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Learning how to spin a ping pong ball is one of the biggest steps to becoming a truly great player. Spin shots are almost always used at the highest levels of the game and are necessary to beat seasoned players.
In this article, you will learn the three ways you are able to spin a ping pong ball and the step-by-step process of how to perform all three of these types. Plus, you’ll find a few tips and tricks at the end to make learning these strikes as easy as possible.
The Three Ways You Can Spin a Ping Pong Ball
The three ways you can spin a ping pong ball is with topspin, backspin, and sidespin. Naturally, these names depict the exact way the ball is spinning when you hit these types of shots.
Topspin shots are used to generate some extra power on the ball while still being able to hit the table on your opponent’s side. Backspin shots do the opposite and cause the ball to slow down after hitting your opponent’s side to force them closer to the table. Sidespin shots are done to hit a sort of “curveball” at your opponent that will take the ball far to one side of the table or the other, making it difficult to return.
How to Topspin in Ping Pong
Putting topspin on a ball is typically used offensively and is meant to keep your opponent back on their heels or just simply test their reaction time. Here is the step-by-step process on how to put topspin on a ping pong ball.
Step 1: Hit the Ball When It Is High Up
When getting ready to hit a topspin you’ll want to let the ball come to you a bit and hit it when it is high. Putting topspin on a ball that is too close to the table is nearly impossible and will usually result in hitting the net.
Step 2: Adjust Your Arm
To put topspin on the ball you will need to move your arm upwards and forwards. This will allow you to adjust the racket accordingly for the shot and keep your arm from twisting awkwardly in an attempt to put on topspin.
Step 3: Tilt Your Racket and Hit the Ball
You will want to angle the top of your racket forward towards the table so it is in a sort of “/” shape. If struck successfully, it will cause the ball to pick up speed as it bounces and take shorter bounces off the table as well.
How to Backspin in Ping Pong
Backspin hits in ping pong are usually used defensively to try and catch your opponent off guard. If your opponent is striking fast shots at you or standing too far from the table, this shot is a great choice. Here is how you put backspin on a ball step-by-step.
Step 1: Let the Ball Fall Downwards
You will want to let the ball fall towards the table a bit to hit a backspin, the exact opposite of how to put topspin on a ball. Trying to hit a backspin while the ball is at its apex will likely result in an obvious, slow-moving shot that will be easy to return.
Step 2: Move Your Racket High to Low
To hit a backspin shot, you will need your racket to brush the ball on its bottom surface and hit it in a sort of chopping motion. This will allow the ball to move forward over the net rather than hitting under the ball and just popping it up.
Step 3: Use Different Speeds
The great thing about backspin hits is that you can spin them at different speeds once you get good with them. Not as powerful backspins will bounce closer to the table and act as a sort of “change-up” to throw off your opponent’s timing.
Those that can pull off strong backspin shots can make the ball’s bounce go straight up or even move backward and score an easy point if their opponents are not ready for it.
How to Sidespin in Ping Pong
Sidespin shots are used both offensively and defensively. Depending on how powerful the sidespin is, the shot can bounce way off to one side or the other to make your opponent scramble to return it and set up for an easy point just smashing it to the other side. Let’s look at the step-by-step process of making this shot work.
Step 1: Think About Which Side Spin You Want
There are two types of sidespin, one that goes left, and one that goes right. In ping pong, these are known as push side pins and pull side spins. Depending on where your opponent is standing, you’ll want to go with one or the other.
Step 2: Perform a Push Sidespin
To do a push sidespin, move your racket laterally from right to left when you strike the ball. This will curve the ball to the left when it takes its bounce on the other side of the table.
Step 3: Perform a Pull Sidespin
To do a pull sidespin do the exact same thing you would do for a push sidespin but backward. Move your racket laterally from left to right to make the ball skip right when it takes its next bounce.
Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks
There are plenty of various little things you can do to better your spins but the best tip is really just to practice as much as possible.
These types of shots are advanced techniques and, if you are just beginning to learn them, there is almost no chance you will be able to pull them off consistently until you practice for a few days at the very least.
One thing many beginner players do when trying these is twisting their arm or wrist to try to put an extra spin on the ball. This is a bad idea that can lead to some rough injuries and will only create poor habits that will harm your spin shots in the future.
Also, think about what situations are best used for these shots before you try them in a game. Just throwing out spin shots randomly can be a good strategy to throw off your opponent but this can lead to some errant shots and mistakes that your opponent can take advantage of.
Now, you ideally have all the information you need to pull off topspin, backspin, and sidespin shots. Using these in a game can be very effective and is one of the main distinctions between competitive and casual players.
Follow the steps above for all these types of spins closely and always remember to practice as much as possible and find the method you are most comfortable with. Keep in mind the tips and tricks as well and best of luck in taking your ping pong game to the next level!