Changing your bat dependent on opponent

Table Tennis Discussion

Last updated 5 years ago

Phil Hackett

Phil Hackett Asked 5 years ago

Hi all!

I'm a left-handed attacking player - my serve and forehand loops being the strongest areas of my game, but I can be vulnerable on backhand return of serve - especially against strong servers. My usual strategy is to push the ball with my backhand and then try and loop the return.

Against a few opponents I think a pimples-on-the-backhand strategy might help me.

Does anyone change their bat depending on the opponent, or is it a bad idea because you have to learn different styles of play? It occurs to me that players that twiddle already have to do this anyway (get used to adapting strokes depending on the rubber used). Do professional players ever change bats depending on opponents - perhaps adjusting if they are against a defender or an attacker?

Thanks in advance!


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 5 years ago

Hi Phil,

This is an interesting concept.

It is not something that I have recommended in the past but you put a good case forward.

No high level player does this because they have their set style of play that they implement in each match.  They train several hours with their specific racket to perfect the fine skills.

Perhaps at a club level it can work for you.

It would be interesting to hear if anyone does this and if it works for you.

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Gabriel Orozco

Gabriel Orozco Posted 5 years ago

Well, there's a J-pen player I encounter every now and then and he always switches up his racket setup. He either uses inverted rubbers, or he has a long pips rubber on his backhand side. It seems to work fine with him, almost everyone loses because of this when they play against him. Because I'm pretty familiar with long pips and anti spin, I recently found his weak spots, so I'm now starting to win against him. One problem I see with more than one racket is, of course, lack of consistency with strokes. Because he changes his racket every now and then DURING matches or before the match starts, he fails quite a lot of easy shots. If I were you, and I'm also a left-handed offensive player, I'd stay with my current setup and improve on what I have. I'm considering in using DHS Hurricane 3 Neo on forehand and Tenergy 05 on my backhand with ZJK Super ZLC as my blade, instead of my current setup of two tenergy 05-fx's and ZJK Super ZLC. Try to find a good combo for your playing style instead of considering using a completely different style of play in order to accommodate some opponent you face. Try to find their weaknesses against other players if you lose to much or can't exactly come up with a strategy.

Phil Hackett

Phil Hackett Posted 5 years ago

Thanks for both your responses - I think the ultimate advantage might not be worth the lost points adjusting. Also, for maximum effect you might want to change to pimples after the first end of a best-of-5 when you realised you were struggling and I understand this is not allowed.

I did buy a cheap (cancelled order) long pimples / reverse rubber bat to try - it was interesting and I suddenly became much better at chopping than usual, but I also put a lot of backhands in the net when I forgot to adjust the bat angle! It might have worked better with a faster forehand rubber (similar to the Evolution I use on my usual bat) but I think working on my weaknesses is probably better than learning a different style of play entirely!



Jean Balthazar

Jean Balthazar Posted 5 years ago

Maybe consider a more controled backside rubber and/or a thinner sponge for your backhand. It will help you making less return errors while not requiring you to change your style completely. The only downside, if you want to attack with your backhand once the rallye has started, is that it will be slower.

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