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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 10:12 
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So... I noticed tonight that one of the worst aspects of my game, especially in practice matches, is that it can get really "messy". Very random points with some chopping, some attacking, and regularly not having any ****ing clue what I'm actually doing... :)

I understand that I need to have a strategy in my head - and I usually do in real matches. However, I wanted to talk about the strategies you guys use to get into defensive rallies - and strategies you use to keep on the defensive. Sometimes I'll chop one or two then try to play a mad attacking stroke for no real reason, probably because I'm not focused. Sometimes I play serves which just don't suit a defensive game at all, e.g. serves which get pop-ups or serves which opponents can touch short. Occasionally I play long, fast topspin serves to catch opponents out and they often backfire because my opponent will just fast-block/punch the ball down the line past me.

What strategies do you use?

I'm thinking along the lines of things like "long backspin serve", "twiddle to keep the backspin on when pushing", "push/chop to the middle white line", etc. Anything you can think of to a) stop your opponent from blasting the ball past you and b) keep you in a defensive mindset.

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Blades: Butterfly Defence 3, Butterfly Defence Pro, Butterfly Innerforce ZLC, Butterfly Innershield, Butterfly Joo Saehyuk, DHS Power G7, Stiga Offensive Classic Carbon
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LPs: Butterfly Feint Long II (1), Butterfly Feint Long III (0.5, 1.3), Tibhar Grass D.TecS (OX), TSP Curl P1-R (0.5, 1, 1.3), TSP Curl P4 (1.3)
Full list (PM me for price): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xNLwjz5uZq_FcCowBgZ4zk1NwU83xVyCRoo0zhphu3w/edit?usp=sharing
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My blog: "Learning to play: as a modern defender": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=22254
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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 10:51 
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I am a retriever, but I don't always just retrieve. If the opposition is weak enough, or retrieving in my normal way is not working, I will attack. For example, unless it is a top spin serve I am receiving, I will seldom top spin the ball back. However, there are some loopers / hitters who just love getting a back spin shot to tee off. So I will force myself to either play the ball back as dead as I can or with some or any top spin. This usually results in some uncertainty in the looper / hitter and disrupts what has been happening, and I am in the rally.

There are times as a chopper that you won't just chop. Do you pick hit at all? Do you ever block the ball? That is not chopping. Being a chopper is a mind set, but it doesn't mean you forsake all other shots. You should be able to play any shot ("real" loops with pimples or anti excepted of course). I can appreciate that you want to chop as much as you can. In practice matches you can try to limit yourself to chopping no matter what, I suppose as long as your opponent is OK with that.

Is your ready / neutral position with the bat high, middle or low. Real choppers I have seen hold their bat a lot higher in their ready / neutral position, expecting to have to chop.

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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 13:25 
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I very rarely play as a 'pure chopper' these days - mostly because I don't think I have a) patience and b) consistent and heavy push/chop on FH.

Most of the time I end up doing a couple of things with varying degrees of success:

* getting an aggressive serve receive with pips that is either placed at a good angle or has uncomfortable spin, be it from a hit/bump of an underspin serve, chop of a long serve, or something else.

* trying to get a serve that can't be attacked well: short no-spin to FH, half-long heavy backspin, long and deep with backspin/sidespin to make them hesitate, perhaps.

I'll chop on BH if I can, but will drive/fish/smash/loop/block on FH. Probably win more points with attack these days, both on FH and on BH (hitting backspin with LP can be fun). Think of myself as poor copy of Jian Li 8)

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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 18:18 
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Last training session I had the opportunity to spar with a member of our first team, a very aggressive looper several levels better than me. Afterwards he asked me, why I have been trying to attack so much, even right off his serves. He gave me these hints:

  • Avoid playing at the table. Therefore when serving, don't serve short, perhaps once in a while for variation's sake. Use mainly long or half long backspin serves, vary their placement. Short serves can too easily be attacked or played short. In both cases you're in trouble, because you have to stay at the table and can not return a strong attack.
  • When receiving, you do not have many options. This is my time. You are forced to stay at the table. But do not attack my serves - I'm used dealing with much stronger attacks off my serves than you can consistently put up. Push everything long.
  • Do not try to counterloop my opening loops, as your consistency and penetration is not good enough. Chop them, if possible use your pimples.
  • Vary spin a lot, pushing with pimples to get dead balls is good, as long as they are placed long and low.
  • Your counterattacks are effective, but only as a variation. Wait for the right situation.
  • Use your pimples much more. Your base position should be more to the right (I'm righthanded) to be able to chop more with your pimples - again because your chops off my loops are more consistent with your pimples.
  • Move more, back up from the table further and as soon as possible. Therefore again: push long, I can not touch the ball short when you give me a long backspin ball.

