Attacking in Table Tennis

If being offensive is what you like, then as an offensive table tennis player, there are 2 aspects of the offensive game you must master

Creating the opportunity to attack first

Attacking in Table Tennis

So how are you going to create the opportunity to attack your opponent?

  • Loop Long serves
  • Loop half long serves
  • Serve short and push short
  • Loop long pushes
  • Loop flips

After your first offensive shot, continue attacking with 2 to 3 more balls, this is usually how many balls it takes against a strong table tennis player to win the point.

Be consistent while attacking

Even if you are able to create the opportunity to attack, it does not mean that you can win the point all the time. Your should aim should be to be able to get a consistency level of about 70% or more on both wings. Errors are to be expected because you are being aggressive.

However if you are making all your shots and your opponent is still defending well, you most likely need to add more variation to your offensive shots. Try mixing up the spin, speed and placement, it is not always about power.

Here are some ways to help you be consistent

  • Get good at positioning
  • Read the spin of the incoming ball
  • Adjust the height of your back swing based on incoming ball
  • Adjust the length of the swing based on incoming ball
  • Adjust racket angle based on incoming ball
  • Focus on spin instead of more power

A shot that might hurt you while attacking

This shot could really hurt you. But let us make a few observations on your positioning before we let you know what it is.

If you use your forehand to attack on the forehand side, it does not matter where you are attacking. You should always mix up your placement of shots from wide to near to wide etc. Because you body is positioning in the middle of the table, you will be able to recover very quickly for the next shot.

The same goes for attacking with your backhand on the backhand side. Because you are positioned in the center, you are able to recover quickly for the next shot.

However, if you step around the backhand side and use you forehand ( inside out or inside in ) you placement is extremely important. Some players love to step around the backhand side and use their forehands to attack down the line or out wide.

If the opponent cannot return the ball, it works well, however if the opponent does return the shot, you will be in trouble because he will most likely hit a cross court forehand and you will not be able to recover quick enough.

When you step around the backhand like this, you have to be confident you can finish the point, do not hesitate or hold back your speed, you have to try for a winner, if not you should hit back wide to the backhand. To be extra sure, only do this when you observe your opponent moving slow, staying more to the backhand side, or taking a longer time to recover from the backhand side.

Recommended books

Table tennis tactics for thinkers

Learn table tennis tactics from USATT Certified National Coach and Hall of Famer Larry Hodges. Includes tactics against different styles, grips, and surfaces as well as tactical and strategic thinking. The book opens with this: “Tactics isn’t about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. Tactics is about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work.” The book then explores the tactical and strategic development needed to have the specific tactical tools needed in any given match – your “tactical toolbox.”

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