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    Posted: 08/29/2019 at 6:17am
So there's a guy whom I lose to almost every time and am crowdsourcing for strategies lol...

He's quite tall and has an extremely good block (he can choose to block fast, short, and sometimes even with chop if he feels like it). Not only that he has an amazing counterloop on both wings which I can't deal with that well. He can also BH flip almost all serves (including heavy backspin) if he reads them correctly which happens often (serve receive is his strength). His weakness is his FH receive and opening loop. He often serves quality fast long serves to force the topspin rally which he is very good at, serves short as a variation. It's a deceptive hook serve which he serves from the middle of the table. 

I can serve all kinds of spin (short, long) to everywhere on the table but pretty much short serves get flipped which puts me on the back foot and long serves get an opening loop which doesn't have amazing success rate but places me under pressure (I do get a lot of points countering his weaker opening loops though). For serve receive he forces me to open with the fast long serves. The problem is that if I do a hard loop it gets blocked with quite high percentages and if I do a soft loop his counterloop is deadly... 

I can play a really amazing attacking game (with many high quality loops and counters) but still lose to his insane blocking game lol... He loses to another guy who just loops very slow, low and short with a lot of weird sidespin, but it's hard to replicate that...

Any suggestions? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1dennistt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 7:33am
Without seeing a video it's hard to guess what you migh change or improve on.  The first thing that comes to mind is the placement on your loops, you might try to vary the placement, maybe try to find his middle (which for some isn't actually the middle) or point where he transitions from forehand block to backhand block.  See if you can get some weaker blocks or at least less consistency.  Sometimes this is a bigger zone for the tall guys, and varies depending on whether he prefers to block most balls with his forehand or backhand.  

It sounds like he thrives on your speed and spin, it gives him what he needs to work with.  So you may have to add a little more variety there.  I'm having the same problem playing a player a lot younger than I am, so I'm going to be watching this thread to see what our forum comes up with as an answer.  Meanwhile I'm going to take my own advice and see what happens.

Good luck.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 8:21am
Originally posted by 1dennistt 1dennistt wrote:

Without seeing a video it's hard to guess what you migh change or improve on.  The first thing that comes to mind is the placement on your loops, you might try to vary the placement, maybe try to find his middle (which for some isn't actually the middle) or point where he transitions from forehand block to backhand block.  See if you can get some weaker blocks or at least less consistency.  Sometimes this is a bigger zone for the tall guys, and varies depending on whether he prefers to block most balls with his forehand or backhand.  

It sounds like he thrives on your speed and spin, it gives him what he needs to work with.  So you may have to add a little more variety there.  I'm having the same problem playing a player a lot younger than I am, so I'm going to be watching this thread to see what our forum comes up with as an answer.  Meanwhile I'm going to take my own advice and see what happens.

Good luck.



He plays mid-distance and covers his middle really well (his BH block covers some part of the FH side, same with the FH block). He also counterloops hard so that throws my timing off. He's actually weaker against  strong attacks to his wide FH, but it's not so easy to switch it there when he is giving me high quality balls to my BH. I tried pivoting but that loses me the point fast because he will always switch it down the line when he smells opportunity. So the game usually devolves into high pressure BH-BH rallies somehow with me trying to hit it past him and trying to block his counterloops well. I can get the advantage when he gives me a weaker ball that I can switch strongly down the line, or if I manage to hit my favoured FH sidespin loop to his deep FH. All in all I on ly  win 40% of the rallies which leads to me usually losing 8-11 or so...  

He reminds me of a Samsonov kind of style, very relaxed and with good control always, whereas I play faster and close to the table with more power....


Edited by blahness - 08/29/2019 at 8:28am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fabian1890 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 8:53am
There are many tactics which should work:

- Work with the maximum distance he has to cover:

Short service to his FH, then long to his backhand. You will probably get a diagonal ball which you should take with your forehand to make the point.

-Vary with spin, blockers don’t like if u sometimes play a dead ball.

- Instead of playing to his weakness you could also play to his better side to then put the next ball to his weak side. This way he has to move and play his weak side.

