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    Thread: Tactics

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      starsky27 is offline
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      Tactics

      Hi all,
      I have a question regarding tactics in matches.
      I’m interested to know if you personally put more emphasis on taking away the opponents strength and stopping how they want to play or do you put more emphasis on getting your own strength into the game first.

      I hope that makes sense..

      Thanks ,
      Mark

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      burhanayan is offline
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      I am reading table tennis tactics for thinkers book from Larry Hodges. He mentions that there is two type of possibility of trying variation at the beginning and see what works for you, and the other going for the best shots the player trained.

      Briefly, don't overdo either and don't forget to adapt changes.

      To strong opponent, try to avoid opponents strength.

      Lets say opponent has poweful FH and BH aim middle, or has big very dangerous FH, short serve to FH, then deep BH.

      Take a look at that book if you are interested in tactics.

      Sent from Tapatalk
      Last edited by burhanayan; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:05 AM.

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      yoass is online now
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      Tactics

      There’s probably a related divide here — between those aiming to win first and foremost, and those that want the satisfaction of a well-played match first and foremost.

      I’m in the latter camp, I must admit. I do prefer winning, but not at the cost of playing with less pleasure and do not mind losing as long as I’ve played my game well. And no matter the result, I find it important to deal with it gracefully, respecting the opponent.

      There’s this book by Brad Gilbert, a former tennis pro, called Winning Ugly. Hard though I tried, I just don’t get why you’d want to. Then again, to each their own.
      Last edited by yoass; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:20 AM.

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      starsky27 is offline
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      Hi Burhanayan,
      I’ve read that book and your right it’s an excellent book and up there with the best I’ve read. I still dip in and out of it .
      Thanks very much for your input and advice.
      I was just interested to know what the forum members focus more on our of that two options.

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      starsky27 is offline
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      Thanks Yoass,

      It’s a dilemma that I’m fighting with at the moment..

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      As for tactics, focusing on taking away your opponent's strengths vs. focusing on deploying your own sounds like a pseudodilemma. It isn't one or the other, quite the contrary.

      Shutting down the opponent opens the avenues to play to your strengths. These things go hand in hand, in my experience.

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      Quote Originally Posted by starsky27 View Post
      Hi all,
      I have a question regarding tactics in matches.
      I’m interested to know if you personally put more emphasis on taking away the opponents strength and stopping how they want to play or do you put more emphasis on getting your own strength into the game first.

      I hope that makes sense..

      Thanks ,
      Mark
      Both are equally important to practice, but the truth is that they are all only relevant in the context of ball quality and when they occur in a point sequence. If you are at a certain level, it is more important to continue to work on bringing all the shots in your game to a competent level, especially those related to serve and serve return since they occur earlier in the point. Third ball and the return/counter of the third ball are also important. If you build your tactical proficiency around noticing patterns in these early shots and then figure out how to adapt your game to them, or fix your weaknesses in those areas, that will give you the most improvement. If an opponent struggles with short serves to the forehand but yours is a high bouncing serve that is easy to smash, that can make his weakness impossible for you to exploit.
      Cobra Kai TT Exponent - No mercy in this dojo, no matter your rating or the score. All spin, no power or footwork.

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      I would say you start by trying to play your strength(s). If you can do that you are controlling the flow of the points. Just keep doing it until the match is over.

      If you find your opponent is in control and you are not able to handle his strength(s) then you have to look for a way to break his patterns.

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      yoass is online now
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      My old coach quite often speaks.of this. He asks, how do you want to play? And then gets you to work on those aspects relevant to that.

      That’s your training, working on and further developing strengths. Even so, in competition you can play positively or negatively. It’s a choice indeed.

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      Quote Originally Posted by yoass View Post
      My old coach quite often speaks.of this. He asks, how do you want to play? And then gets you to work on those aspects relevant to that.

      That’s your training, working on and further developing strengths. Even so, in competition you can play positively or negatively. It’s a choice indeed.
      Is pushing short playing negatively? What would you consider playing negatively?

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      Hi all ,
      Thanks for some excellent replies and advice.

      All of it has been taken on board and I’m currently working on improving many things already mentioned over this summer in readiness for the new league season .

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      I guess playing negatively could be only pushing(long) when you should be opening up?
      Last edited by starsky27; 4 Weeks Ago at 12:34 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by starsky27 View Post
      I guess playing negatively could be only pushing(long) when you should be opening up?
      Yes, but of course, this is context dependent. Even top players don't always open up against defenders, for example. You have to fear the opponent's attack to be forced to open as easy as possible. With the plastic ball, countering and rallying is easier because spin is not as overwhelming, so we actually have more instances of people giving up the opening attack so they can counter.

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      Quote Originally Posted by starsky27 View Post
      I’m interested to know if you personally put more emphasis on taking away the opponents strength and stopping how they want to play or do you put more emphasis on getting your own strength into the game first.
      I don't think the decision between these two things are mutually exclusive.

      I think you can play to your strengths while trying to avoid theirs. If you're an attacker, attack. Play your game. If they are too, well which side is more dominant? Do they have a big forehand? If yes, then play more towards the BH more often. Maybe they're good at both. Then what about their cross-over point? etc. This is just tactical play. What can you do to stay away from their strengths and what can you do to get into yours.
      ______________________

      As I read through this thread, it seems like it has evolved into the question

      - Do you play whatever you have to do to win in that moment? Even if that means not playing the shot you should?
      or
      Do you play the style that will take you further and play shots you should play to get better in the long run but might not necessarily be great at now thus hurting your chances in this particular game.

