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RE: Smashing/Flat Kill

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2021 at 8:05pm
Originally posted by Basquests Basquests wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:


Balls with topspin travel further and faster compared to balls without topspin... 

If you look at Ma Long or FZD smashes these days 90% are not flat but full of topspin. 
It's a mistake

It's just physics dude... Topspin causes the ball to accelerate and kick forward. 
Yeah - it's just physics.
If you do not know - the ball on smash - much faster (like 1.5 times) - just physics and some calculations and there was an experimental proof of that fact.

Flat hit is fast initially but slows down a lot, topspin balls may not be that fast initially but accelerates. It's a different speed profile. From what I know, balls with a lot of kick are very hard to control unlike flat balls.

But why go to so much trouble and effort? For me I just hook or fade loop any of these opportunity balls to get them wide and then do another loop with opposite sidespin to the other corner or just dropshot it. It depends whether you wanna do a hulk smash style to show off your physicality (WLQ style) or you wanna be more artistic like Ma Lin or Waldner haha LOL 
Ok - to short explanation - you make some passive turn when make such a movement.
It means you loose initiative. 
Actually on my level it means - somebody can make a counterloop and most probably next who will make lobs -will be you.
Dropshots are very attractive but not always - they are much less stable than smashes.


Yeah I'm calling bullshit. If you ever tried defending, it is way easier to counterloop/countersmash a low spin flathit ball than an equivalent high spin ball. With flat hit balls you get more height on the ball, and the ball slows down giving you a lot more time to prepare. Of course there's a lot of weak ass loopers (those who do not use body well), those are very easy to get back, but it doesn't matter whether they use flat hit or loops because they simply don't put enough power behind the ball. 


The key to flat hitting is to pin them on the backhand, and kill any ball that drops short, as you are not adding any topspin that will deepen and heighten any blocked ball. Even if they try to BH loop, or pivot around your smash to Fh loop it, the ball will not be complicated to again smash or block as there is no residual spin on the ball from your shot, and these a attacks are low % shots.

In order to get anywhere near as much speed on a loop smash, i feel you've to take a lot more risks, i see far too many lost points from loop smashers, compared to flat hitters, over the years. Even if the looper is a far better player, they struggle to end points without taking huge risks, and consequently end up only winning 60-70% of points against similar level players, which is the only real yardstick. Drop shots are just poor by this metric, as you are taking too much risk in a point you should win 9/10 times.

For the fzd video, i think he essentially is flat hitting around 2.10, for around 2 or 3 shots over the subsequent few seconds.


Flat hits are always inherently more dangerous because of the lower margin of error due to the lack of topspin to drag the ball down towards the table. It's very hard to flat hit a deep shot very consistently. I've seen much more flat hitters missing a lot of smashes (Ito is the highest level example, but even at the lower levels you can see the same pattern), whereas loopers rarely make any mistakes like that. 

If you look at the blade angle and trajectory of the ball that FZD is hitting even at 2:10 he is not flat hitting, there is still quite a lot of brush in the shot. I use the same movement to "smash", it is a smooth transition from my loop and with that movement I can add whatever sidespin I want to drag the ball out of bounds for my opponents which is usually the killer. 

From what I observe, top level CNT players do not usually flat hit anything at all (exceptions are Ma Long and Ma Lin who have extremely good touch), for very good reason (lack of consistency and stability). 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote icontek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2021 at 9:21pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Balls with topspin travel further and faster compared to balls without topspin... 

If you look at Ma Long or FZD smashes these days 90% are not flat but full of topspin. 

You are conflating first speed (before the bounce) with second speed (after the bounce).

With the same energy into the ball, a flat smash is faster than a topspin, and can be played to decisively end a point when your opponent is out of position.

Generally good advice for club level play:
1) Don't loop a ball that's over your head. 
2) Learn to smash balls that are over your head.
3) If you wait to take the ball on the drop so you can loop comfortably, you have already given your opponent too much time to set up.

