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PostPosted: 23 Jun 2014, 09:57 
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Would anyone care to solve the following dilemma:

Opponent loops, I block or chop-block with my bh dtecs ox lp back to his bh penhold side, then he smashes into my lp bh side again, and there is no recoil, the ball feels like a brick – it looks like a smash stroke and there is no kick off my pips so there must be back spin…

Anyhelp would be nice.


Just to clarify, it’s a finishing stroke, after a series of top spin loop vs back spin chop/block, he takes the low bounce backspin ball in his bh corner and hits it for a winner into my pips. I was in the point all the time except there was no bounce off the fast hit to my pips – it could have serious topspin or it could be flat too but the way the ball bounced off the paddle was too short for that.

Normally, if the opponent was a normal numbskull, he would have netted it already after a series of exchanges. The dude I was playing totally is head and shoulders above me and fooled around with spin eg cutting the ball under the table with spin changes and nipping the corners, over and over again…


This is like my 3rd addition but upon more thought and reflection it’s a low arc fast topspin from his bh side like Ma Lin and unlike Wang Hao, the latter using the RPHBH technique.

Basically, the point is over as my opponent’s technique was too good. I tried blocking with a vertical face open block like Pushblocker which usually works – should I try a chop? Is there a better reply for a low arc, fast top spin to the pips?

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PostPosted: 24 Jun 2014, 11:34 
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I am not a penholder and not a very good player but maybe could give you some advise. Did you return it short and slow to his back hand before the flat drive? You can not do much againts his flat drive ( penholder are pretty accurate with their flat drives ). Attempt of blocking it will not ensure success but try to return it long to his back hand. If you can, try to sneak out some attack of your own while defending. In my case, I try to give it a push instead of angle blocking only.

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PostPosted: 24 Jun 2014, 13:57 
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Hi RL:

Thanks for the tip!

Your experience is invaluable to me as I am starting to play the serious players – the players who are the next level up. I’m sure you are of the same caliber or more.

When I get schooled by this looper/all round attacker, he just beats me every way… to many skills. It doesn’t matter if I back up and chop or pushblock up close.I tried all my setups on him in one afternoon everyone was laughing including myself. He plays the spin game and is at least 55 so a real vet. Great side spin loops and adjusts so easily to all the pips I have. The equipment is redundant – it’s the skills and experience bottom line.

When I played the chop game he missed a games worth of drives/loops but then it was all him. He totally took over and took control ripping all my low chops. When I was up close I pushed slow balls over to his fh and bh.The bh really killed me. He looped it back Ma Lin style, to low to high stroke with aggressive speed, and sometimes with side to side motion as many penholders do. At the time it looked like a smash. And he did it several times as I blatantly pushed backspin balls to his bh corner to test him again and again. Ofcourse I got burned everytime. He either hit it pass me or if I got my blade on it, it just went dead.

Just recently I speculated that it was either a smash/ flat hit but more likely it was a fast top spin that was a low arc so that the recoil would be down to the table quickly.Just a guess but he sure hits it fast because he knows how much backspin there is…infact he says that my main weakness is just not reading the spin well – true true true!
I did not even make one good block off one of his hard hit loops or smashes and the reason was the speed of his stroke…too fast for me to attack or to push back because I was totally out of position when he hits so fast and hard.

It has to do with the blade angle I think. I tried to block it just like PB…I was there for the shot but I should have angled it for a chop to give it some height to clear the net. I think that could be it.

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Last edited by timeout on 25 Jun 2014, 00:55, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 24 Jun 2014, 18:07 
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I am a bit confused. Did you mean forehand loop/drive/flick at the left side (taking right-handed player for example) or traditional backhand or reverse backhand loop/drive/flick?

I guess you mean a traditional drive skill probably having no English name (because English speaking guys do not play penhold...). It is basically flat hit with much less spin than loop.

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PostPosted: 24 Jun 2014, 23:15 
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Hi Sylvannus and welcome to OOAK!

Thanks for taking some interest in my struggles to improve!

Well first of all the div 1 champ at my club is an English speaking Chinese guy is that what you meant☺ He’s a doc too but that’s another thing and he plays penhold.

Anyways, it is a Chinese non-english speaking guy that I happen to be playing at my summer club and he hits the penhold bh in a left to right, high to low motion across his body just like many penholders. He hits with the same side of the blade for his fh. I think this is the way Ma Lin does it.

