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Anti penhold tactics

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blahness View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12/29/2021 at 8:04pm
Have been losing to a lot of penhold players lately :( 

So typically the players I lose to, have very strong serving and pushing game with a lot of variation in placement (long, short, middle, sides), very strong FH loops, doesn't attack much on BH but they sure can defend well and have lots of variation (including chopblocks and even worse, LP for some, there's also a couple who throw in some weird traditional penhold "loops" which have weird af trajectories)

How do two winged shakehand loopers maximise our advantage against them and exploit their lack of BH attacking options?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/02/2022 at 2:37am
The traditional way of playing penholders is to attack their FH with lots of spin, then go to the BH.

Penhold BH block is very strong when a penholder can sit in that BH corner and control the ball.  However, if you can get him to move to the wide FH and then force to play BH, you have a better chance.

This is easier said then done since you have to attack the FH well enough that they can't counter loop it forcefully.

In practical terms, that means the loop to the FH has to go very wide, preferably hooking out.

It can be a long and and difficult point to play out.  I used to practice with a penholder some years back and I pretty much had to pin him on the BH first with heavy crosscourt loops.  They do not have to be super low, but they have to be spinny.  Then you wait until he blocks one down the line and hook it wide to the FH.

He, of course, knew what I was trying to do, so it ended up being a crosscourt battle of the backhands more than half the time.  That ultimately worked well for me since I ended developing a much better BH that way.

That brings me to the next point: if you can spin your BH loop consistently deep on the table with lots of spin, you might get him to take a step back off the table which opens up other opportunities.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/05/2022 at 5:35am
Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

The traditional way of playing penholders is to attack their FH with lots of spin, then go to the BH.

Penhold BH block is very strong when a penholder can sit in that BH corner and control the ball.  However, if you can get him to move to the wide FH and then force to play BH, you have a better chance.

This is easier said then done since you have to attack the FH well enough that they can't counter loop it forcefully.

In practical terms, that means the loop to the FH has to go very wide, preferably hooking out.

It can be a long and and difficult point to play out.  I used to practice with a penholder some years back and I pretty much had to pin him on the BH first with heavy crosscourt loops.  They do not have to be super low, but they have to be spinny.  Then you wait until he blocks one down the line and hook it wide to the FH.

He, of course, knew what I was trying to do, so it ended up being a crosscourt battle of the backhands more than half the time.  That ultimately worked well for me since I ended developing a much better BH that way.

That brings me to the next point: if you can spin your BH loop consistently deep on the table with lots of spin, you might get him to take a step back off the table which opens up other opportunities.


 

Thanks for the input. Tbh I agree, when opening up it's still best to go diagonal, they have just too much spin variation which makes the down the line BH really risky, and also if the quality is not enough, the penhold FH is no joke.... I guess it still comes to BH pressure and quality and watching for the switch to the FH, or any looser balls, to unload  a high quality FH loop. I think my problem fundamentally, is insufficient quality on the BH which actually places me at a disadvantage against the penhold TPB block variations, in which case I already deserve to lose lol.  The other thing I really struggle with is the service placement and spin variations which really jams my favoured chiquita opening as compared to shakehand services where I can read them much easier. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/05/2022 at 11:09am
I am in a somewhat different boat since my BH is notably better than my FH.  Not a bigger shot, necessarily, but more consistent with significant spin variation and placement control.

The big thing with playing BH against a penholder is being able to control the depth of the ball.  You have to land the ball deep on the table.  If you can do that consistently with spin, you'll be in good shape.  If your BH loop lands short, a good penhold block with absolutely screw you up with angles and spin variation.  The deeper you can land it, the less they can do to control it.  Then, of course, there are personal variations.  A while back I played a very competent penholder, but he was a lot shorter than the guy I used to play with.  When I executed a fast and heavy BH loopdrive, he had no problem with it whatsoever.  It turned out that when my BH loop was higher with more arc it bounced a little higher and gave him a ton of trouble.  You have to try all sorts of variations to see what works.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote notfound123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/05/2022 at 12:42pm
Penholders tend to have weaker backhands that they well compensate with a stronger forehand. Also most high level penholders at my level (2000+...2200) have an advanced serve and a VERY strong 3rd ball attack. The only way you can stay afloat and not get crushed is by reading their serve and receiving well. If you push, you want to push low. Anything they serve long, you want to loop slow and spinny.  There is not one thing that can be used against them. Don't automatically assume a weak backhand as some develop a very good backhand because it gets abused in every match and their weakness eventually becomes their strength.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/05/2022 at 8:24pm
Originally posted by notfound123 notfound123 wrote:

Penholders tend to have weaker backhands that they well compensate with a stronger forehand. Also most high level penholders at my level (2000+...2200) have an advanced serve and a VERY strong 3rd ball attack. The only way you can stay afloat and not get crushed is by reading their serve and receiving well. If you push, you want to push low. Anything they serve long, you want to loop slow and spinny.  There is not one thing that can be used against them. Don't automatically assume a weak backhand as some develop a very good backhand because it gets abused in every match and their weakness eventually becomes their strength.   

