These days it seems like everyone’s trying to be like everyone else. That’s a pretty successful way of getting good, if you copy the top players. But many are missing the benefits of doing something different. Give your opponent a different look, at least on some shots, and guess what? He might begin to struggle. This doesn’t mean changing your whole game to some unorthodox mess; it means developing certain “pet shots” that are different than the norm. They give you more variation on certain shots than if you only have “orthodox” shots.
In table tennis, there are 2 aspects of anticipation. The first is to have a reasonable guess as to where your opponent will hit the next ball. The next aspect is watching his body position and racket angle and adjusting based on the direction of his swing.
The time when a player is most likely to miss easy shots is at the very start of the match. That’s when a player may not yet be fully warmed up or used to his opponent’s shots yet. So it’s often best to let the other guy serve first, let him mess up on his serve & attack at the start, and then get your chance to serve, when you are more into the match.
There is nothing more infuriating than losing to a patient chopper who lets you beat yourself with your own errors. Losing to a chopper is like four-putting in golf; you may have made some good drives to get to the green, but all you remember are the misses at the end. Rather than four-putting forever, let’s learn how to beat the chopper.
“Real Tactics” are the tactics that a player should use in a given match to maximize his chances of winning. “Parroting Tactics” are the tactics that many players use because it’s what everyone seems to be doing, and so they figure (consciously or subconsciously) it’s what they should be doing as well. When two players of equal ability play, and one uses “Real Tactics” and the other uses “Parroting Tactics,” guess who usually wins?
Far too often players make two mistakes when pushing. First, they push to the backhand over and Over and OVER. Second, early in their stroke they aim their racket where they are pushing, usually to the backhand, in an apparent attempt to make it absolutely clear that once again that is where they are pushing. This is a great collaboration with your opponent, but not a good way to win.
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