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Advice on Match (Opp. BH Long Pips)

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mickd View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09/13/2018 at 2:33am
Hey guys. So I've always been weak against less common styles, probably because I play them a lot less.

Here's a match I played last week against a BH long pips player.

In this particular match, I lost 1-3. The last time I played her, I lost deuce in the 5th, so I thought I'd have a better chance this time.

The score was pretty close with me losing 9 or deuce in all sets I lost.

The 4th game I think I could have won since I was up 6-4, but I lost concentration and dumped 2 of her serves into the net. A worker from the center we were playing at came during the match to say that I'm not allowed to take videos inside the premises, but luckily the person in charge of the table tennis club was there and he had a talk with the worker telling him that they had permission. Anyway, that conversation was happening right behind me and while I was looking forward, I was listening to the conversation behind me!! Very distracting since it was my camera.

I have some ideas about what I could have/should have done better.

1. Use my backhand more. She seems to have more trouble with my slow short, spinny but no power backhands.
2. Attack cross court after pivoting more often. She kept punishing my wide forehand when I committed down the line. Maybe take it slower with more spin so she can't chop block it back so fast.
3. Go for less power and more controlled shots until I have a better opportunity to kill the ball.
4. Aim more for her middle rather than her backhand. When I hit the ball there, she seems to be very uncomfortable using her backhand to block it. Her body is completely out of position.
5. Just get better by practicing more...

Below I included sets 2, 3 and 4. The set I won was 3. Sorry about the angle for some of it. And sorry for the eye bleeding bad table tennis T_T



Advice as always appreciated! And long pips players, please tell me how to beat you haha.


Edited by mickd - 09/13/2018 at 2:34am
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vvk1 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vvk1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/13/2018 at 3:53am
Try to avoid pushing twice in a row into her pips, no matter what shot she plays after your first push, but especially if she pushes back. Your second push results in a sitter and that's too easy for her.

Another thing that might help is to try and play more to the same side. She does not twiddle, so it is easier to predict and control what comes back to you as a result of your shots.

Good luck.
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blahness View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/13/2018 at 4:17am
1) You lost too many points pushing back long pushes....should try to loop them a lot more! I guess this is the main area in your game that needs improvement.
2) She's not so good at receiving half long serves to the FH, you're right to capitalize on it. I think you should have focused on it a lot more actually as she didn't seem to be able to adjust to it, rather than having too much variation.
3) Generally you should be aiming your FH loops more to the middle than her BH where she is very comfortable blocking them.
4) Pushing to her pips was usually a bad idea, you lost many points following that line of thought, better was to push to her FH, to get her out of position first. She lost many points trying to attack your pushes.

In matches, it's a skill to keep track of what works and what doesn't... I think you can beat her...you just gotta adjust your tactics!
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mickd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/13/2018 at 9:48pm
Thank you, vvk1! Yes, I need to avoid the double push at all cost. Luckily she doesn't twiddle. I should probably aim more for her forehand to get more of the balls I'm used to. But I really need to practice against the long pips balls more, too.

Very good suggestions, blahness. Thank you. In the 4th set, I was up 10-9 but made a bad choice with the serve. I knew those balls side spin short or half long balls wide to the forehand were effective, and I did it at 9-9 to get the point, but decided it would be a good idea to do a under spin short ball instead. I was convinced she would try to attack it (for some reason) so when she pushed it instead I just froze for half a second, failing to get into position to attack and I netted the ball. I only recently started to use that serve so I haven't really had time to practice it yet (probably started it less than a month ago). It's extremely effective.

I'll keep all those points in mind the next time I play her. I agree and really feel like I'm super close to beating her. Last time it was also really close. So thank you!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kevo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/14/2018 at 1:55pm
I agree with all said above, Mick, though I thought you played better last time and are well capable of playing that way again. While it's important to reflect on what you could do different after losses--no one ever learned anything from winning; can't remember who said that...--sometimes you just have to chalk it up to a bad day. Some of the rallies, fh to fh etc. you lost b/c maybe you just weren't as sharp as you normally are. You won those rallies last time. Lost them this time. Just a bad day at the office? Distracted? It happens to everyone. You only lost 9, 9, something, 8, something. This means 2 of those FH rallies won?  Different outcome, and you wouldn't even worry about what to change in your game against LPs.  

My advice, pick one thing from above--one and only one; more than that you can't focus on in play; start, say, with slowing down some, slower spinny loops--and try implementing that. You  are already well able to beat her. It's just a matter of relaxing and letting yourself do it. 

