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    Posted: 06/14/2018 at 4:22pm
The next part of my game I'm looking to improve is handling my opponents opening loop better.

My opponent serves.  I push a low and heavy backspin ball that goes long.  My opponent is likely going to hit a slow, super heavy topspin opening loop.  I generally block these back with a still racket.  But that shot just ins't good enough any more.  I need to change this.  

Moving the racket the smallest amount on these shots will send the ball into space.  However, I've been able to use a fast swing and closed racket angle to smash these back.  But it's a low percentage shot for me.

I'm already aware of some answers.  Such as keeping my push short, changing the amount of spin on my push, changing the placement of my push.  Or just not pushing.  I'm not looking for these kinds of answers.  I already (try to) implement these things.

What is a better way to deal with these shots besides a passive block?





Edited by Swiff - 06/14/2018 at 4:27pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 4:30pm
Originally posted by Swiff Swiff wrote:

I generally block these back with a still racket.  But that shot just ins't good enough any more. 
Why it's not good any more?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Swiff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 4:35pm
Originally posted by mhnh007 mhnh007 wrote:

Originally posted by Swiff Swiff wrote:

I generally block these back with a still racket.  But that shot just ins't good enough any more. 
Why it's not good any more?

I'm playing better players recently and the shot isn't aggressive enough.  Better players are able to kill this block, even when I keep the ball low.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 4:46pm
If the opening loop is slow, then you should be able to counter attack, but if it is fast then you should be able to just block it back without worrying about getting kill.  How aggressive your block is depending on how good is the opening, and how consistent his 5th ball is. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 4:56pm
Borrow the power, the incoming ball has  loads of energy, you do not need to produce your own, Your opponent has created it, use it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 5:12pm
You can try to counter loop with a short, fast swing and a very closed bat angle. That's not an easy shot either, but it might be higher percentage than smashing once you get the timing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Swiff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 5:15pm
It's a good point about using the energy that's already on the ball.  I have learned to block these balls back at a better pace and less soft, which helps.  But still, I'd rather learn to attack these balls.  The shot is so hard, though.  

I want to know more about how the stroke and racket grip should be
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GMan4911 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 5:30pm
Punish him by banana flicking his serve aggressively.  If you don't know how to do it, now's the perfect time to learn.  It will take you awhile to get the hang of it but well worth learning how to do.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Swiff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 5:41pm
Originally posted by GMan4911 GMan4911 wrote:

Punish him by banana flicking his serve aggressively.  If you don't know how to do it, now's the perfect time to learn.  It will take you awhile to get the hang of it but well worth learning how to do.

Good advice, but this post is about how to counter the heavy topspin shot.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 5:42pm
Originally posted by GMan4911 GMan4911 wrote:

Punish him by banana flicking his serve aggressively.  If you don't know how to do it, now's the perfect time to learn.  It will take you awhile to get the hang of it but well worth learning how to do.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote assam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 5:50pm
Just make a counter topspin. Don't rush, just let your forearm and wrist work.
Don't make it too fast.
Get a low position and use the wrist
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 5:57pm
Originally posted by Swiff Swiff wrote:

this post is about how to counter the heavy topspin shot.  
I have been taught to do quick counter spin right off the table if in position.  I usually can do it if I know the other player opening is not too strong, and I am actually setting him up to open loop. If I am not in position then just block it back or step back and counter loop.  Blocking is always my 1st option, and only counter loops if the rally continue.

I also want to add that if you are comfortable blocking, and keep on blocking multiple attack, then there is no need to be aggressive.  It is more pressure for the attacker to press harder, and easier to err than you.


Edited by mhnh007 - 06/14/2018 at 6:06pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 6:27pm
Originally posted by Swiff Swiff wrote:

The next part of my game I'm looking to improve is handling my opponents opening loop better.

My opponent serves.  I push a low and heavy backspin ball that goes long.  My opponent is likely going to hit a slow, super heavy topspin opening loop.  I generally block these back with a still racket.  But that shot just ins't good enough any more.  I need to change this.  

Moving the racket the smallest amount on these shots will send the ball into space.  However, I've been able to use a fast swing and closed racket angle to smash these back.  But it's a low percentage shot for me.

I'm already aware of some answers.  Such as keeping my push short, changing the amount of spin on my push, changing the placement of my push.  Or just not pushing.  I'm not looking for these kinds of answers.  I already (try to) implement these things.

What is a better way to deal with these shots besides a passive block?









Slowly experiment with extending your arm forward, the ball will go back faster. Don't rush it! Experiment with placement to throw off your opponent too. Contact the ball on the side or fade it to increase the angles. I love active blocking personally, I would rather be doing closetable active blocking than mid-range loops!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cole_ely Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 7:18pm
Smash it down and flat if you can?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lightzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 7:32pm
A small, truncated topspin motion is enough.
Like a drive but with a slight upwards component.

