Coach Samson Dubina US National Team Coach 4x USATT Coach of the Year

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9 Aspects of Blocking

Blocking Summary

In table tennis, blocking is one of the most under-developed skills for offensive players.  If you learn to position his body correctly and contact the ball at the preferred timing, then it is also easier to learn other skills like counterlooping.  In this article, I'm going to briefly outline 9 aspects that you must consider when perfecting your block.  Check out this short list and see how you are doing...
The #1 most important aspect of blocking is the timing.  You need to contact the ball on the rise in order to keep it low, give your opponent the least amount of time, and have the possibility of using sharp angles.  Exactly HOW early should you time it?  On the rise.  How much on the rise?  It depends on the speed, spin, and depth of the incoming ball.  Most very spinny balls need to be contacted ealier (like loop against heavy backspin) and most lighter spin loops need to be blocked slightly later.
Another vital aspect of blocking is to have a relaxed grip.  As you contact the ball on the rise, think about cushioning it and slowing the speed of the ball.
Keep your racket high and in-front of your body.  If your racket is too close to your torso, then you will easily get jammed for the middle ball.  
Watch where your opponent is attacking, move into position, then block.  If you reach or lean for the block, you won’t have much control.  Footwork is also something that you can practice with a training partner.  Ask him to loop 1 ball to your wide forehand and 1 ball to your wide backhand.  Practice moving into position and looping with good control.
Watch where your opponent’s ball is contacting your side of the table and be prepared to adjust accordingly.  If it hits close to the net, then you will need to move in and press down slightly on the very top of the ball.  If it hits closer to the endline, then you need to press gently on the back/top of the ball.  Checking the depth is the #1 overlooked aspect of blocking!
When adding a little speed to your block, use your body power.  Gently lean into the block and apply the pressure with your core, not your arm.
Placement is the key to successful blocking.  If you can consistently place the ball well, then your opponent will likely be off-balance.  Quick blocks to the backhand or middle usually work well because the hitting zone for your opponent is smaller in length, depth, and height.  However, if your opponent is looking for the pivot, then wide forehand often works well.  The exact placement needs to be adjusted based on the opponent and based on the situation.
Once you have mastered the basic block, it is then time to add some variation.  By adding a slight amount of sidespin or topspin or a bit more pressure or less pressure, you can make it even more challenging for your opponent.
By placing your block in a good location, you can create the opportunity to counterattack.  Once you see that your opponent is giving a weaker ball, mentally be prepared to take over with speed and spin together - not blasting the first opportunity but taking control of the table with a stable attack.




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