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  1. PingBirdPong is offline
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    #1

    Style choices

    I’m a can’t really make a choice on whether to choose a defensive style.
    I found that if I try to play like Samsonov( 20 times worse though), I have a lot more accuracy and comfort than trying to keep my body low and all out attack close to the table. I am similar in height to Samsonov, and I’m also slow, resulting in bad open ups.
    I’m not sure if I should consciously play with a control/defensive style, or keep playing as a topspin attacker and practicing the basics with a coach, waiting for my style to evolve on its own.
    Thanks!

  2. DukeGaGa is offline
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    #2
    I think for amateur players like us, we would benefit from mostly controlled play in close to mid distance from the table. I’m not sure what you mean by defensive style, but my understanding is that’s mostly block/lob/chop at mid to long distance, and counter attack/loop only when a chance presents itself. If this is the defensive style you meant, I don’t think it would be a good choice since backing away from the table cause more problems than it solves. Controlled play to me is the player would use placement and subtle spin difference to try to force an opportunity so they can open up, and/or force the opponent to make a mistake. And this is how I usually play.

    Btw, you’re up so early…

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    Last edited by DukeGaGa; 06-16-2022 at 11:36 PM.

  3. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #3
    I would not call Samsonov's style defensive. It is an all around style of play with an emphasis on controlled offensive play. That is a good style.

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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by DukeGaGa
    Btw, you’re up so early…
    +1 :-)

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    #5
    You don't choose the style. The style chooses you.

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  6. Gozo is offline
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by PingBirdPong
    I’m a can’t really make a choice on whether to choose a defensive style.I found that if I try to play like Samsonov( 20 times worse though), I have a lot more accuracy and comfort than trying to keep my body low and all out attack close to the table. I am similar in height to Samsonov, and I’m also slow, resulting in bad open ups.I’m not sure if I should consciously play with a control/defensive style, or keep playing as a topspin attacker and practicing the basics with a coach, waiting for my style to evolve on its own.Thanks!
    Some wise words I know: No good players are slow and neither are slow players good.

    p/s: I recalled that you have a BTY Timo Boll ALC blade and you have mentioned you are a fan of T. Boll. Why not emulate his awesome play-style since you are already his fanboy. Just slap two Tenergy 05 on both sides and you are Timo Boll incarnate, no?

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    Last edited by Gozo; 06-17-2022 at 02:16 AM.

  7. Tony's Table Tennis is offline
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Gozo
    Just slap two Tenergy 05 on both sides and you are Timo Boll incarnate, no?
    it doesn't work like that, else we would have 10 million incarnated bolls already
    TTT

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    #8
    I think it´s very important to chose a style when playing. Be aware of your strength and weakness. Have a plan for how you want to win points and try to do it during match play.

    A controlling blocking style is fine, but you need to not be passive. Don´t give al initiative to the opponents. This style only works if you can take over the rally when needed. Also try to change the pass when blocking. Sometimes fast sometimes slow.
    And be aware of what´s difficult for your opponent when blocking: moving wide or blocking on his body.



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  9. lodro is offline
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PingBirdPong
    I’m a can’t really make a choice on whether to choose a defensive style.
    I found that if I try to play like Samsonov( 20 times worse though), I have a lot more accuracy and comfort than trying to keep my body low and all out attack close to the table. I am similar in height to Samsonov, and I’m also slow, resulting in bad open ups.
    I’m not sure if I should consciously play with a control/defensive style, or keep playing as a topspin attacker and practicing the basics with a coach, waiting for my style to evolve on its own.
    Thanks!

    I think i know what you are trying to say and I am in a similar position. The difference of course is that i am myself old and slow
    in both body and the brain.
    My mind wants to be an attacker but my body says "give it a rest".

    I am constantly changing my blades between a attacking and a defensive one. I can play with both of them .

    What am I ????
    Of course i am too old and slow to be a real defensive chopper and also too lazy to spend forever jumping around the table chasing balls.
    As an attacker I lack the the cognitive caliber, the speed and the quality of tactic and the anticipation what the opposition is going to do.

