Do you know difference between Cut and Push in Table Tennis?

CUT and PUSH in Table Tennis

Table Tennis is one of the most popular game in India and I think mostly all of us might have tried our hands on this game somewhere in our life. We can find people enjoying this game in schools, colleges, clubs and offices a lot. It is a fast paced game and great sport as a recreational activity. The beauty of any sport is even if you play it for recreation you play it with full passion, you aim to win, no one likes losing. You learn to be competitive, winning instills confidence in you, helps to build a great attitude and overall keeps you fit mentally and physically.

Talking particularly about table tennis being a fast paced game reflexes and technique is most important part of this sport. As any other sport, there are few very basic techniques which as a player you should know to have a better understanding of the game and turn into a good player. In this blog, I will try to uncover details around two very basic techniques called “CUT” and “PUSH” in Table Tennis. Together they are commonly known as “CHOP”, which most of you might have heard about. Before getting into the details let me ask you a simple question:

Did you ever wonder why sometimes you were successful in playing a shot either KILL or TOP SPIN on a ball and why sometimes your same attempt goes into the net or outside?

Let me tell you those who are more regular to TT most of them might have yelled…

“Well today I am not in form or maybe it’s not my day…yesterday I was hitting so good…”

In some extreme cases, you may find them hitting table, wall, shouting and propelling their frustration out in some or the other way… 

With my personal experience, I can assure you this might have happened to everyone who has taken this game little seriously.

Coming back to the technique and details, “CUT” and “PUSH” in Table Tennis are two most important skills of this game and quite easy to understand and master. Below are few immediate advantages of mastering this technique:

  • You will be able to differentiate between “CUT” and “PUSH” whenever you will receive one while playing
  • You will be able to take appropriate action while returning the ball
  • Your conversion rate of successful shots will increase
  • Most importantly it will help you in improvising your defensive gameplay a lot and in turn, help you in losing fewer points in a match due to unforced or forced errors

Let’s understand “CUT” and “PUSH” in Table Tennis now…

Understanding CHOP

CHOP is a commonly used word for both “CUT” and “PUSH”. Let’s understand “CHOP” first. It is a defensive shot played with a bat tilted backside and player try to slice the ball to generate some backspin on the ball. Based on the amount of backspin ball will be categorized either as “CUT” or “PUSH” This shot can be played both by forehand and backhand as depicted in below images.

Backhand CHOP


Forehand CHOP

Understanding PUSH and CUT

PUSH is an easy variation of a “CHOP” shot with very less backspin in a ball because of which it is little easy to handle and return this ball.

CUT is a tougher variation of “CHOP” shot with a lot of backspin in a ball because of which it is difficult to handle and return this ball. 

Interestingly with the same action, you can play either “CUT” or “PUSH” which is the main reason because of which opponents get’s deceived in understanding the kind of ball they are receiving. Important over here is the SAME ACTION.

“Yes, so the trick is while playing a “CHOP” if you hold your bat with LOOSE GRIP it will be played as a “PUSH” ball”. 

“While playing a “CHOP” shot if you will TIGHTEN YOUR GRIP it will be played as “CUT” ball“.

Since you are keeping your action the same opponent gets very little indication regarding ball played by an opponent is “CUT” or “PUSH”.

Wow, I just revealed the trick it is sounding so simple isn’t it? But believe me I have been playing Table Tennis from last 25 years now and almost 95% of non-professional players in which many of them were pretty good did not understand this difference. Of all my years I have been using this trick a lot to win points and matches. Especially against those who does not understand the difference between “CUT” and “PUSH”. Now since you know the trick I encourage you to apply it whenever you play next and feel the difference. You can follow a couple of videos given below to understand forehand and backhand CHOP much better.

How To understand difference between “CUT” and “PUSH” of your own 

Whenever you are on table try a quick practical. Try playing a “CHOP” with a loose grip and allow it to fall on the ground. You will find that it follows straight path and hits at the wall. Now maintaining the same action try playing “CHOP” with a tight grip and allow the ball to fall on the ground. You will find that after going little forward it tends to return back.

Now the TIP is to practice “CUT” and “PUSH” and every now and then keep checking how far your ball travels before returning back, earlier it returns back means more backspin you were able to generate on your CUT.

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In my next blog I will cover:

When to play “CUT” and “PUSH”?

How to respond to “CUT” and “PUSH”?

TIP on how to win more points using “CUT” and “PUSH”?