The Limitations of Defensive Table Tennis

This blog post is offensive!!! Defense is dead, and your funny paddle will lock you in  a world of perpetual mediocrity. Without the latest offering from Butterfly for your backhand, and some boosted Hurricane for your forehand, what chance do you have? Isn’t that just like a blocker? He brings a knife to a gunfight. What? You say you like to play defense? You win plenty of matches with chops, lobs, blocks, and pushes. Maybe you just aren’t meant to be an attacker. 

Okay. Maybe defense isn’t dead, but it’s dying. The best players can play both offense and defense. It’s just really difficult to get very far on defense alone. At least part of the reason has to do with equipment. Who would have thought that a slower ball would create a faster game? A bigger ball won’t spin as fast, so players have learned to stay closer to the table, use faster rackets, and attack relentlessly. Defenders are put under tremendous pressure. They have less spin to work with. They are forced away from the table, and must be in tremendous shape to chop down fast attacks. 

Defense still works at the lower levels where players don’t read spin very well and are prone to unforced errors. Actually defense can work at any level, as long as there’s some possibility of attacking. You just have to have some offense. I’m not speaking theoretically. This is one subject I have a lot of first hand experience with. Chopping and blocking are fun…up to a point. It’s not much fun to make three great blocks, only to lose the point when the strength of the attack is simply too overwhelming. Chopping is even tougher. The further you back up from the table, the more area you’ll have to cover. Defense starts to seem like a bad idea when you are constantly retreating.

If you aren’t ready to trade in your long pips for a new sheet of Dignics, maybe there’s another possibility. Everybody needs some offense sometime. It’s not all about equipment. Playing offensively could just mean rearranging priorities. It’s possible to attack even if your paddle is slow, and you’re not so fast either. Consider learning how to attack serves. You’re going to have to assume that you’ll need to go on the offensive before your opponent does. It’s even possible to make some offensive chops and blocks. They’ll be a lot more effective if you can get your opponent back on their heels. A player who can attack and defend is a much greater challenge than someone who only defends. In addition to attacking serves, third ball attacks are going to take on added importance. I’m not trying to turn all the great defenders into attackers. My point is that everyone is going to have to play more offense than defense. It’s the nature of modern table tennis. I hope that doesn’t offend you.

7 Replies to “The Limitations of Defensive Table Tennis”

    1. I agree with the whole concept. At one time, I was just a defensive player with a decent back hand but I couldn’t win against good offensive until I started to develop a forehand. Granted, the ultimate for me is to have fun while I am playing.

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