Adjusting Backspin When Learning To Loop

Jena Newgarden

By Larry Thoman

This column will consist of questions that have been asked of the staff at Newgy or our replies to questions posed on the table tennis newsgroup, This month's article is a response to a question that was sent in to us by Michael Zhuang. We encourage readers to send in your own questions. You may email us or fax or write us. All questions cannot be answered, but every month we will pick out one of them to answer in this column.

How much backspin do you recommend to put on the ball so that I am able to practice looping off of backspin?

When learning to loop backspin, I would suggest the following settings in progression:

  1. Head angle "C", Ball Speed 2.75. Ball should bounce on robot's side of table first, clear the net by about 2 inches, and then land about a foot or foot and a half from your end of the table.
  2. Head angle "F", Ball Speed 3. Ball should clear net by 8 to 12 inches and land about a foot from the end of the table. Ball lands first on player's side of the net.
  3. Head angle "E", Ball Speed 4. Ball should clear net by 1 to 2 inches and land about a foot from the end of the table. Ball lands first on player's side of the net.

Be sure you can consistently loop the ball at each setting before trying to use the next setting. Setting 3 simulates a hard driving heavy chop return of a good loop. Setting 1 simulates a long low chop serve. Also please realize that these settings will vary slightly from robot to robot so start with these suggested settings and then modify from there.

Another setting you may want to try after level 3 is to take the robot off the table, set it on the ground or a Robo-Caddy about 8 to 10 feet in back of the table and have it deliver backspin balls from this distance. You'll have to experiment to get the exact head angle/ball speed settings but you want the balls to land close to your endline. This is a better simulation of a typical return by a chopper, but you lose the ball catching ability of the net system.

Good luck!

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