How do you play against opponents who continually hit their rallying shots to my wide forehand and my wide backhand? Do I try to hit the ball deep on the table to their playing elbow, to cut out their angles?
Players who are good at hitting wide to the backhand and wide to the forehand can be very tricky to play against. This is a little bit how I like to play as well!
I find it easy to find these wide angles if my opponent is not putting me under pressure. If his/her ball placement is too safe and the speed and spin a little weak, then I can dominate by finding wide angles.
So what should you do? You have to find ways of putting players like me under pressure. You can do this in three ways…
1 – Ball placement – If you get the first good ball placement in the rally, then it will be harder for me to dominate you. If I am reacting to your good ball placement, then my balls are likely to go back a bit more central, making it easier for you to control the rally. Whether serving, returning serve or playing a 3rd ball – can you find a ball placement which puts me under pressure?
2 – Spin – If you use heavier spin – whether backspin or topspin – then I will have to work harder at returning the shot. My mind will focus more on dealing with the heavy spin and less on my ball placement. If someone gives me a heavy backspin push, I’m just happy if I have looped it back on the table (anywhere!). The pressure you have applied has made it harder for me to find a wide angle.
3. – Speed / power – If you can increase the speed and power of your shots, then once again you will force me into a more ‘reactive’ mode. I will have less time to focus on my ball placement and I will just be trying to return the ball anywhere on the table.
So in summary, to make it harder for a player to use lots of wide balls, you have to put him/her consistently under pressure using a combination of good ball placement, spin, speed and power. Easier said than done, but it will work.