    I am therefore lucky, just like Carl said All-round player is what I am "forced to be".

    I think if you can , at least temporarily settle for being an allround player, your own personal style will develop itself..

    I have great admiration for players like Samsonov and also of course Waldner, both "majestic" allround players

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  10. Colin Ksh is offline
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    #10
    Playing style similar to that of harimoto is ideal too. It's not easy of course but compare to chinese looping style of play, playing close to the table counter attack using passive,active blocks, bh flicks and punches, pushes. You need to be fast but could save more energy. But need to be responsive AGAIN.

  11. ricospin is offline
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    #11
    I think Lycantherope said it the best.

    Personally, would I benefit for a more controlled game? Yes.

    But I play all out attack- kind of like the current ma long, forehand dominant, with a stable less threatening bh loop + blocking (compared to fh). To me there is no other playstyle that exists within my head that would feel natural.

    I can try to have a visual of a pro player in my head, but sometimes I feel that you could get too stuck up on the idea of it.

    For example: Oh I want to play like fan zhendong and go for an agressive game on both wings, this a good overall theme/ quality to have.

    This also applies to copying certain strokes.

    But when it starts to cloud your judgement, then you should re evaluate this idea of playing like X player.

    Within a point, make the right decision for you, not what a pro would do. but I’m almost sure unless there is a strategy being deployed, they are playing the game naturally.

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    Last edited by ricospin; 06-17-2022 at 08:16 AM.

  12. Dominikk85 is offline
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    #12
    If you want to be a high level player you need to find a style that fits your athletic talent and also personality.

    I think the latter is really underrated, if you want to be a very offensive player you need to be a risk taker who can deal with missing several shots in a row and still continuing to attack. And a defensive player will need to be very calm and patient. Other styles are more in the middle of that.

    On the other hand as a pure recreational player you might just want to go with a style that is not ideal for you but that you enjoy the most because of course you want to get better but really it doesn't matter if your peak level is 1700 or 1750, you are not going to make money playing and it is more important that you enjoy playing.

    I think until 2000 level or so every style can work, it is not about the style but how good you can execute it.

    At the very high world class level that is a little different as some styles like one sided penholder or chopper have an inherent disadvantage but you need to be extremely good to get there
    ​​​​​​
    ​​​​

  13. NDH is offline
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by PingBirdPong
    I’m a can’t really make a choice on whether to choose a defensive style.
    I found that if I try to play like Samsonov( 20 times worse though), I have a lot more accuracy and comfort than trying to keep my body low and all out attack close to the table. I am similar in height to Samsonov, and I’m also slow, resulting in bad open ups.
    I’m not sure if I should consciously play with a control/defensive style, or keep playing as a topspin attacker and practicing the basics with a coach, waiting for my style to evolve on its own.
    Thanks!

    OK, I'm 6ft 4 (just a little taller than Samsonov) and about 50 times heavier 😂

    Speed comes with ability, especially on open ups. So don't think you'll never get there, and have that thought lead your decision.

    Of course there will be things that you aren't as good at - Typically, taller people struggle with close to the table fast shots (think.... every pro Women's game you've seen). But they have an advantage with power and reach when stepping away from the table.

    Other considerations.....

    Samsonov's style will probably make you feel amazing when playing against weaker players. If you are like me, you feel great when you can constantly "fish" the ball back time and time again, ending up in them missing, or you playing an attacking shot for the win.

    It's not a terrible tactic, but it's one that won't last as you move up the ranks of the amateurs.

    You'd either need to be a defender, and play with huge amounts of backspin and control, or you'd need to be a controlled attacker at the very least.

    I see plenty of people who play a "fishing" game, and whilst it's fun to watch (and really fun to play), they are losing far more than they are winning.

    It's not a bad skill to be able to have, and if you enjoy the fishing aspect, you know you can play it against people who struggle to smash.

