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Schematic representation of the topspin

The topspin is a forehand and backhand stroke commonly used in tennis and table tennis .

Striking technique

In topspin, the ball is touched with a club movement from the bottom up. In this way the ball is a spin imparted to the front, which is the greater, the faster the club head is moved upward and, depending on the stroke technique, the longer the ball contact time and thus the static friction exists between ball and racket. Depending on where it hits the ball, the ball can be given an additional sideways spin. The air that flows past the top of the ball more slowly than the underside of the ball - the air particles carried along by the ball move in the opposite direction to the direction of flight, which is why the air is slowed down - and the turbulence causes overpressure on the upper side and thus downforce ( Magnus effect ). The ball moves on a basket-arch-shaped trajectory over the net and the ball reaches a height above the net compared to other striking techniques in tennis such as slice or drive , and then falls steeply downwards. The ball can still be placed in the opposing field at a higher speed than other striking techniques. After hitting, the ball bounces off faster because of this forward spin and flatter compared to the angle before hitting. The twist has a stronger effect on the ball bouncing behavior, the greater the friction between the ball and the ground. In tennis, for example, this friction is much higher on clay courts than on smooth surfaces such as lawn or carpet. On clay courts, the ball usually bounces a little flatter, but with more speed than on other courts. The topspin is therefore a tactically preferred stroke variant, especially on clay courts. In tennis as well as in table tennis, the top spin shot enables extreme angular play and, depending on the forward spin, considerably higher ball speeds.

Tactical use in tennis

  1. Used as a baseline stroke, the top spin stroke is used to keep the opponent on the baseline. The ball should be placed near the opponent's baseline. Topspin strokes that are too short enable the opponent to move out of the half-field , e.g. B. with a slice to attack. Because of the strongly curved trajectory, higher ball speeds and more extreme angles can be played. With a cross hit ball, the opposing player can be driven far out of the field and his own attack can be prepared.
  2. As a passing stroke , this technique is the preferred means of playing the ball past an opponent who has advanced towards the net or "at his feet" because of the possibility of playing more extreme angles at high speed (cross passing stroke). The volleyball or half-flight ball can then only be played back into the field from bottom to top at low speed. If the ball is given an additional sideways spin, it is possible to play the pass further to the right or left of the opponent.
  3. As praise , the stroke should be used in preference to praise played without spin because of the high trajectory and the higher ball speeds. This shot is technically particularly demanding and requires good punch technique and footwork, as the body's center of gravity - more than with other shots - has to be brought behind the ball.
  4. When serving (“kick” or “twist”), topspin is mainly used on the second serve, as the ball can be quickly and safely placed in the field thanks to the curved trajectory. In addition, the ball bounces off relatively high on the opposing side, which makes it difficult for the opponent to return aggressively . For biomechanical reasons, the topspin serve always contains a bit of a sideways twist, which means that, depending on the direction of the shot, it can be placed further by the opponent or jumps towards the body.

Types of topspins in table tennis and tactical uses

Topspin effects:
1: Hit
2: Fall on the plate ( Magnus effect )
3: Bounce and acceleration forwards
4: Block the opponent
  1. Counter topspin: The ball is touched with a slightly closed club in an upward movement with a little forward movement. This stroke is used to return an opponent's topspin. Here the rotation is reversed.
  2. Rotation topspin: the racket touches the ball almost vertically or slightly open. This topspin - you take the ball in the falling phase - is only used by better players as a safe opening ball as a reaction to undercut or push balls or as a variant.
  3. Tempo topspin: This is probably the most difficult and technically demanding top spin shot in table tennis. The ball is returned with maximum stroke and an extremely fast, relatively short upward movement. The point of contact with the ball is ideally in front of the highest point, at the latest at the highest point. This variant is mostly played to score direct points.

Individual evidence

  1. Detailed explanations of the technique and tactics of the topspin serve


  • Cover story history of topspin : tischtennis magazine , 2008/6, pp. 26–35
  • Jörg Petrasch, Konrad Tiefenbacher: Game of Rotations , table tennis magazine, 2010/4, p. 50

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