To Fish or to Counter

Table Tennis Match Strategy

Last updated 4 years ago

Dakota Castleberg

Dakota Castleberg Asked 4 years ago

During practice as well as in matches, between the better of us in the club at school, there are times when you make a poor return, and give the opportunity to allow the other player a chance at a smash. We have a somewhat limited space, with about two and a half meters back from the table being as far away as we can get without hitting a wall. Even standing about two meters back, you potentially have time to make a counter smash if you are in good position. What I noticed was that some of us are much more consistent simply fishing the ball back on the table, while others of us have a higher chance of taking the point with a counter. At the highest level it seems once someone is forced back from the table, they rarely have the chance to make a counter instead of fishing, but I was wondering what your thoughts are on countering or fishing.

Do you think it is better to pursue higher consistency with fishing, or with countering? Is your answer different dependent on the skill level? Do you teach fishing or counter smashing?

Also, in an attempt to help my buddies improve, I have started pointing out to them quite frequently how important consistency is over power at our current level, and have repeatedly told them to keep an "80%" power in mind when going for a smash, as I greatly improves the consistency. There is definitely the chance that we will be able to get a 80% smash back once or twice, but I thought in the end, a consistent smash with placement would pay of more so than risking an all out smash.

As well as the 80% rule, I have also made notice that if you have correct form, you should be able to get a "smash" in even if the defender throws 7 kinds of spin back at you with a fishing stroke, if smashing at let's say 40% power. Do you think if you have proper form you should be able to swing quite gently and still keep it in consistently?


Alois Rosario

Alois Rosario Answered 4 years ago

Hi Dakota,

I think it is important to play the most aggressive stroke you  can play from away from the table.  If you have more time and good position then play a counter topspin. If the ball is low then fishing may be the best option.

With smashing I think you are on the right track.  When you are in a dominant position make sure you keep them back there and also don’t make an error that gives them the point.  In a lot of cases an 80% smash will win the point and be more accurate.

If you are in good position then it is OK to swing faster.


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