Rare as they may be, the player who uses long pimples as his primary offensive weapon does exist. Listed below are some of the tactics that I have seen our local long pimple hitters using. I’m not really sure I should write them down though – I don’t think I want to encourage anybody else to do the same – after all, I might have to play against them!
Tip 1 – Stay Aggressive
The long pimpled hitter needs to stay on offense as much as possible. Reverting to a passive, blocking type game is going to make his life difficult – after all, he wants to hit with the pimples, not block.
Tip 2 – Twiddle
Although not absolutely essential, twiddling every now and again will keep his opponent on his toes and force him to concentrate. Unless you are playing at the advanced or professional level, your opponent will probably be struggling with his timing against your long pimpled attacks – the occasional turn of the bat is another turn of the screw.
Tip 3 – Stay Close
In general, the closer you are to the table, the easier it is to attack the ball with long pimples. If you are pushed back by your opponent’s topspin, your own forehand attack will be a slightly backspin stroke – which is very difficult to land consistently on the table (although it is effective when you can do so!).
Tip 4 – Get Up
When serving, the smart use of topspin serves to get the opponent to hit a slightly higher return over the net is a good strategy. The higher return gives a better chance of landing directly on the opponent’s side of the table without needing topspin.
Tip 5 – Get Back Down
Serves that cause the opponent to push the ball can also be useful. The backspin on the ball will be converted to topspin by the long pimples, giving you the chance to topspin attack.
Tip 6 – White Line Fever
Hit the nets and edges a lot if you can – your opponent will already by frustrated by being beaten by someone hitting at him with long pimples – a few (or a lot) of nets and edges should just about push him over the edge(!)! Peter McKenzie and Mick Lee – you guys are masters of this tip already, please don’t do any more – I don’t think my heart could stand it!
Seriously though, it can be a good strategy to play the ball down the lines and near the edges – since the natural tendency of the opponent is to go back down the line at you. If he is not careful, the sidespin on the ball from his previous shot, which hasn’t been changed by your long pimples, can push the ball over the sidelines.
Tip 7 – Kick it
When blocking with the normal rubber, add a slight topspin motion to the block to give it a little ‘kick’ when hitting the table. Many opponents will relax when they place an attack to your normal rubber, and the slight kick will mess even further with your opponent’s already bad timing, and can cause further aggravation.