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Tag: Placement

Jimmy Butler on JUIC’s Stellan Bengtsson Alpha Blade


Jim Butler plays with JUIC’s Stellan Bengtsson Alpha blade. He is a four-time US Men’s Singles Champion, two-time Olympian and a current member of the US National Team. Control is the name of his game and is one reason why he uses the Bengtsson blade. Hear from Jimmy why he is so successful with this blade.

Coaching Tip: Where to Serve Short?

Many players understand the need to serve short (in addition to long serves), since short serves stop the opponent from looping. More advanced players learn the control to serve “half-long,” so the second bounce, given the chance, would be right about the end-line. However, many players who serve short do not think about the placement. There are five: short to the extreme forehand, middle forehand, middle, middle backhand, and extreme backhand. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each. (Some of these are written as if both players were righties. It would be a long article if I covered all possibilities.)

Put the Ball on the Table!

Samson Dubina

Once a player has mastered all four aspects, he might feel that he should be in good position for every shot. This is merely wishful thinking! The world’s best players have perfected all four of these footwork elements, yet they are still often caught off-balance. However, when they aren’t in perfect position, they are able to adjust their technique to fit the shot.

Seth Pech Tells Why He Plays with Tibhar’s Q1 XD Rubber

Seth-Pech_mugAbout a month ago I picked up two sheets of Q1 XD from Tibhar to try them out. I had played with the Q1 original sheets before and the sponge was too soft for me. When I played with XD, which has a harder sponge, I was really impressed with the consistency of the trajectory that the ball enters and exits the rubber. I was also impressed with the amount of spin the rubber generates, even though it doesn’t look or feel grippy.

Choosing the Right Equipment to Match Your Table Tennis Playing Style

Yahao US Nat 2012

Yahao Zhang, 2012, U-21 US National Champion tells how how important matching the right table tennis equipment to the style of game you want to play. In order to play your best game, you’ll need to know how your equipment will affect the ball. In this article Yahao will focus on the thickness and hardness of sponge and the way it affects your shot quality.


Jim Butler, past national champion believes that, “Making your deep serves in to a weapon can be accomplished by every player. A strong service game is a powerful tool for success in Table Tennis. There are a lot of different ways to become a good server. I developed my serves using a deep serve motion. I practiced 4 deep serves with different spins, and used that same motion for my short service game also. The goal I wanted to accomplish by doing this was to make everyone think I may be serving deep on every serve, while pulling up at the very end of the motion for all of my short serves. I copied the deep service motion of Peter Karlsson, and I practiced serves at least an hour or more a day for about 6 months.”

Grant Li: College Life With Table Tennis Brings Great Rewards

Overall, I’ve learned an important lesson. I’ve learned that the decision to continue playing is yours. Regardless of the environment or playing conditions, if you want to keep playing table tennis, then you will. It’s easy to come up with excuses to not practice. You could say that you’re too busy and that you should focus on school or try out new things. But the reality is that playing a couple hours every week won’t take away much of your free time, and if you hadn’t practiced, you probably wouldn’t be spending that time meaningfully anyway.

Coaching Tip: Where to Place Your Spin Serves

While you should vary your spin serves to all parts of the table – at least until you find out what gives your opponent trouble and what doesn’t – there are certain spin serves that are generally more effective when done to specific parts of the table.

The main principle to remember is that, in general, opponents will have more trouble returning a serve that spins away from them than one that spins into them. For example, when a righty serves a forehand pendulum serve to another righty (so that the ball breaks to the server’s right, the receiver’s left), if the ball is served to the wide backhand, the ball spins away from the receiver, and is usually harder to receive than the same serve to the forehand, where it breaks into the receiver. Similarly, a backhand or tomahawk serve to the forehand is generally more difficult to receive than one to the backhand, since it also breaks away from the receiver (to the server’s left, the receiver’s right). There are three reasons for this.

Coaching Tip: 2-2-1 Placement Rule

Where do most players block best? On the backhand. Where do most players attack the most? To the opponent’s backhand. This never made sense to me.

When attacking there are three places you should normally go for: the wide forehand, the middle (the opponent’s crossover point between forehand and backhand, usually around the elbow), and the wide backhand. Most beginning and intermediate players probably attack to the backhand twice as often as to the forehand, and almost never to the middle. We’ll call it the 1-0-2 rule, i.e. they proportionatly go once to the forehand, zero times to the middle, and twice to the backhand.

Table Tennis Tip: Forcing an Opponent Out of Position

There are a number of ways to effectively force an opponent out of position. You can do this by either moving him side to side or in and out or some combination of this. In practical terms, here are ways to do so.

Corners – You play one ball wide to either the forehand or backhand. As the opponent moves wide to return the shot, he either leaves the other wide corner open, or he moves to cover that side so quickly that he leaves the other corner open. (This is really two tactics, since you can start by going wide to either the forehand or backhand.)

Table Tennis Tip: When Receiving, Emphasize Placement & Consistency

When receiving, many players are either overly aggressive or too passive. It’s important to find the middle range. However, it is even more important to understand that it is consistency, placement and variation that are most important.

Flip kills and loop kills are exciting ways to return serves. But they are also quick ways to lose the point via missing. Always remember that all you have to do is break even on your opponent’s serve, and you’ll probably win on your serve. So you don’t need to hit a winner off the serve. Just return it in such a way that your opponent can’t hit a winner – which normally means catching him at least slightly off-guard. To do this takes good placement, variation, and hiding the direction and shot selection until the last second.

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