How to play forehand topspin vs block in table tennis

Modern table tennis is all about topspin. If you want to play an attacking topspin game, it’s essential that you master the forehand topspin vs block.

It’s a stroke you’ll need to use a lot. Against an opponent who blocks well, you may need to play several topspin strokes to win a point.

A blocked return can come back to you quickly (sometimes very quickly), with varying amounts of topspin. To attack this ball with topspin, you need to contact towards the top of the ball and your power should be more forward than up.

This shot can be played close to the table, contacting the ball at the peak of the bounce (or just before) with a shorter stroke. Or it can be played further back from the table, contacting the ball as it’s dropping, using a longer stroke.

How do you play forehand topspin vs block?

  1. Start with your bat around waist height
  2. Close bat angle and keep your wrist relaxed
  3. Rotate backwards from your waist
  4. As the ball approaches, accelerate forwards and up, brushing the top of the ball – the brushing contact will create the topspin
  5. The contact should be just in front of you, to the side of your body
  6. Your bat should finish in front of your face

Common mistakes

  1. 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. You’ll end up lifting the ball too much and the ball will most likely fly past the end of the table.
  2. Don’t hit the ball too flat – a flat hit is less consistent than a topspin stroke. Make sure you close your bat angle and brush the ball. The sound should be softer rather than a loud thwak.

Further reading and viewing