Simple game-winning hacks that nobody tells you

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Over the past few years, I slowly find little tricks and techniques that I didn't know or realize before and nobody really tells you these things. The problem is I often forget the very things that I discovered. So I wanted to make a list of little hacks that I have discovered. This is not a complete list, and I would like to keep adding to the list as it comes to memory. Let me know if you have any little hacks.

1) On serve, do some random serves where you yourself don't even know what spin is on it. The less "clear" your spin is, the harder it is to return. If even you are not sure what spin it is, your opponent won't know either. For example a pendulum serve where you don't commit to underspin or topspin, but just take your chances with whatever it ends up being.

2) On serve, half-long serve is very useful. It is too long for opponent to push short, but it is just short enough to make a loop risky.

3) Somewhat related to #1, but serving dead-ball is unusually effective. Giving heavy underspin invites a simple push return. But serving dead-ball makes it very awkward to return.

4) If you're unsure the spin on the ball, doing a strong loop is often the best choice. A good strong loop will often provide enough arc to cover the range of spin on the ball from underspin to dead ball to light topspin.

5) Doing heavy sidespin serves often comes back to bite you, as your own sidespin is still on the 3rd ball.

6) On receive, looping everything long ball and pushing every short ball is a good starting framework.

7) On receive, receiving with bh is often better than fh. BH gives you more range of motion in a short reaction window, so it's easier to loop or flick a ball with the bh.

8) Because your own spin is on the 3rd ball, it is often much easier to wait for a 5th ball to loop than the 3rd ball. Looping 3rd ball takes special training and awareness, and is much more advanced shot than 5th ball.

9) When blocking, it is much easier to block in a straight line back. If you attempt to block wider than 30 degrees, the ball will often drop into the net.

10) Tacky rubber really makes a huge difference. At first, it seems unimpressive because it slows down the ball. But the extra lift and grab on the ball really helps to loop underspin or to counterloop. In a real game situation, it is very beneficial.
 

NDH

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This is a really bizarre list and I’m not sure who it’s aimed at! 😂

1) On serve, do some random serves where you yourself don't even know what spin is on it. The less "clear" your spin is, the harder it is to return. If even you are not sure what spin it is, your opponent won't know either. For example a pendulum serve where you don't commit to underspin or topspin, but just take your chances with whatever it ends up being.
If you don’t know what spin is on your OWN serve…. I’m not sure there is much helping you! 😂

4) If you're unsure the spin on the ball, doing a strong loop is often the best choice. A good strong loop will often provide enough arc to cover the range of spin on the ball from underspin to dead ball to light topspin.
Doing a strong loop is often the best choice in every situation……

Most people don’t do it….. because they can’t! It’s a hard skill to master.

I don’t want to pick apart each point. I actually agree with some.

But who is your post aimed at?
 
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This is a really bizarre list and I’m not sure who it’s aimed at! 😂


If you don’t know what spin is on your OWN serve…. I’m not sure there is much helping you! 😂


Doing a strong loop is often the best choice in every situation……

Most people don’t do it….. because they can’t! It’s a hard skill to master.

I don’t want to pick apart each point. I actually agree with some.

But who is your post aimed at?
To be honest it's mostly aimed at myself. I just wanted to put them down in writing because I forget these little things.

I don't expect everybody to agree with all of them, but from my personal experience, I find that they really work.
 
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This is a really bizarre list and I’m not sure who it’s aimed at! 😂


If you don’t know what spin is on your OWN serve…. I’m not sure there is much helping you! 😂


Doing a strong loop is often the best choice in every situation……

Most people don’t do it….. because they can’t! It’s a hard skill to master.

I don’t want to pick apart each point. I actually agree with some.

But who is your post aimed at?
And yes, recently I often do these serves where I kinda just swipe in any direction at the ball. I'm not sure what spin is on it, but it's often disorienting to the opponent. Like I do a tomahawk serve on my right shoulder and just slash at the ball, not really sure what effect is being put on it.
 
