Forehand push Table Tennis
The forehand push is the third basic table tennis stroke to master and it’s probably the most difficult of the four. A push is more of a defensive shot than the drive and the aim is to play down the back and underneath the ball to create some backspin.
Later on, the forehand push can be developed into a forehand touch, dig or chop. It is also useful when serving as many basic “chop” serves are built upon the principles learnt for the forehand push.
As with the forehand drive, the forehand push will require a small amount of rotation with the hips, torso and shoulders. It can feel like quite an unnatural shot to play at first but stick with it and you’ll develop the feeling you need to execute it consistently.
This post will highlight the correct technique for playing a forehand push in table tennis. I will use my own knowledge as a table tennis coach and a video featuring Alois and Jeff from PingSkills.
What Is The Forehand Push?
- The forehand push is one of the four basic table tennis strokes. The other three are the forehand drive, backhand drive and backhand push.
- The forehand push is a defensive stroke played with a small amount of backspin.
- The forehand push is usually played against short and low, backspin or float balls, although beginners that have not developed a loop (or open up shot) can play a push off a longer ball. At the intermediate stage any long balls should be attacked and any balls that are short but high should be flicked or hit.
- The forehand push is primarily played from the forehand side. Only rarely will a player play a forehand push from their backhand side.
Here is a really good video going through some of the key points for the forehand push. Watch it, absorb some of the tips and then have a read of my coaching points below.
My Coaching Points
Here are my key coaching points. I’ve tried to go into a bit more detail than the video. As always, I break the forehand push down into four sections; the stance, the backswing, the strike and the finish.
- Feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Stance can be square to the table or you can have your right foot slightly further back (as in the forehand drive).
- Knees should be slightly bent and the body should be leaning forward. You may want to be slightly lower for a push as usually we play this shot against lower, backspin balls.
- Both arms should be out in front of you.
- About a 90-110 degree bend at the elbow.
- Stand quite close to the table, an arms length away.
- Weight distributed on both feet and on the balls/toes, not heels.
- Bring your bat backwards and out to the side of your body.
- Create a slightly open bat angle.
- Keep your wrist straight.
- You should have a small gap between your elbow and hip.
- Try to keep your playing arm slightly in front of your body, you don’t need a big backswing for the push.
- The shot is played slightly to the side of the body, not directly in front of you.
- The arm moves forwards, to meet the ball.
- The movement comes predominantly from the elbow and forearm.
- The bat angle stays open throughout the shot.
- Take the ball at the peak of the bounce (or slightly earlier) and out in front of you.
- Maintain a small gap between the elbow and the body.
- To get less spin you can play slightly more down the back of the ball.
- To generate slightly more spin you can play more underneath the ball.
- Follow through forwards, towards the net.
- Your bat should finish pointing where you have hit the ball.
- Don’t let your arm swing across your body to the left.
- You will likely have also played downwards slightly, so the bat will be closer to the table now than it was during the backswing or strike phases.
- Always get back to the ready position.