By Larry Hodges
In the this modern game of topspin, many players battle to see who can get more topspin on the ball, with more speed and more consistency. After all, isn't that what tends to win games?
Yet you might want to consider whether you want to join in this escalating topspin battle every single point. Why not throw a changeup at them - a "dummy loop" - and watch them mess up? Go for less spin, and mess up your opponent's consistency!
A dummy loop is a loop that looks like it has a lot of topspin, but is not very spinny. You executive the shot almost like any other loop, except you snap the wrist into the shot before contact. By the time contact is made, the racket tip is already up, and your loop has lost much of its topspin. By using a full motion, it looks like you've done a normal loop, yet the ball comes out relatively dead, causing havoc for your opponent. It's tricky for an opponent to see that your contact was actually after the wrist snap, instead of during.
Some players dummy loop by contacting the ball closer to the handle, while contacting the ball near the tip for maximum spin. It's a little trickier this way, but can be even harder for an opponent to see the difference. How many opponents can tell whether your loop contact was near the tip or handle?
A key point of all dummy loops - do the shot with great physical enthusiasm, as if you were really going for full topspin, changing on the contact as noted above. If you try to hold back on spin by holding back on the stroke itself, the opponent will see that easily.
It's fun watching an opponent block into the net, and stare at his paddle in disbelief!