I am back to talk about the strategies against the LP players. First of all,I must say that I do not claim to be an expert on this subject. I am merely an enthusiastic TT player who would like to share ideas with my fellow TT players about vital matters. Since I could not give you a definition of my standard, I would explain where I am at the moment. As I said before, I started playing TT at the Dandenong Table Tennis Centre in 1993 and I started from the lowest level and gradually rose to A5 as my experience and skills developed. When I started playing at this club, there were many grades beginning from F grade to A grade and each grade was divided into sub-grades. Lately, these all grades were reduced to 10 grades, B5 to B1(Tuesday) and A5 to A1(Monday). My team won the final in each grade before I rose to the next grade. My policy was to go to the next grade as a team, not as an individual player. This has been the reason why I took a quite long time to advance to the A level. The Master Pennant(Thursday) was introduced few years back and it has five grades-A5 to A1. As far as this pennant is concerned, I become the leading player once in A4 and twice in A3. My team won the final twice in A3. I have gone as far as A2. However, my percentage was not good in A2,so I voluntarily relegated myself to A3.
As far as my TT career is concerned, one of my greatest achievements has been the championship in both Sigles and Doubles in Victorian Teachers' Games in 2010. This was held in Bendigo, I happened to beat some of very good players who had beaten me before. On this particular occasion, I was mentally and physically fit and possessed 'I can do it' attitude. My wife went with me to Bendigo too and she was watching me playing. Who wants to lose a match in front of your wife?
This information would no doubt help you understand my experience and the standard as a TT player.
Before I explain how I managed to beat the third LP player in A5, I will add some more information into my first report. The lady player I mentioned there can be described as a pusher/blocker who always plays near the table. She is not a great or quick mover or attacker, but has good reflexes. So, her main intentions of using pimples are using spin and speed variation provided by pips to force errors from the opponents and breaking timing and rhythm of these opponents,being patient and mentally strong.
To achieve these goals, she has selected Friendship 755-2. It has half long,dense and flexible pimples.This rubber is renowned for providing very good defence, especially against topspin attack.It has also good wobbling effect on service returns and other shots.I found out that this rubber also produces excellent float effect. It works best when blocking is done close to the bounce as possible. Now you can understand why she is playing close to the table and pushes every shot at you holding the bat at different angles. She will wears you down if you are not prepared for her game. So, to beat an opponent like this, you should be able to give him/her all back what they could have done to you.
The second player, the Vietnamese gentleman, can be described as a LP attacker.He seems to have resorted to LP because of some restrictions caused by physical injuries and his age. So, his idea is to use pips to get more time to move to the ball by slowing down the speed of the opponent.Pips will help him maintain his position close to the table absorbing power and spin of the opposition.Hitting flat and brushing the ball with pips in different directions(I wiil explain next week how you can create spin variation by doing so)he tries to create spin reversal and float effect.So, the opponent will make many errors or return high. He then attacks these high balls with both LP and smooth rubbers. When he hits your weak shots with his pips, he expects you to hit the ball into the net or give him a easy ball to smash using his FH.
To achieve his goals, this player uses Double Fish 1615 Ox rubber and it has super long pips.They are flexible and bouncy. So, pips bend easily and spring back quickly creating a great spin variation and spin reversal according to the way and direction of his strokes.As I have observed the behaviour of his rubber, I can certainly say that it creates quite noticeable wobbling/sink ball effect causing the opponent to hit into the net.It also helps him to push and block with good spin reversal causing you to loop or push long.When his rubber causes you to return float balls, he attacks you quite easily.
The strategies I used last time against this player were based on my study of the behaviour of LP rubbers and his intentions of using pips.So,to beat a strong opponent like this, you must prepared yourself mentally and physically and be willing to have a long battle. A short and easy win is almost impossible here.
Now I am going to explain how I managed to beat another tough LP player in few weeks back in round 5 in A5 tournament at the Dandenong TT Club. He is an Hungarian gentleman and can be described as a LP defender. He is not a good mover or attacker, but very patient and consistent and has good reflexes.So, his intentions are to break timing and rhythm of the opponent, use spin variation, spin reversal and float and wobbling effect provided by pips to force the opposition to make errors. If you let him play his game against you, he will win eventually by wearing you down and frustrating you.
I have beaten this player several times in A5 Monday tournament and in A4 and A3 Thursday tournament, but he beat me in both rounds in A5 last season in a very close encounter. However, two weeks ago I beat him 3-1 in the fifth round of the A5 tournament. This player changes his LP rubbers and blades often by creating some confusion amongst his opponents. He has used rubbers like TT Master, DR.N and CTT POGO before. He has two major blades, Joola Kool and Donic Cayman. Now he uses DHS Cloud & Fog 111 which has broad, long and easily bent pips.According to the description of the manufacturer, these pips are designed for all round game with high disturbing effect and spin reversal and variation. You cannot predict which bat he might go for until you actually see it just before the game.
My first strategy against this player was to observe his equipment and find out what blade and what LP he would use for the match against me.Then I could work on my plan according to his blade and rubber combination. I also tried to have a good knowledge of his game by having few friendy games with him especially on Sundays. This really helped me work on my game plan against him.I saw one of his team mates was warning him about the negative effect of these friendly games, but he understood that these friendly encounters would help both of us.
Secondly, I was determined to be patient and break his timing and rhythm by playing shots to the right, left and middle of the table. Many shots were directed at his body and playing elbow. When you did this , he became unbalanced and tended to make two major mistakes. He thus sent high ball to my FH which I smashed away with some side and topspin. He also sent high balls to my BH which I could returned to his extreme BH corner. He managed to send back few of these shots, but most of my shots were winners.
I had observed the way he moved his playing arm in a particular manner. He actually played his BH shots vertically and his arm moved from the edge of the table to the front of his face. So, there was some kind of slight brushing taking place. I decided to use this to my advantage by serving with little backspin. When he played his vertical shots, the ball came to me with little topspin which I like to send bak to every corner of the table. When I returned these shots with incresed speed to the extreme left side of the table, he missed them quite badly. His body language showed that he was very frustrated, so I kept on doing it.
Since this player was not a FH attacker, I tried to serve mostly to that hand with some backspin. He sometimes tried to use pips to return them, but he had to use his smooth rubber to return most of them. Whenever, he used pips to return my serves, I was careful not to play bad shots and kept rallying with him. When he used his smooth rubber to return my serves, I punished them with speedy attacks to the extreme right and the left of the table. He was not quick enough to get to these strokes, so my number of points increased as his frustration grew further and further.
As my report would suggest, you must plan your strategies according to the playing style of your opponent. Even though most of LP rubbers are designed for particular purposes, the degree of results will depend on the experience and skills of the individual player. So, these impending results will vary from the lowest grade to the highest grade.
As I promised, I found out the the number of LP players who play in each grade at the Dandenong TT Club. There are 3 LP players in A5. 2 LP players in A4. In A3, there are 4 LP players and it would be 5 soon. A2 has 3 LP players, while A1 has 2 LP players.
S/U 1:Xiom Strato-FH Stiga Calibra Sound Black, BH Xiom Omega IV Euro Red
S/U 2:TSP Hino Carbon Power-FH Gewo Stratos Sound Red, BH Roxon 450 Black
S/U 3:Donic Waldner Legend Carbon-FH Donic Coppa X2 Black, BH Palio Macro Era Red
S/U 4:Butterfly Gergely Alpha-FH Gewo Stratos Sound Red, BH Hexer+ Black
Last edited by Najay on 07 Jun 2011, 22:28, edited 2 times in total.