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Utilizing Body Mechanics in Table Tennis Techniques

By Meng Lingshuai | Jan. 08, 2020, 12:33 a.m. (ET)

My name is Lingshuai Meng and I have been playing table tennis since age 7 and coaching both kids and adults since 2013. Now, I am coaching in Seattle Pacific Table Tennis Club. I’d like to thank USATT to give me this opportunity to share some of my unique table tennis techniques and teaching experience with you all here as one of their expert table tennis posts.

My article will focus on the aspect of maximizing the use of all body parts in table tennis techniques.

Special techniques and skills in Table Tennis: I am particularly strong in two skills, powerful forehand looping and very deceptive serve. I will discuss the use of the legs and also the most often overlooked use of the hand and fingers in creating spin and speed.

When most players loop, they use their strength from waist and arm, but I mostly use my legs to boost the looping power. There are three benefits to using the legs for looping:

1) using legs as a solid launching platform together with waist and arm can provide very eruptive force while looping
2) using legs in looping makes it more flexible to move around after looping
3) the stability of legs can make looping movement more regular, therefore, strengthening muscle memory for the correct looping movement.

My forehand looping also emphasizes the touch feeling of hand and fingers. In order to form the perfect touch feeling including spin and curve, I created a unique “sitting-style” looping practice, i.e. looping while sitting on the floor. This practice forces players to use forearm and wrist to trigger strength in looping and train the touch feeling of hand and fingers, as it removed the legs from the equation. I myself have done a lot of such floor-style looping training during my professional career as a player.

My serves look soft and gentle, but actually have a lot of force and spin. With the use of my unique breathing control and finger touch, I am able to serve balls with a lot of spin. Through my practice, I create my own serve theory:

1) The level of spin only depends on the final moment when the ball touches the paddle, therefore, most of the serve movement can be the same except for the final touch, therefore, you can confuse your opponent by using the same serve movement until the very last touch. The final part of this action depends heavily on the use of the finger and thumb, which is why training these aspects is vital for strong service.
2) The effectiveness of a good serve not only depends on the level of spin, but also on the deceptiveness of the serve, therefore, misjudgment of the spin direction and spin level by the opponents.
3) Using breathing control while serving is very important to let out force and make opponents underestimate the power of the spin. It looks like you don’t use force, but the ball actually gets served with a lot of spin. Being relaxed also helps a more fluid service action, which helps make a more precise ball contact.

As a top-rated player, I have accumulated a lot of experiences and skills that are valuable to be shared with others, and I have been doing my best to apply all these skills and techniques to my coaching career as well so that more and more students can benefit from these.