Celluloid VS Poly ball in short game

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I have heard from Chinese commentators that with the new Poly ball, short game becomes more difficult:
  • it bounces higher
  • it goes further

In my experience it is quite true. With my H3 I still returned some stupid high and long ball.

One solution I have heard from a Chinese training video is that you let your fingers and wrist loose when touching the ball. It means you are not holding your racket firmly so that the return can be short and low.

My questions:

  1. I thought the Poly ball is lighter, and slower. I thought short game would be easier with the Poly ball.
  2. What are the tactics you would suggest to improve short game (for Poly ball or in general)?

Thank you
 
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Yeah. I think you are over thinking this.

But soft hands and a relaxed grip are generally important. It would be hard to have a good short game with any kind of TT ball if you were holding the racket too tensely.

There is a reason Der_Echte likes to talk about soft hands and adjusting grip pressure on contact.


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I think the other part of the short game that is different is, I think it is easier to attack anything short with the poly ball. So a short push is not as effective at containing your opponent's attack. And a short push is more effective as a surprise change of pace than as a safe return.

But a good player can push short, dead or heavy with the poly ball and a short push that is dead can sometimes be just as effective as one that is heavy.

So I think, perhaps what is being talked about is that the size of the poly ball makes it easier to attack over the table than was possible with the old ball.


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I also think you are over-thinking it. Just play with them and the whole thing becomes quite familiar.

Actually I think most of us who have played a lot with these balls would say that the short game is actually easier to execute now, assuming what comes on the next ball is the same. Only what comes next is not the same.

Nowadays people are attacking balls they would have pushed back previously. During that period where we were forced to use crappy cellulose acetate 40+ balls, this was definitely trickier because they bounced quite a lot lower than celluloid and inconsistently at that (and not round). However, the newer 40+ balls like the Nittaku Premium, DHS D40+ and seamless balls actually bounce as high (or higher in the case of seamless) than celluloid. However, because they are a little larger and heavier, the spin they have is less effective. So it is easier for everyone to learn to flick short balls and strongly attack midrange balls. At high levels, you see people all-out attacking short serves a lot more than they ever used to.

This all means that whenever you do something with short game, you need to be ready to be attacked. You really have to train that footwork and ready position for that because shots that used to be safe aren't anymore. And if you try to make your short game safer (by pushing shorter or lower, or closer to the white lines), well, that does become harder to execute because your margin for error now becomes lower. It is really not the solution.

I suspect that is what the Chinese commentators meant.
 
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