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Table Tennis Basic Strokes - The Backhand Counterhit

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Ready Position
Photo of Backhand Counterhit - Ready Position

Ready Position

(c) 2006 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
We have already looked at the forehand counterhit, so now we will look at what should probably be the second table tennis stroke that you learn - the backhand counterhit. This stroke is the foundation of all backhand topspin strokes, so by learning how to hit it correctly, you will find it easier to learn the more advanced strokes such as the backhand drive and loop, which are essential for high level play.

In the backhand counterhit against light to medium topspin, the idea is to hit the ball over the net with medium speed and a little topspin to help bring the ball down on the other side of the table.

View the Backhand Counterhit Video. (1MB)

Points to look for:

  • The feet are placed with the right foot slightly further back than the left foot. This is because there is no weight transference forward, and the slight loss in power caused by having the left foot forward is more than compensated for by already being in the correct stance for a forehand counterhit.
  • The weight is evenly distributed on the balls of the feet to allow quicker movement. Too much weight on the heels will slow down movement, and too much weight on the toes will affect balance.
  • The knees are bent and the feet are around one and a half times shoulder width apart. The torso is also leaning slightly forward to give better balance and movement.
  • Shoulders are in line with the legs.
  • The arms are held roughly shoulder width apart, with around a 90 degree angle at the elbow. The bat should be above the table to allow easy stroking of short balls.

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