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

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Beat the Chopper

Learn How to Beat 2 Different Types on Choppers...

In this blog, I’m going to outline the strategies in beating 2 types of choppers…
Choppers Who Strictly Defend (and don’t attack)
What he wants to do
The chopper wants to extend the rallies and win points from your mistakes.  He will often serve long (hoping that you will attack) and give low, deep pushes.  If you loop, he will go away from the table and give spinny chops.   He moves well side-to-side and reaching the wide balls fairly easily.
What you should do
You should be patient and selective in choosing the right ball.  If the first ball is low, control it with a good push on controlled loop.  Be selective on when to attack.  Often attack to his middle (the transition point) forcing him to make a decision between backhand and forehand.  Move the chopper in-and-out from the table until he gives a high chop that you can finish for a winner.  Be aware that if he pushes your push with inverted, it will likely be fairly heavy.  If he pushes with pips, the ball will be much less spin or could possibly be no-spin or light topspin.  If he chops your loop with the pips, his chop will probably be heavy, but proportional to the spin that you loop.  If you loop with lots of spin, the pips chop will be heavier; if you loop with less spin, the pips chop will be lighter.  If the chopper chops your loop with inverted, it could have a variety of spins, but will likely be light or medium backspin.  You should usually focus on pushing to the pips (to get an easier push) and focus on looping to the inverted (to get a lighter chop).  Against this chopper, keep the game fairly simple.  Because he doesn’t attack, you can keep your pushes slightly higher and your loops slightly higher to ensure consistency throughout the entire rally.
Tips to Remember
1. Be consistent and patient until the right ball comes
2. Use safe loops and pushes until the opportunity arises
3. Attack strong when the opportunity arises
4. Keep it simple - loop one, push one
5. Placement to the playing elbow
6. Move him in-and-out
7. Push to the pips
8. Loop to the inverted
9. Take your time between points and remain calm
Choppers Who Have Strong Attacks
What he wants to do
This chopper uses his defense to setup his offense.  He will try to attack first; but if you attack, he will be consistent while waiting for his opportunity.  He loops well with the forehand on the deep ball and attacks well with the backhand on the short ball.  After serving deep, he is looking for a good ball to attack with his strong forehand.  If you attack first, we will go back and chop, while waiting to counterattack.  If you push, then he will move forward and attack with his quick backhand or forehand. 
What you should do
Against this chopper, it is critical that you attack first.  If you are forced to push or block, focus on placing the ball well.  Even if you can’t stop his attack, at least you can place the ball in a position that he can’t attack strong.  Serve mainly short anywhere or deep to his backhand.  When attacking, try to attack mainly to the middle or backhand.  When pushing, push to the short forehand or deep backhand. 
Tips to Remember
1. Serve short anywhere or long to the backhand
2. Try to attack first
3. Attack strong when the opportunity arises
4. Loop mainly to the backhand or middle
5. When defending, remember to keep the ball low and well placed
6. When pushing, push to the short forehand or deep backhand