How important is a low stance?

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IrishBuddy
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Joined: 01/31/2011

I've heard it numerous times, "start in a low stance."  I've observed all top players taking a low stance.  But I've never heard a technical explanation.  Why is a low stance so important?  Also, how low of a stance should a player maintain throughout play?

IrishBuddy
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Joined: 01/31/2011
Re: How important is a low stance?

Thanks Larry, that makes perfect sense.  But is there also a visual advantage?  I'm wondering if one may be able to read the spin of a ball better when getting down closer to the level of the ball?

Larry Hodges
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Joined: 11/19/2010
Re: How important is a low stance?

Many players say they can read spin better when they stay low, especially when returning serves. Many players adopt an extra low stance for receiving serve, then go to a less low stance the rest of the rally. I've always suspected that the low stance doesn't really help read the spin better so much as it allows them to react to the spin faster. I might blog about this. 

deriderj
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Joined: 03/20/2011
Re: How important is a low stance?

If you have ever run the gauntlet of spin variation when playing Mitch Seidenfeld who is just over 4 feet tall you would believe that being low significantly improves one’s ability to read spin! I have never played anyone, or seen anyone who could handle spin any better than Coach Seidenfeld.  

After recently having surgery to replace a hip replacement and just days prior from having a second surgery to replace the other hip replacement, Coach Seidenfeld decided to play in the local Saturday tournament. I was one of his unfortunate victims, but he was really just getting warmed up. Even though he had very limited ability to move left or right (he could move up and back a bit easier) he quickly moved into the final against the hottest player in our club, a two wing looper with an incredibly gifted hand that allows him to generate enormous amounts of spin. The left handed two wing looper revved up his forehand and backhand shots and Coach Seidenfeld calmly returned the ball with an incredible variety of blocks, chop blocks, punches and smashes.

It was all over by the middle of the 2nd game when Coach Seidenfeld took a forehand loop kill from his opponent who was a few paces back from the table and with deft touch, chop blocked the return using a tomahawk motion that sent the ball gently over the net where it bounced twice before dribbling off the end of the table. Wide eyed doesn't begin to describe Coach Seidenfeld's opponent after that block! Coach Seidenfeld's opponent was now too afraid to spin the ball for fear of what might happen next, and so, he went quietly (very quietly) into the night. So, maybe, just mabye, bringing your eyes down closer to the table level does provide some benefits when reading spin?

IrishBuddy
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Joined: 01/31/2011
Re: How important is a low stance?

Great story.  Yes, I've seen Mitch Seidenfeld play and he fascinates me every time.  While I didn't see the match you described, I'm smiling as I visualize it.  Thanks.

Larry Hodges
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Re: How important is a low stance?

A low stance lowers the center of gravity while bending the knees. Both of these allow for quicker movements as well as added power. It's very important, especially at higher levels where speed and power are so important. At the beginning stage it's not as comfortable, but once you get used to it it's hard to imagine playing without a low stance.