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This is a really bizarre list and I’m not sure who it’s aimed at! 😂


If you don’t know what spin is on your OWN serve…. I’m not sure there is much helping you! 😂


Doing a strong loop is often the best choice in every situation……

Most people don’t do it….. because they can’t! It’s a hard skill to master.

I don’t want to pick apart each point. I actually agree with some.

But who is your post aimed at?
When I see a ball or serve where I'm unsure of the spin, I often hesitate and my instinct is to do a safe push on the ball. But this actually produces more errors. I find that going against my instinct, and forcing myself to do a strong loop is more effective.

So yeah, the reason I write it down on the list like this is that it is counter-intuitive for me.
 
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Do a very good push on 3rd ball. But you highlight a point. In many ways, the receiver has an easier time attacking on the 4th ball.
But if you have the option to loop on the 3rd ball, then it must've been a long receive, so your push would be limited in quality as well. As in, your push will be long and it'll originate somewhat deep from your side of the table, giving your opponent a lot of time to prepare for a quality opening loop.
 
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Can only agree with 2,4. Especially 4 - the spinny loop actually has the highest spin forgiveness where you can still land the shot even if you misread the spin. So it is always better to loop unless you're so badly out of position that you're forced to push. As I am a chiquita player I actually fear the long fast serves so I had a phase where I was chopping the long fast serves and chiquitaing /looping the short serves which was the most bizarre thing ever. I'm getting a lot better at looping the long fast serves even if I'm not completely in position (for eg after stepping in with the right foot!).

Fang Bo actually demonstrates this very well when receiving Sun Ting's notorious hook serves. When he was trying to control it with a push he was making a lot of errors due to the sheer deception in the serve. But when he switched to chiquita and slow spinny loops he got almost all of them.

Agree that half long is especially good - even better than short serves. It is much more difficult to control a half long serve compared to a short serve using over the table techniques. And against deceptive serves, looping half long is a dangerous proposition (are you even sure it is drifting long if you can't read the spin well?).

No spin is only useful if you disguise it well with heavy underspin, otherwise it's also easy to push short/long, sideswipe, flick, chiquita iit.

Imo the best serve against lower level amateurs is short sidetopspin - because they all love to push the ball and its always an opportunity ball on the 3rd ball. There's a surprising amount of players who never learnt how to flick.
 
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I like the idea and intention of this Post.

I am taking notes and writing a loooot of things down that Come to my mind about table tennis.
Not in my normal notes app but on Notion,( advanced notes app), where I have written sooo many pages, Paragraphs, Texts, bulletpoints, lists and much more about anything table tennis related that is going through my mind and that I want to bring out of my mind into something "Real" and revisitable.

One of the pages in my notes I recently came up with is called "OP TT Stuff" ( in my language).
Which is essentially anything in table tennis I consider to be OP, Overpowered.
Nothing special, very broad.

Here are some of the things.
- long heavy side Topspin pendulum serve
- hook serves
- very heavy underspin Serve when they dont Expect it
- fake underspin but no spin serve
- in General topspin/sidespin serves that cant easily be Attacked or pushed

- backhand open up loop, honestly just too good, idk
- anticipation and relaxation, difficult to explain but for me it makes a big difference

- Loop Timing on the ball, again, sounds strange but for me it make sense and can make a big difference
 
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But if you have the option to loop on the 3rd ball, then it must've been a long receive, so your push would be limited in quality as well. As in, your push will be long and it'll originate somewhat deep from your side of the table, giving your opponent a lot of time to prepare for a quality opening loop.
There's actually a high level technique where you can re-push short off a long push. The ball is usually a bit higher but because you're so out of position it's not easy to get into position to flick kill it. My practice partner uses this a lot (re-push short to my short FH) when he doesnt think he got a good enough attack opportunity and it can be very disorienting for the opponent to deal with.
 