She's a great LP player though. Really like how she flat kills loose stuff. Really quick FH snap. I tend to loop kill instead and would be better off flat killing like she does. My compliments to ye both!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote benfb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/15/2018 at 2:12am
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

Here's a match I played last week against a BH long pips player.

I have some ideas about what I could have/should have done better.

1. Use my backhand more. She seems to have more trouble with my slow short, spinny but no power backhands.
2. Attack cross court after pivoting more often. She kept punishing my wide forehand when I committed down the line. Maybe take it slower with more spin so she can't chop block it back so fast.
3. Go for less power and more controlled shots until I have a better opportunity to kill the ball.
4. Aim more for her middle rather than her backhand. When I hit the ball there, she seems to be very uncomfortable using her backhand to block it. Her body is completely out of position.
5. Just get better by practicing more...
The point made by someone else about not pushing twice to her LP is good advice.  I've never understood why people do that; you're not going to improve you situation ever with that second push (well, rarely anyway).  Think of it this way: what you want coming to you are predictable, attackable balls.  The first push usually gets you a nice no-spin or top-spin ball that is easy to attack.  Push a second time, and you're inviting smashes (if your push goes high), or LP no-spin kill shots (if you push long with good backspin), or possible an awkwardly placed ball coming back (because it's easy for LP players to control and place such pushes).  

The other point I would emphasize is your #3.  When you make a really strong shot, it takes longer to recover, which makes it hard for you to get the next ball.  If your shot isn't an outright winner, the LPs are going to send it back weird and awkwardly places, and you'l be struggling to get in place for any sort of return shot, if you make it back at all.

Instead, the better plan is to go for controlled attacking shots until you see the opportunity for winners.  Sometimes you can make a series of controlled attacking shots, and sometimes you have to intersperse with pushes, but either way you keep the pressure up without leaving your own weaknesses wide open.

Where this plan gets harder is if you're weak on one side, because the LPs can push to your weak side and you can't put much pressure on them.  But it's still the right strategy.

Patience is the key to beating LPs. If you have no patience, then you can only win if you are the much stronger player.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/15/2018 at 2:32am
Just thought of sharing a strategy that worked well for me against LP players. It might suit you more if you don't mind losing, but it will improve your game I think. Serve long nospin or slight topspin to their BH, then keep on safe looping to their pips. It will seriously force you to up your FH topspin quality and feeling against underspin which will benefit you significantly in other matchups too! See if you're able to outlast the LP player. You have to be good at adjusting your racket angle depending on what spin you get, and not just blindly trying to overpower the spin.

With serve return, just try to soft flip everything and avoid pushes, then repeat the FH topspin to their pips until someone makes the first mistake.

When you can win using this strategy, you would have developed a really good FH topspin :) The other thing that you eventually will realize is that a topspin stroke is actually more consistent than pushes using inverted. The topspin drags the ball to the table and allows you a lot of room for error.

For reference, don't watch Ma Long or Zhang Jike, but maybe a player like Zhu Yuling, how she plays against choppers and how easy she lifts those underspin balls. There's no underspin ball that you can't lift with the correct racket angle, that applies for flips too. Once you're comfortable you can start closing the racket angle more and apply a bit more power.


Edited by blahness - 09/15/2018 at 2:45am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/17/2018 at 10:00pm
Sorry for the delayed response, everyone. I've been frequenting the forums, but I had very long work hours this week (including work on Saturday and Sunday).

Thanks for the advice, Kevo. I actually ended up playing her again a few days later, but still couldn't do it. This time it went to 5 games, though. The last game I lost 4-11, but the 2 other sets I lost, I was actually leading 5-1 and 6-2, but ended up losing 9 and deuce. I need to stay concentrated and stick with what works in those situations. She actually made some unbelievable returns with her LP that game, but my camera was acting up so I didn't get to record most of it.

I think the problem I had was that I was trying to think of and implement too many things, and ended up overwhelming myself, failing to really do anything I had in mind!! I'll try take it slow like you said and just work on one. I think that'll work out better.

Thanks, benfb. I never intend to do it, but there are a few reasons why I end up pushing twice. The first one is that I end up going into auto-pilot and just push it because that's what I'm used to against inverted. After I push it and it pops, I remember. The second one is that I don't have the confidence the attack with my backhand because the ball looks so floaty. So I end up trying to push it back with a slightly closed racket angle (which doesn't work out well). Another reason is that sometimes the long push comes at me way faster than I expect, and my initial reaction is to push. All these are problems that I need to address though. I definitely need to overcome this!!