- Play a bit more passive. Let him do his weak opening loop and counter it with good placement.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 9:48am
Long serves to his forehand. If his opening loop sucks and you can counter it, then you should provoke his attack.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 3000.artists Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 10:02am
I play a guy like this at my club, tall and long, with a huge range of blocking/returning options. And I play like you, mostly always trying to play it with power loops. I find that varying the pace can get him to hesitate, which can cause errors. My natural desire in the game is to play at one speed, but if I can break that and think about just moving the ball around the table at constantly varying speeds/placements/spins, that seems to throw him off. Obviously easier said than done, as you can run into the same problem of over thinking and create hesitation for yourself, but something to try and practice. For example, opening with a slow skinny loop might get killed by him back to your side, but if you can push him off the table a bit with a hard one that he then blocks back, instead of ripping the next, try the slow loop then, possibly making him offbalanced, lunging for the ball and making a mistake.

Edited by 3000.artists - 08/29/2019 at 10:03am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 10:42am
Originally posted by Tt Gold Tt Gold wrote:

Long serves to his forehand. If his opening loop sucks and you can counter it, then you should provoke his attack.

Lol this is a ballsy strategy...but thinking about it, it might actually work! Will try it the next time I play him....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 10:45am
Originally posted by Fabian1890 Fabian1890 wrote:

There are many tactics which should work:

- Work with the maximum distance he has to cover:

Short service to his FH, then long to his backhand. You will probably get a diagonal ball which you should take with your forehand to make the point.

-Vary with spin, blockers don’t like if u sometimes play a dead ball.

- Instead of playing to his weakness you could also play to his better side to then put the next ball to his weak side. This way he has to move and play his weak side.

- Play a bit more passive. Let him do his weak opening loop and counter it with good placement.

I usually avoid short serves to FH because I don't like having to deal with short FH balls which I often get from the receive....but it could be quite effective, I haven't tried it much...

On the rallying side I usually try to overpower ppl by speed and spin, guess using dead balls could also be quite effective, never thought about that!

It's not easy to get into a situation that he has to do a FH opening loop but I could always serve long into his FH lol!


Edited by blahness - 08/29/2019 at 10:47am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 10:50am
Originally posted by 3000.artists 3000.artists wrote:

I play a guy like this at my club, tall and long, with a huge range of blocking/returning options. And I play like you, mostly always trying to play it with power loops. I find that varying the pace can get him to hesitate, which can cause errors. My natural desire in the game is to play at one speed, but if I can break that and think about just moving the ball around the table at constantly varying speeds/placements/spins, that seems to throw him off. Obviously easier said than done, as you can run into the same problem of over thinking and create hesitation for yourself, but something to try and practice. For example, opening with a slow skinny loop might get killed by him back to your side, but if you can push him off the table a bit with a hard one that he then blocks back, instead of ripping the next, try the slow loop then, possibly making him offbalanced, lunging for the ball and making a mistake.

Definitely not something I usually do but worth trying, following up a powerloop with a spinny slow loop!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mts388 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 12:37pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Tt Gold Tt Gold wrote:

Long serves to his forehand. If his opening loop sucks and you can counter it, then you should provoke his attack.

Lol this is a ballsy strategy...but thinking about it, it might actually work! Will try it the next time I play him....

I agree with TTgold, but would add, after your serve take a step back from the table and viciously attack his return as wide as you can to his backhand corner.  Try to end the rally with that shot.  It looks like the longer the rally the more it is to his advantage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote taczkid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 1:00pm
You should play everything to the middle of the table, also play short and long instead of side to side...!
If he is good blocking try to play more spin then power & also try one time where you just let him take the initiative and let him try to finish you... surprisingly if he attacks more you might do better against him. If you practice more eventually you will beat him, unless he is simply much better player.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ghostzen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 1:42pm
Like a lot of people have said  - Attacking with angles, pace changes as well as spin variations might be a better plan if route one isn't working with power alone. Giving speed to a good blocker means you will either tire, have to run around like a mad man to get the ball past them or overcook your shots and miss making the job even harder.
 
Also pushing a blocker off the table with depth of shot and keeping them away is another good option that way it sets up the possibility of a drop shot or ball depth/pace change to disrupt them.
 
Do not give the table up unless you have to as when you are back off the table you are handing the blocker all the time and angle they will need and you will be chasing everything.
 
I'm guessing the guy is the same standard or a bit better ...maybe or just your bogey player?
 
These players sometimes need Heinz 57 varieties to beat them which isn't a bad thing to learn how to do to be honest. You can't over power every opponent..
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by ghostzen - 08/29/2019 at 1:45pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SignatureDish81 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 3:53pm
Service : maybe try mixing more long no-spin serves to the elbow along with some no-spin/top-sidespin variation to short-wide forehand side of table, maybe half-long no-spin to this locations as well. Sounds like trying to vary your serves too much may hurt you worse, since he has good serve return. Also sounds like he won’t do much with good no-spin serves

Rally: Open attacks to his middle then test wide forehand if the opportunity presents itself, or go back to his middle if he tries to pin you in on the backhand side to look for a chance to attack more assertively. If he picks up on the pattern well, mix in more backspin service variations or hit the backhand side more often. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wilkinru Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 5:37pm
The way I read the original post: this guy is a really good player.

