How to play against "wall" player?

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How do you play against a player who doesn't appear to have strong loops, but just blocks every shot back very consistently and very low? When I play him, our BH-BH rallies often can go 20 hits or more and he gives no openings to finish the point. Every shot goes to your BH corner, is very low and there is almost no margin for attack. Also he is penhold player, so not only is his ball very low, but its very short and unspinny as well.

He is almost just like a wall and gives very few openings to attack.
 
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First of all you need tô brush the ball very well because low no spin ball go into to the net very easy If not brushed properly.
To beat a blocker you need make him move, for exemple attack on the wide forehand side and follow up with a attack on backhand side. And remember power is not the only answer, I like more variation, use and abuse of parallel shots with your backhand and forehand.
In general, traditional penholders have wide balls on backhand and high arc loops on backhand as weakness. You can try wide sidespin serves and slow high arc openings on backhand
 
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I think it is important to vary your amount of spin so blocker has to adjust his blade angle, so fast and slow loops interchanged which can cause him to make errors in his blade angle and miss. If you always play the same loop he always can use the same blade angle which makes it easier.
 
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MZ... a few things to consider and try out.

AVOID a real strong first attack, unless it is clearly there.

Avoid 70-80% power shots as well, you may not recover in time.

Use placement variation - establish a rhythm then BREAK it. Send two loos to his wide FH cross court then go down the line to his BH... or cross court BH to BH a couple times, then turn waist towards FH line and punch it down there.

Use Spin Variation. Make one kinda spinny, then the next one not as spinny and a little faster.

Make THEM attack, so pop it up to his deep BH... that is a difficult ball to attack BH... will get some misses... if he doesn't attack it, he is awkward to get back in position... his FH is now open.

Make them MOVE - even if you are not blasting the ball, move them side to side. (Assuming he is always at table)

Use SPEED Variation. Hit a couple kinda slow, then the third one fast and flat.
 
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In theory I get the variation, but my backhand probably isn't that advanced. I just drive it forward with decent speed and normal amount of spin.

If I tried to do more spin and less spin and more arc and less arc and whatever, I think it will cause me to create more unforced errors for himself, while he is sitting comfortable just blocking.
 
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When you keep feet on ground and turn the ankles a little to tun the waist towards the BH line (it doesn't take much) you are still doing the same BH shot same pace same spin as you just did, only now your hips are pointed down the FH line to your target. The shot isn't any riskier. What gets him is the sudden change of direction.

You did it so subtly (only turned the waist, and not your other stuff) he doesn't see it and has zero idea how you did it.
 
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One of my training mates plays this way. Only occasional attacks. He always wins long pushing duels. The good thing is you can really wait for the time to attack and if you do it right you’re home. The one disadvantage is the he will attack on weaker loops,so they need to be strong and not too high.
So most duels go like this, many pushes and then I attack a little higher push, sometimes I push him back or sometimes he counter attack but if I can get this attack back he rarely attacks two times in a row.

Cheers
L-zr
 

Brs

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So I play a guy like this, see if he sounds like your opponent. Steve is a shakehand long pips backhand player. He backs off the table but doesn't do full chops, more like pushblocks from far, if you can picture that. On forehand he either plays the ball back deep and flat, or if you give him a high ball he flat smashes it to either the wide fh corner, or from the middle he will inside-out a fh smash off my backhand side. He has good spinny bh serves half-long to the middle with variation between side under and top that's hard to see. He receives with the pips unless it's short and far to his fh line. Like all choppers he moves and anticipates very well. That's his game.

I can win against him, but it requires a different style than I would play against any "normal" player, even another junk rubber guy. The first requirements are patience, and fitness. Going into the match I know the points will be crazy long. Like there will be multiple 20+ shot rallies in every game. And I have to keep my feet going and stay balanced or I'm dead. Almost like boxing actually. If I'm tired at the start, or my mindset isn't right, I might as well forfeit.

In the points I have to avoid any receive errors. No free points. I receive with my bh short pips and safely roll the ball back deep to his backhand or middle. He's a defender so there is very little pressure on my receive as long as I stay away from his forehand. Likewise there is no point to me taking risks on receive because I'm not going to win points with him standing in a ready position. On my serve I just have to avoid serving sidespin, like always when playing vs LP. I can vary short and long backspin, no spin and corkscrew spin anywhere on the table. But I have to realize I won't get free points on serve as often as usual. Also when he does make a loose receive, I have to resist taking too much risk trying to kill the third ball. Because even if I make what I think is a really strong attack, probably it comes back. Whereas if I miss the attack I just gifted him a point. Play for the rally in other words. The only exception is if I get an easy opportunity for a flat hit with my pips, then take it. That is the worst ball by far for him, because he can't put the topspin on that you need to return hard SP shots, and him blocking just sends it to the net.

