Defense player versus offense player

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 6 years ago

Linh Vu

Linh Vu Asked 6 years ago

I would like to thank you all of your answers and discussions. I have learned a lot from you. For example, I must have a strategy to loop at different paces. Better yet, fake a loop. I have also learned how to push on forehand / backhand. forehand loop is also another valuable lesson for me.

I identify myself as an offense player. But in my experience, defense player has the upper hand. go to YouTube, type Oliver Mader. His usa rating is 2300! my usa rating is only 1500. Oliver Mader uses long pip racket on both sides. He is a push blocker. He rarely uses his forehand. He uses his backhand to push and block all opponents' shots. His strokes are terrible. His footwork is terrible. He does not know to read opponents' serves. Most players under 2400 will lose to him. His skill set is more like a usa rating 1200 player. He does not need to practice at all. after all, he is a defense player with his racket, push, block as his only weapons.

Most of my club members follow Oliver's strategy. They use long pip rackets, short pip rackets, one side short pip the other side inverted rubber, Amultart butterfly blade Tenergy 05/64 both sides, anti spin rubber racket. Their usa ratings are so high 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900. They do not have proper loop strokes, they don't have footwork. Their main strategy is active block, aggressive push, and high quality serves. They use rackets that do not bounce (pip rubbers) to block. They also use fast rackets to actively block. They avoid attacking when receiving serve. They avoid initiating an attack. They are always prepared to block. They love lobbing. Some are heavy push / chop player.

I, on the other hand, am an attacker by nature. I attack whenever wherever possible. I attack during receiving serve. I always initiate an attack during a rally. My game is about attack / consistency game. However, I lose every time. I lose during serve because I don't know what spin, speed, placement on the serve. I lose because they push into my body. I lose because they actively block my attack. I lose because I run out of patience. They keep returning the balls after balls after I attack them. I lose because I run out of energy after so many attacks.

I use Butterfly Sardius blade forehand DHS Commercial Hurricane neo 3 black 2.2mm hardness 39 backhand DHS commercial Hurricane red 3-50 2.1mm hardness 37. These two rubbers require proper stroke, a big swing, and lot of energy.

I have lost consistently to a usa rating 1000 short pip player, not even one set!

All of my club members suggest:

1. Your overall skill is like usa rating 1800 player. You are underrated (my rating is only 1500). An attacker requires more skills, more training, more practice, more strategy, and more footwork than a defense player. You lose because you are an attacker.

2. Your backhand is like a usa rating 2000 player. You forehand is like a usa rating 1500 player. please improve your forehand.

3. switch to fast rubbers. fast rubber allow you to block easily. fast rubber can save you energy at the cost of consistency, spin, and attack. fast rubber makes it easier to smash. At your level, a fast rubber will hurt your attack game but help your block game. follow a block strategy. don't follow attack strategy.

4. try to forehand hit loop not forehand brush loop. brush loop generates a lot of topspin at low speed. hit loop generates less topspin at high speed. this means you will make more mistakes as hit loop is a more difficult stroke than a brush loop. but overall, you are better off with hit loop.   

5. use less backhand. use more forehand. improve your forehand. fake loop. most players against me put the balls to my forehand. they serve to my forehand, they return serves to my forehand, they actively block to my forehand, they attack (in rare cases) to my forehand.

6. you need to learn how fake a loop (which is what you told me before). 

7. you need to learn how to push/chop

8. you need to learn defense skills like block, active block, aggressive push, push, chop, and others. 

7. if you follow these advices, you will win all the members of this club.

But I want to win a player with my attacking style. Would you agree with these advices? What do you think I should do?  


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 6 years ago

Hi Linh,

Sounds like a lot of advice and perhaps confusion for you.

Keep things simple.  Keep working on your attacking game.  In the end an attacker will have more capabilities.  You can see this because all the top players in the world are attackers, however at this stage as your attack is developing the defenders can still be effective.


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Linh Vu

Linh Vu Posted 6 years ago

All of my club members are defense players at different ways. Their skill sets are below my mine, in my opinion and other opinions, but they beat me every time. Now I set up a different strategy and tactic for myself to deal with each particular player. I have lost more often than not to these players.

