How to Play Chop in Table Tennis

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  • Post last modified:March 6, 2024
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Chop in table tennis is a defensive stroke that you have to learn to advance in the game of table tennis. In table tennis, the chop is the stroke that a defender uses most. For the attackers, it is also an essential stroke to continue the rally when he is in defensive mode. As chop is advanced learning in table tennis, you must ensure that you have successfully covered the basic skills in table tennis.

  • Basic table tennis strokes, i.e. backhand push, forehand drive, backhand drive, and forehand push
  • Concept of spin in table tennis

Let’s go to the topic of chop in table tennis.

What is Chop in Table Tennis?

Chop is a defensive stroke to continue the rally by imparting backspin to the ball. This shot is executed away from the table by brushing at the underneath of the ball with the racket movement from high to low. The primary aim of chop is to counter the topspin of the attacker with a backspin.

When the ball is low over the net and at the far end of the table, players use the chop stroke to continue the rally and wait for the mistakes of the attackers. To make the chop shot effective, you have to vary the amount of backspin by:

  • Increasing or decreasing the racket speed
  • By contacting the ball at different areas of your racket. Mind that the top part of your racket has the maximum racket speed.
  • By increasing the brushing action with more upward to downward movement of your racket
  • By imparting no-spin as an exception

You should also vary the length of your stroke by placing short and long over the net at the sideline or end-line.

Types of Chop Stroke

There are two types of chop:

  • Forehand chop
  • Backhand chop

As the name suggests, the forehand chop is taken from the forehand side of your racket and the execution of the backhand chop is from the backhand side.

How to Play a Forehand Chop in Table Tennis?

The player is executing a forehand chop shot in a table tennis game.
Forehand Chop Stroke

When you are in the mood for defense, you have to rely more on forehand chop as the natural tendency of the attackers is to play forehand topspin the ball on your forehand side.

To execute the forehand chop:

  • Take a side-on stance, away from the table.
  • Your bat must be open-angled to generate the backspin.
  • Take the racket at the height of your right shoulder.
  • Brush at the underneath of the ball to create a heavy backspin.
  • End the stroke by forwarding your bat up to the left knee level.
  • If it is a faster topspin, your bat should move vertically to counter the topspin.
  • If it is a slow topspin, your bat movement should be vertical as well as forward with a more open angle.

How to Do a Backhand Chop in Table Tennis?

Backhand chop in table tennis
Backhand Chop in Table Tennis
By Peter Porai-Koshits/ Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Like the forehand chop, the backhand chop is also taken away from the table by imparting a backspin to the ball.

  • Twist your left shoulder slightly behind the right shoulder (for the right-handers) to create space for the swing of your bat.
  • Your left leg will be behind your right leg.
  • Your racket must be open and angled to generate the backspin.
  • The starting position of your racket is near your left shoulder.
  • Swing your bat near the right knee height to complete your brushing action.
  • Your wrist should be flexible and above your elbow.
  • For a faster ball, your brushing action will be nearly vertical with a shorter length of stroke.
  • For a slower spinny ball, your brushing action will be vertical as well as forward with a greater length of stroke.

How to Return Chop in Table Tennis

To return a chop stroke most effectively, you have to loop the ball. The amount of topspin in your loop shot will depend upon the amount of backspin in the chop shot. If you see the bat of your opponent in more open-angled and the sound of hitting the ball gives you the hint of more backspin, you have to generate more topspin in your loop stroke.

The push stroke is the other option for you to return a chop shot. You can push short to draw the chopper close to the table and to do that you have to contact the ball on the rise.

Wrapping Up

Chop is an advanced table tennis stroke that helps you to stay alive in the game. But to gain control over this stroke, you need lots of practice.

You may also go through pingSkills for the visual analysis of this advanced defensive stroke.


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