      That's entirely a different question but still a good one to ask. For that I would say it depends on the person and what your aspirations are.

      If you're young and pushing to improve high much higher level of aspirations to place high in leagues and/or travel around to varying tournaments and place well, then I would say "Work on the shots you should be playing and try to improve. You might take a higher % of losses now but it'll be good for you in the long run."

      But if you're the type of player who say might be older and/or you are happy with where your level is realizing that a big jump might take either professional coaching and/or a much greater time commitment than you're willing to give, then to those people I would say "Don't worry a perceived level that nobody outside of you cares about anyways and just have fun. Play your strengths. Do what you can do to win that match as winning is naturally more fun for most."

      Neither choice is wrong IMO. Just depends on where you are in your TT hobby/career.

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    23. Top | #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      Is pushing short playing negatively? What would you consider playing negatively?
      Surprisingly hard question. “If you gotta ask, you ain’t never gonna get to know”, as Satchmo had it, is probably the best answer.

      Short of that, I’d say positive is to seek the upper hand by outplaying the opponent without seeking to cripple him/her, and negative would be to seek weaknesses and do nothing except preying on them.
      Last edited by yoass; 4 Weeks Ago at 06:51 AM.

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      So the reason I answered the question the way I did is because I have a running debate with a national level coach on the benefits and costs of tactical play, where we agree that playing to the weaknesses of an opponent can cap your game if they are not done using a style that accounts for the path your game must take.

      It is easy to notice that your opponent has a weak backhand and a strong forehand so you stay away from his backhand or something like that. But then some people don't see that such analysis is still in the context of playing quality shots. Telling someone to serve long generally assumes that his long serve will be good enough to limit the opponent.

      Sometimes, it is difficult to coach players who can't execute standard shots because you can't get them to execute basic stuff. And sometimes, basic stuff has a quality component.

      Moreover, denying players the opportunity to attack first based on quality placement (short push, deep push to elbow) is taking advantage of universal TT weaknesses.

      My point is that you can build your overall game just by getting better as a player at playing TT and understanding how ball quality limits the opponent. This let's you expand your overall game. Thinking about it in terms of playing your game vs denying the opponent doesn't make it clear that every shot should have an element of both. Where it becomes interesting is when the opponent is especially good at countering the way you have deployed to win points. But you will just deploy another way based on what you think he has opened up or maybe you just aren't good enough.

      But my main point is that what you do well should take into account what most players don't do well. And you should continue to expand and refine the ways you take advantage kf what players don't do well and have decent responses when they handle what you do well with confidence. Ultimately that is how you expand your game.

      Quote Originally Posted by suds79 View Post
      I don't think the decision between these two things are mutually exclusive.

      I think you can play to your strengths while trying to avoid theirs. If you're an attacker, attack. Play your game. If they are too, well which side is more dominant? Do they have a big forehand? If yes, then play more towards the BH more often. Maybe they're good at both. Then what about their cross-over point? etc. This is just tactical play. What can you do to stay away from their strengths and what can you do to get into yours.
      ______________________

      As I read through this thread, it seems like it has evolved into the question

      - Do you play whatever you have to do to win in that moment? Even if that means not playing the shot you should?
      or
      Do you play the style that will take you further and play shots you should play to get better in the long run but might not necessarily be great at now thus hurting your chances in this particular game.

      That's entirely a different question but still a good one to ask. For that I would say it depends on the person and what your aspirations are.

      If you're young and pushing to improve high much higher level of aspirations to place high in leagues and/or travel around to varying tournaments and place well, then I would say "Work on the shots you should be playing and try to improve. You might take a higher % of losses now but it'll be good for you in the long run."

      But if you're the type of player who say might be older and/or you are happy with where your level is realizing that a big jump might take either professional coaching and/or a much greater time commitment than you're willing to give, then to those people I would say "Don't worry a perceived level that nobody outside of you cares about anyways and just have fun. Play your strengths. Do what you can do to win that match as winning is naturally more fun for most."

      Neither choice is wrong IMO. Just depends on where you are in your TT hobby/career.

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      Quote Originally Posted by yoass View Post
      Surpisingly hard question. “If you gotta ask, you ain’t never gonna get to know”, as Satchmo had it, is probably the best answer.

      Short of that, I’d say positive is to seek the upper hand by outplaying the opponent without seeking to cripple him/her, and negative would be to seek weaknesses and do nothing except preying on them.
      So if I am weak at returning short topspin serves, you wouldn't serve short topspin serves because there is a better way to win? You would prefer to serve long topspin and get into a beautiful rally?

      My point is that proper table tennis is just proper table tennis and people should be careful focusing on the opponent's specific issues if they lead to habits that will cause you to play badly vs better players. Structure your game around the universal skills and strategies requires to win points and let your execution win out.

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      There are some great posts on this thread I started and some very interesting points being made.

      Thanks for all your input ..

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      Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel View Post
      Yes, but of course, this is context dependent. Even top players don't always open up against defenders, for example. You have to fear the opponent's attack to be forced to open as easy as possible. With the plastic ball, countering and rallying is easier because spin is not as overwhelming, so we actually have more instances of people giving up the opening attack so they can counter.
      To me playing negatively is choosing the wrong shot for the ball because you are too afraid of missing to play a better shot that you have. It's completely context-dependent and it's a decision-making error caused by lack of confidence.

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      Xylit is offline
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      I always try to play my strengths first because if that works my opponent won't be able to play his best game as well and I'll win the match most likely. Only if the game does not go too good I have to think a lot about how to limit my opponent. As long as I can play my best game that is not really needed.

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