Julian Thomas writes:
Hi Greg, Great site. I’d like to ask a question though if I may.
I’m playing again after a 15 year layoff. In that time I was involved in a car crash and suffered nerve damage to the right deltoid muscle. I find ‘abduction’ difficult (i.e.moving the elbow away from the body). I used to be an attacking player (jonyer blade, sriver). Now, I just don’t have the arm movement to trade loops.
My instinct is to hit early, I’m happiest between 1 and 2m away from the table. I’ve been trying to put together a game based on block/push/hit. I’ve recently stuck short pips on the bh and inverted on the fh. I find I’m using the pips more on the forehand, so I’m thinking of putting a medium/long pips on the BH so I can still block/ push but also flat hit.
So, two questions… a.is this style a good idea?? b. if so, can you recomend a medium/long pips? I’ve tried curl 1 r and it didn’t really work out – can’t hit with it!
Julian (Barcelona, Spain)
To answer your first question – Is the block/push/hit style a good idea? Sure, provided you are not expecting to be playing in the top 100 players in the world – not too many block/push/hitters to be found there. For the rest of us ordinary mortals, there is no reason that you can’t play this style up to a high level. In fact, based on your injury, it might just be the best type of style for you to choose – there is no point trying to be a two-wing looper if you can’t physically execute a loop anymore.
Putting a medium-long pimpled rubber on the backhand will help you to survive close to the table, but be aware that the best rubbers for blocking and pushing aren’t necessarily the best for flat hitting. You may need to compromise a bit. Which rubber is best will also depend on how often you flat hit the ball in comparison to blocking and pushing with it. If you hit occasionally, go for the long pimpled rubbers that block and push well (and will wobble a fair bit), and give you an OK hit (ie Feint II & III, Stiga Destroyer). If you hit a lot, go with a medium pips that can hit well, and will wobble less when blocking and pushing (TSP Curl P-2 springs to mind – I use it myself to chop and hit with, or even the old Feint-Soft)
Bear in mind that you can also use certain techniques with long pimples to produce no-spin flat balls, which act like a flat hit, even though the stroke is not the same.
I’d suggest taking a look at my articles on Which Long Pimples You Should Use, Long Pimpled Push/Blocker Tactics and Long Pimpled Hitter Tactics as well, which will go into some of the concepts mentioned above in more detail.
To summarise, the block/push/hit style is entirely valid, and may be the smart choice for you, given your current physical limitations. The best choice for a BH rubber really comes down to what you plan to do with it, and how often. Make sure there is enough contrast between your FH short pips and BH medium-long pips to get the advantage of two different rubber surfaces as well.