View Full Version : How do you play beginners/people with unusual technique?

03-05-2012, 12:23 AM
I really struggle when I am playing with people who play a slower game(slow chops). A lot of the times I tend to mess up simplest returns as I tend to attack how I would a regular return and it either misses the table or hits the net. What really annoys me is that I think I would have been able to win if i'd played them a year ago, since my style of play back then was more of a block attack so I was quite effective with slow chops.

Now that I've been trying to improve my spin on the loops, i've found that i am making mistakes when I face simpler balls. Is/has anyone else experiencing/experienced this?

03-05-2012, 12:33 AM
There are plenty of options to try.Try to play third ball attack on your serve and try to keep more balls on the table . If you are not a beginner you will be more consistent than your opponent. Normally, after a few initial points you will find out their weakness and start exploiting them. But it also depends on what paddle they are using, if they are giving a lot of dead balls to you or not, in that case you would have to start practicing against dead ball, may be push the first few and wait it for to pop up so that you can kill .... etc. And i would go for long serves with side top or top to kill easy on my serve . If you see its you are missing your kills , I would start pushing deep and see what they do with heavy underspin ... and like wise......

Matt Hetherington
03-05-2012, 03:34 AM
A lot of people struggle with slower weaker players. Part of it is mental, it is frustrating to miss easy balls against people who aren't as good as you and generally that's an easy way for them to win points against you. The best way to get better against this type of game is to practice against it more.

For example the chinese players have players who spend their whole lives learning to mimic the styles of world class players so that the Chinese can train against them. One player learned to play like Waldner and was well known for training Jiang Jialiang to play against Waldner's style before he won the WTTC against Waldner.

I don't have any trouble playing slow choppy players as I spent a lot of time playing against Veteran players in my club where my parents live which has a really poor standard. I just play over my break to keep my feeling, but I don't struggle against those kinds of players at all as a result. Hope that helps

03-05-2012, 04:21 AM
Sounds like some good advice. You have to keep playing those players until you find your groove and what to do against them. I know, when I play guys who deal dead balls and are just sort of blocking or chop-blocking back I give them slow, high spinny loops and try to spin them off the table. I also try and mix my serves between underspin and topspin. If they are better at handling one than the other by the time I have given them a few of each where it looks pretty much like the same serve but one is topspin and the other is underspin, then I can get them to start giving me easy or free points even on the serves they are better at dealing with.

But, as Matt said, playing with the particular players you are having trouble with, or the same style of play, is the best thing to get to know what to do against them.

Mr. RicharD
03-05-2012, 03:28 PM
It sounds as though you're problem is consistency. Sometimes you have to block or chop back to win against those players. Your loop may not have enough racket speed because anything that is dead or has underspin you shouldn't have trouble hitting through it unless you're not producing enough racket speed.

As Matt said much of it is mental because you put that restriction on yourself. When you come up to a player thinking your better than them or that they're worse than you, you automatically assume his shots will be easy to return. So as a result you may put less effort into those shots. You should always put more into your shots until you have the control and consistency that will allow you to fish or lob against those players.

Matt Hetherington
03-05-2012, 10:33 PM
It's a great opportunity to develop set pieces. You want to win points as efficiently as possible. If these guys ARE lower players than you then you need to work out the best way to win points against them. For example I noticed in my club or with some players in general they always receive serve with a push. So you serve short topspin or float more often and attacking the first ball becomes a lot easier for you.

03-05-2012, 11:51 PM
My stroke speed could have been a problem since I was not expecting to put much effort in.
I've tried playing weaker players but I find when I practice against weaker players then go onto play against better ones, i tend to lose my consistency.
Is that normal?

Thank you for all the replies. I'll take all of what you've said into the next training session.:D
I'll be training next in Wednesday, I'll post update how I get on.

Matt Hetherington
03-06-2012, 06:37 AM
No if you remain focused then you should not lose consistency changing to playing better players. Focus is the key thing to maintain.

Learning to beat easier opponents as efficiently as possible is vital, it means you can go into a tournament and dispose of the lower players with the least amount of effort possible i.e winning majority of points on 3rd ball attack or off service etc. then concentrate and save your energy for the harder matches.

03-06-2012, 07:08 AM
Good advice Matt. For the training sessions, you should in fact treat those players like they are better than they are. This is maybe not very nice because they won't get much back. So you'll have to choose how far you want to go in that :p But like Matt said I think it is best to develop such strategies that get you fast points, thus keep the rallies short. When the rally gets longer, they get the chance to apply their weird shots. When you can put them under pressure right away with strong serve or a well placed service receive, you can finish the rally early.

03-06-2012, 07:47 AM
I don't think the problem is your ability, I think it's all in your head mate.:) It's always tricky, but not difficult if you know how to get around it. When you start missing easy points, you'll start tightening up..which will make you play even worse.:) Relax and don't mind missing those easy shots. Just keep at it, and don't try too hard. I always find playing in a relaxed way does help me a lot. Think of it as a training/sparring rather than a must win match. Before you know it, you'll get more consistency and your placements will be better in the 2nd or 3rd sets.