Well, that gave me something to think of. I had the impression that I played him very defensively. But he is right. The reason is that I am afraid of his attacks. My way of dealing with this pressure is attacking myself, even knowing that my defense is not worse than my offense.

Then I took a little time to review some videos of pros and paid special attention to their receiving game. Guess how many times Shiono attacks when receiving? Right, never. I found only one (!) surprising flip on a dead serve. This holds true for most of the choppers, even those playing very aggressively. When receiving, they always push and they always push long. They don't even counterloop or block the opening topspins of their opponents. Mostly they back up from the table and fish (Filus, Gionis, Chen) or chop (Shiono, Muramatsu, Joo) the first topspin, the counterlooping part comes later in the rally - and never at the table but from middle distance.

What can be done to change the tactics?
I have the impression, the solution is simple: just do it. Right now in training sessions I either play drills without much tactical background or I play matches without consciously incorporating the drilled strokes (i.e. fh chop). Instead of trying to win training matches, I should try to defend, regardless of results. I should set myself a requirement for every match - i.e. not attacking at all, using only one serve, implementing a pattern of placement (like 2 strokes to bh, 1 stroke in the fh), using only one side of my racket - anything forcing me to a more defensive game and distracting myself from the idea of wanting to win.

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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 19:17 
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I also struggle with the same thing, so I feel you dunc :whew: I guess what I'm specifically looking for is how do I get my opponent to actually slow loop the ball instead of blasting it past me (y'know, the way it happens in pro matches, especially with Joo), even when I do a deep backspin serve? However, I feel like I can answer this question on my own... lol.

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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 20:00 
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0x556c69 wrote:
Last training session I had the opportunity to spar with a member of our first team, a very aggressive looper several levels better than me. Afterwards he asked me, why I have been trying to attack so much, even right off his serves. He gave me these hints:

  • Avoid playing at the table. Therefore when serving, don't serve short, perhaps once in a while for variation's sake. Use mainly long or half long backspin serves, vary their placement. Short serves can too easily be attacked or played short. In both cases you're in trouble, because you have to stay at the table and can not return a strong attack.
  • When receiving, you do not have many options. This is my time. You are forced to stay at the table. But do not attack my serves - I'm used dealing with much stronger attacks off my serves than you can consistently put up. Push everything long.
  • Do not try to counterloop my opening loops, as your consistency and penetration is not good enough. Chop them, if possible use your pimples.
  • Vary spin a lot, pushing with pimples to get dead balls is good, as long as they are placed long and low.
  • Your counterattacks are effective, but only as a variation. Wait for the right situation.
  • Use your pimples much more. Your base position should be more to the right (I'm righthanded) to be able to chop more with your pimples - again because your chops off my loops are more consistent with your pimples.
  • Move more, back up from the table further and as soon as possible. Therefore again: push long, I can not touch the ball short when you give me a long backspin ball.

Well, that gave me something to think of. I had the impression that I played him very defensively. But he is right. The reason is that I am afraid of his attacks. My way of dealing with this pressure is attacking myself, even knowing that my defense is not worse than my offense.

Then I took a little time to review some videos of pros and paid special attention to their receiving game. Guess how many times Shiono attacks when receiving? Right, never. I found only one (!) surprising flip on a dead serve. This holds true for most of the choppers, even those playing very aggressively. When receiving, they always push and they always push long. They don't even counterloop or block the opening topspins of their opponents. Mostly they back up from the table and fish (Filus, Gionis, Chen) or chop (Shiono, Muramatsu, Joo) the first topspin, the counterlooping part comes later in the rally - and never at the table but from middle distance.

What can be done to change the tactics?
I have the impression, the solution is simple: just do it. Right now in training sessions I either play drills without much tactical background or I play matches without consciously incorporating the drilled strokes (i.e. fh chop). Instead of trying to win training matches, I should try to defend, regardless of results. I should set myself a requirement for every match - i.e. not attacking at all, using only one serve, implementing a pattern of placement (like 2 strokes to bh, 1 stroke in the fh), using only one side of my racket - anything forcing me to a more defensive game and distracting myself from the idea of wanting to win.

This is exactly the kind of strategy I was hoping for - awesome post dude.

I serve short probably 8 times out of 10. Perhaps that's one of the areas that I'm not helping myself out with. I also do stand far too close to the table (probably because, as you say, service returns are going to come back short).

My service return is varied too. I do usually push, but occasionally I try to flick and loop. This is perhaps a consequence of training too regularly with players whose serves and 3rd ball attacks aren't particularly threatening - I can happily go for a loop/flick and if it goes wrong, I'll still be in the point.

I also like the idea of "crabbing" more, e.g. scuttling into the middle of the table to play more backhand chops.

At the end of the day I guess pushing the ball long is the key, as you say. Getting it long consistently however is a lot more challenging than it sounds. Definitely something I'm going to focus on though!

