Table Tennis/ Ping-Pong Basic Strokes - Forehand Smash Against a Lob

01
of 10

Ready Position

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - Ready Position
Ready Position. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The forehand smash against a lob is a stroke that should be part of every ping-pong player's arsenal. The idea behind this shot is to hit the lobbed ball very hard onto the playing surface, keeping the opponent away from the table. You should try to angle the ball away from your opponent so that he cannot reach it, or play the ball straight at your opponent so that he cannot get out of the way in time and has to play a cramped stroke.

Some players prefer to smash the ball with very little spin and as much pace as possible, while others feel more comfortable using a little topspin to aid their control as well as a lot of pace.

View the Forehand Smash vs Lob Video: 856x480 pixels (5 MB); 428x240 pixels (2.85 MB)

Points to look for:

  • The smash will occur in the middle of a rally. In this case the player has forced his opponent back from the table with a strong attack to the backhand side of the opponent, which is why the player is standing so far to his own backhand side.
  • The player is in a neutral ready position, with legs wide apart, knees slightly bent, and on the balls of his feet. He is ready to move in any direction with ease.
  • The player is a little further back from the table, since he knows that his opponent's return from a long way away from the table is unlikely to bounce short.

02
of 10

Start of Backswing

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - Start of Backswing
Start of Backswing. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The player has seen that his opponent is playing a lob, and is starting his backswing.

Points to look for:

  • The hips, waist and shoulders have turned to the player's right, winding up his muscle power, which will be unleashed when he hits the ball.
  • The right foot has moved backwards, and has turned slightly, so that it is now parallel to the endline of the table.
  • The knees are bending, and will be straightened when the players swings forward at the ball, adding to the power of the stroke.
  • The player is watching the oncoming ball closely.

03
of 10

Middle of Backswing

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - Middle of Backswing
Middle of Backswing. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The ball is just clearing the net, and the player is in the middle of his backswing.

Points to look for:

  • The waist, hips and shoulders have virtually finished turning, and are now in position for the forward swing.
  • The player is now putting more of his weight on his right leg, moving his weight backwards and to the right.
  • The playing arm is being taken back further by the player, instead of allowing the shoulder turn to move the bat back.
  • The player is continuing to watch the ball closely.

04
of 10

Middle of Backswing - Bounce of Ball

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - Middle of Backswing - Bounce of Ball
Middle of Backswing - Bounce of Ball. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The ball has just bounced on the table, and the player is nearing the end of his backswing.

Points to look for:

  • The player has continued to move his bodyweight backwards and to the right, putting more weight on his right leg and foot. Note the bend of the right knee.
  • The left leg has not yet begun to move forward, since the bodyweight is still going backwards at this point.
  • The player is continuing to move his arm backwards, without turning his shoulders or waist any further. The bat is still held fairly low at this point.
  • The free arm is moving a little forward to help maintain good balance.

05
of 10

End of Backswing

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - End of Backswing
End of Backswing. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The player has reached the end of his backswing, and is just beginning his forward swing to hit the ball.

Points to look for:

  • The free arm has moved forward, beginning the process of turning the body back towards the player's left, adding to the power of the stroke.
  • The bat is still held fairly low, since this player uses a little topspin when smashing the ball, and as such will have a slightly upward swing.
  • The left leg has risen onto the toes, and will move forward in subsequent photographs as the forward swing continues.
  • The right knee has straightened, as the player pushes up and forward from the right leg, adding to the power of the stroke.
  • The playing arm has not yet moved forward, and will actually be the last part of the body to move forward into the ball.
  • The player is still maintaining a close eye on the flight of the ball.

06
of 10

Contact With the Ball

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - Contact With the Ball
Contact With the Ball. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The player has swung forward and made contact with the ball.

Points to look for:

  • The hips, waist and shoulders have turned back towards the player's left, adding to the power of the shot.
  • The high speed of the players forearm and bat can be seen by the heavy blurring of the photograph.
  • By comparing the position of the bat in this photograph and the previous photograph, it can be seen that the stroke is mainly forwards, and slightly upwards, giving a fast shot with a little topspin.
  • Because the ball landed on the player's wide forehand, the left leg has crossed over the right leg, and is moving forward and to the right. The player's bodyweight is also moving forward and a little to the right.

07
of 10

Middle of Follow Through

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - Middle of Follow Through
Middle of Follow Through. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The ball is on its way over the net, and the player is in the middle of his follow through.

Points to look for:

  • Note the heavy blurring and streaking of the ball trajectory in the photograph, showing the high speed of the ball. Also notice the relatively straight line movement of the ball, forwards and downwards onto the other side of the table.
  • The players whole body is in motion, as shown by the blurring in the photograph.
  • The left foot is about to land with the toes pointing forward, and the right foot has lifted off the ground and will be brought forward as part of the return to his ready position.
  • The follow through has continued forward of the player's head, but the player has not crossed his playing arm over the middle of his body, allowing faster recovery.

08
of 10

End of Follow Through

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - End of Follow Through
End of Follow Through. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The ball has bounced on the other side of the table, and the player has reached the end of his follow through.

Points to look for:

  • The follow through has continued so that the bat is around a foot or so forward of the players head, but the bat has not crossed over the middle of the player's body.
  • The player is now watching how the opponent will handle the ball.
  • The left leg is bending to help absorb the shock of the player's landing on the floor.
  • The right leg is moving forward and to the right, as the player brings his right foot into position.
  • The free arm is almost hidden behind the right arm, since it is being used to help the player stay balanced.

09
of 10

Start of Return to Ready Position

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - Start of Return to Ready Position
Start of Return to Ready Position. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The player is beginning to return to his ready position for the next stroke.

Points to look for:

  • Both arms have been allowed to drop from their positions in the follow through, and now only have to be pulled back a little to be in the ready position again.
  • The waist, hips and shoulders are finishing fairly square to the endline of the table.
  • The right leg is in position, and the right foot is about to land in close to what will be its ready position.

10
of 10

Return to Ready Position

Photo of Forehand Smash Against Lob - Return to Ready Position
Return to Ready Position. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The player has almost finished returning to his ready position.

Points to look for:

  • The hips, waist and shoulders have turned a little further to the left than they originally started, due to the force of the stroke. This is allowable since the opponent is well back from the table, giving the player plenty of time to turn a fraction to the right to get into his optimum ready position.
  • The player would not stay in this position wide to the forehand side. As his opponent continues to play a stroke, the player would move a little to his backhand side, getting into a central position to cover all possible angles available to the opponent. The further to the opponent's backhand side the player has hit the ball, the further to his own backhand he will move.
  • The player will also move a little bit backwards, since it is likely that the opponent's return will once again be high and deep, and the player will want to be able to move forwards again to hit the ball harder. If the player stayed at his current depth, he would find it very hard to get any forward movement into the stroke, making it difficult to hit the ball with good power.
  • Note that the knees are once again bent, with the right leg a little behind the left. The player is once again well balanced to move in any direction.

Return to How to Play the Basic Strokes of Table Tennis/ Ping-Pong

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Your Citation
Letts, Greg. "Table Tennis/ Ping-Pong Basic Strokes - Forehand Smash Against a Lob." ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2016, thoughtco.com/forehand-smash-against-a-lob-3173543. Letts, Greg. (2016, August 22). Table Tennis/ Ping-Pong Basic Strokes - Forehand Smash Against a Lob. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/forehand-smash-against-a-lob-3173543 Letts, Greg. "Table Tennis/ Ping-Pong Basic Strokes - Forehand Smash Against a Lob." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/forehand-smash-against-a-lob-3173543 (accessed September 21, 2017).