Introducing the Reverse Shakehand Backhand (RSB)
– An innovative advanced playing technique in Table Tennis
A RSB bat consists of a smooth or inverted rubber on one side and long pips on the other side.
The RSB backhand is the general term for the technical action of hitting the backhandside of the shakehand by using the reverse side of rubber of the racket. The new technique is developed so that the player can consistently go from defence with the long pips to playing offensively and counterattack with the smooth/inverted rubber both on the backhand side.
In other words, by using the TigerWing shakehand grip, in addition to the standard backhand stroke, the player can use the reverse side of the racket as well by using a new backhand stroke. This new technique enables the player to use both the smooth/inverted rubber AND the long pips on the backhand side to block, fast carry, quick tear, short drop, flick, loop, counterloop, twist and punch.
The only criteria for judging whether a certain technique is a backhand RSB is to see whether the backhand is hitting the ball by using the reverse side of rubber of the racket.
Xu Yinsheng, who is quite well-known in the table tennis world, advocates that “Innovation has vitality.” In the late 1980s and 1990s, under his vigorous promotion, China had a far-reaching technological innovation in table tennis with the pen-hold grip – the reverse penhold backhand (RPB).
He used the atomic bomb and modification of conventional weapons as an example to say that by recombination of technology and tactics are considered as innovation, for it to be something new.
Just like the technical innovation of RPB (reverse penhold backhand), the technique of RSB (reverse shakehand backhand) is also an innovation. The original discovery of the innovative technology of TigerWing shakehand technique and (backhand) RSB was actually a kind of haphazard, completely unexpected, but haphazard also gave birth to inevitability, and finally achieved the inevitable result from haphazard.
On the evening of August 23, 2018, John Ho – an Hamiltonian and heavily involved with the Waikato Table Tennis Association in New Zealand, was playing table tennis with his six-year-old son Eli at home, and inadvertently saw that Eli was using the forehand side rubber to play both the forehand and backhand. John paid special attention to this and took extraordinary research on this seemingly meaningless action , refined its rationality, cultivated its applicability, and at the same time systemized and theorized it. The result is a a new and possibly very advanced RSB shakehand technique.
The application of this innovation is based on the theoretical basis of sports biomechanics, sports physiology, sports psychology, sports anatomy, etc. in the traditional shakehand style.
It does not “twist the arms” and does not go against the physiological structure of the human body. It can give full play to the strength of the fingers, wrists and arms, and the movement of the fingers, wrists and arms are reasonable, and the athlete’s coordination and muscle type requirements are very similar to those of the traditional shakehand style. It can be said that it is very easy to adjust and integrate.
Due to the different gripping methods, the RSB has a longer and larger hitting range than the traditional shakehand on the backhand side. With the same wingspan, RSB players are better equipped than traditional shakehand backhands. The coverage area of the RSB players are larger, and the distance difference is about three centimeters. (A shakehand player has a larger coverage area than a pen-hold player, and the distance is about one centimeter.) Don’t underestimate the short three centimeters, in some cases, it will cause a critical difference between scoring and losing points.
When using the normal(inverted) rubber on the player is able to use the reverse side of the racket to play a loop on the backhand side. Similar to the pen grip reverse backhand, due to the natural movement of the arm and the racket, it is possible to produce a side-topspin with a significant amount of left-to-right sidespin (for right-handers). This kind of left-side spin loop has more wide placement and power than the traditional shakehand backhand can have, the center of gravity can be moved in a smaller range, and the shot quality is better, which is conducive to the connection of the next stroke. Compared with the traditional shakehand backhand fast attack stroke, the RSB is not inferior but it is different as – it has the characteristics of increased friction on the ball,faster ball speed, strong attacking power, small movements and high concealment.
Generally speaking, a Shakehand player has a natural dead point, which is the so-called “Middle chasing” (Crossover point). The “Middle chasing” feeling caused by “chasing in the middle” is that it makes it very awkward for the player to receive and the player has to make a quick decision on whether to use the forehand or the backhand. The crossover is difficult because there is not enough space to hit the ball, which requires a lot of strong footwork and waist turning ability. Since the forehand and backhand of the TigerWing RSB style technique are both played with the inverted rubber on the same side of the forehand of the racket, the player does not need to remake the forehand and backhand, so there is no obvious “cross over” and weak spots of the shakehand play.
The traditional double-sided heterogeneous Shakehand (inverted rubber on the front, long rubber on the back) , front-inverted and back-pips table tennis players, once they have the innovative technique of RSB(reverse shakehand backhand), they will be in line with the current must-have technique for world top masters – which is double-sided looping with inverted rubbers, combined with fast attack, plus the advantages of long rubber, such as being weird, reversing the spin, dropping,wobbling,easy-to-handle-spinning and rhythm changing.
