ByAmaresh Sahu

With the 40 mm ball and the recent ban on glue, the game has changed significantly in the past couple of years. Any glance at older tapes shows players standing far from the table and taking lengthy swings. Now, we see players standing closer and closer to the table in order to take time away from the opponent. Because there is less spin on the ball (as it has gotten bigger) andplayers cannot hit the ball as hard, players can afford to play before the ball has reached its highest point without taking many risks. Changes in technique have been successfully implemented by many players, such as Kenta Matsudaira of Japan, who recently had a great run at the World Championships and came close to defeating Olympic champion Ma Lin.

Players of this modern era accomplish this task by only very rarely dropping their playing arm below table hight. By keeping the racket above the table, players largely avoid the risk of mishitting the ball due to the new timing. Instead of rotating the waist so that the shoulder drops and the oblique is flexed, the waist is rotated parallel to the ground so that the obliques are stretched, and the shoulder is kept on an even level. This generates the power, and a proper waist and leg rotation allows heavy underspin to be overcome.

The same can be said of the backhand, where in this case players take the ball as soon off the bounce as possible. The power is generated by some waist turn and a sharp wrist contact that allows precise placement, allowing players to change direction at the last second. This allows the player to keep their opponent unsure where to move, and commonly sets up forehand winners.

Try seeing if you can keep your strokes shorter and stay closer to the table. Not only will you need to apply less power, your opponents will have to work even harder.