Hi all! Today I’m going to touch upon a topic I briefly covered when talking about service, and that is controlling the point, forcing your opponent to make mistakes and waiting for the opportunity to finish the point.
Spin, not speed: Going all out playing the fastest/hardest/most incredible forehand fade smash may look pretty impressive when it goes right, but chances are you’re not going to hit ten out of ten on the table. It’s much better to spin the ball, rather than going for maximum speed. If you play a heavy topspin loop, the ball is likely to pop up for you to smash the next one. A very fast, non-spinny shot is also easy to block, and it’s going to come back to you just as fast. It’s much harder to control a spinny shot, and doing this will force your opponent to make mistakes, and grant you a better opportunity to finish the point.
Just get it on: If you’re playing a flat shot, it’s not uncommon for it to fly off the end of the table. If you’re topspinning, on the other hand, the spin will bring the ball back down onto the table. The arc on a good loop brings the ball over the net, and down onto the table; it’s much more consistent than an attempted flat winner. This isn’t being passive, you’re still trying to dominate the point, move your opponent around, force errors with spin, but a lot of the time you’ll find yourself out-rallying players just by keeping the ball on the table.
Play the angles: Positioning is key here. There’s no need to blast the ball when a well-placed shot is just as effective, and much more consistent. Try stepping up to the table, taking the ball early and just guiding it across the table. A good angle will really put your opponent out of position and a point-finishing opportunity won’t be far away.
Be creative: Don’t be afraid of trying new things (matchplay practice in training is ideal for this). It’s good to be creative; try some drop shots or a really spinny sidespin half-lob from time to time. Generally you should stick to good, positive, attacking play, but improvise every now and then!
Thanks for reading, please leave a comment below if you have any other tips or questions.