Don’t Try So Hard When Ending the Point
(By Larry Hodges)
When you put everything into a shot, you lose control and consistency. You often lose power as well as you can’t really time all your muscles together at 100%, and instead end up with a spastic shot that’s difficult to control. Watch the top players – when they end the point, they make it seem almost effortless as they get great power by putting their weight into the shot and smoothly timing all of their muscles together. Plus, that last bit of power isn’t necessary.
So when you get a weak ball where you can end the point, don’t go spastic. Instead, just smoothly accelerate into the shot, whether you are smashing or looping, putting your weight into the shot and focusing on good technique and placement. (Lack of power almost always means poor technique.) Unless the opponent is a great lobber, there’s no way they can cover the entire table against a well-placed put-away, even with less than 100% power. That means experimenting with placement in matches to see what works – sometimes smashing or loop-killing at the wide corners and sometimes at their middle (around the playing elbow, the transition point between forehand and backhand). Few players can cover a well-angled put-away to the wide corners, even at 10% reduced speed, and even fewer can cover this shot if it’s right at their elbow. (Unless, of course, they play with the Seemiller or some similar grip, where the middle is easier to cover, but the corners more difficult.) By sacrificing perhaps 10% speed, you get a huge return on consistency, and the 10% you lose simply isn’t necessary.