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Forehand loop - racket angle problem

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    Posted: 11/01/2022 at 8:07am
Since forever I had problems with my forehand loop.
I was never told the proper fundamentals and ingrained a lot of bad habbits over the years Wink
But one thing I would really love to fix is the racket angle in my forehand loop. I start with very closed angle - parallel to the flor or even worse sometimes and open it during the stroke.
As you can imagine, this makes it very inconsistent because if I mistime the stroke just a bit - result is random… I would really love to somehow keep the angle consistent during the stroke.

Do you have any tips for me on how to improve this?
Any specific drills?
I am capable of doing it in from of the mirror, but as soon as I’m in the rally and muscle memory activated, it goes back.

Here is the video to illustrate my problem (if you watch carefully you can see my forehand rubber during the backswing sometimes):


Edited by underspinTopspin - 11/01/2022 at 8:22am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 8:16am
Think you're doing something really weird on the backswing. Imo just tons of shadow practice will fix the issue. Just keep the stroke really simple and avoid having too many complications in the stroke which will affect consistency.... The only real blade angle change in using your index finger to close the racket angle after ball contact imo...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 10:21am
watched a few strokes , didn't see it being parallel to the floor

Edited by tom - 11/01/2022 at 10:21am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 11:03am
Originally posted by underspinTopspin underspinTopspin wrote:

Since forever I had problems with my forehand loop.
I was never told the proper fundamentals and ingrained a lot of bad habbits over the years Wink
But one thing I would really love to fix is the racket angle in my forehand loop. I start with very closed angle - parallel to the flor or even worse sometimes and open it during the stroke.
As you can imagine, this makes it very inconsistent because if I mistime the stroke just a bit - result is random… I would really love to somehow keep the angle consistent during the stroke.

Do you have any tips for me on how to improve this?
Any specific drills?
I am capable of doing it in from of the mirror, but as soon as I’m in the rally and muscle memory activated, it goes back.

Here is the video to illustrate my problem (if you watch carefully you can see my forehand rubber during the backswing sometimes):

Your loop is largely fine, if you want to learn a new forehand topspin, work with a coach but I find that usually, your base forehand will hardly change.  I suspect I don't loop as well or play as well as you do, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

I think your issue might mostly be about reading the ball and being challenged by timing.   I would recommend you play around with taking the ball at different timings and with a blocker who is trying to make you miss and who is adding topspin to the ball and see what adaptations in contact point you have to make.  I find that against blockers who add kick to the ball, you have to be more careful, but that will be the case regardless of your stroke.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dingyibvs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 11:38am
Ma Long also opens his racket a bit when FH looping:


I don't think it's necessarily the wrong technique racket-angle wise.  There are different use cases for different techniques.  The more open angle is suitable when you're trying to add more speed to the shot, which can be landed with good accuracy if you're taking the ball near its highest point.  If you want more spin then you'd use a more closed angle.  This is necessary if you're taking the ball late, even below the table, but can be used at any time so it's a more versatile technique.  See XX's more closed angle FH loop motion.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 11:57am
To me it looks like you are pulling your elbow straight back and up in your backswing.  The "back" is in reference to your shoulder line.  For the European style the elbow should move out and back relative to the table as you rotate, but stay almost fixed in relationship to your shoulder line since the shoulders are turning.  Your extra elbow motion does close the racket more and has to be "undone" in the forward swing before ball contact.  

A drill I often use is to place the left (non-playing) arm across my stomach with the hand behind the playing elbow.  Then I hit Fh's like this so that the playing elbow can be turned back by rotation, but not pulled back by the playing arm.

Having said this, I think your Fh is quite good (better than mine) so I am not suggesting any major change.

Hope this helps.

Mark


Edited by mjamja - 11/01/2022 at 12:01pm
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Deleted.

Edited by underspinTopspin - 11/01/2022 at 1:41pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote underspinTopspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 1:41pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Think you're doing something really weird on the backswing. Imo just tons of shadow practice will fix the issue. Just keep the stroke really simple and avoid having too many complications in the stroke which will affect consistency.... The only real blade angle change in using your index finger to close the racket angle after ball contact imo...

Thank you. It’s always tricky with shadow stroking, as you usually expect quick results, which doesn’t happen. :)
How much do you mean by tons?
Can you do too much? 