I don’t think its anything special except for me that I have never experience that type of devastating stroke that is hit with such authority that I can not block it back at all. 0 for 100! Feels that way.

The bounce is really dead so I can’t figure it out. I can’t simulate it with my 540 too slow for that but I get an idea that it is probably a flat hit just by the way the stroke looks but he also has burned me a million times with a loop bh stroke that goes from high to low as he has hit a million of those on me as well right pass me. Clearly he has practiced that stroke(s) in the past and their his trade mark.

So you think its most likely a flat drive – well my question then is how can I block that shot back over the net because God knows I’ve tried. Against lesser players I can simply stand there and let them tee off as much as they like but my cos 3 and dtecs combo just eats up all the attempted topspins – the opponent must be a higher class player to get it pass me and this guy is one of the few.(Obviously I don’t get out that much)

Thanks again Sylvannus!

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PostPosted: 25 Jun 2014, 00:07 
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LP is no picnic to block with against players with strong strokes. You dont have the comfort of using topspin for safety and control like you do with inverted. Due to the lack of friction of LP the trajectory of your returns is very flat and thus your timing and stroke has to be very precise. Strong deep balls are simply difficult to handle for LP and this is one of the reasons why almost all LP blockers hit a brick wall at the intermediate/intermediate+ level and find it difficult to progress further. If you want to block with pips why not give SP a try?


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PostPosted: 25 Jun 2014, 00:49 
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Thanks carbonman!

OMG SP’s?

I thought I had reduced the equipment down to just using LPs for simplicity sake.

“…Hit the Brick Wall…” eh? I wanted to be the brick wall but looks like I have reached my limits with OXLP…

Maybe blocking with sponge LP might be a little better then but that would lead to other problems. Same for getting a faster blade.

Oh well gotta put some thought into this, going to the club now – I gonna try to keep it lower and stay back and chop.

My OXLP block has surrendered to the fast PH BH hit! For now…

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PostPosted: 25 Jun 2014, 01:01 
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LP with sponge is certainly worth trying. The control is much better and you can even put modest amounts of topspin on the ball. I used it for a few years with reasonable success however I used it like an SP player (such as Wang Tao) would rather like a push blocker. I would recommend putting a sheet of OX atop of a thick, fast, firm piece of sponge. The deadish sponge under most LP doesn't cut it IMO.


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PostPosted: 25 Jun 2014, 09:00 
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btw - an obvious question: have you done any drills to try to improve matters? Returning such shots is not easy so the more you do specific practice to improve in this area the better. Playing games or having general play wont help. If u can get a decent player to loop and hit to your BH gradually increasing the tempo, it should help your touch and timing. Try to have soft hands when blocking strong shots.


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PostPosted: 25 Jun 2014, 13:04 
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Many thanks carbonman!! Wow you must be pretty good if you can play the sp chopping and attacking game like WT.

It’s funny when loses occur… really makes you think about the game, the tactics, strokes, and equipment. Really have to narrow down how I would like to play, ie chopping vs pushblocking, and the best equipment for me to use to achieve present and future goals eg winning in the present and growing in the future but without losing too much.

First, about playing with thicker sponge LP, I thought about that the whole day and I can only say that that might cause more problems than solve. Reason being that I’ve been an ox man for the longest time – the adjustment although possible, might be too difficult in the short term especially when blocking at the table.

A good compromise here is to use a faster blade like the FW+ when I choose to play as a pushblocker. The balsa’s kick could be enough recoil to put the ball back over the net when its smashed into my pips. Really have to watch certain PB videos to see if that would be wise.

(Just wanted to add that the smash into my pips from my peholding adversary’s bh side could also contain side spin in addition to being fast and flat.)

For chopping, I would welcome sponge for this option, as I have been testing out sponge lps for chopping away from the table. Selecting this playing style would solve the problem outright as I would concede open face oxlp blocks at the table. I have lots of choices here as I could go with sponge or a tricky low friction oxlp.

Really like your tip about the practice against the phbh smash. If I could just practice against that stroke, and get use to the pace and spin, it would be a great improvement to my game.

I guess I’m going to have to politely ask him to kick my butt again.

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PostPosted: 25 Jun 2014, 16:36 
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A couple of things...

Changing blades wont help. Despite claims of blade throw :) a new blade wont add grip your OX LPs to create any meaningful difference in trajectory.

