Women Individual Development: Reverse Rubber on BH

Rowden Fullen (2003)

1) Flexible and adaptable, not rigid in play.

2) Ready to consider new ideas, methods, not rigid in thinking.

3) Understand that development means change, no change means stagnation.

4) Women’s game requires expertise in the following areas –

  • Control of speed.
  • Opening.
  • Converting ( from spin to drive).
  • Short play.
  • Serve and receive.
  • Variation.
  • Use of table and equipment.
  • Backhand.
  • Positive attitude.
  • Winning weapon.
  • Not afraid to be different.

5) Understand your own style –

  • Playing distance from the table.
  • F.H./B.H. split and table coverage.
  • Movement patterns.
  • How you win points, what is effective.
  • Train in the right way for your own style.

6) Be aware of the advanced techniques of the women’s game –

  • Short play.
  • Use of angles.
  • Change of speed.
  • Stance and movement patterns.
  • Killing through loop.
  • Early ball push.
  • Early ball smash.
  • Early ball topspin.
  • Slow loop (long/short).
  • Sidespin loop.
  • Dummy loop.
  • Chop/stop blocks.
  • Sidespin push/block.
  • Late timed push/block.
  • Loop to drive play.
  • Loop and block play.
  • Block play (especially on the forehand).
  • Short drop balls (especially v defence players).

Backhand reverse development

  1. Drive at the top of the bounce or just before but spin at differing timing points from early to later (depends on incoming ball).
  2. Drive (short stroke little backswing) v drive or block or chop.
  3. Train to accelerate from block/drive into spin.
  4. Train soft block and topspin block v loop.
  5. Chop block – forward (float), down at an early timing point (chop) v drive.
  6. Slow roll early v spin or drive.
  7. Varied block, soft, stop, forced, sidespin, topspin.
  8. Early ball shovel push (especially v serve) and good short play.
  9. Train a little back from the table so that you can control and get back in when forced back.
  10. Train variation in pace, hard and soft, short and long.
  11. Train angles and placement.

(Even with reverse rubber note particularly the value of the block (put the spin back) and also of the push, (variation in the spin on the return). If you only hit hard and usually play power then you are much more predictable. At a higher level you must think of variation in all its aspects, (spin, speed, placement, angles etc.)

Forehand development (with reverse on the backhand) –

  1. Can’t play deep on the F.H. and close on the B.H.
  2. Work at drive play closer to the table, especially in a moving situation.
  3. Train much block play v topspin (varied block, topspin, sidespin, soft, forcing).
  4. Important that you can hit through topspin.
  5. Early ball shovel push (especially v serve) and good short play.
  6. Slow topspin against chop but care with length.
  7. Occasional sidespin especially v the slower ball. (Very effective v defenders or when played straight down the line v left-handed players).
  8. Much spin into drive (slow spin, hit hard).
  9. Care with crossover (F.H. generally but the B.H. against some styles of play). Find the point of change.
  10. Train to change pace, loop or drive long, block short.
  11. Train angles and placement.


  1. Less effect and less possibilities back from the table (especially with the bigger ball because of the lesser spin).
  2. Less spin with the bigger ball means less control (less on-the-table control).
  3. Less spin with the bigger ball means it is easier to block and to open for the opponent.
  4. It is harder to win points from back.
  5. Use the unpredictability of the slower topspin ball (Magnus effect), especially when opening. Bear in mind that slow spin on one wing and flat hit on the other can be very effective.
  6. More possibilities close to the table, varied block, spin, drive, sidespin etc.
  7. Timing is critical in drive play (narrow window).
  8. Long serves more effective in the women’s game, (especially side and float or side and topspin). Many opponents try to return with too much power and because they achieve less topspin with the bigger ball, they have less on–the-table control.
  9. Don’t return long serves with power. (Deny the server the chance to use the return speed).
  10. Focus on the serve/receive, the first 4/5 balls and active play over the table. Try to impose your game on the opponent but always remember that blocks and even pushes can be positive when used in the right way.
  11. There is a basic fallacy in the thinking that persists in trying to train more and more girls to play a man’s topspin game. Women just don’t get as much topspin as men. Because they don’t get as much topspin they have less on-the-table control (less topspin means the ball doesn’t dip down so much on the other side of the table). This problem is accentuated with the bigger ball. Very rarely do women have the same strength as men, therefore they are unable to play the same power input into the stroke with the same closed bat angle. The vast majority of women as a result have major problems in hitting the ball really hard from below table level.

Rather than training women to loop 4 or 5 balls in succession it makes rather more sense to loop 1 or 2 then to come in and drive to win the point. Training to ‘convert’ from spin to drive or hit assumes rather more importance. Generally women don't spin to win, rather they spin to make openings.

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