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PostPosted: 04 Jun 2014, 02:53 
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Ninja of the Holy Chtchet
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Okay, this is a chopping strategy question. I know I have a long way to go before I can consistently work placement. My #1 concern is making sure it hits the table, but...

Placement:
I've heard different things here, and when I watch videos, I don't see a consensus.

Conventional chopping wisdom says that for most chops, one should send them towards the back of the table. Fair enough, but your positioning and skill level can be prohibitive when attempting this. So, generally speaking, my question is this:

Where should I attempt to send most of my balls at the beginning of a match, when I don't know the opponents strengths (backhand good vs forehand good). Should I always start off sending the chops to the backhand of the opponent? What about the center of the table? Matsushita seems to send most of his balls to the middle of the table. I remember reading from leather back that during his time in China, he was coached to send balls to the middle and end of the table.

I ask, because in that moment when I'm not able to think, and I have to react, I want to develop a "ground control" chop to rely on until I can slow the pace of the point to where I can start thinking again.

So, let me summarize my questions:

Where should I train to send my balls for that "ground control" auto chop?

At the beginning of a match with an unknown opponent, should I go to his forehand, backhand, or the center of the table?

I just ordered my first robot, and I can't wait to start working this and hardwiring my technique.

Thanks all!

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PostPosted: 04 Jun 2014, 04:10 
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I also wondered this myself years ago and my answer is: always play the chop cross court to limit the playing angles of your attacking opponent. How much cross court? Depends on where you play the chop. If your position is close to the extension of the middle line of the table, your chop should also land close to the middle line, but off course on the other side of the middle line (i.e. cross court). If your position is far from the extension of the middle line of the table, your chop should also land far from the middle line. This is a general guideline; other options are also available, but make sure you position yourself in the cross line of the place where the ball lands. Concerning depth of the chop: as deep as possible. Concerning height: if loaded with backspin, the ball might be high. If not, as low as possible.

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PostPosted: 04 Jun 2014, 04:49 
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Lorre wrote:
I also wondered this myself years ago and my answer is: always play the chop cross court to limit the playing angles of your attacking opponent. How much cross court? Depends on where you play the chop. If your position is close to the extension of the middle line of the table, your chop should also land close to the middle line, but off course on the other side of the middle line (i.e. cross court). If your position is far from the extension of the middle line of the table, your chop should also land far from the middle line. This is a general guideline; other options are also available, but make sure you position yourself in the cross line of the place where the ball lands. Concerning depth of the chop: as deep as possible. Concerning height: if loaded with backspin, the ball might be high. If not, as low as possible.

Thanks!
However, I'm not sure if I understand what you are saying...

From the perspective of chopping from my backhand...between 2 right-handed opponents... are you saying that:
If the opponent is at the midline, and I am near the midline, I should return midline? Why not deep to his backhand?

Next,
If I am extended far from the midline (out wide of the table backhand side), I should return wide crosscourt, which would be to his backhand?

Doesn't the position of the opponent matter? Sorry if I didn't understand enough...it's hard to absorb these types of nuances in text format.

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PostPosted: 04 Jun 2014, 05:37 
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Preferably deep. I like to chop high and invite a drive/loop. Anything lower and most of my opponents would just push it back. To be "truly" a defender, you shouldnt be afraid of balls being attacked.

Like Lorre said, mid table I just chop it back to middle or elbow if possible. Most times I chop it cross court unless I perceive a weakness in either his FH or BH then I try to hit it there.

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PostPosted: 04 Jun 2014, 06:22 
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Japsican wrote:
Thanks!
However, I'm not sure if I understand what you are saying...

From the perspective of chopping from my backhand...between 2 right-handed opponents... are you saying that:
If the opponent is at the midline, and I am near the midline, I should return midline? Why not deep to his backhand?

Next,
If I am extended far from the midline (out wide of the table backhand side), I should return wide crosscourt, which would be to his backhand?

Doesn't the position of the opponent matter? Sorry if I didn't understand enough...it's hard to absorb these types of nuances in text format.


Yes, you should return midline, but you can also go deep to their backhand. However, the latter option forces you to position yourself cross court, so in your backhand side.

The position of the opponent can matter, but only if you fail in the loop-chop rallies (i.e. less than 50% of those rallies go to you) or as a variation or if you want a weak return that you can attack/initiate your attack.

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PostPosted: 05 Jun 2014, 20:02 
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If you go to the middle of the table you are likely to find out pretty quick whether the opponent is a forehand dominant player as they will move around to play on forehand. It might not mean though that backhand is weak.