    But if you are serious about wanting to improve (and win), I would recommend a more attacking style.

    PS - As Carl said, whilst people may think Samsonov was a passive all around player (because his highlights are usually him fishing), he didn't win games like that - He was a controlled attacker playing to his strengths.

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  14. PingBirdPong is offline
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by DukeGaGa
    I think for amateur players like us, we would benefit from mostly controlled play in close to mid distance from the table. I’m not sure what you mean by defensive style, but my understanding is that’s mostly block/lob/chop at mid to long distance, and counter attack/loop only when a chance presents itself. If this is the defensive style you meant, I don’t think it would be a good choice since backing away from the table cause more problems than it solves. Controlled play to me is the player would use placement and subtle spin difference to try to force an opportunity so they can open up, and/or force the opponent to make a mistake. And this is how I usually play.

    Btw, you’re up so early…
    School at 7:30
    Modestly, Leo

  15. PingBirdPong is offline
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by NDH

    OK, I'm 6ft 4 (just a little taller than Samsonov) and about 50 times heavier 😂

    Speed comes with ability, especially on open ups. So don't think you'll never get there, and have that thought lead your decision.

    Of course there will be things that you aren't as good at - Typically, taller people struggle with close to the table fast shots (think.... every pro Women's game you've seen). But they have an advantage with power and reach when stepping away from the table.

    Other considerations.....

    Samsonov's style will probably make you feel amazing when playing against weaker players. If you are like me, you feel great when you can constantly "fish" the ball back time and time again, ending up in them missing, or you playing an attacking shot for the win.

    It's not a terrible tactic, but it's one that won't last as you move up the ranks of the amateurs.

    You'd either need to be a defender, and play with huge amounts of backspin and control, or you'd need to be a controlled attacker at the very least.

    I see plenty of people who play a "fishing" game, and whilst it's fun to watch (and really fun to play), they are losing far more than they are winning.

    It's not a bad skill to be able to have, and if you enjoy the fishing aspect, you know you can play it against people who struggle to smash.

    But if you are serious about wanting to improve (and win), I would recommend a more attacking style.

    PS - As Carl said, whilst people may think Samsonov was a passive all around player (because his highlights are usually him fishing), he didn't win games like that - He was a controlled attacker playing to his strengths.

    Ah, I think I get it now. I’ll work on my basics, and try to bring the ball long in a controlled manner. I trust that a style will come to me.

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    Modestly, Leo

  16. Tinykin is offline
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    #16
    From my observation, most 'good' tall (>6'2") players play a variation of the Samsonov style, even Franziska plays that way for much of his play.
    That is, a languid, relaxed allround style. Ready stance = around 2 feet from the table. Strokes, tend to hit ball when it's falling, not afraid to play from back of the court.
    Obvious outliers are Liam Pitchford and Jörgen Persson.
    In Liam's case, he shot up in height fairly late, 15/16 yo, IIRC. He was already European cadet champion by then when he was a shorty compared to his opponents.
    Open to contradiction

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  17. jammmail is offline
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    #17
    I think the key to this slight change in style is patience - with those steps of the table you will gain control and consistency, but the key is still trying to be attacking and using quality to put people under pressure and not passive.

  18. Tony's Table Tennis is offline
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    #18

    My turn to add a cent or two.

    You don't choose a style. You learn all the basics/fundamentals and from there you will have certain strengths and certain weaknesses.
    Only then, will you adapt to your own style of play (and this is including your height factoring in too)

    So (a guess now), it could be x % of x style, x % of another, and so on.

    So don't start off with your goal, start off with your basic and learn everything there is to learn.

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  19. NDH is offline
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    #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony's Table Tennis

    My turn to add a cent or two.

    You don't choose a style. You learn all the basics/fundamentals and from there you will have certain strengths and certain weaknesses.
    Only then, will you adapt to your own style of play (and this is including your height factoring in too)

    So (a guess now), it could be x % of x style, x % of another, and so on.