Edited by underspinTopspin - 11/01/2022 at 1:45pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote underspinTopspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 1:43pm
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

To me it looks like you are pulling your elbow straight back and up in your backswing.  The "back" is in reference to your shoulder line.  For the European style the elbow should move out and back relative to the table as you rotate, but stay almost fixed in relationship to your shoulder line since the shoulders are turning.  Your extra elbow motion does close the racket more and has to be "undone" in the forward swing before ball contact.  

A drill I often use is to place the left (non-playing) arm across my stomach with the hand behind the playing elbow.  Then I hit Fh's like this so that the playing elbow can be turned back by rotation, but not pulled back by the playing arm.

Having said this, I think your Fh is quite good (better than mine) so I am not suggesting any major change.

Hope this helps.

Mark

Thanks! I think it might very well be the case.. it must be something wrong with the way I’m preparing for the stroke. 
I’ll try the suggestion - really appreciate the tip.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Slowhand Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 3:24pm
Originally posted by underspinTopspin underspinTopspin wrote:

...I start with very closed angle... and open it during the stroke... this makes it very inconsistent because if I mistime the stroke just a bit - result is random… I would really love to somehow keep the angle consistent during the stroke.
One way to reprogram muscle memory is by overcompensation. So if you want a more open angle on backswing, first try doing it with an extreme open angle. This will force you to close the angle at the beginning of the forward swing which is the opposite of what you're doing and will feel completely different. That's what you want. Once you have the feel of doing an open angle backswing, it should be much easier to moderate the angle and establish new muscle memory that works for you.

I think your inconsistency might be coming more from lack of coordination between your hip turn and arm swing. These should happen together, or with the hip slightly ahead of the arm, in order to transfer power efficiently from your legs. If you watch your video in slow motion, you'll see that sometimes your arm is ahead of your hip, and sometimes there's no forward hip turn at all. This makes consistent timing (and power generation) more difficult.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yogi_bear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 4:29pm
not enough hip rotation and your stroke is more of your arm swing. your left shoulder does not return to its original position after follow through. Nextlevel is right, your problem might be more. on missreading the amount of spin on the ball. if you want safe spin and more on accuracy focus on delayed or late timings when contacting the ball after the peak of the bounce.  Then move up and increase your pace and timing up to peak of the bounce and on the rise. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 4:38pm
Originally posted by yogi_bear yogi_bear wrote:

not enough hip rotation and your stroke is more of your arm swing. your left shoulder does not return to its original position after follow through. Nextlevel is right, your problem might be more. on missreading the amount of spin on the ball. if you want safe spin and more on accuracy focus on delayed or late timings when contacting the ball after the peak of the bounce.  Then move up and increase your pace and timing up to peak of the bounce and on the rise. 

I agree with all of this, I think his left leg doesn't twist enough, some might argue that he drops the racket too much rather than using his hip to take the racket back, but these are hard things to fix without coaching, and it won't necessarily help his timing unless he slows down to hit the ball.

But in any case, for what he does, he hits a quality ball and I didn't see any reason why he couldn't modify his swing to take more time on trickier balls.  His top-edging IMO has nothing to do with the limitations of his technique.


Edited by NextLevel - 11/01/2022 at 4:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 6:05pm
Your backswing looks a bit off and you hit the ball a bit sideways. Try to hit behind the ball, not on the right side of it. Right now you go around it on the right side. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yogi_bear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 7:15pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Originally posted by yogi_bear yogi_bear wrote:

not enough hip rotation and your stroke is more of your arm swing. your left shoulder does not return to its original position after follow through. Nextlevel is right, your problem might be more. on missreading the amount of spin on the ball. if you want safe spin and more on accuracy focus on delayed or late timings when contacting the ball after the peak of the bounce.  Then move up and increase your pace and timing up to peak of the bounce and on the rise. 

I agree with all of this, I think his left leg doesn't twist enough, some might argue that he drops the racket too much rather than using his hip to take the racket back, but these are hard things to fix without coaching, and it won't necessarily help his timing unless he slows down to hit the ball.

