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When playing a table tennis tournament, you might not be familiar with your opponent. Here is a list a few key things to look for in the first 30 seconds of a match. Implement these ideals, and you will be able to immediately form a game strategy.
Before the match begins, shake hands with your opponent and ask if you can see his racket. Using the ping-pong® ball, hold his racket and check the rubber’s friction. The more friction, the more spin your opponent will be able to impart. Be sure to check both sides because your opponent might have a combination racket with two different kinds of rubber.
When your opponent is holding his racket, see if he is using a forehand grip or a backhand grip. A forehand grip has the racket shifted slightly to the thumb side of the hand. A backhand grip has the racket shifted slightly to the index finger side of the hand.
Before serving, check to see if your opponent is standing with his feet parallel to the table (backhand stance) or with his right foot back (forehand stance).
After the first two points, stop and think to yourself, “Is my opponent offensive or defensive?” If he is winning most of his points attacking, then your must begin to find ways to stop his powerful weapons. If he is winning most of his points by long rallies and allowing you to make the mistake, you need to be patient, eliminate unnecessary errors, and choose the right ball.
Implementing these four quick tips will allow you to begin making a game-plan to beat your opponent. As the match progresses, be willing to change your original plan.