I say this as a club player who has struggled against lobbers, at least until I could comfortably mix smashes into my topspins (a change in spin is often effective against medium level club players).

If you're not willing to practice the smash, in training, at least be open to losing points by practicing it in game vs lobbers. It will pay dividends in the long run.

Even professionals like Ma Long practice this shot and will use it when necessary (remember the debates on why Chinese professionals would twiddle to their Tenergy when smashing).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/09/2021 at 10:42pm
Originally posted by icontek icontek wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Balls with topspin travel further and faster compared to balls without topspin... 

If you look at Ma Long or FZD smashes these days 90% are not flat but full of topspin. 

You are conflating first speed (before the bounce) with second speed (after the bounce).

With the same energy into the ball, a flat smash is faster than a topspin, and can be played to decisively end a point when your opponent is out of position.

Generally good advice for club level play:
1) Don't loop a ball that's over your head. 
2) Learn to smash balls that are over your head.
3) If you wait to take the ball on the drop so you can loop comfortably, you have already given your opponent too much time to set up.

I say this as a club player who has struggled against lobbers, at least until I could comfortably mix smashes into my topspins (a change in spin is often effective against medium level club players).

If you're not willing to practice the smash, in training, at least be open to losing points by practicing it in game vs lobbers. It will pay dividends in the long run.

Even professionals like Ma Long practice this shot and will use it when necessary (remember the debates on why Chinese professionals would twiddle to their Tenergy when smashing).

They twiddle to get more speed from their topspin "smashes", but it doesn't change the fact that the "smash" they're using is not a flat hit but in reality a topspin contact. As to why they don't hit it flat (exceptions are Ma Long and Waldner who do use flat hit smashes effectively), the reason is like what I've said before, when you have so much power, you do not need to risk using a flat hit (especially when you're using spin sensitive rubbers which are bad for flat hitting in general). If I had a penny whenever someone does a flathit smash into the net or out the table I would be a billionaire by now.

There's this outdated idea that a loop is always hit when the ball is dropping, and always goes upwards. It's wrong because the "loop" is  defined by a specific type of contact that produces topspin, and using this contact you can direct the force to wherever you want it to (down, up, forward, left, right, etc...), whenever you want to (off the bounce, before top of bounce, top of bounce, when it's dropping). It's highly flexible and consistent, which is why it is the weapon of choice of almost all high level players now.   


Edited by blahness - 01/09/2021 at 10:55pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Basquests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/10/2021 at 12:27am
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Basquests Basquests wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:


Balls with topspin travel further and faster compared to balls without topspin... 

If you look at Ma Long or FZD smashes these days 90% are not flat but full of topspin. 
It's a mistake

It's just physics dude... Topspin causes the ball to accelerate and kick forward. 
Yeah - it's just physics.
If you do not know - the ball on smash - much faster (like 1.5 times) - just physics and some calculations and there was an experimental proof of that fact.

Flat hit is fast initially but slows down a lot, topspin balls may not be that fast initially but accelerates. It's a different speed profile. From what I know, balls with a lot of kick are very hard to control unlike flat balls.

But why go to so much trouble and effort? For me I just hook or fade loop any of these opportunity balls to get them wide and then do another loop with opposite sidespin to the other corner or just dropshot it. It depends whether you wanna do a hulk smash style to show off your physicality (WLQ style) or you wanna be more artistic like Ma Lin or Waldner haha LOL 
Ok - to short explanation - you make some passive turn when make such a movement.
It means you loose initiative. 
Actually on my level it means - somebody can make a counterloop and most probably next who will make lobs -will be you.
Dropshots are very attractive but not always - they are much less stable than smashes.


Yeah I'm calling bullshit. If you ever tried defending, it is way easier to counterloop/countersmash a low spin flathit ball than an equivalent high spin ball. With flat hit balls you get more height on the ball, and the ball slows down giving you a lot more time to prepare. Of course there's a lot of weak ass loopers (those who do not use body well), those are very easy to get back, but it doesn't matter whether they use flat hit or loops because they simply don't put enough power behind the ball. 


