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The next step is to develop a backhand counter. This stroke starts the same as the backhand block. Your stance and position to the table are the same. Contact the ball as it is rising just before the top of its bounce about 1 to 1 1/2 feet in front of you. Unlike the block, which is executed with a relatively still racket, the backhand counter has a small back swing and a longer follow through. Do this by pulling the racket back towards the left hip and then pushing it forward and slightly upward, keeping the correct racket angle throughout the stroke. The backhand counter is similar to the movement used to throw a Frisbee.
This stroke is done primarily with the forearm. The elbow and upper arm remain relatively stable and the forearm pivots around the elbow. Hold the racket slightly below the height of the ball at the beginning of the stroke and let it end just above the height of the ball at the finish. An indication of a complete stroke is the tip of the racket pointing forward or even slightly to the right (for right-handers) at the end of the stroke. Keep your wrist held in the down position and do not let it flop back and forth.
Lesson 12: Backhand Counter With No Foot Movement
Develop a backhand counter following the same procedure as all the other strokes. First, at low speed and frequency crosscourt, then down-the-line, and finally alternating crosscourt and down-the-line. Gradually build up the ball speed and ball frequency until you have reached your upper limits. As you turn up the ball frequency and/or speed remember to do a complete stroke. Do not turn up the speed or frequency to the point that you start shortening your stroke. Your goal for each phase of this lesson is 25 consecutive counters in each direction.
Lesson 13: Backhand Counter With Foot Movement
Start with the ball moving randomly at slow speed within your backhand court (sweep control levers at the number 1 and 4 positions for right-handers, 3 and 6 for left-handers), then at maximum speed. Remember not to reach for the ball with your arm, but rather move your feet so you are squarely in front of the ball before you stroke it.
Photo 12: Backhand Counter (Crosscourt)
Notice that the stroke is done almost exclusively the upper arm. This is evidenced by the blurring of the face and the overlapping table and leaning forward. The right elbow is hanging down slightly in front.
Image 1: Racket is being taken back.
Image 2: End of back swing. The racket has been raised to just below the anticipated height of the ball at contact and the racket angle adjusted for the topspin.
Image 3: Right before ball contact. Racket angle has not changed. Racket is rapidly approaching the peak of its acceleration.
Images 4-6: Follow through. The forearm continues to rotate forward, pivoting around the elbow, tip of racket points forward (Image 4), then to the right (image 6).