Yes, the 3rd ball attack is insane and very hard to deal with especially the advanced players who don't telegraph where they're going. The serve and receive game is also very tricky especially those who have LPs on the other side. A short heavy underspin ball can become a heavy topspin push suddenly when you're still expecting underspin. Yikes :(

I've recently started to adopt Ma Lin style heavy underspin / no spin serves to simplify the game against them a bit. I have very high quality hook serves and FH pendulum serves but with sidespin services they can often add some weird crap to the ball which behaves weird af. It's not so easy to do that with pure underspin and no spin serves. I realised that the complication of the spin generally gives penholders an advantage and it's not to a shakehander's benefit to play that game with them. Against shakehanders I love pulling out the entire service arsenal lol.


Edited by blahness - 01/05/2022 at 11:16pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/05/2022 at 8:28pm
Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

I am in a somewhat different boat since my BH is notably better than my FH.  Not a bigger shot, necessarily, but more consistent with significant spin variation and placement control.

The big thing with playing BH against a penholder is being able to control the depth of the ball.  You have to land the ball deep on the table.  If you can do that consistently with spin, you'll be in good shape.  If your BH loop lands short, a good penhold block with absolutely screw you up with angles and spin variation.  The deeper you can land it, the less they can do to control it.  Then, of course, there are personal variations.  A while back I played a very competent penholder, but he was a lot shorter than the guy I used to play with.  When I executed a fast and heavy BH loopdrive, he had no problem with it whatsoever.  It turned out that when my BH loop was higher with more arc it bounced a little higher and gave him a ton of trouble.  You have to try all sorts of variations to see what works.

ILya

Wow that is really nice. I think it's not that easy to loop high arc loops with the BH or maybe I haven't figured it out yet. With the FH it's so much easier to control the arc. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kindof99 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/06/2022 at 10:46am
How about playing against a penholder with traditional hitting and pushing style?

These players stand very close to the table and hit the ball usually on the rise. And they can re-direct the ball to various placements quickly.

I guess the strategies will probably be the same. Attack them with deep and spiny balls. I think the problem is that for under USATT 2000 players, most players do not have good enough fundamental skills.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote notfound123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/06/2022 at 4:23pm
Originally posted by kindof99 kindof99 wrote:

How about playing against a penholder with traditional hitting and pushing style?

These players stand very close to the table and hit the ball usually on the rise. And they can re-direct the ball to various placements quickly.

I guess the strategies will probably be the same. Attack them with deep and spiny balls. I think the problem is that for under USATT 2000 players, most players do not have good enough fundamental skills.

As a chopper this is the style I hate playing against - SP or inverted hitters. There is actually one easy strategy that works up to 2000 level and that is using underspin to your advantage. I serve heavy underpin, push heavy, etc. If the ball is nice and low, they have no way of lifting the ball up. If you receive poorly and give them high ball, this becomes their game and they smash things past you time and time again.     


Edited by notfound123 - 01/06/2022 at 4:24pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/06/2022 at 7:36pm
Originally posted by kindof99 kindof99 wrote:

How about playing against a penholder with traditional hitting and pushing style?

These players stand very close to the table and hit the ball usually on the rise. And they can re-direct the ball to various placements quickly.

I guess the strategies will probably be the same. Attack them with deep and spiny balls. I think the problem is that for under USATT 2000 players, most players do not have good enough fundamental skills.

It depends how good they are, there are some scary af SP penholders who will make everyone run like hell (played a lefty version who was like He Zhi Went and it was hell to play lol with the worst kind of lefty angles, and the guy knew how to loop competently with SP yikes). But usually my strategy against these players are to serve deep, fast and long with various spins and placements, no matter what they do it's not gonna be a strong fast loop so you just need to prepare to loop the return very strongly from both wings. If you serve short they have way too many return options (short push, long push, flick, fade, etc, and with combination pips players it'll be even worse). And against their serves just attack everything and do not let up on it, ie loop all long serves, and do not push short (you will get destroyed by their short game), just push or flick deep and long with good placement. If their serves are not that spinny, the chiquita is an amazing option and often is a direct point winner. But if they're any good they'll serve to your short FH and deep long BH, and suddenly the chiquita is useless :( 
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