But in any case, for what he does, he hits a quality ball and I didn't see any reason why he couldn't modify his swing to take more time on trickier balls.  His top-edging IMO has nothing to do with the limitations of his technique.

doing late contact doe slow down his timing because it is when the ball goes down, giving him more time to adjust and will have better accuracy but on the tradeoff that it is not as strong as peak or on the rise point of contact. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 7:45pm
I had a deeper look at this. I think the fundamental problem is actually caused by an incorrect feet/leg/hip movement, which is causing the arm to have to overcompensate (otherwise balls would just die into the net). 

The way to fix it is to learn how to do the proper body movement without any arm involvement first to get the mechanics right. Then reintroduce the arm movement again.... but this would be quite the painful process...

There can't be any good hip rotation because the feet (especially left foot) is planted on the ground rather than rotating along with the stroke. Also the axis of body rotation is not correct, he's currently rotating about a horizontal pole going from back to front, rather than rotating about a vertical pole.  The way he is doing it now is basically compressing the right waist which is what I used to do (and then always getting my lower back super sore lol). There's some details and differences regarding the feet movement, personally I like to rotate on my toes similar to how Harimoto does it as it feels better and freer. So I go from backswing - right foot fully planted, left foot on the toes and rotated, to followthrough - left foot fully planted, right foot on the toes and rotated. Just compare the shoe movements between the video and any good player and you'll see the difference.

Also he kinda stands up during the loop, rather than pressing down onto the left leg during the followthrough (which is the correct weight transfer mechanism). With a good loop, the centre of gravity goes down on the right leg during the backswing, comes up very slightly during the stroke, and then comes back down on the left leg, forming an arc. The body is almost always leaning forward during this process, never standing up. This pressing down on the left leg completes the weight transfer and allows you to control the arc of the ball a lot more precisely (the centre of gravity arc controls the arc of the swing and thus controls the arc of the ball)



Edited by blahness - 11/01/2022 at 8:00pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 8:14pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

I had a deeper look at this. I think the fundamental problem is actually caused by an incorrect feet/leg/hip movement, which is causing the arm to have to overcompensate (otherwise balls would just die into the net). 

The way to fix it is to learn how to do the proper body movement without any arm involvement first to get the mechanics right. Then reintroduce the arm movement again.... but this would be quite the painful process...

There can't be any good hip rotation because the feet (especially left foot) is planted on the ground rather than rotating along with the stroke. Also the axis of body rotation is not correct, he's currently rotating about a horizontal pole going from back to front, rather than rotating about a vertical pole.  The way he is doing it now is basically compressing the right waist which is what I used to do (and then always getting my lower back super sore lol). There's some details and differences regarding the feet movement, personally I like to rotate on my toes similar to how Harimoto does it as it feels better and freer. So I go from backswing - right foot fully planted, left foot on the toes and rotated, to followthrough - left foot fully planted, right foot on the toes and rotated. Just compare the shoe movements between the video and any good player and you'll see the difference.

Also he kinda stands up during the loop, rather than pressing down onto the left leg during the followthrough (which is the correct weight transfer mechanism). With a good loop, the centre of gravity goes down on the right leg during the backswing, comes up very slightly during the stroke, and then comes back down on the left leg, forming an arc. The body is almost always leaning forward during this process, never standing up. This pressing down on the left leg completes the weight transfer and allows you to control the arc of the ball a lot more precisely (the centre of gravity arc controls the arc of the swing and thus controls the arc of the ball)


Yes I agree with this.  But I don't think it is why he mistime balls.  But I think you and yogi bear and a few others are saying the same thing.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 8:42pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

I had a deeper look at this. I think the fundamental problem is actually caused by an incorrect feet/leg/hip movement, which is causing the arm to have to overcompensate (otherwise balls would just die into the net). 

The way to fix it is to learn how to do the proper body movement without any arm involvement first to get the mechanics right. Then reintroduce the arm movement again.... but this would be quite the painful process...

There can't be any good hip rotation because the feet (especially left foot) is planted on the ground rather than rotating along with the stroke. Also the axis of body rotation is not correct, he's currently rotating about a horizontal pole going from back to front, rather than rotating about a vertical pole.  The way he is doing it now is basically compressing the right waist which is what I used to do (and then always getting my lower back super sore lol). There's some details and differences regarding the feet movement, personally I like to rotate on my toes similar to how Harimoto does it as it feels better and freer. So I go from backswing - right foot fully planted, left foot on the toes and rotated, to followthrough - left foot fully planted, right foot on the toes and rotated. Just compare the shoe movements between the video and any good player and you'll see the difference.

