Assuming that you are here after reading about whether you should be using long pimples, you’ve probably decided that using long pimples is a good idea. Now it’s time to talk about the different ways players use long pimples, and which particular style is the right one for you.
Although long pimples can be used in a variety of ways, to my mind there are 4 basic styles in which long pimples are used in Table Tennis today. These styles are:
- The classic defender style, where the long pimples are used to aid the constant backspin retrieval of the ball;
- The modern defender style, or aggressive backspin style, where long pimples are used to apply varying amount of backspin to force a weak return that can be counterattacked;
- The push/blocker style, where long pimples are used to slow down the game and interfere with the timing and rhythm of the opponent;
- The attacking style, where long pimples are actually used as an offensive weapon.
Each of these styles has different ways of using the long pimples, and each style also places different requirements on the player. We’ll take a look at each style in turn, and hopefully along the way you should be able to find one that suits you. Keep in mind that a blending of 2 or more styles is also possible, such as the classic defender who likes to counterattack every now and again; or a push/blocker who can also hit with the long pimples from time to time. The basics of each style will still apply to the parts of each style that are combined though.
Classic Defender Table Tennis Style
In the classic defensive style, the emphasis is put on the safe backspin retrieval of the ball over and over again. The idea is to keep the ball in play until the opponent makes a mistake. As such, the classic defender tends to shy away from taking risks, and instead is looking to make as few errors as possible.
The classic defender won’t try to attack many balls with the long pimples, as the margin for error is too high. He will usually counterattack only easy setup balls, using his normal rubber to do so. His preferred position is at least 6-8 feet (2 metres) from the table, so that he has more time to hit the ball, and can do so as the speed and spin of the ball is decreasing.
Modern Defender Table Tennis Style
More risks are taken with this style, which is more in line with an ‘attack via backspin’ strategy than a pure defensive style. The modern defender is also always on the lookout for loose returns of service, which can be third ball attacked. His playing position will vary depending on whether he is defending or attacking at any particular time.
They will also attempt to make their opponent hit his opening attack to the pimple side (usually the backhand), so that they can immediately start setting up for their counterattack. Twiddling is also used occasionally, but not as much as the classic defender, since the forehand is mainly used for looping, and is often speed glued.
At the professional level, today’s few existing modern defenders are extremely fit and mobile, and quite often using speed glued smooth rubber on the forehand to give them maximum power on their counterattack.
Push/Blocker Table Tennis Style
A defensive push/blocker will also use the long pimples to handle the attacks of his opponent, but is generally hoping to use the spin and speed variation provided by long pimples to force mistakes from his opponent’s attacks, rather than taking the offence himself. The long pimples are also used to affect the opponents timing and rhythm, resulting in slower pace in the points.
Attacking Table Tennis Style
The smooth side of the bat is used as occasional variation to keep the opponent off balance, and also to block back attacks to that side. Attacks to the long pimples are hit back in a flat stroke, which produces a ‘chop-block’ type of effect.
Having read through this article, you should have been able to find a style, or perhaps a blend of styles, that appeals to you and suits your ability and goals. Come back again soon when we’ll go on to Part 3 of this guide to long pimples, and discuss just which one of the many types of long pimples out there should suit your style of play best.