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PostPosted: 05 Jun 2014, 20:48 
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A few points to bear in mind:
  • A chop is a slow stroke, so the opponent will often have time to "step around" to use his strongest side regardless of where your return goes. You will also have time to get in position after your chop, so the "across the middle" strategy is not as important when chopping as it is when you play a fast paced style.
  • Chopping to the sides will give the opponent a wider angle for the return. When you are far from the table, you need to narrow that angle as much as possible.
  • Shorter returns also makes a wider return angle for your opponent. It is also easier to play a good drop shot against a short chop. If your chop bounces near the end of the table, a drop shot is near impossible to do well.
Thus, it makes sense to mainly chop deep to the middle of the table. Generally, a chop is not meant to be a winner, but to take away the opponent's opportunity to hit one. Angle your chops only when either you or your opponent are seriously out of position and/or balance, either to make it a winner, or to force the return to go somewhere you can reach it.

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PostPosted: 07 Jun 2014, 01:51 
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By the way, if you develop reputation of a chopper and send those high deep and slow chops, you can inch them from middle to his BH and opponent will usually get around it and hit it with FH. I've developed a counterhit shot when they loop/drive it fast and I send it back really fast to the vacated FH side. usually catch most people flatfooted just because of the pace of the game..

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PostPosted: 07 Jun 2014, 02:14 
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Cobalt wrote:
If you go to the middle of the table you are likely to find out pretty quick whether the opponent is a forehand dominant player as they will move around to play on forehand. It might not mean though that backhand is weak.


Yeah, as in you will get creamed!

My 2 cent opinion is to make them move to return the ball, and if possible, make them switch FH to BH or visa versa, and try to mix in inverted chops and pips blocks that look like chops to make everything unpredictable, to the point where they don't trust their ability to land an attack ball, and then *I* want to attack hard and fast with something ugly at the first opportunity before they recover their senses.

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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2014, 17:32 
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This is a very interesting and difficult question.
I want to separate modern defense to classic defense.

MODERN DEFENSE : For safe returns PLAY 99% on opponent's backhand. In this way he will play on your pimple the most powerful topspins. If he wants to topspin on your forehand after a deep chop on his backhand, he can, but he has to lower the power and therefore this stroke can be very easily counterloop and finish the point in this way. I'm a modern defender and I play 99% on BH. My combination is pimple 1,1 bh and tenergy05 max fh.

CLASSIC DEFENSE : Here it doesn't really matter. My concept of classic defense is tackiness chop 1,1 forehand and pimple on BH, so with this combination it doesn't really matter.

I have other ideas, but first I'd like to know your answers about this.


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PostPosted: 10 Aug 2014, 21:49 
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Davide wrote:
This is a very interesting and difficult question.
I want to separate modern defense to classic defense.

MODERN DEFENSE : For safe returns PLAY 99% on opponent's backhand. In this way he will play on your pimple the most powerful topspins. If he wants to topspin on your forehand after a deep chop on his backhand, he can, but he has to lower the power and therefore this stroke can be very easily counterloop and finish the point in this way. I'm a modern defender and I play 99% on BH. My combination is pimple 1,1 bh and tenergy05 max fh.

CLASSIC DEFENSE : Here it doesn't really matter. My concept of classic defense is tackiness chop 1,1 forehand and pimple on BH, so with this combination it doesn't really matter.

I have other ideas, but first I'd like to know your answers about this.


I agree with the modern defensive part, but why not the same logic for the classic defense part? You need to minimize the discrepancy between the angle the opponent can hit to and where you can place yourself in a good way, given the limited amount of time available. This applies especially for classic defense.


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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 00:21 
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Ok, on modern defense we get along.

On classic defense : I have my own concept of classic defense. Basically for me a good classic defender MUST change ALWAYS angle, quantity of spin, twiddle the blade if possible, even play some high balls and some lower. Only in this way he can confuse the opponent and win some points.
For my concept of classic defense the fantasy is very important. A classic defender must be able to run in whatever position and most of all not be scared to be attacked, but be happy to be attacked. Obviously is a very difficult game with usually bad results. If someone can succeed with this style at high levels, it means that is REALLY A VERY GOOD GOOD PLAYER.


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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 04:26 
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To the OP:

YES!


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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 06:04 
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Davide wrote:
Ok, on modern defense we get along.

On classic defense : I have my own concept of classic defense. Basically for me a good classic defender MUST change ALWAYS angle, quantity of spin, twiddle the blade if possible, even play some high balls and some lower. Only in this way he can confuse the opponent and win some points.
For my concept of classic defense the fantasy is very important. A classic defender must be able to run in whatever position and most of all not be scared to be attacked, but be happy to be attacked. Obviously is a very difficult game with usually bad results. If someone can succeed with this style at high levels, it means that is REALLY A VERY GOOD GOOD PLAYER.


Are we agreeing Chtchetinine is a classic defender?


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PostPosted: 11 Aug 2014, 23:07 
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vanjr wrote:
To the OP:

YES!


Thanks! But to which question were you saying "YES" to?

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