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Blades: Butterfly Defence 3, Butterfly Defence Pro, Butterfly Innerforce ZLC, Butterfly Innershield, Butterfly Joo Saehyuk, DHS Power G7, Stiga Offensive Classic Carbon
SPs: Friendship 802 (1.5), TSP Spectol (1.3, 2.1), TSP Spectol Speed (1.3), TSP Super Spinpips Chop Sponge 2 (0.5, 1.3)
LPs: Butterfly Feint Long II (1), Butterfly Feint Long III (0.5, 1.3), Tibhar Grass D.TecS (OX), TSP Curl P1-R (0.5, 1, 1.3), TSP Curl P4 (1.3)
Full list (PM me for price): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xNLwjz5uZq_FcCowBgZ4zk1NwU83xVyCRoo0zhphu3w/edit?usp=sharing
==================================================================================================================================================
My blog: "Learning to play: as a modern defender": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=22254
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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 20:01 
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Danthespearton HQ wrote:
I guess what I'm specifically looking for is how do I get my opponent to actually slow loop the ball instead of blasting it past me (y'know, the way it happens in pro matches, especially with Joo), even when I do a deep backspin serve? However, I feel like I can answer this question on my own... lol.

I would dare to suggest that your backspin serve doesn't have enough backspin on Dan. Nobody, and I mean literally nobody that I've ever played against (including some top-rated juniors and numerous top 10 UK vets) can blast my heavy backspin serve. A few good players can loop it with a lot of spin, but never in a way that the ball flies past me - I've ALWAYS got a chance against that loop.

Keep working on the fine contact.

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[Other gear I've used]
Blades: Butterfly Defence 3, Butterfly Defence Pro, Butterfly Innerforce ZLC, Butterfly Innershield, Butterfly Joo Saehyuk, DHS Power G7, Stiga Offensive Classic Carbon
SPs: Friendship 802 (1.5), TSP Spectol (1.3, 2.1), TSP Spectol Speed (1.3), TSP Super Spinpips Chop Sponge 2 (0.5, 1.3)
LPs: Butterfly Feint Long II (1), Butterfly Feint Long III (0.5, 1.3), Tibhar Grass D.TecS (OX), TSP Curl P1-R (0.5, 1, 1.3), TSP Curl P4 (1.3)
Full list (PM me for price): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xNLwjz5uZq_FcCowBgZ4zk1NwU83xVyCRoo0zhphu3w/edit?usp=sharing
==================================================================================================================================================
My blog: "Learning to play: as a modern defender": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=22254
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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 20:16 
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dunc wrote:
Danthespearton HQ wrote:
I guess what I'm specifically looking for is how do I get my opponent to actually slow loop the ball instead of blasting it past me (y'know, the way it happens in pro matches, especially with Joo), even when I do a deep backspin serve? However, I feel like I can answer this question on my own... lol.

I would dare to suggest that your backspin serve doesn't have enough backspin on Dan. Nobody, and I mean literally nobody that I've ever played against (including some top-rated juniors and numerous top 10 UK vets) can blast my heavy backspin serve. A few good players can loop it with a lot of spin, but never in a way that the ball flies past me - I've ALWAYS got a chance against that loop.

Keep working on the fine contact.

Actually, my backspin serve is plenty spinny imho; I mentioned in Ndragon's vlog thread that I was able to get a former 2400-ish USATT player to net my chop occasionally (believe me, no one was as surprised as I was) and we played a set and I actually got to maybe 6-8 points? Mainly because of my serve and push (first time I did my BH serve, he tried to push and it went straight down), I literally did almost nothing else. I also did a few fast sidespin serves on my FH to his deep BH corner and 3rd balled maybe 2-3 times, and that was it. Obviously he was going easy on me and he DID take a 1 year-ish break from TT, but geez. I can't be rated higher than 1100 either...

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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 20:48 
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If your serve is spinny enough, how are players blasting it past you?

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[Other gear I've used]
Blades: Butterfly Defence 3, Butterfly Defence Pro, Butterfly Innerforce ZLC, Butterfly Innershield, Butterfly Joo Saehyuk, DHS Power G7, Stiga Offensive Classic Carbon
SPs: Friendship 802 (1.5), TSP Spectol (1.3, 2.1), TSP Spectol Speed (1.3), TSP Super Spinpips Chop Sponge 2 (0.5, 1.3)
LPs: Butterfly Feint Long II (1), Butterfly Feint Long III (0.5, 1.3), Tibhar Grass D.TecS (OX), TSP Curl P1-R (0.5, 1, 1.3), TSP Curl P4 (1.3)
Full list (PM me for price): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xNLwjz5uZq_FcCowBgZ4zk1NwU83xVyCRoo0zhphu3w/edit?usp=sharing
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My blog: "Learning to play: as a modern defender": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=22254
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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 20:58 
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dunc wrote:
If your serve is spinny enough, how are players blasting it past you?

