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Tip of the Day - Back Up Slightly When Opponent Backs Up

By Larry Hodges | Nov. 25, 2013, 9 a.m. (ET)

Arseniy Gusev

Arseniy Gusev (RUS) at the 2013 Russian Open Championships

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Larry Hodges

Back Up Slightly When Opponent Backs Up

Suppose you’ve hit a quick, hard shot, and your opponent has moved five feet back to return the ball with a counterdrive or soft topspin. Many players stay right up at the table, and end up getting jammed, and forced to block or go for a wild, rushed shot against what should be an easy shot. Why does this happen? Imagine the trajectory of the ball. If an opponent hits the ball from farther from the table, the ball will have a longer trajectory, i.e. the top of the bounce on your side will be farther off the table than normal. To compensate, when your opponent backs up 2-3 steps, you have to back up slight as well, perhaps one step, or even half a step.

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