03-13-2012, 02:01 AM
I had a chance to play a slower player today. He had a decent technique but he was using a slower bat. I found that i returned the slow balls best when I just went through the ball without putting in too much power. Since consistency has been my problem, I felt that medium pace returns were the best and they worked! I was also trying to go for more spin as I went through the ball but I'll need to work on that.
My top spin serve is coming along well and helped me get out of 2 point deficits quite well. :) I am however quite cautious to how often I want to use it.

Sorry for not updating last wednesday as I couldn't make it to the session. I should make it to the match session this week so I'll post more updates on how it goes.
Once again thanks for your help guys.

Mr. RicharD
03-13-2012, 03:49 AM
What type of style are you playing? If you use a euro style or have an decent short game tactics I would recommend trying to focus on placement against the players who are much slower paced or giving you weaker balls. If you try and spin a dead ball and your timing is off you're likely to hit it either long or into the net. The best and most efficient way to play these players is to give them a slower ball as well and then change the pace when you see they are pushing slightly higher or long on the table. These are the balls you should be attacking not necessarily the high short ones. I would venture to guess that like what's been said before it's mostly in your head and you're either overconfident or psyching yourself out after a missed shot.

Missed shots happen and you have to deal with that. Just really pay attention what you've done wrong and fix it. I always know I'm standing up when I hit the ball into the net or miss a shot entirely. I know I'm either hitting the wrong part of the ball or my timing is off when I hit the ball long or wide. These are things that you can fix and should always be working on to gain the best fundamentals.

Remember that attacking the ball isn't always the best way to win. Without good short game and proper knowledge of spin and technique there's no point in attacking the ball. Instead wait for the balls that you have a high chance of making and go for those winners. Try services that are both fast and no spin deep into their backhand if you think they're more likely to push or chop. This will help set up those shots you enjoy attacking.

Good luck buddy.

03-16-2012, 11:03 PM
I went to the matches on wednesday and I won all(its the lowest division but winning's still sweet ;)). I think my topspin serve really hselped me since I could count on it when i was down on points.
And I think I've learnt that its important to realise playing different players will be different each each time and table tennis as a sport is amazing that it allows for all of that. I'll definitely work on the advice I've had and I'll be looking at this thread before my next few sessions to make sure I don't forget. Thanks guys!

03-17-2012, 05:44 AM
Good work. Keep it up. :)

Matt Hetherington
03-18-2012, 03:44 AM
Great always good to see a good result, good work and keep going :)

03-20-2012, 03:08 AM
I've been experiencing the same problem. I just recently discovered something that has been one of the reasons for me losing games against people who I judge to be inferior technically etc.

Normally, these players play a really slow game and don't kill balls. I've noticed that I tend to stand too close to the table/not use my footwork properly. There are a couple of reasons for this.
1. These players almost never attack in a hard manner.
2. I get lazy with my footwork, i.e. not taking a step back after serving/pushing.

Standing too close to the table makes my kill balls a lot less accurate - which in turn leads to me "safe-playing" the points when I notice I'm missing a lot. I only realized this yesterday, but it sure made a lot of sense, and I improved my game enormously once I started moving my ass. The accuracy was back, and I was winning easily.

You can't stand too close to the table against any decent player. The trick is to realize that you can't do that against any bad player either, no matter how slow they play. Take a step back from the table and take a step in when necessary. But then move back again! Keep your distance. This will give you time, accuracy and control.

03-20-2012, 04:20 PM
Exactly, I always say it's easier to move forward than scampering backwards...an arm length from the table is usually the rule of thumb.

03-22-2012, 12:41 AM
my natural reaction to playing these players is always slow..it just doesn't feel normal to hurry myself yet i know its not the right thing to do. Although I try to do that, since it doesn't feel natural, I can't play the points with my normal instincts. I really need some discipline.:(

03-22-2012, 09:18 AM
Maybe instead of going into the match to win you should go into the match to win and not let him score more than 5 points per game. That gives you a challenge that would require you to do your best.

03-22-2012, 10:29 AM
I played a sandpaper player tonight. He was decent. He was consistent. He got "everything" back. He thought he had a chance against me because, when we were just hitting around, I was just putting the ball on the table so the rallies would continue. Then he wanted to play some games. The first game was a little close for the first part but then I pulled away. And the second and third games he got one point. So he wanted to play a game to 21. In the game to 21 he got 5 points. After the second game I was just toying with him. I knew there was nothing he could do to hurt me so I was able to keep the ball in play and let the rallies be longer since I knew I could end the points when I wanted to. But when I was getting the feeling of the balls he was hitting I was just ending the points when I had the opportunity.

03-22-2012, 01:28 PM
A few months ago, I was struggling against a guy who was only playing with FH. His FH is very difficullt to return but after some games he didn't have any chance against me because I started to push the ball on his BH impossible to escape for a FH - just because when he plays a BH he just returns the ball, and since then I have no difficulty against him.