The key to flat hitting is to pin them on the backhand, and kill any ball that drops short, as you are not adding any topspin that will deepen and heighten any blocked ball. Even if they try to BH loop, or pivot around your smash to Fh loop it, the ball will not be complicated to again smash or block as there is no residual spin on the ball from your shot, and these a attacks are low % shots.

In order to get anywhere near as much speed on a loop smash, i feel you've to take a lot more risks, i see far too many lost points from loop smashers, compared to flat hitters, over the years. Even if the looper is a far better player, they struggle to end points without taking huge risks, and consequently end up only winning 60-70% of points against similar level players, which is the only real yardstick. Drop shots are just poor by this metric, as you are taking too much risk in a point you should win 9/10 times.

For the fzd video, i think he essentially is flat hitting around 2.10, for around 2 or 3 shots over the subsequent few seconds.


Flat hits are always inherently more dangerous because of the lower margin of error due to the lack of topspin to drag the ball down towards the table. It's very hard to flat hit a deep shot very consistently. I've seen much more flat hitters missing a lot of smashes (Ito is the highest level example, but even at the lower levels you can see the same pattern), whereas loopers rarely make any mistakes like that. 

If you look at the blade angle and trajectory of the ball that FZD is hitting even at 2:10 he is not flat hitting, there is still quite a lot of brush in the shot. I use the same movement to "smash", it is a smooth transition from my loop and with that movement I can add whatever sidespin I want to drag the ball out of bounds for my opponents which is usually the killer. 

From what I observe, top level CNT players do not usually flat hit anything at all (exceptions are Ma Long and Ma Lin who have extremely good touch), for very good reason (lack of consistency and stability). 

As i explained, a fast loop smash, will never bounce short.

Therefore, although you get safety from the arc, a loop smash is only aiming at the latter half of the opponents side of the table.

Your area of smashing is far diminished. A flat hit goes in a straight line, so you can aim to make the ball bounce short, middle or long, nor just middle or long.

When someone is lobbing, use high power topspin and see where the ball ends up.

So you aim at around 60% of the table i can, but have a safer arc. I know which one I'd pick.

I'd have a lot more pennies for missed kill loops, simply because everyone in the amateur level loves looping. The people who flat hit either are good at it, or rarely use it, or are very much beginners...the latter 2 groups lack fundamentals and hence play shots significantly lacking technique or efficiency.


Edited by Basquests - 01/10/2021 at 12:31am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/10/2021 at 2:08am
Originally posted by Basquests Basquests wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Basquests Basquests wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Valiantsin Valiantsin wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:


Balls with topspin travel further and faster compared to balls without topspin... 

If you look at Ma Long or FZD smashes these days 90% are not flat but full of topspin. 
It's a mistake

It's just physics dude... Topspin causes the ball to accelerate and kick forward. 
Yeah - it's just physics.
If you do not know - the ball on smash - much faster (like 1.5 times) - just physics and some calculations and there was an experimental proof of that fact.

Flat hit is fast initially but slows down a lot, topspin balls may not be that fast initially but accelerates. It's a different speed profile. From what I know, balls with a lot of kick are very hard to control unlike flat balls.

But why go to so much trouble and effort? For me I just hook or fade loop any of these opportunity balls to get them wide and then do another loop with opposite sidespin to the other corner or just dropshot it. It depends whether you wanna do a hulk smash style to show off your physicality (WLQ style) or you wanna be more artistic like Ma Lin or Waldner haha LOL 
Ok - to short explanation - you make some passive turn when make such a movement.
It means you loose initiative. 
Actually on my level it means - somebody can make a counterloop and most probably next who will make lobs -will be you.
Dropshots are very attractive but not always - they are much less stable than smashes.