Also he kinda stands up during the loop, rather than pressing down onto the left leg during the followthrough (which is the correct weight transfer mechanism). With a good loop, the centre of gravity goes down on the right leg during the backswing, comes up very slightly during the stroke, and then comes back down on the left leg, forming an arc. The body is almost always leaning forward during this process, never standing up. This pressing down on the left leg completes the weight transfer and allows you to control the arc of the ball a lot more precisely (the centre of gravity arc controls the arc of the swing and thus controls the arc of the ball)


Yes I agree with this.  But I don't think it is why he mistime balls.  But I think you and yogi bear and a few others are saying the same thing.  

Mistiming the ball will happen when we misjudge the trajectory or spin of the incoming ball or are in the wrong position. Even ex provincial players I played with make mistakes (sometimes even a lot). But with proper mechanics it is easier to control balls and have an increased margin of error, so it's more forgiving to misjudging the spin/trajectory of the incoming ball.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 8:49pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

I had a deeper look at this. I think the fundamental problem is actually caused by an incorrect feet/leg/hip movement, which is causing the arm to have to overcompensate (otherwise balls would just die into the net). 

The way to fix it is to learn how to do the proper body movement without any arm involvement first to get the mechanics right. Then reintroduce the arm movement again.... but this would be quite the painful process...

There can't be any good hip rotation because the feet (especially left foot) is planted on the ground rather than rotating along with the stroke. Also the axis of body rotation is not correct, he's currently rotating about a horizontal pole going from back to front, rather than rotating about a vertical pole.  The way he is doing it now is basically compressing the right waist which is what I used to do (and then always getting my lower back super sore lol). There's some details and differences regarding the feet movement, personally I like to rotate on my toes similar to how Harimoto does it as it feels better and freer. So I go from backswing - right foot fully planted, left foot on the toes and rotated, to followthrough - left foot fully planted, right foot on the toes and rotated. Just compare the shoe movements between the video and any good player and you'll see the difference.

Also he kinda stands up during the loop, rather than pressing down onto the left leg during the followthrough (which is the correct weight transfer mechanism). With a good loop, the centre of gravity goes down on the right leg during the backswing, comes up very slightly during the stroke, and then comes back down on the left leg, forming an arc. The body is almost always leaning forward during this process, never standing up. This pressing down on the left leg completes the weight transfer and allows you to control the arc of the ball a lot more precisely (the centre of gravity arc controls the arc of the swing and thus controls the arc of the ball)


Yes I agree with this.  But I don't think it is why he mistime balls.  But I think you and yogi bear and a few others are saying the same thing.  

Mistiming the ball will happen when we misjudge the trajectory or spin of the incoming ball or are in the wrong position. Even ex provincial players I played with make mistakes (sometimes even a lot). But with proper mechanics it is easier to control balls and have an increased margin of error, so it's more forgiving to misjudging the spin/trajectory of the incoming ball.



I understand the concept but coach someone out of it using that theory and then I might find it useful.  I have coached people out of it without changing their technique and the bottom line had little to do with the base technique and more to do with their learning to change contact point in response to challenges in timing a kicking ball.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/01/2022 at 9:01pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

I had a deeper look at this. I think the fundamental problem is actually caused by an incorrect feet/leg/hip movement, which is causing the arm to have to overcompensate (otherwise balls would just die into the net). 

The way to fix it is to learn how to do the proper body movement without any arm involvement first to get the mechanics right. Then reintroduce the arm movement again.... but this would be quite the painful process...

There can't be any good hip rotation because the feet (especially left foot) is planted on the ground rather than rotating along with the stroke. Also the axis of body rotation is not correct, he's currently rotating about a horizontal pole going from back to front, rather than rotating about a vertical pole.  The way he is doing it now is basically compressing the right waist which is what I used to do (and then always getting my lower back super sore lol). There's some details and differences regarding the feet movement, personally I like to rotate on my toes similar to how Harimoto does it as it feels better and freer. So I go from backswing - right foot fully planted, left foot on the toes and rotated, to followthrough - left foot fully planted, right foot on the toes and rotated. Just compare the shoe movements between the video and any good player and you'll see the difference.

