How to Hit a Backhand Smash in Table Tennis

Badminton, tennis, ping pong, they all come down to how the player is able to hit the ball. Unlike full-sized tennis, however, ping pong has a lot more to do with fancy & returns than it does with physical endurance. As far as advanced table tennis techniques are concerned, it is essential first to know the fundamentals and from there continue to move forward.  

Today, the object of discussion is none other than the backhand smash (and other basic techniques). Few other table tennis skills are as decisive and cutting as this particular maneuver, as it can very often generate quite a bit of confusion. When you couple that with the extremely high speed caused by the power behind this kind of smash, it is a perfect recipe for a winning tennis game. 

What Is The Backhand Smash? 

The aim of any smash type move in table tennis is for a powerful, speedy rally that is extremely difficult to return. The Olympic level performers who maintain the site Pingskills know the value of a worthwhile smash, as many of them have taken home trophies thanks to such moves. Everything from badminton to full-sized tennis has their version of the backhand smash, each with dozens of videos. The table tennis backhand smash, however, is in a league of its own. It is not to be confused with the backhand drive table tennis technique, nor the backhand topspin technique. Those two maneuvers involve different movements entirely and serve a different purpose. This technique in table tennis is when the paddle is put around the shoulder area of the opposing side of the body and then rapidly pushed forward in an effort to return the ball powerfully.  

The “front” of the paddle is used, and that’s what makes it a backhand technique instead of, say, a forehand topspin type technique. Any coach worth their salt will eventually have their pupils practice several strokes of this technique, as it is one of the most difficult table tennis hits to perfect in both timing and power. Unlike just about every other tennis stroke, very little is absolutely necessary with regards to foot placement for this to be a properly executed move. 

How Do I Perform A Backhand Smash? 

Being one of the most prestigious table tennis shots to pull off, I don’t blame you for wanting to perfect this type of shot. Learn it now, so you can share it with your friends next time you’re at the table together. A resource like Youtube is invaluable at this point, but make sure the coach whose channel you’re watching knows his/her stuff.  

One of the biggest professional fans of this backhand technique is none other than Alois Rosario, an Australian who is an absolute champ at the table. A player like this is someone you should look up to, lucky for you, he does take time to make informative videos for those interested in the sport. He does maintain the coach & blog website Pingskills which is much more comprehensive than anything you’d find on Youtube, but I digress. A large portion of why I’d recommend Pingskills is because it can be difficult to wade through all of the badminton and tennis content that will get mixed in with standard searches, this channel focuses solely on ping pong. 

To perform this backhand move, the paddle begins at the top of the stomach/bottom of the chest. Because of the speed required to channel all of the force properly, any worthwhile table tennis player typically anticipates this move and gets the paddle to their stomach ahead of time. From there, the paddle is pushed directly forward in an effort to cancel your opponent’s efforts in besting you. If the ball is moving slow enough, players will follow through with their backhand, although this isn’t always possible. Because of the direct action of the paddle, there is often very little spin on the ball, if any. If you listened carefully to any Pingskills videos, you’d have the exact movement down pat; it’ll just be up to you to know when to use it. 

How Do I Perfect Other Basic Techniques? 

The backhand smash is an end-level table tennis technique that isn’t for those who have just begun. Make sure you’ve mastered the basics like a backhand topspin/drive, the forehand drive table tennis, and forehand push. Be sure to remember that a forehand drive is an attack-type of a hit, that allows the smallest amount of topspin, however, not to be mistaken with a topspin loop. The forehand push isn’t an attack hit, but more of a defensive hit. This technique is used to create a small amount of backspin on the ball. 

If you want to close the deal on the backhand table tennis stroke, carefully watch professionals perform in videos. Look carefully at their foot placement, how much they decide to follow through depending on the situation, and of course, when they anticipate having to use a backhand move, not plan on it. This will teach you some important table tennis theory to carry with you throughout your training.  

Next comes the practical aspect, actually training and using the techniques. The simplest way to practice them would be to start with the ball close to you and simply drop it and perform the moves on the ball once it bounces back up. Of course, that’s hardly going to be a skill worth sharing. Instead, use a practice wall so you can hit a ball that actually has some spin to it. The best part is you can keep going on what is essentially an infinite loop until you decide to cancel your training for the day. Whenever you see the table tennis ball coming back to you in a way that you’ve seen the pros get ready for, it is your time to shine and decide which move to pull from your arsenal.  


Unlike in full-sized tennis, it is much more about quick hand-eye coordination than it is about endurance and stamina. People are often surprised at the high level of technical skill involved in this sport, to the point where many are flummoxed that it is actually an Olympic sport. In many ways, this miniature tennis game is much like chess; it is about knowing which moves to bring out and when knowing exactly what kind of openings you’ll be providing for your enemy while exploiting theirs. Just because it’s miniature tennis doesn’t mean the skill level is miniature, that’s for certain. 

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