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USA Table Tennis

Tip of the Day - Forehand Attackers Should Sometimes Serve & Backhand Attack

By Larry Hodges | Dec. 14, 2013, 9 a.m. (ET)

Liu Gaoyang

Liu Gaoyang (CHN) at the 2013 Junior World Championships


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Larry Hodges

Forehand Attackers Should Sometimes Serve & Backhand Attack

If you are primarily a forehand attacker, many of your opponents will get used to you serving and looping from your backhand corner. Why not throw them off? This is especially effective against an opponent who routinely returns your serve to your backhand corner. Surprise them - sometimes serve and get into a backhand position, and follow with a backhand loop or attack! Too often players only backhand attack when the shot comes up, and they aren’t able to use their forehand. Imagine how much more effective this is if you plan it, and have time to prepare. Many top players use this as a variation. It means you don’t have to step around (and, of course, many of us can’t do that effectively anyway!), you won’t be out of position, and your opponent has to adjust to a different type of loop.

The key is not to telegraph what you are doing, and to be ready to use your forehand if the opponent surprises you by going to your forehand. (If they do, simply rotate your waist to your forehand side, and do a steady forehand loop. But once in a backhand position, you can, if necessary, cover 2/3 of the table with your backhand attack.) To avoid telegraphing your intentions, you might have to wait until the last second before going into a backhand position – either just before your opponent is contacting the ball, when he can no longer react to you and change his direction (if you are anticipating a return to your backhand) or after he contacts the ball if he varies his returns more.

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