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For many, defensive table tennis players can often be frustrating to play against. Although there is no foolproof way to play against the defensive style, here are a few useful tips and strategies that I always keep in mind when matched up against a chopper or defensive player:
- Aim at the elbow: Aiming your shots into your opponent’s elbow is always a smart thing to do, however it could prove itself even more effective when done properly against defensive players because of their large strokes.
- Be patient and find the winning strategy (even if it means winning ugly): Patience is incredibly important when playing against someone whose goal it is to make you miss. Frustration often causes table tennis players to rush and try avoiding long rallies, which usually leads to poor decisions and mistakes. Try to play high percentage shots on the table and select which balls can be strongly attacked and which balls should just be played carefully back on the table.
- Variation, Variation, Variation!: This perhaps is the key to playing against choppers. By playing without any variation at all (i.e, looping everything with the same speed, spin, and placement on the table), you’re directly playing into your opponent’s game. Against choppers especially, varying the placement, speed, and spin of the ball is vital. Keep in mind that placement includes the depth on the table (how close the ball is to the net and end line) as well as width (whether the ball is on the forehand or backhand side). Many players forget about varying the depth of their shots and only focus on the width, which only benefits a defensive player’s game.
- Getting them out of their comfort zone: Though this should be your ultimate goal when playing against any type of player, it is especially important when playing against a defensive player in table tennis.
By implementing the above tips into your game, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a defensive player’s worst nightmare.
Good luck and have fun!