Soft Blocking

6 replies [Last post]
mts288
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2011

A couple of the players at out club hit fairly hard flat hits from about 6" from the table.  I want to try  some short soft blocks, but I don't know how to do it.  Suggestions?

Toxicspin 2nd a...
Offline
Joined: 06/27/2011
Re: Soft Blocking

I hope this isnt to much off subject but if I send a semi soft topspin to the backhand of a long pip's player and I attack his block (off the long pip the ball pops up nicely) and I backhand drive the ball its go's off the end missing the table about 4 inches.  It's driving me crazy at times, it doesnt always happen but 40% of the time that is the result.  I must not be reading the ball correctly, I have 05 FX on both sides and my practice partner has inverted and long pips.  Early in the matches I'm on target but as the night goes on, reading the ball wears me out.

Larry Hodges
Larry Hodges's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Soft Blocking

It's possible that when you give a soft topspin to the long pips you are reacting as if you had given heavy topspin, and are lifting the ball too much. This is especially likely toward the end of a match, when the mind is weary of constantly reading the spin (as you note above), and so perhaps you are instinctively lifting too much. There's no question you must be lifting the ball too much if it's going off the end. Try backswinging more backward, less downward, and contact the ball slightly higher up on the back of the ball, i.e. more towards the top. 

Larry Hodges
Larry Hodges's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Soft Blocking

Your hand should be relaxed at ALL times. Otherwise you are fighting your own muscles, costing you control on all shots and power on smashes and loops. You want to hold the racket firmly enough so that it isn't wobbling about, but not so firmly that if someone were to grab your racket it wouldn't slide out of your hand. 

To block soft you want to hold the racket even more loosely, so the ball rebounds out softly. You can also pull back slightly at contact to deaden the ball. Experiment and you should be able to do this. However, it will take practice. If the ball is popping up then close your racket.

Larry Hodges
Larry Hodges's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: Soft Blocking

Hi mts288,

To soft block, you need to take the ball off the bounce, but just hold the racket loosely so the ball bounces off soft. It sometimes helps to chop down slightly on the ball, though that's easier against topspin than a flat ball. Focus on keeping the ball low. You might also try to disguise what you are doing until the last second. 

mts288
Offline
Joined: 03/05/2011
Re: Soft Blocking

I tried soft blocking at the club Wednesday night with very little success.  I could keep it on the table but they were high and deep.  When I said they hit 6" from the table, I meant 6 feet. 

When you say hold the racket loosley, do you mean that the racket is loose in your hand or your hand is relaxed?

Thanks

Jay Turberville
Offline
Joined: 01/18/2011
Re: Soft Blocking

Keep your body relaxed as well.  When an opponent launches a strong attack there's a tendency to tighten up.  Try to relax instead.  "Accept" the attack.  Maybe even psychologically "welcome" it.  That makes it easier to be soft.  It also makes it easier to think about where you are going to place the ball with your block since this welcoming helps to create the mental mindset that blocking gives you an "edge."  It isn't mere defense, it can be tactical.  Set your opponent up to attack a ball that he can't attack strongly - then block tactically.  Personally, I like the sidespin backhand block wide (preferably off the edge of the table) to the opponent's forehand.  Even if they retrieve it, they are generally very much out of position.

I find that getting high - even on my toes and leaning over the ball as I take it on the rise seems to help me to softly "smother" it.  That may not be good technique, but I seem to be in more control with blocking when I find myself doing that.