Also he kinda stands up during the loop, rather than pressing down onto the left leg during the followthrough (which is the correct weight transfer mechanism). With a good loop, the centre of gravity goes down on the right leg during the backswing, comes up very slightly during the stroke, and then comes back down on the left leg, forming an arc. The body is almost always leaning forward during this process, never standing up. This pressing down on the left leg completes the weight transfer and allows you to control the arc of the ball a lot more precisely (the centre of gravity arc controls the arc of the swing and thus controls the arc of the ball)


Yes I agree with this.  But I don't think it is why he mistime balls.  But I think you and yogi bear and a few others are saying the same thing.  

Mistiming the ball will happen when we misjudge the trajectory or spin of the incoming ball or are in the wrong position. Even ex provincial players I played with make mistakes (sometimes even a lot). But with proper mechanics it is easier to control balls and have an increased margin of error, so it's more forgiving to misjudging the spin/trajectory of the incoming ball.



I understand the concept but coach someone out of it using that theory and then I might find it useful.  I have coached people out of it without changing their technique and the bottom line had little to do with the base technique and more to do with their learning to change contact point in response to challenges in timing a kicking ball.

Yes agreed, learning how to adjust to different balls is something that can be learnt well even with suboptimal technique. But it's just easier to adjust with more forgiving technique (ie more open racket angle during contact in general and then closing it during/throughout contact). There's a high level player on YouTube called coach Meng from WRM table tennis who talks about this all the time. It also allows for easier adjustments to balls that are not really topspin. That and using good body mechanics to control the arc of the ball. 

That said, it's quite irritating to practice looping against blockers who put a lot of additional weird spin onto their blocks especially if they're changing all the time. I play with lots of players who just love to put weird af random sidespin or topspin onto their blocks just to mess with my head ugh... but it's still good training to learn how to adjust to all those weird balls. 


Edited by blahness - 11/01/2022 at 9:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/02/2022 at 4:17am
The problem is the racket angle resulting in a contact point shifted to the side. That means that he generates some topspin but lots of sidespin.

He should try to contact the ball more from behind, less sideways. I‘d try to play forehand flicks and then transfer that racket angle to the loop technique.

Check out those screenshots:




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote waingro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/11/2022 at 8:34pm
Can definitely see the angle opening on the first 2 balls. My arms naturally do that. The quick fix for me was to tighten my grip before impact, then the wrist won't turn up. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Love_my_dog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/15/2022 at 6:21pm
In the posted video, I think the problem is not the racket angle but the lack of brushing. From the sound, these strokes are mostly smashes, which, at this distance, most Chinese coaches do not want their students to do, instead, they ask them to hit the ball and then brash, so that you are not going to have this cracking sound of the racket hitting the ball. In this way, the shot will be more stable and consistent. Now days, smashing, especially among women players, e.g., Ito, Kihara, and Yuan Jianan, are smashing the balls, which, Chinese coaches never encourage, has become a new trend, but nevertheless, contributes to their inconsistent performance in tournaments. Of which, Yuan is a different story since she plays pips in her FH and smashing is the way to go while in the cases of Ito and Kihara, their BH pips create opportunities for them to smash but unfortunately, they miss a lot of easy shots because smashing is less forgiven than looping.

Generally, smashing is only good when playing near the table or having high bouncing balls, at the middle- and far-distance, looping, i.e., hitting and brushing, is the best way of play. The variation of the latter includes the proportions of hitting and brushing in each stroke.

When you missing the ball, most of the time it is due to that you put your hand too low and too behind the body, which, in Chinese, is called drag your hand (拉手) or too much yin-pai (引拍), or try to use too much power with too big stroke, so you are jammed by the fast incoming ball in topspin rallies. Another reason is the inaccuracy in positioning yourself before the stroke, i.e., using your leg to find the right position to make the stroke.

It is not encouraged to stroke with the racket too closed, which tends to make slow shot sometimes spinny shots that many a time lack quality, i.e., speed, power and low arc. It is always emphasized to stroke forward and only when releasing the ball, use your wrist to brush the ball to generate more spin (grip).
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