I think I have a reasonably strong backhand and forehand when playing against an attacking topspin player where the pace is fast and relatively consistent. However I came up against a right handed opponent who played with normal rubber on the forehand side and short pimples on the backhand. His tactic was to upset an opponent’s rythm by moving over to the forehand side of the table (close to the table) and hitting the ball on the backhand (pimples) side so that instead of a normal return of a topspin bounce the ball came back fast and low with float which completely altered the speed and spin. By using his wrist and moving his bat angle he could play the ball off to the side of the table between the net and the end of the opponent’s side of the table (which was usually an outright winner) using the pimples on his backhand.the table.
Trying to alter the tempo in a split second of a rally was very difficult and more often than not my return from the pimples either went into the net or popped up for an easy shot on his forehand which was a very fast smash with little topspin.
I thought about slowing the game down and playing to his backhand with little or no spin. Also, After he blocked a topspin ball, would you change your stroke by opening the bat angle slightly to counteract his float ball and/or, by taking a small step back from the table, give yourself a fraction more time to assess the return?
Any advice would be appreciated.
Ok so a couple of things that I feel will help in this situation. You mentioned one which is stepping back slightly and giving yourself a little more time to choose a shot and play with control. This can definitely help. Also when playing against short pimples sometimes giving the opponent no pace to work off can be a good tactic so they are forced to make the play a bit more.
Lastly trying to play with more topspin in general and really varying the placement of your shots in doing this too. This makes it hard for the opponent to always get on the front foot and means they have to first concentrate on controlling your spin and different directions.
A lot of the time as you mentioned it causes problems because it takes you out of your rhythm against these types of players, so taking your time and trying to focus on being solid and not giving away cheap points. Of course it takes practice and easier said than done!
I will definitely try the tactics you mentioned although I agree that overcoming one’s natural rhythm as an attacking player, especially against an experienced opponent who plays with pimples will need patience and practise.
However, I won’t have to wait too long to find out if the tactics work as I will be playing against the same opponent on Tuesday.
I will let you know how I get on.
Thanks again for your advice.