Friday, 14 April 2017

Pro Tip Blog: Pioneering the Backhand Banana Flick with Petr Korbel

It's been a while but I managed to get something together to write a new blog post finally. The Pro Tip Blog is an area of my blog which I really wanted to develop more but had a lot of difficulty contacting the players I wanted for it. Fortunately I was able to organize this new piece on the backhand banana flick or the chiquita with its pioneer, Petr Korbel. I have laid it out in more of an interview style piece with some additional ideas below.

Pioneer of the backhand banana flick - Petr Korbel

Many people say you were the player who pioneered the backhand banana flick, when you started to use this shot, was it in fact something you yourself developed or had you seen other players trying to do it?

It was one time, if i remember right, when i was 16, after some practice session, i stayed in the hall and tried some new technique of backhand flick...so tried to put a spin into my flick over the table and somehow the ball started to curved to the side, copied the body of banana. I found it funny...and since this moment I stayed almost after every practice session and tried to make it until the perfection.

What do you think the most important elements are for performing a good backhand banana flick? Are there certain things that make it most effective?

Most important is the wrist! Extremely fast movement and in the same time touch of the ball. This connection requires high performance of technique.

When you began to use it in matches did you feel it gave you a distinct advantage at that time?

I began to use it in age of 18. Especially against penholder players I get the feeling to have a massive advantage

Do you think this shot has become more difficult with the slower and less spinny plastic ball? Have you made any further developments with this flick during your career since its early developments?

Even now with plastic ball, the banana flick is effective. And of course, this shot went through developments. In my eyes, in today's time, more effective is slower, than faster banana flick. The players knows in meantime, how to play against, but still they have more problems with the slow banana flick, played with lot of rotation inside.

What are some of the big errors players make with their backhand flick stroke which cause them problems in matches?

First, don't think, you can use banana flick for each return, in every situation. No!!! And the right banana flick is only, if the flight path of the ball copy the banana shape...

Thanks for your feedback for this blog Petr!


Using the Backhand Banana Flick in Matches:

The backhand banana flick has become much more common than the standard backhand flick for its ability to impart more spin and acceleration on the ball. It also allows for a player to flick more comfortably against backspin serves and has become useful across a wide range of points on the table for serve receive.

The backhand banana flip is the strongest option for initiating against a short serve. You can read my blog on the ultimatum of service return here.

Here are some things to remember when using the backhand banana flick:
  • Focus your acceleration around the wrist
  • Bring your elbow up a little and allow your racket to fall downwards in preparation for contact
  • Follow through the stroke with your forearm, do not use your shoulder
  • Keep the stroke loose and fluid with firmness between the thumb and finger on the racket
  • Make sure the stroke is concise, make sure not to try and do too much with the shot
Here is a great video by Australia's William Henzell on the backhand sidespin banana flick:



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