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 Post subject: What should I have done?
PostPosted: 20 Nov 2017, 22:36 
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So tonight I played an older opponent with restricted mobility, a wicked inverted FH attack and quite consistent BH LPs (obviously, good when he has position and time). We were 2 games each, and were about even midway through the fifth and last game. I won a point or two, then he got upset and said that if I kept lobbing the ball, he was going to quit because he can't reach for a lobbed ball.

I hadn't been using lobs as a deliberate strategy, but some balls ended up high and deep to his middle. I said as much. I didn't want to be the bad guy, I didn't want there to be bad blood and I didn't want to win on a forfeit.

The problem was that I felt really constrained in how I could return the remaining balls, marfed a couple of crucial serve returns because I was trying to not do what I had been doing before his complaint, and lost 9-11, also probably killing my team's finals prospects in the process.

In general, I don't think it's unsportsmanlike to legally exploit your opponent's physical limits in competition. For example, the same player's limited mobility loses him points in other ways. He just complained about one particular way, and I let it affect my play.

Now I feel dissatisfied with the evening's outcome, more than if I had just simply lost without there having been this incident. I feel I should have called his bluff and accepted the forfeit.

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PostPosted: 20 Nov 2017, 22:53 
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This is Sport. Play the best shots you can, play the best strategy you can. Whining to opponents about a valid legal shot has no place in Sport.
Playing "nice" is for recreation level and introducing new players to the sport.

If you think about it, every lob must come down to the table top level which means that it can be struck immediately at table top level like any other shot. It is not easy but it can be done. This player needs to learn to do that as a solution, not cry about not being able to raise his arm or run backwards.


I say this as an older player who can probably be beat by repeated lobbing due to vision problems. My solution is to try to punish the first lob, even though I have a low percentage. It occasionally makes the opponent decide lobbing is a bad idea.

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PostPosted: 20 Nov 2017, 23:23 
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I believe there some rules about playing people with "disabilities"(I'm not happy with this word, but it is the one used), although the ITTF handbook only refers to service rules and special doubles rules when playing against wheelchair users, afaics.

It may come down to how important you think winning is? I have played some people with severely restricted motion, who could still beat me off the table, with no quarter asked. But personally, I find it difficult to exploit such problems. But, I am quite old, have arthritis in both knees, and sometimes find it hard to run around the table when playing teenagers. I don't think I have the right to ask them to limit their game to suit me.

The great thing about table tennis is that it can be played well, by people of varying sizes, shapes, ages etc.. But everyone sits somewhere on the ability spectrum. You may find it more acceptable to just let something like this go, and have no regrets.

On the other hand you may feel that the opponent was playing mind games. No one has ever complained to me that I was playing outside of their ability, because, to a certain extent, that is the aim of the game.

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PostPosted: 21 Nov 2017, 00:52 
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PostPosted: 21 Nov 2017, 00:54 
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Ah - you've been out foxed there!

Should have lobbed him off.

Unless you have entered some friendly league where scores and results are not recorded, the object of the game is to win, by exploiting their weaknesses with your strengths.

I'm not sure what physical capacity has to do with it - if they have joined a team to play competitive TT, that's what they should expect.

Table tennis is a sport for everyone...I've lost to an 11 year old, someone over 60, ladies, someone who player on a crutch (I have beaten top 100 players too!)....everyone is fair game!

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PostPosted: 21 Nov 2017, 01:06 
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Agreed with everyone above. You should have lobbed him till he forfeited. That's his choice, and terrible sportsmanship on HIS behalf.
Exploiting your opponent's weaknesses, including physical limitations is EXACTLY what the sport is about. The object is to make your opponent miss! Playing nice in a competitive situation is hogwash.

If no lateral movement, go wide. Can't reach, go high. Too short, drop it short or go high. Can't loop, give underpin. Slow reaction time, give fast serves.
I played a guy missing one eye. Yes, I went to that side as often as I could.
I fought a guy on a bad knee, yes, I went after that knee.
It is your opponent's responsibility to devise a strategy to mitigate his weaknesses, not you.

He was just protecting his ego. Next time, crush him with lobs and anything else that makes him miss.

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PostPosted: 21 Nov 2017, 02:14 
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What you should have done Hangdog is what everyone here said...beat his a$$. Its not being the bad guy to win whatever way needed. If you stand up to the table to play, then you accept the competition. You don't whinge about things except if its to get in the opponents head. So he is either a bad sport or a clever sport. What you should have said is "I'll play whatever game I want...if it doesn't suit you, take the forfeit option...but if you step up to play me I'll take that as you are fair game". I played a guy on a walking stick once at a tournament. He couldn't each the ball if I put it angled slightly wide, letalone a good angle. I let him have a few points here and there to make I'm feel better but I made sure I won. I apologised for the wide shots after the game and he said it was fine, I was way too good for him and that he enjoyed it anyway. He was a real gentleman about it. You just got one who hasn't learned to accept his lot...or is laughing after the game at how he conned you :lol: In this game, never give a sucker an even break. As you know I play with a disability too...do you think my opponents don't do their best to exploit that? :devil: I just do my best not to let them....and sometimes I tell them what they're doing is unfair...just in case it makes them feel guilty and I get some advantage from it :P :devil: :lol: All's fair in love and war...and so it is with TT ;)

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PostPosted: 21 Nov 2017, 02:19 
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Aussies are so nice.

You should have told him that you won't lob if he stops attacking so hard :)


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PostPosted: 21 Nov 2017, 06:33 
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Thanks, everyone. Lesson learned. This was a one-time "present".

I'm not yet at the stage where I can beat this player while deliberately shutting down parts of my own game. I've always had to try hard against him. Next time I'll throw in some extra lobs, and if he forfeits, I figure he now owes me one anyway.

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