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Can only agree with 2,4. Especially 4 - the spinny loop actually has the highest spin forgiveness where you can still land the shot even if you misread the spin. So it is always better to loop unless you're so badly out of position that you're forced to push. As I am a chiquita player I actually fear the long fast serves so I had a phase where I was chopping the long fast serves and chiquitaing /looping the short serves which was the most bizarre thing ever. I'm getting a lot better at looping the long fast serves even if I'm not completely in position (for eg after stepping in with the right foot!).

Fang Bo actually demonstrates this very well when receiving Sun Ting's notorious hook serves. When he was trying to control it with a push he was making a lot of errors due to the sheer deception in the serve. But when he switched to chiquita and slow spinny loops he got almost all of them.

Agree that half long is especially good - even better than short serves. It is much more difficult to control a half long serve compared to a short serve using over the table techniques. And against deceptive serves, looping half long is a dangerous proposition (are you even sure it is drifting long if you can't read the spin well?).

No spin is only useful if you disguise it well with heavy underspin, otherwise it's also easy to push short/long, sideswipe, flick, chiquita iit.

Imo the best serve against lower level amateurs is short sidetopspin - because they all love to push the ball and its always an opportunity ball on the 3rd ball. There's a surprising amount of players who never learnt how to flick.
A strong forehand loop covers a multitude of sins.
 
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There's actually a high level technique where you can re-push short off a long push. The ball is usually a bit higher but because you're so out of position it's not easy to get into position to flick kill it. My practice partner uses this a lot (re-push short to my short FH) when he doesnt think he got a good enough attack opportunity and it can be very disorienting for the opponent to deal with.
It's a last resort shot though. Do it a little too high and it's an easy flick, do it a little too long, even if still double bouncing, and it's an over the table loop because it'd be a bit high. Even when you do it just right, the opponent can come in like they're gonna flick, which you have to respect by backing off the table because even a weak flick can be hard to return when you're too close due to the short distance and the wide angles available, and then the opponent can either go through with the flick or drop it short. Most of the time people, even the pros, drop it short, which takes you back to square one, trying to push too late.
 
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It's a last resort shot though. Do it a little too high and it's an easy flick, do it a little too long, even if still double bouncing, and it's an over the table loop because it'd be a bit high. Even when you do it just right, the opponent can come in like they're gonna flick, which you have to respect by backing off the table because even a weak flick can be hard to return when you're too close due to the short distance and the wide angles available, and then the opponent can either go through with the flick or drop it short. Most of the time people, even the pros, drop it short, which takes you back to square one, trying to push too late.
A lot of pros like Harimoto and even the Lebruns use it quite well too (Pechpong did share this some time ago). After a deep push usually your training is to immediately drop back to get enough space and time to deal with the incoming loop. But if it suddenly gets re-pushed short to your FH, then you might find yourself completely out of position. This short "push" is actually a bit like a ghost serve - that's how they keep it short - it will usually be loaded with underspin otherwise it's not gonna be short.

It is a mistake to repush short to the BH or even middle though due to the chiquita - the chiquita stroke simply eats these kinds of balls alive, they're pretty much all opportunity balls.

When I did see it in the pro matches, usually yes they do a short push against this. It's just too risky to do any kind of hard FH flick against these balls with loaded underspin. Unless you're Ma Long (somehow he is able to leap into position and flick kill it even when completely caught off guard)
 
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A strong forehand loop covers a multitude of sins.
  • I like this. Keep It Simple and Spinny. ( K.I.S.S. ) concept.
  • Just like one ring to rule them all, one technique to win them all.
  • It suits my reptilian sized brain. I like this a lot.
  • I recalled Sensei Tom Lodziak mentioned this: If it is long, loop it. If it is short push it. If unsure what side spin, always aim towards the middle.
  • Nothing fancy, just good ol'fashion keep the ball alive strategy and hope your opponent is the first to make a mistake.
 
