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

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Looping Placement

Where should I be looping? Backhand? Middle? Forehand?

When looping, where should I place the ball?
Most players would answer by saying that there are 3 main locations that you should be aiming your loop at:  wide backhand, wide forehand, and at the elbow (the backhand/forehand transition point).  This is the correct answer.  In this blog, I’m going to detail when you should loop to each location for a righty playing against a righty:
#1 Wide Forehand
Most of your opponents probably have better backhand blocks and better forehand counterattacks.  If you surprise them to the wide forehand, they might not even touch the ball or they might possibly back up and fish it back to the table.  If you give them a weak loop, they might counterloop or smash.
#2 Wide Backhand
This is a great option for the majority of your loops.  Many players will be able to return your loop but not power it past you.  If you loop to the wide backhand, be ready to loop more balls.  As long as you keep your loop low, spinny, and deep, you should be in control of the rally. 
#3 Elbow
Looping to your opponent’s transition point is often the best location to loop toward.  Your opponent will need to make a quick decision as to play a forehand or backhand.  This is a great option if your opponent is fairly consistent with both backhand and forehand. 
Additional Tips:
A. If your opponent is close – loop more often to the middle
B. If your opponent is away from the table – use the angles (especially wide backhand)
C. Vary the placement – don’t be predictable
D. Vary other aspects such as the spin, speed, and depth
E. If you are in position – usually loop down-the-line or to the middle
F. If you are out of position – usually loop wide crosscourt