Is short push worth it?

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ilia
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Joined: 06/17/2015

Hi Larry,

I'm a kind of serious amateur table tennis player seeking to improve. I often hear opinion that the short push is extremely important and a good player has to be able to use it to neutralizes a serve and shut down the opponent's attack. When I watch the first tier players, like top 100 in the world, it indeed seems to be that important. But when I watch, say, high level US players, the picture is different. Consider this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHDXEeW8UBY match, for example. If a serve is long they loop. But if it is short, they don't bother to push short and push/chop everything long and then block and wait for a counterattack. So I have the following questions:

  1. What is the lowest level in US rating points, at which a short push is a must?
  2. The guys in the match above feel good without pushing short. Realistically speaking, it is extremely unlikely that I will reach such a level in my life. Does it mean that I should not bother practicing short push?
Larry Hodges
Larry Hodges's picture
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Is short push worth it?

Hi Ilia,

It's not just a matter of level, it's also a matter of style. In the match above, both players tend to be "wide open" players, who like to counterloop, and so often quick-push serves back and get set to counterloop. Many of their serves are side-top, which are difficult to push short, but easy to chop down on and push long. They also serve a lot of no-spin, which is also tricky to push short - they also tend ot pop up. However, both do mix in short pushes, such as this one at 2:14. Most players their level do mix in short and long pushes, and flips. (The growing trend is to backhand flip every chance, while pushing short more with the forehand.) 

For you, it's a matter of both level and style. Most players at even the 2000 level mostly push long. Pushing short is tricky, and it's extremely easy to go into the net or pop it up slightly, and those are easy to put away. But if you have good touch, and like to mess your opponent up by forcing him to move in and out, as well as being able to take away his attack when he serves short backspin, then short pushing is the best way to do it. I know 2600 players who rarely push short, and 2000 players who do it regularly. 

Hope this helps!

ilia
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Joined: 06/17/2015
Re: Is short push worth it?

Larry,

Thanks for your response!

Many of their serves are side-top, which are difficult to push short, but easy to chop down on and push long. They also serve a lot of no-spin, which is also tricky to push short - they also tend ot pop up.
 

I also notice that. Moreover, I often play with a guy that servers exactly like that. Unfortunately, I don't have a strong counterattack and block to handle his attack, so I can't afford to push long a lot. I try to push short agaisnt his servers, but it is incredibly difficult, exactly as you described. Now I'm learning the banana flip, maybe it well mitigate the situation a little bit...