What tactics do you use when playing a fisher or lobber in table tennis

Ask the coachCategory: Tactics & match-playWhat tactics do you use when playing a fisher or lobber in table tennis
Gary asked 3 weeks ago

Lately, I have come across players who continually like to stand back from the table and lob balls back deep on the table with topspin and side spin. These players generally rely on your mistakes to win points.

What tactics do you use to successfully compete with or beat these type of opponents?

1 Answers
Tom Lodziak Staff answered 3 weeks ago

Try these tactics when playing someone who likes to lob the ball far from the table (these tips are taken from my book SPIN: Tips and tactics to win at table tennis)…

1. Hit the ball hard

Power is by far the most effective way to beat a lobber. The ball is up in the air. You have a big margin to get the ball over the net. This is your opportunity to smash the ball hard. Don’t bother adding topspin to your smashes. This will slow down the smash and the lobber will have more time to react. Smash the ball with a flat contact and hard. The ball will move faster and bounce higher and the lobber will have to work much harder at returning the ball. The size of the court is often quite small in amateur table tennis. If you smash the ball hard and flat, you will send the lobber to the back of the court, and he may run out of space to play his lobs. Try smashing into the corners to really maximise the area the lobber has to cover to return the ball.

2. Use drop shots

If you can’t power through a lobber, try mixing in some drop shots. This is where you softly contact the ball straight after the bounce. It’s a tricky shot, but if you execute it well, the ball will land short on the lobber’s side. The lobber will have to rush into the table to keep the rally going. If the lobber is too far back, he might not reach the ball (or even attempt to reach the ball). Your point. If the lobber does reach the ball, he is now close to the table and probably slightly off-balance. Play your next shot deep or wide and you can control the rally.

3. Play a backspin game

If the first two options don’t work, try turning the match into a backspin game. The lobber prefers topspin rallies, which allows him to play back from the table. Play a short backspin game instead. Serve short backspin. Return serves with short backspin. Keep your pushes tight. This will keep the lobber close to the table. Then when the opportunity arises, go for your attack. The lobber will have to defend from closer to the table and will find it much harder to use his annoying high lobs. Even if the lobber does manage some high lobs, you could try doing a backspin smash. This is where you chop down the side of the ball. This makes the ball swerve and float with a mixture of sidespin and backspin. The change of spin and speed can unsettle the lobber. He may not know how to return this type of smash. Your point.