Tactics against fast shot player

Ask the coachCategory: Tactics & match-playTactics against fast shot player
Jenny Gomm asked 2 months ago

Hi Tom, Please can you advise what tactics to adopt when playing a fast hitter who places shots all over the table, often well angled, having me running around all over the place just to get them back. Many thanks, Jenny

1 Answers
Tom Lodziak Staff answered 2 months ago

There are a few tactics you could try.

1. Try to make it harder for the player to use fast attacks by using lots of backspin. Do more backspin serves, keeping the ball low over the net, either very short or very deep. These will be harder to attack. When returning serves, try pushing very short or very deep with lots of backspin. If the player serves topspin, you could even try chopping the ball back, just to change the pace of the rally. If the player struggles with backspin, then he/she will make more attacking mistakes and you’ll win more points.

2. If using backspin doesn’t work you may need to fight fire with fire! Many fast attacking players struggle if their opponents rush them. So if you serve with speed or return serves with speed or play quick drives and blocks, the fast attacking player may start becoming more passive or make more errors.

3. A third tactic, which is always effective, is to try and get the first good ball placement in every point you play. This means aiming for the lines wide or deep. Or aiming for your opponent’s elbow. Or keeping the ball very short. If you get the first good ball placement on the table (from a serve, return of serve, or first ball of the rally), then your opponent is immediately under pressure and you have a greater chance of controlling the point.

You will have to experiment with the above tactics to see what works best for you against this particular opponent. It may take a while before you start beating this opponent, but keep trying to win a couple of extra points each time you play and eventually you will win.

Good luck!