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 Post subject: How to exit push rallies
PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 12:09 
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I'm an intermediate player at our club and ranked 16th out of 50. Players of all levels.

My problem is that despite liking to play a topspin / hitting game, I often find myself stuck in a pushing / chopping rally and not confident to get out of them and either win the point or lose the point based on an error. When these rallies occur, I can start to lose my more aggressive game which is my strength against players of a similar level, and tend to get stuck in a more passive game which seems to even up the contest more.

If someone hits a backspin serve or returns one of my spin serves with backspin then I tend to just push it back, they do the same, I do the same and before I know it there is so much spin on the ball that I am too scared to even try lift the ball with topspin. My pushes are only just going over the net, very flat and often very deep despite a nearly flat bat and a lifting motion. every now and then the ball really grips on the bat and sends in long.

My pushing rubber has been the Mercury II which seems to have been creating a lot of this spin. My A-grade hitting partner has suggested lifting the ball a lot more which will reduce the spin but also potentially set the ball up to be smashed by my opponent. Against good A-graders this might be the case however against my level of low A, high B it may not be so much.

I'm hoping my new Appelgren Allplay with Venus will not create as much of this spin thereby making balls easier for me to attack rather than push.

What strategies or techniques could I employ to get myself out of this and back into a more hitting rally?

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 12:18 
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Watch some professional matches in which a defender is involved; you'll see that when the ball is pushed or chopped (deep enough, of course), the offensive player makes a radical lifting motion to attack the ball. That's pretty much the stroke you need if you don't want to keep pushing it back.

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 12:49 
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I agree with abdulmuhsee. If you are the attacking player, you have to initiate the attack which takes practice. I play with this kid, and he's pretty good with good strokes and correctly taught...he stands at the bh corner while I take the middle as a blockpusher and he and I get into these long bh push exchanges from my lp bh to his inverted...he adds backspin and I continue it as topspin...this goes on and on until my ball is high enough for him to attack.

He attacks with a lfting motion on his bh inverted, not a roll over motion. Its like a smash. If I push to his fh, if high enough he jumps over, like he's done that a million times, and goes for the fh loop. You're gonna have to practice being very steady in a push rally and then develop and anticipate a fh loop attach or a bh rip. Hope that helps cobalt. I'm an intermediate myself and so is the kid although he says he plays correctly and I play like an old man...I think he's right but I'm beating him more :lol:

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 12:53 
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Breaking out of the push-push rally is one of the hardest things for intermediate local club level players to do. The ability to consistently attack a push is one skill which separates the higher level club player from the lower level ones. Unfortunately, no short cuts. The fastest method is a lot of training focused on looping underspin with someone feeding you the ball (multiball is good). Once you can do that consistently in practice, you then have to learn how to do it in an actual match.

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 13:14 
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Thankyou for the feedback. Since I don't really have the chance to practice a lot, I might have to bite the bullet and accept going backwards in matches for a while and losing to opponents I don't normally in order to practice the loop.

I prefer not to watch any professionals, everything looks too easy.

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 13:43 
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Cobalt wrote:
Thankyou for the feedback. Since I don't really have the chance to practice a lot, I might have to bite the bullet and accept going backwards in matches for a while and losing to opponents I don't normally in order to practice the loop.

I prefer not to watch any professionals, everything looks too easy.


Yeah, I find watching professionals makes my game much. But worthwhile watching some training videos demonstrating the technique of loop vs underspin. You can check out www.pingskills.com for example.

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 14:55 
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watch for opponents pushed ball coming past the end of the table which will allow you to come from lower down with your blade and more up the back of the ball

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 15:16 
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@poor_knight, thanks for the link

@dazzler, thanks for the advice. Its becomming pretty apparent what I need to do. I've now got to work on the in that my forehand is a little front-on and when sometimes try loop from behind the table, its sometimes ends up being a side spinning lob. I think I may be having the face of my bat too closed and coming around the ball.

Is it practical to be doing this on backhand too, or just forehand. Pretty confident on looping backhands rather than forehand.

I'd assume my Appelgen/ Venus II set-up is fine for this strategy?