So basically every point becomes a long rally. In the rally I have to remember that I can pretty much play as many balls to his backhand as I want, and the quality almost doesn't matter. He is just going to pipsy them back. When I attack if he makes a good return then I can't press the attack, I have to reset with a safety ball. I should NEVER step around to play a fh from my bh corner, or on purpose put myself out of balance in any way. It's not worth it. What works is playing short and long, switching between spinny fh and dead SP returns, and moving him out to his wide fh with sidespin then blocking with the SP behind his bh.If I force him into making low-percentage attacks with his fh then I know my tactics are working and he has switched to his B game.

That is the most Wall-like player I see at my club. Lately our matches are 50:50.
 
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That's not quite the same as my guy. My guy stands very close to the table and blocks every ball very low and to the backhand, so there is no opening to attack.
 

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That's not quite the same as my guy. My guy stands very close to the table and blocks every ball very low and to the backhand, so there is no opening to attack.

What happens if you redirect the ball to his forehand? Like, how do you get forced into bh-bh rallies all the time when they work to his advantage?

 
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yes, I am generally forced into BH-BH rallies where he just is willing to go 30 or 40 hits and doesn't get bored or impatient. Usually against other players I find that there are high BH balls that are open to a strong BH drive. but against this guy, there is no margin for attack as the ball is really low, short, and unspinny

if I hit to the FH, usually i'm not at any advantage. 1) by forcing myself to change direction, i introduce higher risk of errors for himself 2) he might just block back to my BH, and i'm still stuck in the same position or 3) if he senses an opening, he might block cross court to my FH
 
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How do you play against a player who doesn't appear to have strong loops, but just blocks every shot back very consistently and very low? When I play him, our BH-BH rallies often can go 20 hits or more and he gives no openings to finish the point. Every shot goes to your BH corner, is very low and there is almost no margin for attack. Also he is penhold player, so not only is his ball very low, but its very short and unspinny as well.

He is almost just like a wall and gives very few openings to attack.

Hi Michael
It assume that his blocking is too much for your current counterhit or loop capability or I would just suggest a simple topspin serve followed by a big fh. So you definitely need to improve your counterfeit kill technique.
However:
Is he a trad or rob penholder?
Especially if he is traditional I would try pushing wide to the fh until you get an opportunity to put a shot into the space left on his BH. Even a push could be effective but the principal holds with attacking shots too Shakehanders and RPB. Players have to reach across their body to play bhs so first wide to fh then wide to bh.asks the right kind of question. It should destabilise his efforts to block and give you a chance to make a winner
Of course if his footwork is really great maybe he is too strong for you Then I would suggest the challenge of trying to push better than him could be great for your game.In that case I would suggest use the situation to practice developing your favourite opener from the push situation. Vary placement and spin to try and get chances to implement an attack. Patience will help you get the most out of this challenge
another key element to this kind of problem is to remember you only have service half of the time, so if you areplaying somebody who beats you regularly you need to find what the best kind of serve strategy is (it might not be 3rd ball) but then be aware that on his serve he has control and you need to understand why!
good luck

 
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Brs

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yes, I am generally forced into BH-BH rallies where he just is willing to go 30 or 40 hits and doesn't get bored or impatient. Usually against other players I find that there are high BH balls that are open to a strong BH drive. but against this guy, there is no margin for attack as the ball is really low, short, and unspinny

if I hit to the FH, usually i'm not at any advantage. 1) by forcing myself to change direction, i introduce higher risk of errors for himself 2) he might just block back to my BH, and i'm still stuck in the same position or 3) if he senses an opening, he might block cross court to my FH

Points 1 - 3 suggest this opponent is simply a lot better than you at your current level.

1) by forcing myself to change direction, i introduce higher risk of errors.
Okay, this is a basic thing you can practice. Everyone practices playing 1 BH - 1 FH themselves, but you also should be able to play from one spot and move the ball between your opponent's FH - elbow - BH. Might as well practice in these matches since you don't take lessons with a coach, and are losing to this guy anyway. Make is useful and more interesting.

2) he might just block back to my BH, and i'm still stuck in the same position
This is an interesting answer because of what it shows about your tactical thinking. You are not in the same position at all. YOU are playing the same shot from the same place, true. But if you play back wide to his backhand, he now has to move to cover that. Does he still play an un-attackable, low, dead ball when he has to step to his left to get to it? Then he is a very good player.

