From a biological perspective, there are limits to how fast the body can react to a stimulus. There is a difference in this time between an audio stimulus and visual stimulus. Technically we respond faster to an audio stimulus than a visual stimulus, 0.14 of a second compared with 0.18 of a second respectively. Therefore, if you can work out EVERYTHING about the shot you need to just by hearing it strike the racket, you’re 0.04 or four one hundredths of a second faster than anyone else who has ever played table tennis before. Good players (even average players like myself) can still deduce a lot of what the opposition is doing, simply by listening to the noise the ball makes when it contacts the bat. For instance a brushing noise of the ball on the bat tells you that spin has been put on the ball, hitting a loop will give this effect. A sharper ‘pock’ will tell you that the ball has been struck quite solidly, and will also tell you that they’re using a thin rubber. It is, of course, legal to ask to view the opposition’s bat, so listening to the noise to tell what thickness rubber is being used is just something that can be done. Some people say that when the ball strikes the table they can tell whether the ball is top spun or under spun. Personally, I can’t, but it wouldn’t surprise me that elite players can. In Table Tennis, the average total time to react to a shot is usually around 0.25 of a second. With lots of training and lots of practice, this can be reduced to 0.18 of a second. This is one of the big factors in what separates the greats of table tennis, from the top A grade players. In elite levels of the sport, even being the smallest fraction of a second (1/1000ths) faster starts to make a difference. Torque is a Force that occurs when it is applied at an angle around a fixed point. This is usually a circle. There are several places that I’ve seen Torque used in Table Tennis. Some common places are: Maximizing the spin on the ball. By doing this a sphere (the ball) is rotated about a point inside it. This means that the faster the ball is spinning the higher the Torque. Unwinding the body when playing a powerful shot such as a smash. You unwind your hips, then your torso, then your shoulders, upper arm, lower arm and finally wrist. This increases the Radius of the swing. By hitting the ball toward the outer rim of the racket will also increase the radius. I don’t know if this is used in the game, as doing this would mean the ball is striking the racket outside of the sweet spot and causing a loss of control. When serving a forehand pendulum serve, one technique is to trick the opponent by minimizing the amount of spin put on the ball. This is done by contacting the ball close to the handle, thereby minimizing the Radius of the swing.
Technically hitting the ball harder (with a higher velocity) also increases the Torque, as this increase in velocity results in a direct increase in the acceleration of the ball. As F = ma, an increase in a leads to a direct increase in F, which in turn leads to a direct increase in Torque.