I DEFINITELY need to slow the game down. I get punished too much going for an all out attack. The main advice the long pips girl gave me was to loop with more control instead, just as you said. I do rush it a lot, so I need to work on my patience :(

Thanks, blahness! That sounds like a fun little challenge! I'll try it out the next time I play her. But I just can't help attacking the ball more aggressively when I feel like I can. The problem is that my aggressive balls are too slow for the size of my stroke :( I'll try real hard not to over commit!! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/17/2018 at 10:23pm
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:


I DEFINITELY need to slow the game down. I get punished too much going for an all out attack. The main advice the long pips girl gave me was to loop with more control instead, just as you said. I do rush it a lot, so I need to work on my patience :(

Thanks, blahness! That sounds like a fun little challenge! I'll try it out the next time I play her. But I just can't help attacking the ball more aggressively when I feel like I can. The problem is that my aggressive balls are too slow for the size of my stroke :( I'll try real hard not to over commit!! 

I think it'll be fun for the long pips player too as they get to practise their LP blocks or chops against topspin. Maybe it could even be practice and not a match situation where you'll feel pressured. Yeah I think you have to chill and slow down your stroke a bit, focus more on having a safe, stable stroke and recovering well. You should play the same controlled way that you do against topspin players and not feel pressured to end the point ASAP. I think your issue is that you feel you have to always brush and hit the ball very hard against underspin, which creates a fear of underspin in you. This little challenge will help you overcome your fear of underspin balls (it's really just a matter of angle adjustment!) and increase your confidence level against it. It's also very useful to have lots of gears against all kinds of balls. Having a stable topspin opener against underspin is extremely valuable in all matchups. 


Edited by blahness - 09/17/2018 at 10:26pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kevo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/18/2018 at 12:14pm
Mick, check out this video and watch how Gucci plays this really good LP player. Slow spinny loops to the pips, as blahness says above, and then bang it out wide to the FH. I'm not sure of the actual result of the match but it is a great instructional video for attackers and LP blockers alike. Enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5TiPsd2-nA

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 hours 31 minutes ago at 10:29pm
Thanks blahness! Yeah, usually before we play a match we do some simple drills for like 10 minutes, so during that time I can definitely try to control the ball more with a slow heavy spin loop. The next time I play her I'll do this and post another video. Hopefully it goes well!!

That's a nice video, kevo. Thank you. We don't get to see many long pips players at the pro levels, so I rarely see how people handle it. I think that video is good because it's at a level much closer to what us mortals play at. I think Gucci lost that one, but no big deal :) Control seems to be the way to go. Control until you have an opening.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TT newbie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 hours 9 minutes ago at 10:51pm
Totally agree with kevo, slow (and long) topspins is the worst type of shot for any pips player to handle.
I´m a short pips player and have issues when my opponent uses slow topspins.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote qpskfec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 hours 28 minutes ago at 11:32pm
Go on youtube and search for forum member pushblocker's video, who has played over 2200 level almost exclusively LP BH pushblocking.

He has stated that the most difficult opponents for him are SP hitters or inverted players who are good flat hitters. He wants more spin because the LP needs some spin to get reversal and to produce a faster return. Note how he takes spinny loops right off the bounce to produce a quick, low return.

I play LP players regularly. My go to tactic is give a light push deep to the LP and then flat hit the next ball at the elbow.

Mixing up pushes is also a good idea. I go light spin to not give them spin to work with most of the time, then occasionally a fast push with lots of spin. This often produces a netted return.





Edited by qpskfec - 20 hours 27 minutes ago at 11:33pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 hours 26 minutes ago at 1:34am
Thanks TT newbie. I agree and will definitely be working on it more.

Thanks qpskfec. My general understanding has always been that flat hitting would be better. But I think for me, I need to play more of the control game. I've never been good at flat hitting. Spin over speed has always been my style, and while it would be great to switch between the two, I feel like I lack the sense for it. I could try it, but I probably can't do both control and flat hits at this point in skill level without compromising both strokes. But if I fail to play the control game, or once I'm able to do that but still feel like the long pips are getting me more than I'm getting them, I'll switch styles and give it a try!

I like your tactics, so I'll definitely try them out. I generally do serve quite light against long pips, so I'll just need to attack more to the elbow, and use more light pushes (something I'm bad at as I generally always try to push heavy).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote qpskfec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 hours 23 minutes ago at 2:37am
Here is a surprise tactic against LP.

Try a long, HIGH, underspin serve to the LP. I chop down hard on the serve and make the ball bounce a foot or more over the table and land near the receivers end line.

It is almost impossible to return the ball low. The return is typically a floater that is easy to kill.

How long this tactic works for really depends on the receivers ability to adapt. Most LP players never practice receiving this kind of ball.
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