How to play forehand topspin vs backspin in table tennis

Forehand topspin vs backspin is one of the most important attacking strokes in table tennis. You can use this stroke to attack pushes, chops and long backspin serves.

The key to the stroke is brushing the ball, with your bat moving more upwards rather than forwards. The more you brush the ball, the more spin you will generate on the ball.

It’s a very consistent way of attacking, as you lift the ball up over the net and the spin brings the ball back on your opponent’s side of the table.

It can very challenging for your opponent to return, as they have to deal with both speed and spin. If they attempt to block and don’t close their bat angle enough, the ball will often shoot off the end of the table.

How do you play forehand topspin vs backspin?

  1. Start with your bat below waist height
  2. Close your bat angle slightly
  3. Bend your knees and rotate backwards from your waist
  4. As the ball approaches, push up with your legs, rotate forwards and accelerate your bat upwards
  5. Contact the ball just in front of your body
  6. On contact, your bat should brush the ball, in an upwards motion – the more you brush the ball, the more topspin you will generate
  7. Your bat should finish around head height

Common mistakes

  1. Don’t finish your stroke with your bat too forward and low – this will make it very difficult to generate enough topspin to lift the backspin over the net. Always play the stroke with you bat starting low and finishing high.
  2. Don’t play the stroke too slowly – again, you will struggle to lift the backspin over the net. It’s an all-body stroke – you need to use your legs, waist, arm and wrist to create upwards acceleration.

Further reading and viewing