5 years ago
Here are some tips for playing defensive players. We don't often get the opportunity to play defensive players so each time you get an opportunity use it as such. One of the defenders assets is that you don't have as much experience at playing against their style. So, use your opportunities wisely. If you ever get a chance to practice with a defender, grab it, even if you don't think they are as strong as you. If nothing else it is a good way of improving your topspin against backspin.
Think about your serve just as much as you would against an attacker. The serve is still vital when playing defensive players. Don't fall into the trap of always serving long to them. By serving short you are bringing them close to the table. Your next attacking stroke becomes more effective when they are close. If you serve long they are already in a defensive position for your first attack. You may consider serving with less spin to give yourself an easier next ball, but also consider trying to serve with spin and dragging a weak return out of them.
The hardest place for a defensive player is in their middle or crossover point. Try to find this position with your strong attacks. The slower ball doesn't have as much effect there because they have time to move into position but the fast ball can really jam them up. Consider if their forehand or backhand is better. This has a few aspects to it.
Defensive players often enjoy sitting back away from the table and chopping. They don't like being brought in close and then having a ball hit fast at them. It gives them less time. You can bring them close to the table with a push or drop shot. The important thing about a push or drop shot is to get the ball short, close to the net. This forces the defensive player to move in closer to the table. Hitting the ball a little higher to get the ball short is often fine.
One of the weapons a defender has is their variation of spin. Watch the ball closely to see what spin is on the ball. The less time they have the less likely they will be able to control the amount of spin on the ball and play a deceptive chop.
Against a defender patience is often the key. Especially if they don't have a strong attack, take your time. You don't have to hit the first ball for a winner. A ‘defensive’ defender relies on your mistakes. Try to eliminate as many easy mistakes as you can. If you are in doubt about the spin, simply put the ball on the table and wait for the next ball. This is especially true if they don't have a strong attack.
Try out some of these ideas next time you play a Defender.
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