Lefties and penholders

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 11 years ago

Isaac Chan

Isaac Chan Asked 11 years ago

Hi, Pingskills

Recently, I began training with a training partner who's a lefty. Training with him has made me come to realize that playing with lefties is extremely different than from playing with your classic right handed player. My normal strategy of serving a ball that goes counterclockwise so that the return is directed to my forehand, and then hitting a crosscourt shot followed by a straight shot doesn't work to it's full potential anymore. Hitting a straightshot off the forehand from a backspin shot is extremely risky. Therefore, I tend to stick with the cross-court, however, my training partner is a very skilled blocker, and a slightly shorter cross-court is blocked from inside the table, which makes it difficult to rebuild a second, more powerful attack. I tried serving a clockwise shot so that the return would go to my backhand so that I would get the opportunity to take a cross-court shot from my backhand towards their forehand. However, I have come to realize that a forehand return from that position often leads the ball to a further angle so that it makes it predictable that I would hit a cross-court shot, please advice. 

Also, a second tactic of mine is to hit speed shots and slow shots to the area where a decision between forehand and backhand isn't evident. It works great against regular shakehand grip players, often giving me an opportunity to attack if it works well, or at least putting the opposing player out of place if it doesn't. However, against penhold players, they can attack from that position, making the tactic inviable, is there any spot like the one previously mentioned that I can abuse against penholders

Kindly Advice


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 11 years ago

Hi Isaac,

Firstly when serving to the lefty, try serving more to the middle of the table.  Then you won't open up the angles.  You should then be able to cover the court and make an attacking stroke on the next ball. Often the clockwise spin serve to the forehand area will be more difficult for them as it is curling away from them.

Each left hander will have a different area that they find difficult.  You need to experiment and see where that is for your training partner.

Don't forget to aim at keeping your serves short to stop him from attacking.

When playing against penholders often the best place to attack is to the forehand as it is harder for them to get over the ball on the forehand block especially if you are generating a lot of topspin.


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