(By Jinxin Wang)
Advancing Women’s Table Tennis – Implementing Men’s Style
The main focus of implementing men’s style into women’s style is demonstrated in aggressiveness, taking initiative first, and being eagerly aggressive. This technique and shift in tactical consciousness is aimed towards female athletes’ overall stability and structure of their game, and it targets improvement as well as innovation in their playing styles to thus build up strengths and overcome weaknesses.
Female athletes need to improve upon the range of their footwork, the accuracy of their forehand attacks, awareness of aggressiveness in third ball attacks, and seeking reference and learning technical characteristics from male athletes.
1. Change in intuition of women’s style tactics
Upon intuition and understanding, a player can decide to execute an action. The most important step in implementing men’s style into women’s style is implementing the men’s style into intuition and thought in order to increase aggressiveness in a match (attack, taking control, or actively blocking), apply science to training methods, and combining each player’s physical strengths and tactics. Tactics not only need to be accurate and appropriate but also they need to reasonably balance the relation between aggressiveness and precision; they are like complements to one another.
Some male players win points in a match by mid-distance counterloop, close table counterloop, or by improving their rally techniques, transition between offense and defense, and perfecting “algorithms” of winning shots. These can be ways in which female athletes can also look to for improvement in training and to practice it enough to use flexibly in matches.
It is worth noting that one cannot practice male playing styles blindly without any purpose. It use of their tactics depend on the player, level, and style, so it varies for each individual. For example, a player can not simply use power or attack just because men play with greater power. Instead, that individual needs to take into consideration rhythm adjustments, placement, and how to anticipate the next shot. In training, be mindful of “implementing men’s style into women’s style” reasonably and appropriately. In this way, techniques and tactical strategies can be executed properly. Applying tactics with reason is the premise for female styles to start implementing men’s styles into their game.
2. Improving the intuition to attack from step-around
Backhand gives an advantage; forehand wins the point. In the game today, the trend in women’s game development lies in transitioning towards a style more similar to men’s styles. In matches, most female players rely on their backhand and play overly cautious and safe. For balls that could be attacked with forehand step around, they choose to use backhand. After service, they need to anticipate the opponent’s receive and be ready to step around and take offense. Within rallies, the balls that land in the middle towards forehand are often even played with the backhand by girls, which does not give the opponent any oppressive pressure. From training, girls need to start building a habit of intuition of when to step around to attack and improve their forehand attack precision and effectiveness.
3. Emphasizing footwork training, improving the forehand footwork range and consecutive forehand attacks and suddenness
In order to implement men’s styles into women’s styles, players must seek to perfect their forehand consecutive attacks and aggression. To achieve this, they need to start with improving footwork training. This way, they can improve the execution of forehand and increase the range of forehand attack. As a result, they can the variety of tactical applications is greater and stronger. After all, the range of backhand attacks has some limitations. Primarily relying on forehand attacks gives the opponent greater pressure than merely standing in the middle of the table to cover incoming shots.
4. “First three balls,” or serve and attack is one of the key factors to victory in table tennis
During training, be mindful to constantly exhibit an intuitive sense of initiative and eager desire to attack. If both players are trying to attack, how is it possible to attack first? It starts from the first three balls: serve and receive—control the opponent, create an opportunity for yourself, and not let any opportunity to take offense slip by.
Serves are where it all begins, especially when you have the serves. Good serves can score points both directly and indirectly. It is important to have a diversity of serves, constantly changing spins in order to control the placement to disrupt the opponent’s rhythm. Different serves lead to different combinations of techniques and tactics. In training, players need to repeatedly ponder the feeling of feeling, especially the spin, arc, placement, speed, etc. Good serves use the simultaneous power of the waist and the weight transfer of the body, wrist, and fingers. In addition, learn to use the serve and paddle’s action to create fake actions to confuse the opponent with inconspicuous serve variations.
Serve returns can consist of flexibly choosing between flips, flicks, looping half-long over the table, dropping a half-long, intentionally pushing long, and dropping short. The variety in receives can create a threat and place pressure on the opponent. Similarly, it can create an opportunity for the receiver to attack. It adds yet another possible type of return to the receiver’s tactics. The receiver not only controls the ball with the receive but also demonstrates an offensive receive technique. In other words, it is receiving with an intention of attacking. Serve receive is an area that is more difficult to improve in. If it is difficult to comprehend the incoming serve, try to receive it slower, watch where the opponent is standing, and use the rhythm and placement to mix up the opponent’s planned tactical strategy.
5. Improving strength and speed in physical training
Physical fitness is more demanding for female players in order for them to implement male playing styles into their own style. Although female table tennis athletes can not compare to male athletes in strength, explosive power, and speed, they need to improve strength and speed training if they want to be able to initiate the first attack in a game. They will need to break through this hurdle if they wish to implement this new technical innovation in their game. The basic requirement for implementing male’s styles into female styles is strength. And so, female players need to improve speed and strength physical training, which is the path for women’s styles innovation to get closer to the men’s style.
In the process of a change in intuition for female athletes implementing male playing styles, there will be problems that will arise. At first, some players may fluctuating results in matches or unstable instances mixed with confusion. This often is a result of a lack in persistent determination to implementing a new, different style because thoughts may be unstable or uncertain. It may difficult to see long-term and short-term benefits. However, one must know that trying something new will result in short-term consequences. Yet, the road may be windy, but the future is bright ahead.