How to loop

Although never continuous, I spend more than a decade playing table tennis. Until recently, I never cared too much about winning, and I always thought that’s the reason I always lose matches to the people I didn’t think was very good.

Then, last year I started to want to win and really started to watch everything single Youtube video I can find about Table Tennis. I keep hearing coaches talk about that I need to have sudden accelerations when hitting the ball to generate topspin. I always tried that first and the ball always fly too far away from the table. I spend about 6 month doing that, but the ball alway hit the edges of my paddle.

So I changed back to a more vertical paddle angle, just to reduced the number of times I miss the ball. Then one day, out the blue, started to hit the ball using bottom side of my paddle. The shot sounded more muffed, instead of my regular high pitch sound hits.

During the same time, I also started to use my waist and leg during my swing. It started with my leg pushing the ground, then my waist moves, and my arm moved last. I didn’t have to move my arm so actively, it as though my waist directed the who motion and dragged my arm.

Then I started to have larger range of motion on my wrist when I just about to hit the ball to create spin. That worked just a little better, but it’s hard to life my wrist hitting forehand. I started to use my forearm to mimic the same motion of my wrist, this seemed to be easier on my arm. One day during a match with a much bigger guy at the club, I actively try to have sudden movement in my forearm, just like when I try to serve underspins. Miraculously, I was able to create the slow, upward kind of loop consistently.

This worked, because as soon as the ball the other side of the table, it started to accelerate forward much faster than a normal hit. In another words, the exist angle is greater than the entry angle. This creates a lot of unpredictability for the opponent. Although slower than just a hard hit, this type of ball is hard to return.

Then I watched another Youtube video, that was trying to mimic how Ma Long does loops. After each swing, instead of swing his arm back to the original position, he let the arm drop naturally, swing the shoulder back, and lift arm slightly to get back to original position. This technique made the transition faster because it decreased the radius of the arm swing and therefore, faster. It also let the arm and shoulder rest momentarily between hits, ensure the athlete don’t get too tired after hitting many loops.

Learned how to loop also made my serves better, because using this sudden movement also increased the spin of my serves, as evidenced by the many aces I have playing at the club and the gym. Going ahead, I plan to improve the forward speed of my loop, and making it spinny and faster, and creating the ultimate weapon for winners.

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