    So don't start off with your goal, start off with your basic and learn everything there is to learn.

    Hi Tony, as with almost every TT opinion, there will always be the niche situations where someone will disagree with a sound suggestion….. and here is mine, disagreeing with yours! 😅

    For me, my natural technique and game style is the one PingBirdPong was toying with in his OP.

    If I didn’t care about winning, I’d be channeling my inner Samsonov and Xu Xin on every point.

    In fact, when I came back to the sport in 2015 ish, that’s exactly what I did.

    But I soon realised that I preferred winning, and had to adapt to a more attacking, aggressive style, and my average increased dramatically on the back of the change.

    I can safely say that my PREFERENCE is to play a more neutral, finishing type game. I absolutely love it, and each point can feel like a “YouTube” point. I get a lot of enjoyment from it.

    I also feel it suits my body better, requiring less explosive speed and plays to my strengths of anticipation, accuracy away from the table and reach.

    But I actually play a a forced style, staying closer to the table (still a metre or so away), where I am forcing myself to attack and be aggressive, because I know it’s the style that will win more games.

    That doesn’t take away from your point about learning all the shots….. I’m only able to do what I do because I had the coaching and ability to be able to play different styles.

    But I definitely think you can chose a style once you are in this position….. it just requires experience and ability.

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  20. Tony's Table Tennis is offline
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by NDH
    Hi Tony, as with almost every TT opinion, there will always be the niche situations where someone will disagree with a sound suggestion….. and here is mine, disagreeing with yours! 😅

    For me, my natural technique and game style is the one PingBirdPong was toying with in his OP.

    If I didn’t care about winning, I’d be channeling my inner Samsonov and Xu Xin on every point.

    In fact, when I came back to the sport in 2015 ish, that’s exactly what I did.

    But I soon realised that I preferred winning, and had to adapt to a more attacking, aggressive style, and my average increased dramatically on the back of the change.

    I can safely say that my PREFERENCE is to play a more neutral, finishing type game. I absolutely love it, and each point can feel like a “YouTube” point. I get a lot of enjoyment from it.

    I also feel it suits my body better, requiring less explosive speed and plays to my strengths of anticipation, accuracy away from the table and reach.

    But I actually play a a forced style, staying closer to the table (still a metre or so away), where I am forcing myself to attack and be aggressive, because I know it’s the style that will win more games.

    That doesn’t take away from your point about learning all the shots….. I’m only able to do what I do because I had the coaching and ability to be able to play different styles.

    But I definitely think you can chose a style once you are in this position….. it just requires experience and ability.
    Thats true, and as you said it yourself - you only did that after you came back to the sport.
    You had sufficient understanding to make that decision. Compared to OP, who is 15 and still in the early stages, I would advise against only learning the lobbing game.

    I think with a lot of kids today, they watch way too much youtube and want to follow certain styles - nothing wrong with that - i'm thinking like all these NBA players that wanted to play like Michael Jordon - and many of them are indeed in the NBA today.

    But I think what makes TT so complicated is, if you only know how to attack, but don't know how to handle serves, serve returns, 3rd ball, 4th ball, 5th ball, then those "Zhang Jike/Ma Long" top spins that one wants to mimic is totally useless to have.
    There is just way too much fundamentals in TT, and it is sad, but true. I do wish there isn't so many to deal with.

    So, irrespective on whaterver style to pursue, I think know the basics for everything would be ideal, hence the way I put it like that.
    If one do lack a lot in other areas, then any experience player will just exploit it, and at the end of the day, no one likes loosing and loosing too much could demotivate you.

    I also don't care about winning.
    I haven't played a proper match since leaving the sport around university age.
    For me, the sport turn to be about fun, and now, about exercise.
    The stage of fun, I had more pip bats than penhold bats in my draw. I was playing all kinds of styles (more for coaching, but it was also entertaining for myself - of course getting free samples from my supplier does make it alot more affordable too)

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