This is something to practice with your coach. It's actually one of the easiest shots and has short motion but the timing is the problem. Like you say most people at the 'block'stage play too timidly to attack these balls which kick towards them fast. That's why it has to be made automatic with a coach.

Edited by Lightzy - 06/14/2018 at 7:35pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 9:39pm
Move to the Bay Area and practice with hunkeelelin

Edited by fatt - 06/14/2018 at 9:41pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 9:39pm
To answer the question, I recommend a fast block with little forearm and more wrist, over the ball and forward, tangential to it. It increases your touch and all incoming topspin translates into your own. No wood, only topsheet and a bit of sponge in a short but fast stroke. You have relatively more time since it’s a shorter springy stroke and you must place it.
I suppose the tender the topsheet the easier to learn. What are thé softest top sheets? I have a good memory of the juic air condle for those shots. What is the équivalent today?

Edited by fatt - 06/14/2018 at 10:03pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/14/2018 at 10:07pm
Get a little lower with your knees (assuming these balls are low) and use a mini top spin stroke. You shouldn't rotate your body too much since you're close to the table. Take the ball on the rise so you can get over the top of the ball.

If the ball is high, then top-spin smash it with a closed racket angle.

Very hard thing to do!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote balldance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/16/2018 at 2:07am
If the ball goes to your FH, you can loop kill it OR use soft off-the-bounce counter topspin.

If the ball goes to your BH, I have a few suggestions:
- Fast counter topspin with a closed bat angle. The stroke must be short and catch the ball on the rise, try to borrow/return the spin with a soft contact instead of trying to increase spin/speed. You can also add some sidespin with a little sideway stroke motion.
- Chop block: pro players often use this shot against slow spinny topspin. Can be normal chop block or reverse chop block. You will need a lot of time to practice this shot but it's worth it.
- Punch the ball down at top of the bounce or right before top of the bounce. Like Harimoto does. It's definitely not easy, so you need to practice a lot before using in a match.

None of these is easy, you need to experiment and practice to know which is good for you. Spend a lot of time to practice it because slow spinny topspin is a shot that we all have to deal with very often and if we can counter it actively, we have great advantage. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Argothman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/16/2018 at 2:49am
This might be heretical, but if you long push to the forehand, and you know you're going to get a slow spinny loop back, you can back up a step or two and counter loop. A good coach would probably advise against doing this every time, as if an opponent catches on they could exploit it, but it could help to get you more comfortable with attacking the fourth ball. I promise you, the biggest obstacle is just feeling comfortable attacking the shot rather than relying on blocking. 

Otherwise, if you'd like to spend more time developing a solid game at the table, balldance summarized the paradigm pretty well. However, I would add that I do not recommend making a chop block your go-to return. Do multiball if possible to train your counter topspin. I suspect the biggest issue you will have with it is is simply being late or not ready to perform the stroke, and having to fall back on blocking. Make it second nature to get out a quick, abbreviated counter topspin stroke in the form that others here have described in detail. 

Also, sorry for the call-out balldance, but don't put sidespin on your strokes until they are solid in their own right, banana flick excepting! It's a bad habit I used to have that my coach had to force out of me. A well executed loop or counter with just topspin is almost always preferable, as it has less margin for error when contacting the ball.


Edited by Argothman - 06/16/2018 at 2:52am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote balldance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/16/2018 at 4:02am
Originally posted by Argothman Argothman wrote:

This might be heretical, but if you long push to the forehand, and you know you're going to get a slow spinny loop back, you can back up a step or two and counter loop. A good coach would probably advise against doing this every time, as if an opponent catches on they could exploit it, but it could help to get you more comfortable with attacking the fourth ball. I promise you, the biggest obstacle is just feeling comfortable attacking the shot rather than relying on blocking. 

Otherwise, if you'd like to spend more time developing a solid game at the table, balldance summarized the paradigm pretty well. However, I would add that I do not recommend making a chop block your go-to return. Do multiball if possible to train your counter topspin. I suspect the biggest issue you will have with it is is simply being late or not ready to perform the stroke, and having to fall back on blocking. Make it second nature to get out a quick, abbreviated counter topspin stroke in the form that others here have described in detail. 

Also, sorry for the call-out balldance, but don't put sidespin on your strokes until they are solid in their own right, banana flick excepting! It's a bad habit I used to have that my coach had to force out of me. A well executed loop or counter with just topspin is almost always preferable, as it has less margin for error when contacting the ball.




