Playing odd styles

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mts288
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Joined: 03/05/2011

Yesterday I played and lost to two players with odd styles.  By the time I started to figure them out the matches were over.  Both were rated about the same as me (1600+).  Both admitted to playing much better against me (I'm a spinny looper) than other players.  I don't think it was because I'm a looper, I think they were just "on".

The first one was a long pip penholder who could loop and block with the pips and reverse penhold loop with the backhand. 

The second was a Seemillier type player with a lot of basement/garage in his game.  Very few of his shots were what you would call normal strokes. 

Is there a way to stay in the match while trying to figure out their style?

Willis
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Joined: 01/24/2011
Re: Playing odd styles

My limited experience with Seemiller-style players is that they also have a weak spot on balls that are very short and low to the middle. Now true, ALL players might have trouble with short and low to the middle, but Seemiller players (our club has several) can't seem to get any leverage because they just can't get the right angle with their bat to do much with the ball.

I must warn though that short and low that wanders a bit too much to either wing is likely to be flat killed to the opposite corner!

 

 

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Playing odd styles

Hi mts288, every style is different, so you should go into a match both trying to force your game on them, and trying to figure out their strengths and weaknesses as quickly as possible. However, the minute you realize your opponents play with unorthodox strokes, the large majority of the time the key is to keep the ball deep. This gives you time to react to their shots, and then your better technique will win out over their weaker technique - unless they are simply better players. 

Personally I rely on my serve and receive technique to control a match from the start while I figure out their game. By the time they've begun to figure my serve and receive out, I've figured them out. (Against the Seemiller-style player, if he plays at all like most Seemiller grip players, focus on attacking the wide corners since they are strong blocking in the middle. I have a whole section on this in my upcoming Tactics book.) 

This could be an interesting topic for a Tip of the Week in a few weeks.