Saturday, July 7, 2012

one of the most amazing Zhang Jike matches

That show his tremendous willpower and courage in the face of adversity

On producing spin

One of the most difficult things to master is producing spin.

A beginner to intermediate player will think spin depends solely on the rubber characteristics. This is not so; the rubber characteristics dictate maybe half of the final spin.

Advanced players know that spin depends more on incoming spin, motion, tempo, velocity, contact depth and grip. 

Sure, you need a good rubber to produce massive spin, but it's akin to having a good weapon - you need to know how to extract the most out of it. This is why an advanced player can produce deadlier shots with seemingly inferior equipment.

the following covers mostly inverted rubbers; long pimples and anti spin normally can only add to spin, not counter it.

Incoming spin:

This is perhaps one of the easiest to understand principles. When you successfully counter or add to strong incoming spin, you are using the potential force of the ball already to your advantage. Knowing how to return strong spin, and how to add to strong incoming spin, are two different matters altogether, though. the following techniques are needed to add to strong incoming spin.


You have to know the correct motion for producing the most spin. It normally is a more parallel trajectory, in regards to the table plane, than normal reason would say, with a slightly longer follow-through. When you achieve the best motion, you are countering and adding spin. The motion is thus longer and more fluid, with a higher velocity. When facing incoming spin, you are effectively slicing it more than the original slice.


You normally want to hit the ball in its apex or at the point that gives you the most dwell time. For chops, it can be from bounce to apex; for loops, from apex to fall. You have to look for the biggest range of motion (which helps the final velocity of the movement), and lowest height in relation to the net.


The velocity at which your paddle slices the ball must be higher than the incoming spin. incoming spin varies your angle, but the velocity of your paddle must be as high as possible. Normally big movements allow for the most velocity, and grip "seals the deal".

Contact depth:

merely grazing the ball will not be enough, but you cannot allow for the wood to come into play at the time of contact either. you want to use the flexibility of the rubber topsheet and let the ball "dig into" the rubber to create the maximum potential "spring rebound" effect (think of a tightened coil), while maintaining a perpendicular motion to the point of contact of the ball.


In grip there are 2 aspects to mention:

- The wrist must act as the tip of a whip. When you start contact, your wrist must be tilted (sideways always, not to front and back) to your back; and when the motion finishes, it must be tilted towards your opponents side. The wrist effectively moves also in the direction of your movement, adding tangential momentum to your final stroke. the momentum of your wrist performing this movement adds to the final productive spin your rubber imparts.

- the grip must be soft at the beginning of the slice, but be very hard at the end. this neutralizes the harmonics of your force and consolidates them into one strong motion. Consider the catapult effect of something in motion tightening, like when brakes are applied on a car - the rubber responds to the concentrated force at the moment of impact. Note this only refers to the grip of the paddle - your wrist must remain loose. the timing for when to tighten grip is at the moment of contact.

These tips will improve your chops, serves, loops and other variants where maximum spin is desired. Note also, that when performed correctly, the ball has also great velocity and will normally dart in a very direct manner - the spin curve will only be seen over greater distances. thus, learn to adapt this in your game.

another Zhang Jike video

this one is multiball backhand training.

simply amazing!

I'm also beginning to hold Xu Xin in high esteem. Ma Long is awesome too but he's not at the level of those other 2 yet.