I understand why you do not recommend chop block, it's difficult to master but I also advised that he need to experiment to see what works for him. Each person is different and chop block is difficult for most players but it can be natural for a few and they can do it easier than the "standard solutions".
Same for adding sidespin, for some people, adding a little (reverse) sidespin can help soften the touch and prevent the ball from going long.
All in all, I just tried to give him options. He can try them and find out what works for him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/16/2018 at 5:56am
Before you do full power countertopspins, just take a few small steps first, meaning trying to move your bat forward a bit more, when you're doing your safe blocks, eventually add more and more components until it becomes a quality countertopspin. The reason is that you want to build on your blocking touch which you already have, there's no reason to start from scratch!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/16/2018 at 6:00am
Originally posted by balldance balldance wrote:

Originally posted by Argothman Argothman wrote:

This might be heretical, but if you long push to the forehand, and you know you're going to get a slow spinny loop back, you can back up a step or two and counter loop. A good coach would probably advise against doing this every time, as if an opponent catches on they could exploit it, but it could help to get you more comfortable with attacking the fourth ball. I promise you, the biggest obstacle is just feeling comfortable attacking the shot rather than relying on blocking. 

Otherwise, if you'd like to spend more time developing a solid game at the table, balldance summarized the paradigm pretty well. However, I would add that I do not recommend making a chop block your go-to return. Do multiball if possible to train your counter topspin. I suspect the biggest issue you will have with it is is simply being late or not ready to perform the stroke, and having to fall back on blocking. Make it second nature to get out a quick, abbreviated counter topspin stroke in the form that others here have described in detail. 
Also, sorry for the call-out balldance, but don't put sidespin on your strokes until they are solid in their own right, banana flick excepting! It's a bad habit I used to have that my coach had to force out of me. A well executed loop or counter with just topspin is almost always preferable, as it has less margin for error when contacting the ball.


I understand why you do not recommend chop block, it's difficult to master but I also advised that he need to experiment to see what works for him. Each person is different and chop block is difficult for most players but it can be natural for a few and they can do it easier than the "standard solutions".
Same for adding sidespin, for some people, adding a little (reverse) sidespin can help soften the touch and prevent the ball from going long.
All in all, I just tried to give him options. He can try them and find out what works for him.


I agree with you. I had the same issues as the OP which I developed from feeding and blocking for youngsters over the years.
What you and AP46 have suggested is the ideal way to build on what the OP likes to do. When playing a righthander, many of them tend to put a bit of side on the loop from a pushed return. Countering with sidespin or chop block with sidespin, as one tactic, is made easier as the loop's return tends toward the looper's FH. Thus when countering with sidespin you have more room for error when trying to place the ball into the BH/body area.
This exercise (loop to long push from initial serve) is one of the basics much practiced by advanced players. If the OP enjoys this style of play he will never be short of advanced players wanting to play with him.



Edited by Tinykin - 06/16/2018 at 6:12am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/18/2018 at 1:06am
Swiff, if you are gunna counter topspin a heavy slow ball and you are not taking it off the bounce, you will have to be able to judge well where the ball is going, your position is real crucial. 

A few ways to handle the incoming spin are...

... to loosen up the grip, and swing with a shorter, less powerful stroke. This will "eat" the spin and produce some OK spin with a slower return. Sometimes this is enough, it can be a tricky ball for opponents.

… use a more forceful and progressively longer swing staying loose, close the blade and really firm up the grip pressure RIGHT AT IMPACT... this will overpower the spin, produce your own, and it will be real fast and heavy. Problem is, you gotta time everything right, the position, the swing, and the firming at impact.

… wait for the ball, stay loose, impact the ball on the side a little (like a hookshot) and with a shorter compact stroke, go through the ball over and around it... you will easily overcome the existing spin. This is the safest method for me. LATER, when you get your timing and jugment better, you can firm up and really give it to 'em. I really like staying loose as you can make extreme angles of balls landing just over the net really short... the corkscrew spin you add really kicks the ball away from them...

Still, with any of these options, you have to have good judgment. movement to position, and good perception of the depth of the ball.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/18/2018 at 9:04am
When you counterloop off the bounce you don't need a lot of force. You are not trying to "smash" it back. It is a short stroke, mostly forearm and wrist but one key aspect is to get the racket angle right. It is almost as short a stroke as a flick, just a bit more arm, and with a very closed racket. It is a timing shot and you need to be in good position and relaxed. You can do this from either side. As you get better you can rip a little harder.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/19/2018 at 2:08am
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

When you counterloop off the bounce you don't need a lot of force. You are not trying to "smash" it back. It is a short stroke, mostly forearm and wrist but one key aspect is to get the racket angle right. It is almost as short a stroke as a flick, just a bit more arm, and with a very closed racket. It is a timing shot and you need to be in good position and relaxed. You can do this from either side. As you get better you can rip a little harder.
yes, it is all about timing and racket control.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Swiff Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/19/2018 at 2:02pm
Wow.  Really great advice here.  I enjoyed reading through it.  Seems the consensus is a really short stroke.  I think I may be brushing up on the ball when I should be hitting straight through the spin.  


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bardock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/19/2018 at 8:48pm
One way I have learned to block a stroke while keeping it on the table if it is heavy topspin is kind of when blocking the ball making your hand tense when doing the block so it kind of eats up the spin so you can't hit it out and also you can guide your block a bit meaning not keeping it completely still but being active.
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