No backswing stroke

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 2 weeks ago


D K Asked 3 weeks ago

Greetings Team,
I have a question about another opponent I faced today.
I already know he is an anti-longpips type.
He is very good at hitting through spin.
He uses almost no backswing,he looks like he is constantly blocking.
If I attack him,he just returns flat,no matter if it is fast topspin or a spinny one.
He reads spin very well,today he did only one error against my attacks,during the entire match.
I was not able to get him with any spin variation,he just hit it or push it,but his strokes are so short and so fast that I never know in advance if he is going to push or hit.
Often I find it out not sooner than when the ball touches my table.
Even from my fast and aggressive pushes,he was still able to hit through in more than half of cases.
I am not saying it was strong,the man is 75y old after all,but it was often unexpected and very flat,like from a shortpips.
He is also quite "shaky" ,I mean,he constantly does very short pushing and hitting movements with his hand,so sometimes it is hard to tell when he actually struck the ball.

I wonder what could I do to get over him.
He seems to be completely invulnerable against my level of spin variation,and he is perfectly aware which rubber I used for every stroke.
He reads the game so well that I cannot much manoeuver him around.
Also,he is quite fit for his age,still being able to defend at long range.
He also used a strategy that he keeps pushing shorter and shorter to my forehand,where I cannot create neither spin nor speed.
I need to keep going around my forehand corner with my foot,because it is just too far.
I cannot use a backhand flip because the ball is too high and empty.
I also cannot use a forehand flip because I just cannot physically close the bat when I have locked elbow.
It is also too short for forehand loop,because I need to pull my loops hard from below the table level.
I can only try backhand push (forehand push would go out or high).
When I try over-table loop,I can only aim for his forehand corner, which is exactly where he expects it,and he flawlessly hits it from here.

And even when I tried to play it to his forehand and then prepare for counterattack/defense,it is so flat and empty that my stroke always lands on my table,behind the table,or I hit it with a finger.
What could I dowith such a player?

Dan K

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 2 weeks ago

Hi Dan,

It certainly sounds like you had quite the challenge facing this experienced opponent with unorthodox playing techniques. Here are some strategies to consider when playing against someone with a no-backswing style who utilises anti-spin and long pips rubbers effectively:

Since he's comfortable handling spin and returning the ball flat, you need to focus on placing the ball in positions where he is less comfortable. Try to find spots where his strokes are weaker, and he's forced to move or stretch. Aim for his playing elbow and wide angles to create opportunities for yourself.

Opponents with minimal backswing rely on a consistent rhythm to time their blocks and hits. Mix up the pace of your shots by incorporating slow and fast balls. Sometimes a slower, more controlled ball can disrupt their timing more than a fast shot.

Rather than focusing solely on spin variation, which he seems to read well, try varying the height and depth of your shots. This can force him to adjust his stroke size and timing, possibly leading to errors.

Use your serve to set up points. Try different serving strategies, such as short sidespin serves to his backhand or half-long serves that are difficult to return short. Emphasize serving with variety, and look to capitalise with a strong third ball attack.

If he's playing defensively and doesn't make many unforced errors, patience is key. Avoid over-hitting and wait for a higher probability shot. Keep the ball in play and increase the chances that he will eventually make a mistake.

When receiving, aim to keep your returns very tight and short. This can negate his ability to hit through the spin and may force him to pop the ball up, allowing you to attack. Remember, every player has weaknesses, and the goal is to adapt your strategy until you find what works against their particular style of play. Take some time to practice these variations and strategies, and you may find more success the next time you face this type of player.

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D K Posted 2 weeks ago

Oh no no he does not use antispin. He uses normal rubbers. A bit old,but normal inverted rubbers.
If he had used antispin or even longpips,I believe I would not lose.

Yea,he had really no problm with spin. Even when he was receiving,he either returned very fast flat hit (which usually hit my body or blind spot) or he just tilted his bat and returned a perfectly half-long passive...push or how to call it.
Simply a spin nullification at its best. He is very proficient with this.

I have only a limited ability to play fast as I am a defender.
But from what I saw,he  follows a simple pattern - to fast balls,he react passively. To slower balls,he adds speed.
This way,he keeps the pace constant.
He will add pace until he throws the opponent off-balance (then drops or changes the direction drastically) or until the opponent just hits too strong back.

He is good at defense - more specifically,he can hit from longer distances as well.
But does not do it unless pushed back.

As for receiving,it would be quite hard to answer with short return,because he usually served long.
His serve was not too much a problem to return for me - most people serve long to me.
But what is a long ongoing problem is the usage of half-long topspin serve to my forehand.
Too short for topspin,too topspin to push it.
I cannot physically close my bat at this place.
I would needto move more in,but I ram the table with my body.
I can close the bat only when the elbow is fully bent,or when it is not in front of me.


D K Posted 2 weeks ago

Also,I should add that I actually know hisweakness,but as a defender I cannot exploit it.
His weakness is the female table tennis style : rapid barrage of flat strokes and playing angles.
I have analyzed his statistics and all players he lost to are players who specialize in rapid flat play and are faster and play better angles than him.

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