Bh drive of underspin

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mjamja
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Joined: 01/19/2011

Hi Larry,

I have finally reached the point where I am convinced my long standing wrist issues are going to require me to take all the wrist action out of my Bh.  The Bh loop of underspin is particularly problematic since I just can not seem to lift heavy underspin without using my wrist.  Having read you previous comments about the Bh drive of underspin I was wondering if that was a shot I could exectute with less wrist action so as not to hurt the wrist.  Could you go into a little more detail about how the stroke is executed especially how it differs from the loop stroke and the reqular counter of topspin. 

I have seen what I consider to be two variations of the Bh drive by players at my club.  One is executed kind of like a block.  The swing starts with the foream parallel to the table (with a little downward angle) and the racket tip pointed to the side of the table.  The shot is hit by lifting up from the shoulder so the forearm maintains its orientation (tip stays pointed at side of table).  The elbow moves up and forward so the stroke ends with the forearm higher and forward and the upper arm changing from pointing straight down to pointing almost straight forward.  The racket angle starts about neutral and ends up very open at the end of the swing.

In the other variation the starting point is about the same.  However in this version the elbow stays more fixed in space and the forearm rotates up and to the right by pivoting at the elbow.  The racket tip starts pointing out to the side of the table but ends up pointing almost straight up.  There is a little forward motion of the forearm as it rotates up that provides forward speed to the ball.  Kind of reminds me of a windshield wiper motion.

Another version described to me sounds like it is done just like you would do a Bh counter against topspin, but would start an  open racket angle and finish with a slightly closed angle with the forearm and paddle tip pointed approximately to where the ball is being hit.  My first thought here is that I am missing something since I don't see how I will get enough topspin on the shot to bring it back down.  Maybe it requires more of vertical swing plane than the normal Bh counter of topspin.

If you have a link to a video of this stroke I would really appreciate seeing it.

I just ordered some short pips and some medium pips to test on the Bh to see it that helps me play with less wrist action on the Bh side.

Mark

mjamja
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Joined: 01/19/2011
Re: Bh drive of underspin

I worked some more today (Sat) on hitting the Bh topspin drive without using much wrist.   I found that I could get the racket closed quite a bit without bending the wrist and could get more brushing contact against topspin than I initially expected.   If the incoming ball came in with pretty good speed and spin I could spin it back ok.  It was not really what I would consider a loop, but it was a very heavy topspin drive.  If the ball was slower or not very spinny I found I had much better luck hitting a flatter counter than trying to spin up the shot without using a lot of wrist action.

I still have not figured out a good way to hit the more standard (hand down between legs and racket tip down) loop of underspin without bending the wrist to start and snapping it forward during the stroke.  I did have some pretty good success using the basic counter stroke, but maintaining a just slightly open racket face through the whole stroke to drive the underspin.  Going with a little more upward swing plane than the normal counter of topspin also seemed to help in getting enough spin on the ball to help bring it back down onto the table when I wanted to hit a little harder.

I am picking up my short pips at the post office tomorrow.  I should have a report on how that goes by Wed.

Mark

Larry Hodges
Larry Hodges's picture
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Bh drive of underspin

Hi Mark,

It's too bad you aren't at my club or I could work with you directly on this. There's no reason why you can't have a good backhand without using much or any wrist. Here's a four-part tutorial on the backhand drive by Jim Clegg, a top coach from England. In part 1, see his demonstration starting at around 2:48 in, where he's hitting with almost no wrist - but note how he's stroking up to create topspin, using his forearm. (Use this same stroke against backspin, but drive more upward, sinking the ball into the sponge at an even greater angle.) In part 2 he mentions the lack of wrist, and says that there is no need for wrist at this time. It's not until you get to part 3 that he mentions how more advanced players use wrist - but you don't really need that unless you are trying to have a great backhand. (You still can have a nearly great backhand without the wrist, but it'll have to focus on steady hitting and blocking.) Here are the four videos, which I'm going to stick in my blog tomorrow. Hope this helps! 

How to Play a Backhand Table Tennis Drive by English Level 4 Coach Jim Clegg

Part 1 - Control (5:05): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIJ7hGYQqF4

Part 2 - Speed (5:11): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3GcSzw51vI

Part 3 - Wrist (4:18): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3kQdyYi4w8

Part 4 - Posture (2:54): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngL1BIBwrNM

mjamja
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Joined: 01/19/2011
Re: Bh drive of underspin

Thanks Larry,

I am a big fan of Clegg's videos and refer back to that Bh series often.  I am trying to model my current Bh on his "no wrist" version.  That actually works well for hitting against light to medium topspin.  When I get into what would be considered counter-looping situations it seems to not work quite as well.  I think the finer brushing with a more closed racket required in counter-looping needs more racket speed to generate forward motion on the ball and that is hard to get without wrist action.   It really does not matter that much since most of the time I am only trying to block incoming loops on my Bh side anyway.  

Against underspin I have not had that much luck using his technique.  Of course it needs to be a variation of the technique since he is demonstrating against topspin.  I will go back and review those some more and see if I can add more of the upward direction in the stroke as you suggested for dealing with underspin.

I got a chance today to hit with some Spectol short pips on my Bh.  I got pretty good at driving underspin with those in a short time.  I did not seem to lose that much against topspin either.  I have some RITC 802-40 (short pips) and some RITC 563 (medium pips) on order.  My first foray into the world of EJing? 

Thanks for the good info. 

Mark