Chopping is a perfectly viable game and one that would not be suspect againt strong strokes like OX LP blocking is. It is however quite a different game than pushblocking.

As with most tt issues, practice is your best solution. Note than in order to address your current problem you dont need to practice against a PHer. A shakehanded doing the same shots is fine. The main thing is that you are working on your touch, timing and technique against such strokes. In saying this, it will always be tough blocking with LP OX against strong shots. Good luck. :)


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PostPosted: 26 Jun 2014, 14:43 
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Once again thanks for your advice carbonman.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnFfZCW0Ygo

This is the best video that I could find that resembles the scenerio I described in my post. Apologies to PB for always choosing his stuff to comment on but I am a fan.

In this video, PB plays a SP PH (I assume). In comparison I play a lower level of pushblocking but my opponent plays a very polished ph loop game and unlike PB’s opponent, he is much more light footed and puts a lot of spin in his loops and cuts in his strokes – the guy I’m facing might be a little better.

Thoroughout the first four games I noticed that PB did not have the same problems that I faced. His blocks when the blade made contact had the usual recoil effect. Of course that may be a strength thing as I’m pretty sure that my wrist and associated muscles are not strong as PB’s.

At 120, 550, 850, 1135 and 1145, you can see the penholders BH smash stroke that I’m referring to. The only thing is when PB blocks it, there is a recoil of some length. For me, there was hardly any recoil, it was like the ball just buried into the blade. The 120 Bh smash is a little like the hit I kept taking into my pips. Plus in my mind, the guy I faced hit the ball much faster like at 550.

So where does this take me…well the practice against such strong shots is definitely a must do. I didn’t get to play him today as he was clowning around with guys I had beaten over and over again at the club. Kinda like a victory parade. I didn’t challenge him more for etiquette reasons – there will another op soon but we did exchanged pleasantries.

I’ll try to take him on with my fw+ and see how that goes next time.

The other thing that I’d like to mention is that part of the problem has to do with the playing styles that I employ. That there is not just a dilemma with a select stroke, but also a problem exists in the choice between playing two different styles and using different equipment to max out each style. For me I see it simply as playing a style that wins the most points and if that doesn’t work to go to plan b. This differs from playing one distinct style eg chopper that chops from longe range or short range, instead of playing as a chopper from far away and then moving up and playing a pushblock game…

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PostPosted: 26 Jun 2014, 19:17 
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Those shots you are referring to are just flat hits. It really doesnt matter if they are done with a PH BH or FH; or a SH BH or FH; the shot is basically the same. The harder ones - smashes - are not easy for anyone to return but they are especially difficult to block early with LP. Inverted players would usually go back from the table and topspin fish or lob them back.

I think it best you make a firm decision on what sort of style you want to play and then work at developing it.


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PostPosted: 28 Jun 2014, 15:00 
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Hi carbonman:

Would you recommend something like ToniHold Anti?

I did some more research and a slick anti maybe the solution! Apparently a slow anti is the best rubber for slowing down really hard topspins or flat hits.

What about a rubber like feint soft with its thick 25 degrees white sponge? I have that rubber and I can tell you that it burns the candle at both ends, slow on slow balls but springy on fast balls. I’ve reconsidered using sponged lps for up close blocking as there can be a lot of variation eg pull back block, chop block, closed block, normal open face block etc. The variation my be worth the hours of practice that I would need to go from ox to sponge lp blocking.

Many thanks!

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PostPosted: 28 Jun 2014, 18:26 
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Its not the slowing down that is necessarily the problem - rather, it is getting the ball on the table. For reasons discussed above, low friction rubber such as anti or OX (or soft sponge) LP is difficult to block consistently with against deep strong shots.

Anti is extremely easy for a half decent player to play against and it is difficult to for the user to be pro-active with it. I have used Feint soft and it is too dead IMO.

The PH BH flat hit you describe sounds like a darned good shot. SP or inverted with make returning it somewhat easier and so will practicing more - especially stuff like high speed random multi-ball drills. However, at the end of the day, some shots are simply tough to deal with and so it might be wise to consider prevention rather than cure. What are the shots you are hitting to him that allow him to get such BHs in? Are you being too passive? Could it be that he is experienced and finds playing against OX fairly easy? etc A video would make the task of responding to this problem much easier! :)


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