Some players have a very strong side (i.e. forehand) and a relatively weak side (i.e. backhand). They are often called ‘one-wing attackers’, as they will only attack with their strong side. Most commonly, the strong side is the forehand. We’ve all faced this type of opponent. No matter where you put the ball, they seem to be able to attack with their strong side. Play the ball to their weaker backhand, they step around and whizz a forehand past you. Try to catch them out with a ball to their wide forehand and they quickly step across and whizz another ball past you. Here some tactics to beat this type of player… Keep reading
“Attack the middle.” “Focus on attacking the middle.” “For goodness sake, just attack the damn middle.” Welcome to inside my head! This is the conversation I often have with myself when my topspin attacks keep being returned and I’m not winning many points. Attacking the middle can be a game-changer. I don’t do it enough, but when I do, it can work brilliantly. In this blog post, I explain what I mean by attacking the middle and why it can be so effective. Keep reading
One of the most inspiring moments of the table tennis event at the Rio Olympics was Vladimir Samsonov getting to the semi-final of the men’s singles. Modern professional table tennis is increasingly physical, favouring younger bodies. To reach an Olympic semi-final at the age of 40 is a phenomenal achievement. What can we learn from Vladimir Samsonov’s success? How can we keep on competing with younger players and play close to our best when past our physical peak? In this blog post, I share four lessons I’ve learnt from watching Samsonov. Keep reading
As you progress from an intermediate player to an advanced player, you will start playing more and more loopers. These are players who like to play big topspin shots (loops), whenever they can. If you push a ball, they loop! If you block a ball, they loop! Even if you topspin a ball, they loop! What the heck are you supposed to do against this looping onslaught? Do not despair. Loopers are not unbeatable. Here’s a few of my favourite tactics to use when playing a looper. Keep reading
Playing a very good blocker is like playing a brick wall. Everything comes back. They seem to know where you’re going to attack even before you’ve played your shot. You put all the effort in, topspinning this way and that way, but the ball keeps being returned. By the end of the match you’re exhausted and dripping in sweat. You look across the table and your blocker opponent is as fresh as a daisy. So what can you do to beat a blocker? Here’s my list of top tactics you should use… Keep reading
I used to have a terrible record in matches which went to a deciding game. In a best of 5 match, if the score was 2-2, I just knew I would lose the final game. And guess what? I would lose. Over and over again.
Fast forward to the present. Over the past four league seasons, my success rate at winning a deciding game is a lot better. In fact, it’s fantastic! At one stage, I won 14 consecutive matches which went to a deciding game. That’s a big improvement.
So, how did I do it? In this blog post I explain how I changed from a player who always lost a deciding game to a player who mostly wins a deciding game. Keep reading
Every player has weaknesses. An inexperienced player will have lots of weaknesses. A better player will have fewer weaknesses. The very best may seem as though they have no glaring weaknesses, but they will have areas of their game which aren’t as strong as others. There are loads of weaknesses a player potentially may have. In this blog post, I share my list of the most common weaknesses and how you can exploit them. Keep reading
One of the more awkward playing styles in local league table tennis is the big flat hitter. Rather than attacking with topspin, they prefer to hit through the ball with a very flat contact. You play a slightly loose shot and then BHAM! The ball gets smashed past you. You trudge off to the back of the hall to collect the ball. Next point, BHAM! The ball flies past you again. What should you do when playing a big flat hitter? In this blog post, I share a few tactics to help you win more points. Keep reading
One of the trickiest opponents you will face when learning to play table tennis is the player who uses long pimples. I vividly remember my first match against a long pimples player many years ago. I simply didn’t have a clue what was going on. My pushes were popping up high. My blocks were going into the net. My attacks were all over the place. But over the years, I have got used to long pimples and now win many more matches than I lose. In this blog post I share a few tactics to help you win more points against the tricky long pimples player. Keep reading
I’ve been watching videos of the Chinese players quite a lot recently. It’s a joy to watch these players in their full attacking flow. Apart from the occasional surprise loss, their standard of play is in a different league to other players in the top 20. From my many hours of watching these great players, I’ve identified a few things I think we can all learn from them and try and implement in our own game…. Keep reading