Why is Spin Important in Table Tennis?
Imagine what table tennis would be like if there was no such thing as spin. Spin allows players to hit a table tennis ball hard and land it on the table when it is low or below the net. By putting heavy topspin on the ball, a player will make the ball drop faster in an upwards direction onto the other side of the table. Spin is the technique that makes table tennis faster and harder than the basement version – the more you can spin the ball, the harder you can hit it!
How Hard You Can Hit
First of all, you are limited on how hard you could hit the ball. On a standard table in tennis table of 9 feet or 2.74 meters long, the maximum speed that a top player can hit a ball off the bat might reach around 175km/hour (excluding air resistance). This also means that the ball will drop due to gravity as it cross the table. So if the ball is hit from the same height as the top of the net, it is physically impossible to hit the ball at this speed and land on the opponent’s court because it is simply not drop fast enough.
If the ball gets lower, it gets worse as the player must now hit the ball upwards to get over the net, and then gravity do it job to pull the ball back down onto the table.
If player hit the ball straight up in the air hoping that it will come down on the other side of the table, it practically impossible.
For maximum performance, the ball cahuld be hit at full speed and power only when the ball is high enough to draw a virtually straight line between the ball and a point on the opponent’s side of the table, without the net getting in the way which is roughly 30cm above the end line of the table.