June 10, 2024 - Hitting to the Same Spot Twice

It’s important to play to all three spots – wide forehand, wide backhand, and the middle (the mid-point between the opponent’s forehand and backhand, roughly their playing elbow). But often players inadvertently only play to two of them, and opponents, either consciously or (more often) subconsciously pick up on this and so only have to guard against two spots.

Suppose you attack the opponent’s wide forehand. It draws him out of position as he makes his shot. Then, as his shot comes toward you, he moves back into position as he has to guard both the middle and that wide backhand. Many players, after drawing a player out of position by going to one of these spots, automatically goes to one of the other two spots – meaning the opponent only has to guard those two spots.

Instead, often play the same spot twice in a row. Be aware of what your opponent is doing. If you’ve played a wide corner and your opponent is way out of position, then probably go back to the other wide corner. But often the opponent expects that and recovers quickly to cover the other wide corner – but in quickly vacating the first corner he leaves it wide open. So, play two shots in a row and watch him flail about trying to recover for it! It forces the opponent to make two opposite moves – a quick move back into position after the first shot, and a quick move right back for the second shot.

This also works when you attack the middle. To cover it, the opponent has to move out of position to play either a forehand or backhand from the middle. Immediately afterwards he likely moves back into position so he can cover both wide corners – thereby leaving the middle once again open, where (if you attack it), he has to again decide whether to cover it with the forehand or backhand and move to do so. Not an easy thing to do!

And the nice thing about this is that hitting to the same spot twice often means you do the same shot twice, meaning the second one is easier.

So, learn to move your opponent around by not moving your shot around!