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Keeping an Eye on Your Opponents

I'm going to discuss a topic that is important to any serious table tennis player - how to keep an eye on your opponent. I'll be examining in detail just what areas of his game you should be trying to find out about to get you ready for the big match.
What Are You Looking for?
When studying your opponent, what are you trying to do?
The main aim should be to gather as much useful information as possible about him so that you can come up with a tactical plan (or plans) to use against him in your upcoming match, which will give you the best possible chance of winning. So here is a comprehensive list of things that you should be taking note of to help you make your plans as good as possible:
What are his favourite patterns? This includes:



If he plays worse, make sure that you keep him aware of your desire to win and let him know you are fighting hard during the whole match - it might just make him tighten up. Also, if you can keep in touch with him during the match, you should have an advantage due to the pressure he will be feeling.
If he plays better, don't show too much outward intensity - you could end up lifting his game - play hard but keep it under the surface. Don't give him an excuse to fire up.

For example, if you notice that your future opponent consistently misses his forehand flick because he tries to hit it with too much power, you could serve often to the forehand with heavy backspin/sidespin and occasional pure sidespin, and leave an opening on your forehand side to tempt him to try to flick the ball for a winner. He should be likely to hit the backspin serve into the net, and the sidespin only serve off the end of the table.




Does he like to play to the crowd?


The Overall Package

Video Analysis

I hope you find these thoughts helpful when you are getting ready to check out your next important opponent.
Until the next session, play Right.