Tactics that only work at certain levels

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 9 years ago

Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Asked 9 years ago

Extended question from the Q&A app:

At our level, opponents will play opposite to the tactics we learned during training. A typical example is someone who's strong with the backhand but weak on the forehand. Should we hammer their forehand, for which we'll be punished later by stronger players who are good at the forehand? Or should we keep playing into the weaker player's backhand, even if that is their stronger shot?
Another example are deep pushes. We all learn that deep pushes are evil, because they can be attacked. But what if the opponent does not attack a deep push? Should we allow to temporarily get into the habit of pushing deep?

Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 9 years ago

Hi Dieter,

I think that it depends on whether you know the result of the match before you start or not.  So if you are playing a much weaker or much stronger player then you can experiment or focus on different aspects of your game.  When it is a close contest you can focus more on being able to win matches and finding the right tactics to play to overcome your opponent.

Ask The Coach Show #104 - Throwback Thursday

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Thoughts on this question

Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Posted 9 years ago

I heard Jeff saying that the good tactics will work at all levels. This is true, when you master them at the higher level. I do serve short sidespin then pivot but at my level of execution I'm often blocked out down the line. When i serve and loop to An opponent's weaker fh, I'm still in position and this often more effective. Winning breeds motivation.


thanks again guys

Johan B

Johan B Posted 9 years ago

Of course you should attack their weak forehand? The stroke is the same as when you play into the backhand of a leftie so it has to be a useful skill. :) 

According to the pingskills premium videos on tactics, pushing long is also a useful skill if you're losing the short game, for example. As long as you're also using the short push and various top spin strokes a lot, what's the harm?

Dieter Verhofstadt

Dieter Verhofstadt Posted 9 years ago

Well, thanks for giving away premium content :)

The leftie argument is a good one!

Coincidentally yesterday I played a stronger player with very strong loops. Recently I had good results with being a little more patient and push some more first. The guy destroyed me. It was hard to switch back to short game & attack, which is the style I was in the process of acquiring. So I really think that doing the suboptimal tactics for a while, to perform at a local maximum, has done damage to my global tactical ability;

Johan B

Johan B Posted 9 years ago

Yeah, sounds like you're right. But I think you can learn to adjust fast in the same way that you have learnt to adjust fast between backhand and forehand... Drills where you push long, then attack; where you play more oatiently, then attack strongly the next, ...?

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