Is the Short Push Overrated

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 8 years ago

Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Asked 8 years ago

Hi Alois,

In your training videos you emphasize how important short push is. Indeed, when I watch top 100 players games, they use it quite a lot. But when I see games of players a tier or two below, I notice an interesting thing. They often don't even bother pushing short! They almost always push serves long and rely on blocking and counter attacking afterwards. Some really advanced guys do flip but only occasionally. For example, I recently saw a match of Jean-Michel Saive, a former superstar, and Hanwei Wang, a very decent US player. What I noticed is the recurring pattern: Saive serving short no-spin or maybe sidespin/topspin, which is pushed long almost 100% of the time. And when Hanwei served, it was the same with roles swapped. I see this pattern often whenever I watch top players here in US, and their level is very very high. 

In my own game I notice that short push is almost useless or even detrimental. Because for the short push to be effective it has to be really tight, otherwise it gives an opportunity for a lights-out attack. And to make it tight, one has to read the spin 100% correct, which is incredibly difficult.

So the question is: don't you think that the short push is really useful only at the elite level? And maybe for an intermediate amateur players it is better to concentrate on perfecting long pushes/chops, because they will never reach the level where the short push is a must?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 8 years ago

Hi Ilia,

Interesting questions.

I think it is important to work on the short push and the short serve.  If you can get this better you will step forward a lot faster.  It doesn't have to be a perfect short push but by keeping the ball low and short you will get a lot more opportunities to use your own attacking strokes rather than being in defensive mode.

You are completely right that the long push can also be very effective especially at the medium level of play,

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Ilia Minkin

Ilia Minkin Posted 8 years ago

Thank you Alois. But how to deal with those pesky no-spin and light topspin-sidespin serves. Is it worth trying to learn to short push them? It seems to be a very tough skill to learn.

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 8 years ago

I think it is possible to learn but the options of a good long push or a flick are also worth considering.

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