Coping with down the line

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 9 years ago

Sean Maynard

Sean Maynard Asked 9 years ago

I am not exactly sure how to word this so bare with me...I had an incident where I was playing one guy and his serves were such that when I returned them they would almost perfectly set him up for a down the line on either side.  I can't seem to really see any way to return the shots any other way with the short ones and even if I do convert the back or side spin to top spin and send it back again he loops it up the line and I just can't seem to ever be in a position to return the fourth shot.  It is an absolutely frustrating position to be in.   I wish I had a visual to go along with this one so you can see what I'm talking about.  I seemed to figure out what I must do to him on my service.  I must either go for his stomach or keep it extremely low and extremely short and force him to push but even after that he tends to send one right on up the line.  If I serve long with back spin then he loops it but loops it from soooo low that I can't see the bat or where he's intending to go with it. UGH!  What can I do to combat this.  I guess basically how can I get the attack first when he's kind of...controlling me?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 9 years ago

Hi Sean,

Sounds like this guy may be a good player.

If he is often playing down the line, try to move to this position.  We often have the natural tendency to be ready for the cross court.  So after to return, go and set up for the down the line shot.  At the moment he has no pressure on him because he can sense that you are covering the down the line shot. He probably also prefers to play the ball down the line.  If you cover that shot then the whole dynamics change.  He may be forced to play his less favoured shot.

You also talked about playing the ball into his middle with some success.  Again, this doesn't open up the angle for him so could be a good general tactic that you can use.

It is a matter of finding the spots that he likes less than others.

I hope these two small points help.


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Sean Maynard

Sean Maynard Posted 9 years ago

Thanks Alois,

   There is another guy that tends to send the smash cross court.  I have a feeling a lot of my problem might be in my footwork/positioning as you mentioned ..  I really need to focus and learn about how to read my opponent's body and bat position better before the ball is hit I feel this will improve my "tracking" the ball as opposed to pure "reaction"  Such a challenging skill to pick up only playing twice a week.


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 9 years ago

HI Sean,

Yes tracking the ball better will certainly help.  It is something that you can ficus on even when you are hitting up at the start of a match.  Start by focusing on watching the ball as well as you can.



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