Without seeing video it's really difficult to say why you are losing to him. You might be getting blocked down a lot - but are you really losing doing that? Getting video is really important. It's easier to remember the time the guy blocked 3 strong loops and not remember the 3 pushes into the net.

I guess I'm just saying you might be wrong on why you are losing. Start by gathering more data.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cole_ely Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 5:57pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

So there's a guy whom I lose to almost every time and am crowdsourcing for strategies lol...

He's quite tall and has an extremely good block (he can choose to block fast, short, and sometimes even with chop if he feels like it). Not only that he has an amazing counterloop on both wings which I can't deal with that well. He can also BH flip almost all serves (including heavy backspin) if he reads them correctly which happens often (serve receive is his strength). His weakness is his FH receive and opening loop. He often serves quality fast long serves to force the topspin rally which he is very good at, serves short as a variation. It's a deceptive hook serve which he serves from the middle of the table. 

I can serve all kinds of spin (short, long) to everywhere on the table but pretty much short serves get flipped which puts me on the back foot and long serves get an opening loop which doesn't have amazing success rate but places me under pressure (I do get a lot of points countering his weaker opening loops though). For serve receive he forces me to open with the fast long serves. The problem is that if I do a hard loop it gets blocked with quite high percentages and if I do a soft loop his counterloop is deadly... 

I can play a really amazing attacking game (with many high quality loops and counters) but still lose to his insane blocking game lol... He loses to another guy who just loops very slow, low and short with a lot of weird sidespin, but it's hard to replicate that...

Any suggestions? 

Speaking as a low level jack of all trades something like this guy, what I DON'T want you to do is start just tapping everything over dead until you get one to hit.  I want you to give me pace and spin, consistently if you please.

I like takzid's answer.  See if HE can beat YOU.  Let him open and attack...can he?  If he starts doing it, then switch between strategies.


Edited by cole_ely - 08/29/2019 at 6:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hans Regenkurt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 6:07pm
A video would certainly help because from your description it seems that the bloke is really good.

My suggestion is to practice a basic drill to perfection. You only hit to your partners BH all through the exercise. What he does is spray the ball around a bit in according to the following: one to your BH, one to your middle, one to your BH again and then out to your wide forehand. After this you repeat the same sequence.

What this does, it gives you the ability to stay in the rally for a long time. I have a hunch you have a problem here.

You can start testing how he reacts to this kind of placement in open play.

Another suggestion from my side would be to serve short under sidespin onto his elbow so he has to take a little step. And then you counter the ball again onto his elbow once again while he is stepping back.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 6:32pm
Originally posted by Hans Regenkurt Hans Regenkurt wrote:

A video would certainly help because from your description it seems that the bloke is really good.

My suggestion is to practice a basic drill to perfection. You only hit to your partners BH all through the exercise. What he does is spray the ball around a bit in according to the following: one to your BH, one to your middle, one to your BH again and then out to your wide forehand. After this you repeat the same sequence.

What this does, it gives you the ability to stay in the rally for a long time. I have a hunch you have a problem here.

You can start testing how he reacts to this kind of placement in open play.

Another suggestion from my side would be to serve short under sidespin onto his elbow so he has to take a little step. And then you counter the ball again onto his elbow once again while he is stepping back.



He flips short underspin without any issues (in fact he likes underspin more than sidetopspin). I can stay in a rally for a long time against normal players, the problem is his shot quality on the counterloop, his loops have a lot of spin and speed (from mid distance) and is very hard to deal with. My normal hitting partner doesn't have the same quality in the shot as he does... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 6:34pm
Originally posted by wilkinru wilkinru wrote:

The way I read the original post: this guy is a really good player.

Without seeing video it's really difficult to say why you are losing to him. You might be getting blocked down a lot - but are you really losing doing that? Getting video is really important. It's easier to remember the time the guy blocked 3 strong loops and not remember the 3 pushes into the net.

I guess I'm just saying you might be wrong on why you are losing. Start by gathering more data.