Yeah I'm calling bullshit. If you ever tried defending, it is way easier to counterloop/countersmash a low spin flathit ball than an equivalent high spin ball. With flat hit balls you get more height on the ball, and the ball slows down giving you a lot more time to prepare. Of course there's a lot of weak ass loopers (those who do not use body well), those are very easy to get back, but it doesn't matter whether they use flat hit or loops because they simply don't put enough power behind the ball. 


The key to flat hitting is to pin them on the backhand, and kill any ball that drops short, as you are not adding any topspin that will deepen and heighten any blocked ball. Even if they try to BH loop, or pivot around your smash to Fh loop it, the ball will not be complicated to again smash or block as there is no residual spin on the ball from your shot, and these a attacks are low % shots.

In order to get anywhere near as much speed on a loop smash, i feel you've to take a lot more risks, i see far too many lost points from loop smashers, compared to flat hitters, over the years. Even if the looper is a far better player, they struggle to end points without taking huge risks, and consequently end up only winning 60-70% of points against similar level players, which is the only real yardstick. Drop shots are just poor by this metric, as you are taking too much risk in a point you should win 9/10 times.

For the fzd video, i think he essentially is flat hitting around 2.10, for around 2 or 3 shots over the subsequent few seconds.


Flat hits are always inherently more dangerous because of the lower margin of error due to the lack of topspin to drag the ball down towards the table. It's very hard to flat hit a deep shot very consistently. I've seen much more flat hitters missing a lot of smashes (Ito is the highest level example, but even at the lower levels you can see the same pattern), whereas loopers rarely make any mistakes like that. 

If you look at the blade angle and trajectory of the ball that FZD is hitting even at 2:10 he is not flat hitting, there is still quite a lot of brush in the shot. I use the same movement to "smash", it is a smooth transition from my loop and with that movement I can add whatever sidespin I want to drag the ball out of bounds for my opponents which is usually the killer. 

From what I observe, top level CNT players do not usually flat hit anything at all (exceptions are Ma Long and Ma Lin who have extremely good touch), for very good reason (lack of consistency and stability). 

As i explained, a fast loop smash, will never bounce short.

Therefore, although you get safety from the arc, a loop smash is only aiming at the latter half of the opponents side of the table.

Your area of smashing is far diminished. A flat hit goes in a straight line, so you can aim to make the ball bounce short, middle or long, nor just middle or long.

When someone is lobbing, use high power topspin and see where the ball ends up.

So you aim at around 60% of the table i can, but have a safer arc. I know which one I'd pick.

I'd have a lot more pennies for missed kill loops, simply because everyone in the amateur level loves looping. The people who flat hit either are good at it, or rarely use it, or are very much beginners...the latter 2 groups lack fundamentals and hence play shots significantly lacking technique or efficiency.

The safety of the arc is the most important aspect for me, because when I have a positional advantage the last thing I want to do is give it away via unforced errors. 

Loops tend to travel the farthest because of the topspin, and that is a significant advantage to those who utilise sidespin, because the farther away they are from the table, the greater distance they have to move to cover wide angles.

Also you know you can adjust the placement of a loop too, in far more ways? You can lower power and increase the brush to create a spinny short topspin. Or you can even not wait till the top of the bounce to create a flatter trajectory. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote icontek Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/10/2021 at 11:47am
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

There's this outdated idea that a loop is always hit when the ball is dropping, and always goes upwards. It's wrong because the "loop" is  defined by a specific type of contact that produces topspin, and using this contact you can direct the force to wherever you want it to (down, up, forward, left, right, etc...), whenever you want to (off the bounce, before top of bounce, top of bounce, when it's dropping). It's highly flexible and consistent, which is why it is the weapon of choice of almost all high level players now.   

Sorry, I ignored looping off the bounce as an alternative to smashing a lob because of the risk vs reward involved. The smash is objectively safer, and is considered a higher percentage shot.

