Table Tennis Basic Strokes - The Backhand Push

01
of 06

Ready Position

Photo of Backhand Push - Ready Position
Ready Position. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Having discussed the backhand counterhit, we will now be looking at what should probably be the third table tennis stroke that you learn - the backhand push. This stroke is the foundation of all backhand backspin strokes, so by learning how to hit it correctly, you will find it easier to learn the more advanced strokes such as the backhand chop, which is essential for advanced defensive play.

In the backhand push against light to medium backspin, the idea is to hit the ball over the net with slow to medium speed and a little backspin to help you control the ball, and make it difficult to attack.

View the Backhand Push Video. (1MB)

Points to look for:

  • The feet are placed with the right foot slightly further back than the left foot, to allow easy transition to the forehand if necessary.
  • Most of the weight is on the balls of the feet to allow quicker movement. Too much weight on the heels will slow down movement, and too much weight on the toes will affect balance.
  • The weight is evenly distributed between the left and right legs.
  • The knees are bent and the feet are around one and a half times shoulder width apart. The torso is also leaning slightly forward. This gives a lower center of gravity for better balance, and allows for easy movement in all directions.
  • Shoulders are in line with the legs, with the right shoulder slightly behind the left.
  • The arms are held roughly shoulder width apart, with around a 90 degree angle at the elbow. The bat should be above the table to allow easy stroking of short balls.

02
of 06

Beginning of Backswing

Photo of Backhand Push - Beginning of Backswing
Beginning of Backswing. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The ball is coming to the backhand side and the decision has been made to play a backhand push. The backswing begins the stroke.

Points to look for:

  • The hips, waist and shoulders have begun to turn to the left, although the head is still facing forward watching the ball. Note that there is little or no weight transfer sideways, since the ball will be hit directly in front of the body.
  • The bat has only moved slightly backwards at this point. The amount that the bat moves backwards will vary from player to player, and will also be affected by the amount of power the stroke is hit with.
  • The left arm has not moved significantly, and will not do so throughout the stroke. Since very little weight is shifting, it is not required to move it for balance, and it is better left in the same position.

03
of 06

End of Backswing

Photo of Backhand Push - End of Backswing
End of Backswing. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The ball is about to bounce on the table, and the backswing has finished.

Points to look for:

  • The bodyweight has moved a little onto the left leg, but is still fairly even.
  • The left arm has not moved significantly, and the right arm has bent at the elbow to the left, so that the forearm is roughly parallel to the endline of the table. A faster or spinnier push would have the arm moving further away from the table.
  • Notice that the shoulders have turned more than the hips and waist.
  • Both shoulders have lowered a little, as the player continues to get into position. The right hand is at a height that is a little above the expected maximum height of the bounce of the ball. Note that the right hand is not directly above the left hand, but is around six inches or so to the right of it horizontally.
  • The head has lowered to allow the player to keep watching the ball comfortably and closely.
  • The player is directly behind the ball, with the ball roughly in the centre of his body.
  • The angle of the bat is a little open, with the top edge of the bat pointing slightly upwards due to the slight cocking of the wrist.

04
of 06

Contact with the Ball

Photo of Backhand Push - Contact with the Ball
Contact with the Ball. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Contact has been made with the ball.

Points to look for:

  • The player has watched the bat contact the ball.
  • The hips, waist and shoulders have not turned appreciably from their position at the end of the backswing. They would be turned if extra power was required.
  • The forearm and bat are moving faster than the shoulders, as shown by the slight blurring in the photograph.
  • If the ball was compared to a clockface, the bat has made contact at a point roughly around the number 4, while the bat was moving mainly forwards and slightly down. Note that the angle of the bat remains open. This movement makes the ball go mainly forward, with a light amount of backspin generated by the small brush of the ball.
  • Contact has been made between the left hand side of the torso and the middle of the body.

05
of 06

End of Follow-through

Photo of Backhand Push - End of Follow-through
End of Follow-through. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The follow-through has come to an end, and the ball is on its way.

Points to look for:

  • The player is now watching his opponent at the other end of the court, rather than the flight of the ball.
  • The hips, waist and shoulders have not turned, since the extra power they would provide was not needed.
  • The hips, waist and shoulders are a little higher than the original ready position, since the legs have pushed up a little to help lift the ball.
  • The follow-through has finished below shoulder height, since the ball was not pushed very hard.

06
of 06

Return to Ready Position

Photo of Backhand Push - Return to Ready Position
Return to Ready Position. (c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.

The player returns to his ready position before the next stroke.

Points to look for:

  • The player simply had to bring his right arm down and backwards a little to have his bat back into the ready position. Note that the bat is pointing forward in a neutral position, and is not left in place for another backhand push.
  • The waist, hips and shoulders have returned to their original position.
  • His knees have begun to bend as he returns to his basic crouch position.
  • His bodyweight is again evenly distributed between his left and right legs, and on the balls of his feet.

Next: The Forehand Push

Return to How to Play the Basic Strokes of Table Tennis

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Letts, Greg. "Table Tennis Basic Strokes - The Backhand Push." ThoughtCo, Aug. 22, 2016, thoughtco.com/the-backhand-push-3173530. Letts, Greg. (2016, August 22). Table Tennis Basic Strokes - The Backhand Push. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-backhand-push-3173530 Letts, Greg. "Table Tennis Basic Strokes - The Backhand Push." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-backhand-push-3173530 (accessed September 21, 2017).