Attacking First, by Samson Dubina

Samson DubinaYou have practiced your attack for months…
Hired a physical trainer…
Perfected your favorite table tennis robot drills…
Purchased the newest equipment…
Watched every table tennis video on the market…
Held tight to your diet…
Prepared mentally for your first tournament…

BUT you failed to win a single match! What went wrong? As an offensive player, your experienced opponents were probably able to attack first.

Seventy-five percent of the time, whoever attacks first wins the point. (This statistic applies to two offensive players in competition.) One of the questions players most frequently ask me is, “Samson, how can I attack first?” Here are four tips for the beginning player on how to attack first:

1. Get ready to attack. You must anticipate every ball coming long enough to loop. After serving, get back in your low ready-position waiting for the deep ball; when receiving serves, look to attack if the ball comes long.

2. Serve short, low, backspin. With a very low serve that bounces twice on your opponent’s side, it will be very difficult for him to get beneath the ball because the table is in the way.

3. Return short serves short. If you can’t attack your opponent’s serve, then keep him from attacking by dropping it back short. You might get the opportunity to attack the following ball.

4. Flip your opponent’s serve. The flip is an attack which is especially effective if placed to the backhand or middle. Your opponent will often block your flip, which can be followed up by your strong attack.

If you and your opponent are exactly the same level and both able to attack an equal amount of times, then consistency is the key. Within being the most consistent, the one who has the best spin variation, speed variation, and ball placement will control the table and ultimately win.

Written by Samson Dubina, US Team Member