Using basic strokes like the regular drive, push, block, chop or loop isn’t enough, especially in competitive games. Adding powerful skills like smashing will make you stand out. We will guide you through how you can master this fastest hitting technique in table tennis.
What is Table Tennis Smash?
Table tennis smash is an advanced skill that involves hitting the ball hard and fast. When you smash, it lowers the chances of your opponent returning the ball, or at least makes them return in weakly.
However, mastering the technique may not come easy. With this guide and constant practice, you will become an expert soon enough.
How to Smash in Table Tennis
Different players have different smashing techniques. However, irrespective of your preference, the goal is to drive the ball as hard as possible to your opponent’s side of the table. When smashing, you use your body mass as an extra push to hit the ball harder.
Players use smashing effectively when returning a lob. When your opponent hits the ball high above the net, it graces you with the perfect smashing opportunity. You may decide to return the ball with either the forehand or backhand smash.
How to Play Forehand Smash
Many players find it easier to employ forehand smash as a strategy because the positioning is relatively more straightforward. You can hit it with this in your most natural position.
Most learners make the major mistake because they assume that the forehand smash is all about force, so they go all in; there is more to smashing than hitting the ball with the hardest power.
You need to master the perfect timing, precision, and positioning to hit the ball rightly. If not, you will find the ball missing the table all the time.
You may need to play consequent forehand smashes as your opponent may return it at first. In such a case, you keep smashing till your opponent misses. Here are the steps you can take to play the forehand smash effectively:
The success of your forehand smashes starts from your positioning. Your body and feet must be in the right place. You need to maintain a sideways stance.
For right-hand players, your right foot should be behind the left. Left-handed players should have their left foot behind instead while still maintaining the sideways stance. Either way, make sure your weight is resting on the back foot. Your racket should be in a rather higher position and directly behind the ball path.
As the ball bounces off the table, you should transfer the weight from your back foot to your front while swinging your body forward. You need to be quick about it as your rotation should be complete at that instant, ready to hit the ball.
You could strike the ball at a higher level, around your shoulder level, or very low, around the net level. The latter gives your opponent a lesser chance to return; however, it is harder to master.
After smashing, with your body weight on your front foot, you should return it quickly. Don’t make the mistake of swinging the racket far towards the middle of the table so that you can recover quickly enough.
How to Play Backhand Smash
The backhand may not be as common as the forehand as it involves more arm movement. The bright side is that it makes the backhand drill a little bit easier if you know how to execute the forehand smash.
It doesn’t matter if you are right or lefthanded; you will be able to execute either the forehand or backhand smash.
Just like forehand, you want to position yourself in a position that will favor the technique. This time, both feet of yours should be facing the opponent diagonally. Place your weight majorly on your back foot as you prepare to smash the ball. Your hand should also be in a somewhat high position so that you can bring it down to hit the ball with power.
To strike the ball, you don’t want to use your forehand. This time around, you want to hit it with your backhand. It means that between the time you swing your hand and when it hits the pass, you have to twist your arm a bit to hit the ball.
You have to maximize your wrist in addition to your body weight to give it more power. You may find it difficult to effectively control the ball’s direction because of the backhand technique, but with constant practice, you will figure it out.
It is important to recover as fast as possible to prepare for a possible return for your opponent. Don’t push your arm too much towards the net so that you can get back into the proper position as fast as possible.
How to Return Smash in Table Tennis
As much as learning to smash makes you attach the game top-notch, you also need to work on defense. If your opponent smashes, you could also return it.
The technique for returning a smash is called lobbing. It is the best defensive technique to return a smash. It involves returning the ball in a high manner so that your opponent finds it difficult to return with a successive smash.
To execute the lob, for right-handed players, your right foot should be behind your left, and vice versa for left-handed players. In this case, your table tennis racket should be lower, preparing to receive the smash.
Remember that the smash is fast, so you have to lob the ball fast. Everything would be in seconds. As the smash bounces off the table, move quickly and hit the ball as you raise your hand. The ball would lob into your opponent’s part of the table.
Here are some tips and key points you should have in mind when learning this technique:
- Hitting the ball at the highest point, as this is when the ball is slowest.
- Speed is an essential factor to returning a smash; you need to master the act of quick movement.
- If it is proving difficult for you, you may need to get a coach to become an expert.
Each technique requires constant practice. Don’t beat yourself over not getting it; you will eventually be a master.
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.