3) if he senses an opening, he might block cross court to my FH
This is actually kind of what you want? I mean, I'd be praying for this pattern so I could play my forehand down his backhand line. But even if you don't have a down the line forehand, getting your fh into play should be the goal in this situation. You are losing at BH - BH. FH against his middle might work out better.

So a drill that might be useful if you can find anyone to train with (and it's fun!) is the one where you play bh - bh and at random one player is allowed to redirect to the fh, then it goes free. There is a variation where either player can redirect, but that creates an incentive to be first so may not be as god in this case. Or if you don't have anyone to practice with, practice it in the matches with this guy. Sounds like he lets you be the one who can change the play to fh, if he will stay on bh 20 - 30 balls in a row.

 
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Well he doesn't have the techniques that you would typically identify as being a good player. he really can't loop much from either wing. He never moves from his position close to the table. But he just has remarkably good hand-feeling and never misses a push or a block. That's why I called him a "wall". It's not that he never loses points ever, but statistically, he might win 55/100 points. So over the course of a match, he will eventually win. It's not just me that is frustrated against his style. I also saw a 2000 ranked player lose to him, where the blocker never hit a winner the whole match, but just relied on errors from the 2000 guy.

There are ways for me to "win" points against him, like if I changed direction, or if I do a step around loop. But these are not winnable solutions. They help me "win" some flashy points, but they also result in more missed shots, and instead of winning 45% of points, I would win 42% of points. Just the won points would look more flashy and impressive.
 
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Points 1 - 3 suggest this opponent is simply a lot better than you at your current level.

1) by forcing myself to change direction, i introduce higher risk of errors.
Okay, this is a basic thing you can practice. Everyone practices playing 1 BH - 1 FH themselves, but you also should be able to play from one spot and move the ball between your opponent's FH - elbow - BH. Might as well practice in these matches since you don't take lessons with a coach, and are losing to this guy anyway. Make is useful and more interesting.

One thing to note, is he is a penhold player, so I don't think he has a elbow weakness like Shakehand players have. But I agree, since i'm losing the % game anyways, I might as well try out something different.

2) he might just block back to my BH, and i'm still stuck in the same position
This is an interesting answer because of what it shows about your tactical thinking. You are not in the same position at all. YOU are playing the same shot from the same place, true. But if you play back wide to his backhand, he now has to move to cover that. Does he still play an un-attackable, low, dead ball when he has to step to his left to get to it? Then he is a very good player.

I think when I tried changing directions on him, I wasn't really able to stretch him enough out of position. He just stands very close to the table, and can hit both forehand or backhand from the same foot position. Every ball that comes back to me is always the same, its low, its close to the table, its a little dead, and its right to my backhand corner. Again, I COULD try to hit wider and stretch him more, but this wouldn't really help me win more % points. It might win more flashy points, but my overall % would drop due to increased errors.


3) if he senses an opening, he might block cross court to my FH
This is actually kind of what you want? I mean, I'd be praying for this pattern so I could play my forehand down his backhand line. But even if you don't have a down the line forehand, getting your fh into play should be the goal in this situation. You are losing at BH - BH. FH against his middle might work out better.

So a drill that might be useful if you can find anyone to train with (and it's fun!) is the one where you play bh - bh and at random one player is allowed to redirect to the fh, then it goes free. There is a variation where either player can redirect, but that creates an incentive to be first so may not be as god in this case. Or if you don't have anyone to practice with, practice it in the matches with this guy. Sounds like he lets you be the one who can change the play to fh, if he will stay on bh 20 - 30 balls in a row.

I was thinking there are a couple other techniques I could try.

1. I could try looping my BH against his low-dead block ball to try to open up new angles. I didn't have the courage to try this, but I think it would result in more errors for myself, but also for him.

2. I am generally standing a little further behind the table than him and he has a better angle hitting to me. Maybe I could try standing close to the table like him.

 
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I was thinking there are a couple other techniques I could try.

1. I could try looping my BH against his low-dead block ball to try to open up new angles. I didn't have the courage to try this, but I think it would result in more errors for myself, but also for him.

2. I am generally standing a little further behind the table than him and he has a better angle hitting to me. Maybe I could try standing close to the table like him.

Michael
can you provide the folowing info
type of penholder:
traditional
or
RPB
type of rubber(s)

is one of his rubbers ANTI or a form of pimples

Just as part of your development these bits of info are basic to devising a plan of action

you cant hope to improve if you dont approach thngs in a logical manner

 
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