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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 02:17 
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Would like to hear some thoughts....

I regularly play a guy who is probably about 2100....(above my pay grade)
I've managed to beat him a few times....but to say/imply I'm anywhere near his level would be a an outright lie.
His style of play is very aggressive. Full attack mode. Any long serve is attacked....and any thing placed to his FH....wide or not....is savagely attacked. His vulnerability is (no surprise) his BH.

The problem I have with him (and some others) is that he camps in his backhand corner waiting for my loose return....as it's suicide to play to his FH. (although I do play to his FH to keep him honest and moving)

I'm trying to figure out a pattern of play against opponents like this. I think I actually stay at the table one shot too long....thinking that I can make him uncomfortable with one extra aggressive push to his BH....sometimes it works....most of the time it doesn't....as now...rather than pushing back....he's positioning himself to attack it with his FH.....and I'm out of position to return his fairly venomous attack.

I mix up the serves but with this guy I have to keep them short. He pushes/flips my serve....I return to his BH and the game is on....

What stimulated this post was re-reading the "Modern defense" piece at Pipsfacts. I'm trying to move around the court more logically and more confidently (which is why I think sometimes I trap myself at the table out of "fear?")

This is sort of scattershot.....hopefully it makes some sense...?


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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 04:38 
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Is dude a J-Pen or C-Pen?

Whatever, if he is strong, he is strong, period.

Obviously, the thing to do is not make his attacking chances easy. the question is, are you good enough to do that? Another thing to consider is, are you doing what you can to be difficult to read? Are making fast deep spinny push to elbow or wide FH? Are you able to drop it short, then give it to him at an angle and block his attacks away from him wide? Are you able to dare him to attack on FH wing and counter attack / punch block to his exposed BH wing?

it is likely a matter of being able to read his ball and make a shot you want. I sense he is so much better than you he applies pressure on you without even attacking by making you worry about the quality of your shot. The quality of his shots or connecting balls is prolly high enough to make you unable to make quality shots. It could simply be a matter of gulf of playing levels. It could also be a matter of you figuring out what gives you an edge.

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 05:05 
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Thanks Der_Echte

Generally speaking I'm not able to go toe-to-toe with a 2100 level player and win....so yes there is a gulf.

The interesting thing about posing these questions is that while writing the post it helps crystallize my thinking....

I'm not strong enough fundamentally....that's a given. But after writing the original post I really do think one of my very serious issues is moving on the court and maintaining a proper relationship to the table/opponent. I'm referring to distance and angles....not mobility.


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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 08:13 
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I'm trying to figure out a pattern of play against opponents like this. I think I actually stay at the table one shot too long....thinking that I can make him uncomfortable with one extra aggressive push to his BH....sometimes it works....most of the time it doesn't....as now...rather than pushing back....he's positioning himself to attack it with his FH.....and I'm out of position to return his fairly venomous attack.

Hmm... I do not believe that giving up the table vs such an opponent is a great idea. If he attacks and you block, doing so away from the table gives him enough time to read all his text messages before hitting again. If you are close to the table, you have much better possible angles and can at rush him at least a little bit if you take the ball right away.

Are you able, or do you have confidence to make a BH slow spinny opener DEEP to his BH or crossover? if you can, that shot will be money for you. Penholders HATE it when you give them those high arcing spinny loops that land deep and jam them. if anything, even if he can soft block it, it opens up your chance to step around the block and FH loopdrive the ball for pressure or a point.

I get a LOT of points vs penholders with my BH attack. Advantages of BH attack are...

- it is QUICK since you take it off the bounce

- it is deceptive since there is little to zero backswing, it can be hard for opponent to read the direction that is easily changed by impact point or wrist. Since the shot is smooth and fast speed, that can make it very hard to read

- if you are in position, it is a very stable shot

- the shot can be very quickly employed in a fast exchange rally. this allows you to stay at the table and either control the angles or at a minimum prevent opponent from taking over in that area

As you can see, I LIKE BH attacking and even have a BH kinda screen name on another TT forum.

If you are able to win games occasionally against him, you have hope of one day putting everything together and get a match from him.

Another thing to consider is make the first attack to his wide FH, a very SLOW spinny attack deep to his FH corner or beyond, he might not counter attack that, but send it back safely, then, you got all that uncovered BH area to exploit with a fast attack.

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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2014, 08:16 
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If this guy does not step around all the way, he will likely attack your FH line, so you could watch his step around footwork and be ready. One FH block cross corner would be the end of the point. I play safe like that vs players who do not step around all the way and they still wonder to this day how I knew they were attacking there.

At the 2100 level, I would seriously DOUBT he 1/2 steps around, but stepping around all the way to get all possible attacking angles is likely a good strength of his.

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PostPosted: 12 May 2014, 18:26 
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Against penhold players, especially J-Pen, you can use the whole table and try to make him run as much as possible.
I think it is not possible to force easy mistakes against such a player, so you try to play combinations of placement.

Just some tips:
- if you know that he flips almost every short serve, try to serve short to FH and then play long to BH. Usually FH flips are diagonal because they can be played easier and faster. Next ball can be to FH then if necessary
- just playing to BH can be a mistake because it is easier to play a winner with FH topspin from BH side (see Xu Xin) than from FH side. For Penhold players this is the obvious tactic.
- maybe it helps to play short to FH, long to FH, long to BH. Of course you must have the skill to block some balls.
- try fake returns. Point to one direction and change the direction in the last moment before you hit the ball

Of course it always depends on the specific opponent ... so the points mentioned are just general tips.

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