He misses 1-2 serves per game and so do I, but otherwise our games don't have much pushes at all because of his flips on the receive and because he forces me to open with long fast serves (I tried pushing those long serves with some success, but it's not that easy to push a fast long heavy sidetopspin serve....)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 6:56pm
Originally posted by SignatureDish81 SignatureDish81 wrote:

Service : maybe try mixing more long no-spin serves to the elbow along with some no-spin/top-sidespin variation to short-wide forehand side of table, maybe half-long no-spin to this locations as well. Sounds like trying to vary your serves too much may hurt you worse, since he has good serve return. Also sounds like he won’t do much with good no-spin serves

Rally: Open attacks to his middle then test wide forehand if the opportunity presents itself, or go back to his middle if he tries to pin you in on the backhand side to look for a chance to attack more assertively. If he picks up on the pattern well, mix in more backspin service variations or hit the backhand side more often. 

I seldom serve to FH short because I hate the receive to my short FH, but he might hate it more than me. Will try them next time I play...force him to use his weaker FH receive (or use BH receive out of position) and then try to get a return I can FH loop to his wide FH which is a main point winner for me. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 7:05pm
Originally posted by mts388 mts388 wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Tt Gold Tt Gold wrote:

Long serves to his forehand. If his opening loop sucks and you can counter it, then you should provoke his attack.

Lol this is a ballsy strategy...but thinking about it, it might actually work! Will try it the next time I play him....

I agree with TTgold, but would add, after your serve take a step back from the table and viciously attack his return as wide as you can to his backhand corner.  Try to end the rally with that shot.  It looks like the longer the rally the more it is to his advantage.

If only I could fade loop consistently! Need to learn that shot lol... This guy gets killed by another player who can do quality fade loops (strangely I don't have all that much problems with the other guy, goes to show how unfavorable style matchups are a thing)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DavenKrugz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 7:07pm
Sidespin seems to be the most neglected part of an amatuer player's aresenal even at like 2300-2400 levels. I have seen many 2400 level players loop 20 to 30 balls in a row but never train side (top) spins.

The forehand fade loop or (inside out loop) are harder to learn but forehand hook loop is much easier to learn & backhand fade loop is also fairly easy to learn. Backhand hook loop & forehand fade loop are a little harder but cane b learned later.    If you learn to add side-spin to all your strokes (push, block, lob , loop, serves) , that will seprate you quickly from the rest of the pack.

BTW in terms of side spin ,  Your forehand hook-loop = backhand fade-loop  
                                         Your backhand hook-loop = forehand fade-loop .

I saw an article on this at this webpage :-    http://fITTF.com

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/29/2019 at 10:48pm
Originally posted by DavenKrugz DavenKrugz wrote:

Sidespin seems to be the most neglected part of an amatuer player's aresenal even at like 2300-2400 levels. I have seen many 2400 level players loop 20 to 30 balls in a row but never train side (top) spins.

The forehand fade loop or (inside out loop) are harder to learn but forehand hook loop is much easier to learn & backhand fade loop is also fairly easy to learn. Backhand hook loop & forehand fade loop are a little harder but cane b learned later.    If you learn to add side-spin to all your strokes (push, block, lob , loop, serves) , that will seprate you quickly from the rest of the pack.

BTW in terms of side spin ,  Your forehand hook-loop = backhand fade-loop  
                                         Your backhand hook-loop = forehand fade-loop .

I saw an article on this at this webpage :-    http://fITTF.com


Strange that you feel that the BH fade loop is easier than the BH hook loop.... for me it's the direct opposite. I can do both hook and fades but fades are very difficult to control personally. I probably just haven't used it that much. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SignatureDish81 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/30/2019 at 10:48am
Thanks for replying to my input.  Like others said, developing fading shots and stronger variation of pace/length/spin quality may be needed, but maybe some small strategical changes will be the trick for this opponent.  

Seems likely he'd return your short forehand serves to the middle or backhand to allow you to initiate the attack while limiting your access to his wide FH, but try things to see what works.  Maybe mix in short/top-spin to his forehand as variation if he starts dropping the serve short on your forehand side. Make the short forehand serve receive your strength as a long-term goal.

If he comes in and starts attacking that short forehand serve with his backhand, and assuming you don't give early tells as to which serve you will chose, doing a fast top-spin or no-spin serve to the forehand or elbow on the next serve may get him uncomfortable with that option. Also, experiment with how to deal with that long serve he has to take away some of that advantage.  Try punching it more flatly or chopping it, or maybe taking a step back to get more quality on the opening top-spin.

Good luck!
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