Player 1: USA rating 1500. His serves are of tomahawk type. one variation is half-long sidespin/topspin to center or a little to the right. Another variation is half-long underspin/no spin to the far right near the net. Sometimes backhand serves to my backhand. fast but no spin. He pushes/chops all the balls with little underspin. He does not toss the balls when serve. it is easy to recognize his sidespin serve. But it is difficult to distinguish between underspin and no spin serve. The ball is still in his palm as his racket touches the ball. He waits for no spin / topspin high balls to attack. He does not attack underspin balls. He smashes with either backhand or forehand. His backhand smash is much better than his forehand smash. All of his shots have no momentum, no speed, no spin. He does not know how to loop. He wins a shot due to placement or because the ball does not have any momentum. I have to hit the ball back or the return ball will be under the net. His backhand smash is a killer, however. He is a very good passive blocker on loops. His return balls on loops have no pace, no speed and are very short. As a result, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to attack with loops after loops.

My score against him: I have lost consistently 1-3 (5-set match) to this player many times. Many higher rating players also lose to him. My push to his sidespin serve is too high. He smashes with his forehand to my far right forehand side. The shots are not fast. I can run. but the shots do not have any speed. it is difficult to return the balls. My misread his underspin/ no spin serve. I also lose points to his backhand serve. when I see a fast moving ball to my backhand, I assume it has a lot of topspin. I hit back. The ball goes to the net. He pushes or chops all of my serves. His pushes or chops have little underspin. As a result, many times, I decide to attack earlier. However, I miss the balls entirely this way. When I don't miss the balls, he passively blocks my loops. The return balls do not travel as far as I expect. I am off balance many times because of this. That is how I lose to him.

Update: last night, I won 3-0 (5-set match) match after match. He could not stand to lose. He challenged me match after match. I changed the strategy / tactic against during last night play. First, I attacked all of his sidespin/topspin serves with my backhand. I varied my placement. sometime his center, his left backhand side, his far left backhand, other time his forehand side. Note that his serve balls were in my forehand side. I had to move my feet to the forehand side to perform my backhand flicks (not banana flick). At my surprise, he could not block my backhand attacks. I don't know why. My backhand attacks were not strong as I focused on consistency. I scarified power to increase consistency. My placements were easily predictable.

I forehand loop his underspin/no spin serves with barely enough speed spin to make it over the table. He had troubles with my slow forehand loops, too. his return balls after my loops were too high. If his underspin no spin serves were too short, I pushed low long fast little underspin. I did not know how to push with a lot of underspin. He did not have any troubles with my serves. But I did third ball attacks with my low speed less spin forehand loop . For the whole game, I scarified power for consistency. It looks like he had troubles with my low speed less spin forehand loops. One time, I recalled, after he returned my loops ten times consecutively successfully, he decided to smash my loop. The ball went to the net! He ran out of patience ! The key to win over him is patience, slow forehand loop, slow backhand flick, and long fast push to his forehand.     

Player 2: USA rating 1600. his serves are of pendulum serve. It is so deceptive. One variation is no spin / sidespin / topspin to my backhand. sometime to the center. All of them are half-long. The other variation is underspin to my forehand. All of them are short. I have a hard time to distinguish between the two. His serve motions are exactly the same. I cannot tell the difference. The only way to know which variation is to look at the ball trajectory. That is too late. I can return the balls properly but I cannot attack his serves. in order to attach his serves, I need to know which variation of his serves much sooner. how do I know what type of spin from his pendulum semi-circular motion? can someone jump in?

He is a master of lobbing. His strategy is to lob at the first opportunity. He lobs even when he does not have to. sometimes he put no topspin on the lob. other times he puts in a lot of topspin on the lob. his backhand is weak. his forehand is stronger. he rarely attacks with his forehand. he knows how to smash and loop from his forehand. he avoids using it.

 his strategy is to lob so that his opponents make mistakes.      

My score against him: I have lost consistently 0-3 (5-set match) to him. I smash and loop his lobs to his backhand. Most of the times I make mistakes with my attack. It seems I cannot distinguish a no spin lob from a topspin lob ahead of time. By the time I realize what kind of lob, I am in a really awkward position. I return a soft ball and he will smash it. Can someone chime to give advice on no spin lob and topspin lob?

Update: occasionally, I win 3-2 (5-set match) over him. I have to use a different racket. my favorite racket is Butterfly Sardius blade forehand black DHS commercial Hurricane Neo 3 2.2mm hardness 39 backhand red DHS commercial Hurricane 3-50 2.1mm hardness 37. The racket that wins over him occasionally is Butterfly Primorac Carbon blade forehand black DHS commercial Hurricane 3-50 2.1mm hardness 37 backhand red DHS commercial Hurricane 3-50 2.1mm hardness 37. on the racket that I win over him, I smash his lobs (forehand). I drop short his lobs(forehand). I actively block (forehand) his smashes when I return a soft ball. It looks like I cannot do these things on my favorite but losing racket. Can someone help me explain the difference? can someone give me some advices on how to win over this guy consistently?             



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