You could loop a lob early off the bounce... But it is a more challenging shot because you have to have much more precise footwork and/or superior anticipation to be in position to take the shot.

And just because someone practiced looping a lobbed ball on the rise after the bounce doesn't make it an objectively better shot selection when compared to a flat smash. You may find topspin vs lob subjectively better because you have chosen not to learn the smash, which remains a fundamental SITUATIONAL shot in table tennis.

Players a lot better than myself are chiming in, but you are welcome to learn this lesson or not, through actual gameplay.

p.s.
I have a bias. I say this as someone who avoided learning to flat smash for a decade, choosing only to push, topspin, or drop shot against lobbers. I've looped lobs too enough times to know better.


Edited by icontek - 01/10/2021 at 12:10pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/10/2021 at 3:44pm
Originally posted by icontek icontek wrote:

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

There's this outdated idea that a loop is always hit when the ball is dropping, and always goes upwards. It's wrong because the "loop" is  defined by a specific type of contact that produces topspin, and using this contact you can direct the force to wherever you want it to (down, up, forward, left, right, etc...), whenever you want to (off the bounce, before top of bounce, top of bounce, when it's dropping). It's highly flexible and consistent, which is why it is the weapon of choice of almost all high level players now.   

Sorry, I ignored looping off the bounce as an alternative to smashing a lob because of the risk vs reward involved. The smash is objectively safer, and is considered a higher percentage shot.

You could loop a lob early off the bounce... But it is a more challenging shot because you have to have much more precise footwork and/or superior anticipation to be in position to take the shot.

And just because someone practiced looping a lobbed ball on the rise after the bounce doesn't make it an objectively better shot selection when compared to a flat smash. You may find topspin vs lob subjectively better because you have chosen not to learn the smash, which remains a fundamental SITUATIONAL shot in table tennis.

Players a lot better than myself are chiming in, but you are welcome to learn this lesson or not, through actual gameplay.

p.s.
I have a bias. I say this as someone who avoided learning to flat smash for a decade, choosing only to push, topspin, or drop shot against lobbers. I've looped lobs too enough times to know better.
Ummm that wasn't the point at all... I'm saying that your idea of the loop is quite outdated and wrong since you still think that loops are always done late with the ball falling. In fact you can "smash" (with the force going downwards to the table) with a topspin contact, which makes it more of an extension to the loop rather than a flat hit. Flat hitting is generally bad imo because of the inherent lack of safety and control in the shot. The only balls you can flat hit with good percentages are short high balls. I know how to flat hit, but choose not to use it because it's crappy compared to the topspin smash. Even a tomahawk chop smash (almost guaranteed to win the point because the underspin makes it float high and beyond the bounds) is superior in terms of point winning capabilities than the flat smash.

I have never struggled to finish points against fishers or lobbers lol, usually destroy them quite hard.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Clarence247 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/10/2021 at 5:43pm
Icontek, I did not read the entire conversation as it is lengthy, however it seems that you (or someone) are asking for advice on the smash.

The smash vs lob or high hall is easy but requires few factors to be successful and effective.

1) Read the spin - is the lob a no spin shot? Side to the left? Side to the right? Where is the ball going to kick? Does it have any backspin? (can be important).  Normally you will be able to tell, but there are some very tricky under the table deceptive shots which players who love lobbing and fishing excel at.

If you cannot tell where the ball will kick assume a central position and stay on your toes, ready to side step in both directions, in any case the ball will bounce high and give you time. Here you MIGHT have to add topspin if you are late - it's not advisable to make a pure smash when timing is wrong - as most miss or go into the net in that case.

2) Timing, Timing Timing.  The ball leaves your opponent's bat - wait....... the ball lands on your side and starts to rise - wait. The ball reaches a peak - it is now too high to smash comfortably - WAIT (this is the point most get wrong).  The ball starts to descend - attack it - hit it when it is only slightly above your shoulder - push your body weight into it, accelerate FAST - hit flat - aim for the table centre (it will almost always go a bit longer than you plan).

