How to play backhand topspin vs block in table tennis

In modern table tennis, it’s increasingly important for a player’s backhand attack to be as strong as their forehand attack.

The backhand topspin vs block is one of the attacking strokes you need to be able to play. Like other backhand attacking strokes, you should aim to contact the ball in front of your body with plenty of forearm and wrist  acceleration.

Backhand topspin vs block has similarities with the backhand drive, but the key difference is that the bat angle should be more closed and you should brush towards the top of the ball rather than flat hitting it. The brushing contact will generate topspin on the ball.

A backhand topspin is more consistent attacking shot compared to a backhand drive, because the spin lifts the ball over the net and brings it back down the other side. This means you can attack balls which are very low, something which is difficult to do with a drive shot.

Backhand topspin vs block also has similarities with backhand topspin vs backspin, but a blocked return will have some topspin on the ball, so you need to start with your bat higher and come more forward rather than up to control the spin on the ball.   

How do you play a backhand topspin vs block?

  • Start with bat around waist height, in front of your body
  • Close your bat angle
  • Keep your wrist relaxed and bend it backwards
  • As the ball approaches, bring your arm towards the ball and accelerate your wrist forwards and up, brushing the top of the ball – this will generate the topspin
  • The contact should be in front of your body
  • Finish with your arm extended just to the side of your body

Common mistakes

  • Don’t start with your bat too low, e.g. below table height – this will make it difficult to contact towards the top of the ball and you’ll often over-hit your attack.
  • Don’t reach for the ball – you topspin attack will lack consistency, speed and power. Instead always try to play a backhand topspin in front of your body.

Further reading and viewing