poor stance(bad leg and torso positioning) can cause you to play a backhand loop that travels into the net. Although the motion of your arm and wrist gives the ball the needed motion, the ball’s trajectory over the net is influenced by the power that you can generate with your legs.
- Holding the paddle too tight
When you hold the paddle too tight, you cause the muscles in your wrist and arm to stiffen. This restricts your arm movement and makes your strokes irregular. Changing the angle of the paddle becomes a lot difficult in the course of the game, and this will lead to you having less control in the game.
Always try to keep your grip relaxed but firm enough to allow you to maneuver. That way, you can generate more spin on the ball and have more control as the game goes along.
How can I get more spin with my Forehand Loop stroke?
To generate more spin, relax your arm and keep your wrist is open. Keep the tip of the paddle pointed to the right if you are right-handed(do the opposite if you are left-handed). You then tighten your fingers when you contact the ball so that your wrist automatically turns when you brush the ball. Be sure to follow through.
Why do I need to learn the Backhand Loop?
Learning the Backhand Loop allows you to switch up the game when playing with your opponents. Most table tennis players are familiar with the Forehand Loop and are often prepared for it. A well-executed Backhand Loop puts your opponent at a disadvantage, thus letting you control the game. You get to choose the kind of balls played and how and when you choose to attack.
The Table Tennis Loop is one the best strokes in table tennis because you could play both Forehand and Backhand Loop.You get to use the Forehand Loop against topspins from your opponents. On the flip side, you could opt for a Backhand Loop against backspins when your opponents play them.
This guide furnishes you with tips and the strategy to master the Forehand and Backhand Loop strokes. All you have to do is practice the steps described to have a mastery of the Table Tennis Loop.
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.