To illustrate my understanding of the smash - here is a video of me during a training exercise with the following routine:

1) Backhand opening loop vs heavy underspin 2) FH loop attack 3) BH loop attack 4) Free table vs defensive play 5) popped ball - SMASH SMASH SMASH to finish!

Here is the video:



Originally posted by icontek icontek wrote:


Sorry, I ignored looping off the bounce as an alternative to smashing a lob because of the risk vs reward involved. The smash is objectively safer, and is considered a higher percentage shot.

You could loop a lob early off the bounce... But it is a more challenging shot because you have to have much more precise footwork and/or superior anticipation to be in position to take the shot.

And just because someone practiced looping a lobbed ball on the rise after the bounce doesn't make it an objectively better shot selection when compared to a flat smash. You may find topspin vs lob subjectively better because you have chosen not to learn the smash, which remains a fundamental SITUATIONAL shot in table tennis.

Players a lot better than myself are chiming in, but you are welcome to learn this lesson or not, through actual gameplay.

p.s.
I have a bias. I say this as someone who avoided learning to flat smash for a decade, choosing only to push, topspin, or drop shot against lobbers. I've looped lobs too enough times to know better.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/11/2021 at 11:54am
Originally posted by ghostzen ghostzen wrote:

Is this still a useable tool in today's game?.

Both at local, national and Pro levels.

Also can you smash!?  and any Tips tag on  Smile

Cheers

I think this is an interesting thread.  I've seen a lot of different thoughts on the question and want to add my $0.02 worth.  First I'll answer the three questions...

1)Flat hitting is absolutely a useable, effective tool in todays game!  

In the big picture, I strongly believe that any available variations can be useful.  I'm going to treat smashing and flat hitting as two different things.  To me, smashing is what you do against loppers - to balls above ~shoulder level.  Most smashes are pretty flat, i.e. speed rather than spin dominant, but I (personally) think of flat hitting as a low spin offensive shot vs a shot that could be looped if desired.

Smashing - if you are playing a decent lobber and can't smash, you are likely in for a tough day.  Looping lobs off the bounce is exceptionally risky and prone to error.  Letting lobs drop, then looping them gives the lobber TONS of time to get ready and into position.  Even a strong loop on a dropping ball 5 feet or more from the table is unlikely to trouble a "roughly equivalent" level lobber.  Drop shots are another option, but, without the threat of effective smashes, a good lobber will be staying closer to the table.  Most good lobbers (and fishers) have very good footwork and touch, so this could be a rough plan.  The famous (I think in Zagreb world championship?) match between Ma Lin and Michael Maze was classic, but keep in mind that Ma Lin has a FABULOUS smash and otherworldly touch.  Maze had already beaten 2 (or was it three) Chinese "young bucks" before he played Ma Lin - so "beating a lobber" is clearly not simple as some seem to think.

Flat hitting doesn't have to be used as a players only plan of attack.  It can be effective as a primary plan, but I think it is more effective for most (non Mima Ito speed/skill) folks when used in conjunction with other shots.  The two most common scenarios are: 1) to "really" spin one, then look to smack the return if it is a bit high, and 2) use serve variation to get a slightly high return, then hit it.  The other really important use is to use it to attack any pop-ups or "fluffy" balls at any time.  Doing this requires quick thinking, good balance, and quick footwork, but is otherwise a fairly non-technical shot - if you can get into a decent position, you can abuse these balls.

2)It is, or can be effective at all levels!
There used to be more flat hitters - especially in the women's game, but there are still quite a few top players that will happily smack high, or highish balls.  Jorgen Person was known for his backhand smash.  In the US, Jimmy Butler uses his BH smash to win points against players of essentially all levels.  

