Reaching for balls

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Joined: 01/19/2011

Since I got the info wrong on what you said about sidespin balls breaking away from you and how the racket tends to get lowered in my post on I have been thinking more about the situation.

Is the lowering due the whole body lowering as the player leans or does a deeper knee bend lunge motion to adjust?  Or is it more of the hand dropping from either unbending the elbow or lowering the arm from the shoulder?   I am asking so I can better understand what to watch for when coaching a player.

On a somewhat related matter I have the impression that when trying to loop pushes wide to my Fh I have a tendency to initially drop my racket down into a good position, but then raise it up and move it more out to my Fh side before swinging.  I think this comes from not believing I can reach the ball otherwise.  Is this a common tendency and is it something I should be watching out for when coaching?  Or am I just either delusional to think this is happening or just different from most players.


Larry Hodges
Larry Hodges's picture
Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Reaching for balls

Here's the May 14, 2012 Tip of the Week where I wrote about this. It's also in my Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers book. Try it and you'll see how when one is caught off guard by a ball breaking away they naturally lunge toward the ball, which means they lean that way by bending the right knee (for righties) and lowering the right shoulder. This drops the racket and so the player ends up lifting too much and going off the end. 

Regarding dropping the racket and then raising it again before looping, that's wasted motion and a bad habit. However, I've seen some players do it, and you can get away with it if you are not rushed. In fast rallies or when you are otherwised rushed it will slow you down and hurt your timing.