Top spin is one of your most lethal weapons in ping pong. First, I’ll discuss the advantages to using this technique. Basically, top spin is manipulating the ball so it spins towards your opponent. There are many advantages to it, but the most prominent is that top spin helps keep the ball on the table. If you can’t hit the ball on your opponent’s side of the table, then you’re not going to score any points.
Another advantage to top spin is the affect the ball has as it strikes your opponent’s side of the table. The spinning momentum of the ball actually causes the ball to “kick” off the table not only giving your shot some extra pace but also throwing your opponents timing off.
Now that we’ve established what top spin is, let’s discuss how to use it.
As the ball approaches you, it’s important to get your feet set, balance is key when striking the ball.
Next, you’ll want to draw back your paddle back as if you were going to strike the ball, but instead, drop your paddle low to your side so you can strike it on the way up.
Point of contact is everything. Assuming the ball is a foot above the table, you swing your paddle up and across the back side of the ball in the direction of your opponent. If the ball bounces high, you’ll need to swing up, hit the ball, and then roll your paddle over top of it.
The most tricky top spin shot is when the ball bounces off the end of the table, and falls several inches below the table. In this case you’ll have to bend your knees and drop your paddle very low (almost to the floor) then swing up catching the bottom side of the ball, at contact roll you paddle back across the back side of the ball. You have to hit the bottom side of the ball in order to lift the ball over the net.
Once you’ve struck the ball, drop you paddle and reset your footing in preparation for the next shot.
Nearly all of the shots you’ll hit in ping pong will be using top spin. Other shots can be used in certain situations, but if you’re a beginner, I strongly advise mastering top spin before starting other spins. It’s that important!