Coach CornerTacticsclose-to-or-further-back-from-the-table
Nomad asked 7 months ago

Hi Tom / Dan
Following on from my last question regarding tactics..I found myself up against the same player I had played before (who had a strong forehand and backhand drive.) I used the advice you gave me about variation of stroke, placement and speed and I won more comfortably than I had done in our previous meeting so thank you so much for your advice.

On this occasion I decided to stay closer to the table and took the ball early which gave me control of the rally. This worked for a few games until the opponent changed tactics and moved back about 1 metre from the table to take my fast returns later. This enabled him to place the ball more accurately with heavy topspin to various areas of the table which caught me out. To counter this I stepped further back from the table myself to give me more time to play a return. I played a slow, high forehand topspin return to his backhand. The ball bounced high on his side of the table near the baseline and produced a weaker return. I then played a topspin drive to either his backhand or forehand and moved closer to the table again in preparation for an outright smash or drive on the return.

I know it will depend on your own type of game and fitness as well as the skill of the opponent but assuming you had equally strong strokes on both hands which of the strategies in general would you tend to favour when playing against a strong opponent… close to, or further back from the table and how would you adapt your game further back from the table if required?

I know that tactics can depend on many factors but with your experience I would be interested in what tactics you would have used against this style of player?

Best Regards


1 Answers
Dan Academy Coach answered 7 months ago

Hey Alex,
That’s good to hear that the tactics changes helped you win more easily! I would say its always best to try and stay close in most situations and dominate up close and control the table. This means you’ll more often have the chance to force your opponent away and get control and play stronger attacks.
Of course sometimes you will need to drop back a bit  and give yourself more time if their shots are landing deep and aggressive. But most of the time I would try to get used to staying close and being comfortable in that area which will give you the advantage against most players!
Dan 🙂 

replied 7 months ago

Hi Dan
I will be puting in more time in developing strokes such as forehand and backand flicks and short, heavy backspin pushes to help initiate an opening for an aggressive attack.
Thanks again.

Academy Coach replied 7 months ago

Hi Alex, that will definitely help long term. No problem, happy to help!

Dan 🙂

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