How to Beat Seemiller-Grip Players by Samson Dubina

Samson DubinaHere in the Midwest, the Seemiller grip is fairly common among older players.  There are 3 different versions of the grip, but we won’t go into the details about the grip itself.  We will look more closely at the strategy against these players. 

The next time that you play against a Seemiller-grip player realize that he uses only 1 side of the racket.  His racket is rotated slightly allowing him to play both forehand and backhand with the same side of the racket.  For this reason, he might have an unorthodox rubber (like anti or long-pips) on the backside of the racket that he uses for blocking loops or returning serves.  Make sure that you check his racket prior to the beginning of the match.  Your opponent here probably wants to attack first from near the table.  If he can’t attack first, he will push to either deep corner then use his quick backhand block to move you.  Instead of moving back and counter looping, he will stay close and use an anti block as a slow variation. 

The Seemiller grip player is probably unable to consistently loop with his backhand.  If you push deep to the backhand, you will probably get a deep push return.  Because this opponent has a very limited range-of-motion with his wrist, he will have difficulty flipping your serve – even short topspin.  Also, it is difficult for him to open his racket angle on the short backhand; so serve as short and wide with as much backspin as you can to his short backhand.  Once the rally has begun, he likes to control the table with his backhand block, which has exceptionally good placement.  Therefore, attacking the wide forehand will push him back and end his hopes of controlling with backhand. 

As the match progresses, he might start looping with his forehand from the backhand side.  For this reason, make sure that you surprise him with plenty of deep pushes to the forehand as well as long serves to the forehand.  This will freeze him up from comfortably stepping around to use his forehand from the backhand side. 

As the match progresses, he also might start blocking more with his backhand from the middle or even the forehand side because he has more confidence with the backhand block.  If this happens, try to also loop some balls to the wide backhand as a variation. 

Here are a couple keys to remember: 

  1. Check his rubber before beginning the match
  2. Attack to his wide forehand
  3. Push to his deep backhand
  4. Serve short topspin and be ready to loop his soft flip
  5. Serve very heavy backspin short to the wide backhand
  6. Play wide angles during the rallies to move him away from the table
  7. Be ready for him to block many balls each rally
  8. Watch for racket flips on serve return and when blocking