What is a backhand push?
The backhand push is a defensive stroke, where you put backspin on the ball.
When should you play a backhand push?
The main reason you use a backhand push is to make it difficult for your opponent to attack. You are most likely to use this shot when the ball already has backspin on it, either from an opponent’s serve or in the opening stages of a rally. Some players actually have a pushing playing style, where the majority of their shots are pushes. This can be an effective way of playing up to a certain level, but will be less effective against more advanced players.
How do you play a backhand push?
- Start with your bat in front of you, just below chest height
- Turn your bat so your playing side is facing upwards
- As the ball approaches, bring your bat forwards and down
- Brush under the ball – this will generate backspin
- Your bat should finish in front of you, pointing in the direction in the direction you want the ball to go
- Don’t reach for the ball – your push will lack control and spin. Instead contact the ball when it is fairly close to your body.
- Don’t hit too hard – the ball will most likely fly off the end of the table. Play with a relaxed grip and smooth action. The more you brush the ball, the more backspin it will have.
Further reading and viewing
- Article: Put your opponents under serious pressure with short, long and wide pushes (Tom Lodziak)
- Article: The backhand push (Gregg Letts)
- Article: How to Play a Backhand Push in Table Tennis (Ben Larcombe)
- Article: Guide to pushing (Han Xiao)
- Article: Improve Your “Push” Stroke in Table Tennis (Samson Dubina)
- Video: Backhand push in table tennis (PingSkills)
- Online course: Table tennis for beginners (Tom Lodziak)