How to beat a heavy pusher

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 7 years ago

Rob Janssen

Rob Janssen Asked 7 years ago

Hi Coach

I have a major problem when playing against pushers who push with heavy backspin.

Yesterday in competition I lost to one of the easiest players in our pool. When he was playing against my team mates he attacked a lot but his forehand was off and he could not hit most of them. Against me he decided to only push with heavy backspin and I’m having major problems with these players. It doesn’t matter what I do, I only get back heavy backspin balls. He only served long with backspin to my backhand. And when I served it didn’t matter what spin I imparted... Backspin came back low over the net and topspin came slightly higher but not high enough to smash it.

But the problem is that its something mental. I find this kind of playing boring and I’m just giving the match away… It's just  during these matches I get so bored of it... I end up standing straight up in rallies and when there finally comes a ball to my forehand which I can topspin I’ll miss most of the times just because I’m standing straight up. 

I just have more problems with even trying to do my best rather than with the playing style itself. But it’s just that when the opponent does this I basicly fall asleep during these matches...

I’ve had this problem a lot of times in competition... I beat the best players because they play the game normal and in a fun way. But I lose from the worst players who only do pushes and chop in every single serve no matter which spin is on the ball.

Please give me some advice. Thanks

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 7 years ago

Hi Rob,

First thing is to accept that their playing style is legitimate.  It can be boring or hard to play against but it is something they do well so we have to find ways to combat it.

The best thing is to work hard on your forehand and backspin topspin against backspin ball.  This will take a little time but if you can get this to a stage that you are confident to make the stroke each time, you will put them under pressure.  At the moment they know that if they push to your backhand they are going to get an easy ball next.  The game will change quickly once you can change this ability.

You don’t have to play that first topspin fast, just make sure it is on the table consistently first.

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Rob Janssen

Rob Janssen Posted 7 years ago

Well thanks but its not that Im not confident enough or cant hit the ball all the time but its just that Im getting bored and not standing in my right position (I was more standing up straight because it was such a boring match).

Im good enough to hit 9 out of 10 forehands off backspin and my topspins are focussed more on spin rather then speed now so Im not playing risky either. Its just this mental thing that prevents me from performing my best (which is getting bored of this play style).

Gabriel Casado

Gabriel Casado Posted 7 years ago

Rod, hello. good morning!

This weekend happened to me something similar in a tournament.

We started the warm up and the guy hit the ball with lot topspin  (backhand and forehand).But when we started the game, he served all the time with backspin and I Push the ball back, the guy send me an other Push with backspin, and the situation repeated for 3 or 4 strokes.

I was a Little anxious at the begining but then I started to focus stroke by strokes and I hit the ball with topsping when I felt with more confidence.

The key for me was to have patience and i had in my mind all the time that i had to hit the ball with topsping when it were possible.

Sorry, but I read the blog and i thought i could give my experience.



Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario from PingSkills Posted 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing your experience Gabriel.

Rob Janssen

Rob Janssen Posted 7 years ago

Hi, thanks for sharing. I will try to not lose my temper next te an give the match away bit I will try to stay fucussed and wait for that ball to come to my forehand and topspin it. Probably more people are going to try this against me once they hear about it. Since Im the highest rate player in our competition poule everyone tries to beat me. And pushing everything just makes my serve and recieve game not possible to play. thats what frustrates me the most.


D K Posted 7 years ago

Hi..when we are talking about pushers,what can cause that I often play heavy backspins behind the table??

kuro kami

kuro kami Posted 7 years ago

not sure what the OP's response "too bored to keep topspinning" means. if you can attack a push repeatedly and you're not winning, your attack is too weak. you should be able to loop kill or power loop. it should never be slow or short enough that they can push it again. you can also push fast and long to jam and force a higher ball. then rip.

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