playing flat hitters

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mts288
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Joined: 03/05/2011

My main 3 opponents at my club are all flat hitters with forehand or backhand.  I switched to long pips 5 months ago and am still learning how to use them.  My opponents start hitting as soon as they can.  I can return their hits with decent placement, but since they don't give me any spin to work with I don't seem to be able to do more than return their hits.  Eventually they will hit the ball by me.  Near the end of play last night I decided to use my pips for placement on the return of serve then open up and hit most of their returns with forehand or backhand.  Although my pips(backhand) are OX I can hit most balls with the pips and loop with my forehand.  It seemed to raise my level of play quite a lot.  My pip hits gave my opponent lots of trouble.  I only played half a match using that style so I'm not sure I'm on the right track.  Is there a downside to my new style?

mts288
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Joined: 03/05/2011
Re: playing flat hitters

Unfortunately I'm the only looper in the club, so the only place I get to block loops is at tournaments or on my robot at home.  I'm in the Berkeley tournament this weekend so I'll get a better idea where I stand. 

You are correct about pip hits throwing off opponents timing.  My pip hit stroke looks just like a loop stroke, so when you put the timing problem together with a stroke that looks like a loop, my opponents struggle returning the ball.  Taking my game out of a small club setting to a big tournament will give me a better idea on what I need to work on.

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: playing flat hitters

If it works, then there is no downside. Everyone's different, and with experience you'll learn when and against who to attack, and when to defend. You have to accept on reality, however - long pips is best against loopers, and if you are playing mostly flat hitters, you are at at least a small disadvantage. How much disadvantage comes down to how well you adapt, using tactics such as the ones you outlined here. Hitters rely on timing, so if you mix in quick hits and dead balls, with good placement, you can mess up their timing.