How did 39 year old Hou Yingchao win this years Chinese National Title?

How did 39 year old Hou Yingchao win this years Chinese National Title?


The veteran chopper defeated the World # 6 and favourite Liang Jingkun in the earlier rounds and stunned the highly regarded teenager Wang Chuqin 4/0 in the final. This result was even more incredible when you consider that Chuqin had defeated the legendary Ma Long two weeks earlier in the Australian Open.

TTFit are excited to be launching our new Video Tutorials soon and we’ve analysed Hou’s game and how it would look in our new Coaching framework. These are our opinions and not necessarily fact:

TECHNIQUE: Hou is a modern day chopper and needs great technique in many areas in order to stand a chance to defeat the best attackers. He will have spent thousands of hours perfecting the simple F/H and B/H push before thinking about the more difficult strokes to master! His B/H chop is very heavy as his body position is superb and the mechanics of the stroke are perfect. Hou rarely chops on the F/H but has worked on different F/H variations, his F/H topspin is very compact in which he focusses on legs and a strong core.

TIMING: This is incredibly important for a chopper as great timing is needed to create backspin on the chop. This makes any attacking opponent hit up on the ball and so gives Hou time to do his thing. Hou has worked on where his contact point for all his different shots are as this is essential to create perfect timing. His F/H fish has so many different variations and will have required hours and hours of practice and experimentations in the hall.

FOOTWORK: Yingchao is a big strong guy and relies on footwork productivity as he is not as light on his feet as someone like Joo Se Hyuk. Again, he will have spent hours and hours in the training hall working on the correct footwork patterns focussing on in and out and side to side movements. Hou will have done thousands of hours of multi ball training in order to perfect these movements and help him recover quicker after each shot.

IMPACT: This is absolutely crucial for any good modern day chopper and Hou relies on this skill to bamboozle his opponents. You could see the frustration on Liang Jingkun and Wang Chuqin’s faces grow as they failed to read the spin time after time. The ability to disguise chops and floats is priceless and Hou has mastered this incredibly difficult skill through relentless practice. Yingchao also has the ability to change speeds and spin on the F/H side which again, can confuse and surprise an opponent.

TOUCH: The veteran defender receives serve mainly with his B/H pimples. He requires good touch and feel as the first goal for any good chopper when receiving is to make a quality 4th ball. Once this is achieved then Hou will be confident in winning the rally as he will have passed the most difficult test, 3rd and 5th ball attack! Most attackers will try and bring him in and out from the Table so again, he has mastered this difficult skill through sheer hard work and discipline.


Please watch Hou in action, especially during this Tournament as this was a fabulous victory for him. His mentality is not something we have talked about but is also one of his major strengths. You could see his confidence grow match by match and also in the final when he knew his opponent had nothing left. What a player!!

TTFit will be integrating Technique, Timing, Footwork, Impact and Touch into all our coaching framework and we are working hard on producing quality coaching instructional videos for beginner, intermediate and advanced level participants.

Article By

Allen Robson


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