I have written 2 controversial articles about upsetting higher rated players in table tennis. What is the correct mindset? Going for broke or playing normal? In the blog, I have included both articles and a summary of how to harmonize them together to have the best possible result.
In this article, I’m going to briefly describe the tactics that you should use to beat a pick-hitter. A pick hitter is usually a rather defensive player who suddenly attacks as a surprise. In order to best understand your opponent, you need to start off by analyzing him in detail by asking yourself the following questions in regards to your opponent. You should ask yourself these questions when you are studying your opponent prior to the match or during the first few points of your match.
I estimate that over 50% of upsets could have been avoided!
Let me explain...
As soon as the upset happens, there is usually a whirlwind of excusing flying all across the gym. Some of them are non-sense. Some of them are legit.
I have often heard excuses like…
“I didn’t warm-up before the match.”
“I thought he was easy; I won 3-0 last time we played.”
“I was just so hungry, that I couldn’t concentrate.”
“I started off the first game just trying out some new fancy shots.”
Between pitches in baseball, the batter steps out of the batter’s box to re-focus.
The same thing is true in table tennis; the pros often call this the “think circle.”
Between points, step back about 4-6 feet away from the table and draw an imaginary circle around yourself and collect your thoughts in your think circle. Every pro athlete has a different method of processing the points, relaxing, and gearing up for the next point, but I’m going to give you the method that I personally use.
Playing the right tactics is one of the vital keys to winning your next match. In order to know which tactics to play, it is often helpful to label your opponent as a looper, chopper, lobber, blocker, etc. Once you have placed him in a category, then you can begin making a game-plan. (please realize that many playing styles overlap)
Check out these tactics articles on playing specific opponents:
New Tactics Article on Beating the Unknown Opponent
The tournament published the draws the night before the event. You found out that you are going to play against Hou Yingchao in your opening match of men’s singles at 9am. You immediately take out your pen and paper and write down some note of how to play him. You arrive in the gym at 7:45am and train accordingly.
In matches, should you use specific patterns or should you just hit anywhere? Well, you always want to keep your opponent off-balance while realizing that there are specific shots and locations that commonly cause errors from your opponent. Today, I’m going to outline a six basic patterns.
(Note: There are actually hundreds of these patterns. I’m just listing six as a starting point)