I saw someone state that it is much easier to counterattack and block flat hits...  That has not been my experience, nor have I seen it play out like that very often.  If you play someone who flat hits a lot, you are likely to develop the skill, but many (most?) people struggle to deal with flat balls.  Most players above ~USATT 1500 see a steady diet of loops (topspins), pushes, and topspin blocks.  Choppers, who were once quite common, are pretty rare.  I see (and coach) lots of players who are very comfortable opening against most pushes, and can block or counterloop pretty well vs loops.  But many just can't sink their teeth into flatter balls.  Many players depend on the incomming topspin in their counters, blocks, and loops.  The energy from the spin hits a closed blade and is returned as "free" topspin and speed.  Sure it takes touch to control them, but there is a significant amount of predictability.  Much flatter balls - much higher speed/spin ratio - requre that a player "create" all the spin on their loops (not given any for free), and must use judgement and feel on blocks (can't just close the blade and get on with it).

3)I can smash and flat hit - even though I am primarily a spinner.
I had a coach years ago that worked with me a ton on footwork drills (multi-ball) and he would frequently throw in a "fluffy" ball (high-ish, and randomly placed) in the middle of drills.  He did not like it when I did anything other than move, then hit these balls as close to the top of the bounce as possible.  I got the moving down relatively quickly (I was younger then!), but the quick flat hitting gave me trouble for quite a while.  I finally fixed it by playing with a hardbat for a few weeks.  I suspect most people would/could learn to flat hit quicker (probably much quicker!) than me, but if you struggle, I recommend doing some drills (or playing with) a hardbat for a while. Hardbats are pretty unforgiving and they tend to force you to a) swing through the ball, and b) hit the ball flatter.  They also tend to punish lazy footwork and late (after top of the bounce) contact.

Couple tips for flat hitting.  
1) Move into position quickly - your FEET are super important! This is no time to admire or analyze - move immediately when you see a pop-up or high-ish ball.  You don't HAVE to get into PERFECT position, but you do need to get in the right area and be balanced.
2) Top of bounce or close!  Don't let these balls drop - they are sitting ducks when at the top of the bounce, but get tougher and tougher as the ball drops.  Dropping balls are tougher to flat hit in general, and as they drop, your target area shrinks (or the net grows - your choice).
3) Short-ish and high-ish backswing.  Most loopers have pretty big backswings (some remarkably so!) and most finish their backswings well (sometimes WAY!) below the ball contact point.  An awful lot of loopers also tend to let the ball drop, so see tip #2 again!  To flat hit effectively, a compact, quick backswing is your friend.  Try to finish very close to the level that the ball will bounce to - some go a bit higher, some a bit lower, but this is a good starting point.  I've seen good hitters who's backswings are less than a foot behind the ball contact point and some who are up to ~18" behind it.  Hit mostly forward (not intentionally down), and not up (like when looping).  Hitting a bit down is ok for higher balls, but I like to teach "hitting forward through the ball".  
4)Finish the stroke lower and shorter than a loop stroke. Don't finish low - just lower than when looping.  Dome good hitters finish a bit higher than the ball contact height and some finish close to level.  Most rarely finish below - unless the ball is really popped up. 
5)Use your legs and lower body to pivot for power.  Some try to throw their weight forward, but this usually results in balance issues and real problems if/when their attack is returned.  Think of these shots as "quick and explosive" rather than "big power".  A lot of speed can be created, but the quickness (catching the ball early) is very important too.

bes
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cole_ely View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cole_ely Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/12/2021 at 4:54pm
for me a smash refers to any time the ball is high enough where I can see  a straight line to hit down to the other table. In a flat hit you're almost hitting parallel to the ground or to the table I guess and letting gravity make it drop

I don't disagree with your definitions, rather found them interesting enough to try to make my own


Edited by cole_ely - 01/12/2021 at 4:55pm
W1 St with Illumina 1.9r, defender1.7b

Please let me know if I can be of assistance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/13/2021 at 5:56pm
for most levels, a smash (including ones with some topspin) is more efficient and effective , but if you can't smash with any consistency and power then I guess you do not have a choice but to loop
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