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PostPosted: 25 Oct 2013, 16:15 
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Converting backspin to topspin can be done BH and FH. It's a little harder with the BH because you have less 'swing' in your stroke. I think there's some good advice here. There are no short cuts, but it's not too difficult with some practice.

Part of it is also a mental thing. You might be able to pull off the stroke with a practice buddy, but at some stage you're going to have to introduce it into your competitive play. You indicate that you want to be an offensive player. Well, this technique is something you have to learn. Sure, you'll get bitten quite a few times early on, but you'll surprise yourself when more and more of them are successful.

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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2013, 14:05 
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Oskar wrote:
Converting backspin to topspin can be done BH and FH. It's a little harder with the BH because you have less 'swing' in your stroke. I think there's some good advice here. There are no short cuts, but it's not too difficult with some practice.

Part of it is also a mental thing. You might be able to pull off the stroke with a practice buddy, but at some stage you're going to have to introduce it into your competitive play. You indicate that you want to be an offensive player. Well, this technique is something you have to learn. Sure, you'll get bitten quite a few times early on, but you'll surprise yourself when more and more of them are successful.


Strangely, I've always found it easier to topspin pushes off my BH more than my FH. I understand about having less 'swing' in your stroke, but it is easier also to active your wrist on a BH shot so it's easier to have faster acceleration (in my experience of course...I'm sure everyone is different). So generally I prefer to open up attack on my BH and then switch to FH counterlooping once we change to a topspin rally.

Completely agree about the mental thing. I think one thing is to change to topspin early in a rally. The longer your pushing rally goes, the harder it is to break that pattern!

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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2013, 14:25 
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One other thing to consider is not to exit the rally, but learn to control it and prosper from it. Improving your ability to angle and place the ball well (and fast) will aid in this...and eventually you will have developed more weapons than you started with because these techniques will often result in balls being popped up that then give you not only an exit strategy from pushing, but a winning strategy for the point. If you never develop good pushing skills in this game, then you overlook a key component of it and leave a gaping weak hole in your game. ;)

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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2013, 14:53 
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Its easier to loop at the table with backspin to help hold the ball down so you should see it as an opportunity to attack rather than being afraid. Also you can win a push rally in club level with just variation in the amount of backspin. Normally two or three heavy balls then a light one will give you either a pop up to hit or a ball long off the table to win the rally. You can go the other way to induce a net ball.

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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2013, 15:34 
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First thing is to ID the problem. Pushing constantly as first choice will not win you a lot of points. Training to be consistant at expecting the underspin and opening vs it is your solution. Until then, push away and play the strategy of "Push and Hope". You gotta find a way to get better and more confident opening vs underspin, it is a real easy thing to do and a very high percentage shot when you hit a certain level.

Sometimes, however, even if one is good at opening vs underspin, certain opponents are good at jamming you or otherwise giving you a push to a placement or depth you are not expecting, so you end up pushing back. This is fine as you avoid giving away free points on miss, as long as opponent will push it back. if he or she does, then there are a couple ways to get a predictable push back.

If you are locked in a BH corner to BH corner push, try a fast deep push to the FH line. Opponent will either make a wild attack, or push it crosscourt for you to open up. You know reasonably where it is going and you have time. If he surprises you and pushes it to your BH corner from there, don't panic, just fast push it to his BH corner and call a paramedic as he wipes out trying to scramble to get his BH on that fast push.

Another thing to do to break up that rhythm is to make a sudden SLOW push with a change of spin. You might get it pushed out for your point, you might get it high for an easier drive, or you just get it long and medium slow, so you have more time to expect it and be ready to open. Take the ball early and make a fake fast follow through, watch opponent mis-read and give you chances.

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PostPosted: 28 Oct 2013, 21:45 
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I want to add that topspin serves (short or long) or heavy sidespin allow the rally to go straight to topspin against most players.

I agree w Der E however. You need to identify the problem with your technique to allow you to open and open strongly against push.


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PostPosted: 29 Oct 2013, 05:52 
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yes dont start with a backspin serve as you will be stuck there, so at least on your serves try some variations and third ball attack

this is important for your development and the main thing is to try stuff in the friendlies untill you can master with condifidence when it matters

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