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

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Beat the Defensive Blocker

Check out the tactics!

Why are you looping?  I see that you are looping everything against that blocker – looping his serves, looping his pushes, looping his blocks.  Why are you looping?
When playing against blockers, it is vitally important to loop with a purpose.  To loop wide angle to move them away from the table, to loop powerfully through them, to loop high and spinny to set up your smash.  Believe it or not, blockers like it when you loop.  If you don’t loop, what do they have to block?  This is the question that I always remind myself when playing blockers.  I remind myself that this particular opponent wants me to give nice, medium, consistent loops.  If I can’t loop with a purpose, I might just push a couple balls then loop with a purpose.
For the defensive blocker, you can often serve deep with no consequence, you can often receive their serve somewhat high with no consequence, you can often push no-spin high with no consequence.  Just calm down a bit, work the point, and surprise them with a purposeful loop!  Key word: Purposeful!
Before beginning the match, check his rubber to see the bounce and friction.
Many blockers in the Midwest use Seemiller grip.  Make a mental not of his grip shakehands, Seemiller, or penhold.  The tactics against each grip are quite different.  Against shakehands blockers, often attacking the middle is the main tactic.  Against Seemiller blockers, often attacking the wide angles is the main tactic.  Against penhold blockers, often attacking the wide forehand is the main tactic.
When serving to the blocker, I would recommend deciding before the point on what main tactic you should use.  If you want to spin high, then serve deep backspin to get a spinny push, then loop with mega spin high.  This high-trajectory ball is difficult to block low.  If you want to loop powerfully, I would recommend serving short, low no-spin.  You will often get a light spin push that you can power through.  If you want to go for the angle, start off by serving at an angle.  So, before you choose your serve, try to have a plan in place.  Your plan will help direct your decision.
Against the blocker, the serve return doesn’t need to be perfect – you can choose to push or flip or loop or chop, just get the rally started with some spin.
Looping with a purpose, this must be your theme.  You want to be deceptive, but all within your range of consistency.  If you try very extreme variations in placement, speed, spin, depth, and height on every single shot, you will likely miss too many.  The defensive blocker is counting on your mistakes.  Try to be deceptive, while still maintaining 80% consistency.

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Samson Dubina

Phone:  330-949-9230