In terms of tactical distribution, there are both backhand twists inside the table, and innovative techniques such as rolling over, looping, hitting, carrying, flicking, and tearing, as well as fierce offensives initiated from short court, and when facing the top spin looping ball in the middle and far court, are able to make sustained rally and counter looping. In the backhand confrontation with the traditional shakehand grip opponent, TigerWing Shakehand Technique Style and RSB(reverse shakehand backhand) technique played a pivotal role, increasing the athlete’s lethality and scoring ability in the backhand position, and would not be at a significant disadvantage. On the contrary, it is even more powerful like a tiger with wings, highlighting its own advantages and characteristics.
Here, by the way, we have to mention the Seemiller grip. This grip is named after American table tennis coach and former professional player Dan Seemiller. Dan Seemiller took the lead in promoting this similar Seemiller grip in the 1970s, and with it, has achieved world-class success. In recent years however, since the introduction of the two-color rule, the advantage of the racket has been much less than before, and the Seemiller grip has fallen out of favour in higher-level table tennis competitions.
The Seemiller grip is actually a variant of the Shakehand grip, but rotated 90 degrees so that the thumb and index finger are used to grasp the sides of the bat. In this way, both forehand and backhand are performed on the same side of the racket. Although the backhand side is hit with the same side of the racket (same as the forehand), the method of holding the racket hinders the movement of the wrist on the backhand side, so it is difficult to hit the ball well with “the traditional backhand” (on the other side of the racket) , which limits the ability to hit the ball harder, or the ability to hit the ball with a lot of force, resulting in no strong backhand topspin loop and long pimple shots . So we can say that in terms of the types and quality of many single techniques, the (backhand) “RSB” of the Seemiller grip is, comparatively, far from being able to match with RSB of TigerWing shakehand grip (backhand).
The TigerWing RSB is a new style that allows the player to be able to use both the smooth (inverted) rubber and the long pips on both the backhand without twiddling the bat. The player is able to utilise the long pips and at the same time able to rally, attack and counter attack with the reverse backhand using the smooth (inverted) rubber – the benefits are in line with the current must-have techniques for world masters – being able to attack with both forehand and backhand with smooth (inverted) rubbers.
Profiles of player:
何倚天Ho,Yitian (Eli Ho), a New Zealand table tennis training base athlete, was born on March 6, 2012 in Hamilton, New Zealand. He started to learn to play at the age of 5 and a half. He is also, in the world today (21/Aug/2021), the only one who uses techniques of double-sided looping with inverted rubbers, combined with fast attack, plus double-sided with long pimple rubber and is the first TigerWing style player. He has won the 2020 Waikato Youth Table Tennis Player of the Year Award in New Zealand. At the age of eight, he has won the most important and highest-ranking Table Tennis Player of the Year Award in Waikato New Zealand at the age of eight. In July 2021 he won New Zealand North Island Tourament Open Under 13 boy single event, in August 2021 he again won New Zealand North Shore Tourament Open Under 13 boy single event , theses may prove that the TigerWing technique is indeed reasonable, effective and advanced.
In fact, there are not many young players who started to use the special long pimple rubber to play at the age of 6 years old. In the beginning of learning, at the 5-year-old and a half years , Eli also started with the traditional shakehand with inverted rubber during the enlightenment period. In August 2018, his father, John Ho, created and invented the innovative TigerWing Shakehand (RSB – Reverse Shakehand Backhand) technique style,and then he changed it to heterogeneous rubber on bat’s two sides(long pimple on one side and inverted rubber on the other side). Choosing this unprecedented path of innovative and special style requires the young players to have enough talent, super good hand-feeling, high savvy and diligent attitude. His coach also integrated a variety of factors to finally establish the current innovative and special style of play for Eli, and conducted strict training on him. Hopely Eli Ho can put in more effort and win a place in the future confrontation with mainstream style.
Profiles of the inventor/creator of the TigerWing Shakehand (RSB – Reverse Shakehand Backhand) technique style:
Tsung-yang Ho (John Ho), is the founder of the TigerWing Shakehand (RSB – Reverse Shakehand Backhand) technique style R&D Center, Yitian Ho ( Eli Ho)’s enlightenment coach and general head coach, former senior committee member of the New Zealand Waikato Table Tennis Association, and TTNZ certified qualified coach(2000). He thoroughly and deeply studies the game of table tennis and its winning factor theory, spared no effort to persist in the study of table tennis skills, obtained valuable research and innovation results, and became an active leader, advocate and practitioner of advanced table tennis playing style. He is based in Aucland/Hamilton, New Zealand.