I guess I'm just too slow, I don't know. I also guess it's because I mostly play with my dad and whenever he plays with me, he always tries to outright loop my serve as hard as he can or he pushes. When he chooses to loop, 60-70% of the time it goes into the net but otherwise, it goes over and I can't deal with it :whew:

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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 21:41 
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If you're adamant that your deep serve is spinny enough yet it gets blasted past you, maybe you should be doing a heavy spin half long serve instead...

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PostPosted: 06 Mar 2018, 23:06 
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I'm with dunc. If you're service is spinny enough, then your opponent will not be able to blast it by you. I bet what is happening is that some of your serves are spinny, and some are not as spinny as you think. The other factor in this might be that they are too high.

The other part we might be missing is what you mean by "blasting by you." If it's a smack, hit, smash, or fast drive, then it's not got enough spin. If you are referring to a fast brush loop...I do not consider that "blasting." Could be semantics and could be relative perception.

Most people slow loop when they are unsure of the spin. Varying the spin, disguising the spin, and half long serves as silver mentioned seem to work well. But there are levels to everything. What is "disguising" for one level may be obvious to another.

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 01:25 
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As forum member self-said, serving short most of the time is not a good way to get into opponent attacking - self-chopping from mid distance. Long serves setup attacks that are more suited for chopping defense. Not ever serve need be long, variation of depth of serve is important too. It isn't just as simple as serve long, allow attack, and start chopping away. One has to weigh what shot situations one is better at or has more percentage to control the rally with what one does. Not everyone is a Joo Se Hyuk. If one is better at fishing and can vary spin or make it hard to read placement or kick of bounce, that is what they should do, damn the critics. If one is good at standing at the table blocking, one should be a wall. If one is good at moving and chopping, a flexible game of half long, long, and short serve and spin variation is well suited.

I know some attackers who deliberately serve a fast light topspin to get you to do a quick drive away from them, then they do a footwork to ball and BANG, instant offense for them.

There is a 2000 (east coast rating :D..) guy who serves exclusively long varying the spin from light medium topspin to dead... and length from a foot long off table second bounce (if there was table past endline) or right on endline with first bounce. His serves are surprisingly difficult to attack with high percentage. You simply do not properly judge the kick or lack or the spin and pay the price for mindlessly attcking all of them. Once the player realizes that and backs off attacking, you give the player what he wants - a rally where he can hit hard with only little topspin. He will win out most of those rallies or do at least 50/50. His rally play is much like a classic defender's play in that he gets back ball after ball, but he is playing high speed low spin and moves like lightning - you rarely hit one by him... and if you try that you will be off time/out of zone/misread spin whatever and miss most of those... He WANTS you to do that... which is very similar to a defensive player's game enticing unforced errors and opportunity attacking.

This player forces you to play at his speed and spin. That is the essence of imposing one's will one opponent if possible.

Silver's suggested adjustment is practical. It requires the easiest of adjustments and provides needed depth variation.

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 01:29 
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This thread is right in the wheelhouse of Leatherback and Bogeyhunter... let's see what we can do to engage them.

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2018, 01:49 
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Oh I like this thread. Got some great answers and information so far too.

I will give my 2 cents on how things have been for me recently. I am lucky enough to be able to play with a very wide variety of skill lvls ranging from Division 3 people who will not spin the ball up from a push to a vets international champion. Most of the people I play with in matches however are Premier division players (weak-very strong). It's very important to note I NEVER chop on FH.

I will talk firstly about weaker players first, they will rarely spin my 2nd chop up with consistency so its common to push it. With these players I very much rely on my bumps/side swipe thing (not sure what to call it) and most importantly having a consistent and confident FH to open the game up (still working on it). Forget about trying to be defensive VS players who are not confident to spin your 2nd chop up or if they are its inconsistent anyway. Serve away and 3rd ball attack too.

For the stronger players this is where things get complicated for me. I have good short serves but I am always ready to receive a short return also by either pushing long/swipe/bump varying it a lot to keep them guessing. I have surprised myself sometimes with how short and low I can return those even with the pips. Keep these in mind if you serve short.
If someone pushes long and you're at the table (happens to me a lot) bump it wide or to their elbow and you will usually receive a safe/non killer shot in which you can happily go into defence or counter loop with FH.

If you serve mid long with backspin/+side then you will likely get a defence going easier as they will push long (followed with above strategy) or banana flick in which you can chop that.
If you serve long just think about what you're giving and always be ready to turn to FH and attack if the return is weak. You can even punch with the pips if the return is a bit high and not long on the table.

As for people blasting a spin up pass you, well they probably will give you half the points from a miss or your backspin isn't pressuring enough in which case maybe try to mix it up and swipe it so there is some side spin too and it can be faster and wide. (I will try to record me doing this shot, I got it from watching the pros play non top players).

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