Building a Better Blocker

Blockers don’t get much respect. Their game isn’t real flashy. A lot of blockers are one dimensional, and their style seems to be ill-suited to the modern game. Players don’t normally appreciate blockers, until they play a really good one. Scattered across the world of table tennis are players who have made blocking a major part of their game. True, you won’t find them among the top ten players in the world, but you might find them among the top players at your local club. 

Blocking is often just misunderstood. There is far more to it than just trying to get your paddle in the path of your opponent’s attacks. It is possible to attack with a block. It’s not that a block is a poor shot. It could be the perfect shot, if used at the right time. Every player should feel comfortable blocking, and know when and how to block. If you are doing a lot of blocking there are some important things to know. 

Realize that you will need some other complimentary shots. You can’t block 100% of the time and be successful. You will need to be totally confident in your ability to redirect strong shots, and keep them on the table. Good placement of your shots will be much more important than for other playing styles. It’s possible to block with topspin, underspin, no spin, or sidespin. If your goal is to outlast your opponent with multiple blocks, good placement won’t be enough. Even good blockers can’t always return really strong attacks. The goal then becomes to not let your opponent get comfortable attacking. Keep them off balance with changes in spin, especially chop blocks and no spin balls. They will be forced to lift these, allowing opportunities for blockers to attack. Long pips and anti-spin rubber are well suited for this type of blocking. 

While blocking may seem like a boring option, it actually allows for a very creative approach. Good blockers will outmaneuver their opponents. They can use their opponent’s power against them, and create a good bit of frustration for attacking players. Make the most of your blocks. You’ll be a better player, if you’re a better blocker. 

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