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Thought about it and will try to describe my view. The thing is, I'm really really lazy in my head, what I love is to play, move, move well, get the good hit due to it, feel it, be relaxed, be in flow... and not think much. So I actually enjoy the trainings more than match play... I want things to work without thinking, automatically... At the same time I am forced to acknowledge that TT especially is also so much about thinking, and there are SOOO many levels, it's almost tiring, and I have to acknowledge that I have to use my brain... I actually found that this is the dichotomy between so called implicit and explicit learning, and if you search you'll get research papers about it (example)... And, after I thought and fought with it, it seems I need embrace the phases of explicit focusing, thinking, writing points as you did, and then training with it, IN ORDER TO make it implicit. So these - the implicit and explicit are actually not enemies, they are intertwined, just like Jin&Jang ;-). I'd love to avoid explicit learning but I guess it's impossible. I'd love if you guys shed some light on it.
 
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Over the past few years, I slowly find little tricks and techniques that I didn't know or realize before and nobody really tells you these things.
I think because your learning curve is based on youtube videos. you can't really have a good communication with the expert coach on the other side, can you?

The problem is I often forget the very things that I discovered. So I wanted to make a list of little hacks that I have discovered. This is not a complete list, and I would like to keep adding to the list as it comes to memory. Let me know if you have any little hacks.

1) On serve, do some random serves where you yourself don't even know what spin is on it. The less "clear" your spin is, the harder it is to return. If even you are not sure what spin it is, your opponent won't know either. For example a pendulum serve where you don't commit to underspin or topspin, but just take your chances with whatever it ends up being.
Then this is called chance taking - you don't even know whats going on. It sounds more like a disadvantage, than advantage.
2) On serve, half-long serve is very useful. It is too long for opponent to push short, but it is just short enough to make a loop risky.
You can make it sound easy, but half-long is one of the most difficult serves to do in pro space.
Of course if you are playing against low level players (loop is risky) then you can serve anything and the loop will be risky.
3) Somewhat related to #1, but serving dead-ball is unusually effective. Giving heavy underspin invites a simple push return. But serving dead-ball makes it very awkward to return.
Opponents who can read the spin (better than you) would mean, your dead ball will be flicked
4) If you're unsure the spin on the ball, doing a strong loop is often the best choice. A good strong loop will often provide enough arc to cover the range of spin on the ball from underspin to dead ball to light topspin.
This is wrong, you need to know the spin, to know how you will counter the spin.
"good strong loop", "arc".
How are you going to arc it if you don't know what is on it?
Cluelessness will lead to netting the ball or ball going off the table with not understanding what is coming to you.

5) Doing heavy sidespin serves often comes back to bite you, as your own sidespin is still on the 3rd ball.
If you understand spin, then it won't bite you..... I think after 5 hacks, it is clear, understanding spin is maybe the number 1 hack to have.
6) On receive, looping everything long ball and pushing every short ball is a good starting framework.
for amateurs, I would say, you are spot on here.
Pushing long is also a very good technique to learn for more advance players.
7) On receive, receiving with bh is often better than fh. BH gives you more range of motion in a short reaction window, so it's easier to loop or flick a ball with the bh.
everything needs a solid understanding of spin, skill and training.
8) Because your own spin is on the 3rd ball, it is often much easier to wait for a 5th ball to loop than the 3rd ball. Looping 3rd ball takes special training and awareness, and is much more advanced shot than 5th ball.
if you purposely get the service receive to pop the ball high, do you not attack???
or did the ball pop high come to a surprise??
if you just going to float the ball back, then there won't be a 5th ball for you to attack
9) When blocking, it is much easier to block in a straight line back. If you attempt to block wider than 30 degrees, the ball will often drop into the net.
ah, problem is - there is no spin generated or counted from your block. AKA, playing too passive.
10) Tacky rubber really makes a huge difference. At first, it seems unimpressive because it slows down the ball. But the extra lift and grab on the ball really helps to loop underspin or to counterloop. In a real game situation, it is very beneficial.

Judging from the 10 hacks, equipment is the least of your worry. get a coach, understand spin is way ahead of equipment.
 
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