Blocking is one technique used by players to return shots, yet it can be difficult to master. With a successful block, the ball is sent back with almost no spin and at an angle that makes it challenging for the opponent to return it.
While blocking takes years of practice and experience, it’s an effective technique that any player can incorporate into their style of play. Not only can blocked shots help maintain the flow of the game play but they may even come as a surprise attack on an unsuspecting opponent!
What is block shot in table tennis?
the block shot is to use your opponent’s speed against them by forcing them to move around and change direction more quickly than they would during a more extended rally.
To be successful, you need to complete the block shot near immediately after it hits your side of the table–the sooner you react, the more control you will have over how hard or far your opponent needs to hit their subsequent return .
This is a defensive stroke that involves quickly hitting a rally ball in the same direction as it came at you, usually back over the net. It requires good timing and reflexes but can help you stay one step ahead of your opponents if done correctly.
When you should block in the games?
Blocking is one of the most essential skills in table tennis. It’s a defensive technique to frustrate your opponent and force them into mistakes. When done well, it can be incredibly effective and wear down your opponent’s will to win.
Generally speaking, it’s best to block when your opponent has committed too much forward momentum, and you can safely predict their next move.
A high-risk situation like this calls for a calculated response: blocking instead of attacking allows you to maintain control of the point and gives you enough time to make adjustments depending on what direction your opponent moves in.
At its core, blocking is all about taking away options from your adversary – so timing is everything! Otherwise, the wrong move at the wrong time could give your opponent an easy scoring opportunity or create a gap that will be hard to defend against.
How to block in table tennis games?
“Absorb the power of the incoming stroke.”
Generally speaking, there are many types of blocks. But basically speaking, the most common ones are the forehand block and backhand block. Also, there are steady blocks and active blocks during the games. The purpose of blocking is to absorb incoming shots, as this will slow down the ball and change the game’s rhythm to make your opponent feel uncomfortable.
When using any type of block, it’s essential to bend your body at the knees while keeping your racquet parallel to the table’s surface. This will help maximize consistency with returning shots and make it more challenging for your opponent to pass you up.
Keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground and bending your legs and waist to transfer energy from one racquet to the other is key for play accuracy and power. The time taken before each hit should be used wisely to ensure that you have placed yourself into a good position and have absorbed some of your opponent’s power before sending it back across.
Mastering the forehand block can be a daunting task, as it requires timing, footwork, and accuracy. However, this incredible shot is an essential part of every table tennis player’s repertoire. when the opponent strikes their shot with speed and spin, simply bring your racket forward to meet the shuttlecock.
Your shot should not be too aggressive but is best done with a short, compact motion that sends your return exactly where you aim it. Depending on your opponent’s movement and positioning following your return, you will have time to plan your next offensive or defensive move accordingly.
By making this stroke a regular part of training drills, players will quickly become skilled at commanding quick returns from their opponents and assert control of any match situation.
There are several tips when doing a forehand block:
- First, stand close to the table. When doing a block you should avoid standing too far from the table as you cannot take full advantage of the incoming power. In most cases, you could place your right leg slightly back.
- Have a relaxed grip. This is an essential thing as too many players hold their rackets quite tightly. Typically speaking, you only need to force it at the moment of contacting the ball.
- Keep your racket a little bit high and in front of you. Never put it behind, as it would be a loop instead of a block.
- The most important thing when blocking is timing. You have to block the ball on its rise after bouncing up in order to keep it low and don’t leave any time for your opponent. The racket angle should be adjusted according to the impact and spin of the incoming ball, and that’s what you should practice during the training.
- Try to fold your abdomen and absorb the power of the stroke. Many beginners always block the ball out the table as they do it too intensely. Blocking is just like playing Taichi, you should be relaxed!
- Generally speaking, some super spinny balls should be blocked a little bit earlier. If the ball is not so spinny, then you can wait for it and block it earlier but also on its rise.
- When you are able to block consistently and can absorb the power of the ball perfectly, then you could try to change the direction of the ball. Sometimes block back it to the backhand of your opponent and sometimes to his forehand area. You can do it according to his position during the match.
- Finally, don’t always block. The forehand is used to attack. So sometimes you should attack it back if your opponent gives you a powerful stroke.
Playing the backhand block in table tennis is a great way to defend yourself against strong spin shots from opponents. It’s often used just after an attack from the opponent, providing a quick defense to give you control of the game.
To execute the backhand block, start by standing on your right (if you’re right-handed) foot with your hip rotated toward the incoming shot and arms relaxed yet ready to move.
Make sure you are facing the edge of the court. With a short stroke, lift your racket arm away from your elbow in a horizontal movement.
When the ball arrives, your paddle should swing back elegantly just past your hip as if it was an extension of your torso. When you hit the ball, rise at a closed racket angle, using 50% of your stroke action to strike it.
This technique allows you to reduce an opponent’s offensive momentum and regain control over the rally by returning their power shot precisely and quickly on each side, even if they are far from you on the court.
There are several tips when doing a backhand block:
- Timing is also essential when doing backhand block. The basic technique is similar to the forehand block. Some players block the ball too late and or too hard, and then the ball will be outside of the table.
- The backhand block is much easier than the forehand block, and it’s beneficial. Try to block back the ball to the baseline of your opponent so that he would not be able to loop back easily.
- Try to close your racket, but you could adjust the angle according to the spin of the incoming ball.
What we have discussed above is all called a steady block. The Steady Block is a great technique that is used by many ping pong players around the world that keep you remain steadfast. By staying in control and firmly positioning yourself as well as your bat, you can improve your defense and accuracy while also adding offensive capabilities to your game.
But here I would like to share another kind of block–chop block. Someone also calls it an active block.
What is a chop block?
The chop block is an aggressive shot that requires the right spin, angle, and timing with an uncorrectable curve. To put it simply, rather than open the blade of your bat to counter loop or block back, you use the edges of your bat while maintaining contact with the ball until it clears the net.
The tricky thing about chop blocks is that they can vary in strength and should be hard to predict for your opponent.
When performed correctly, it will cause confusion and force opponents out of their comfort zone as they work to read what kind of shot will come at them next.
How to do chop block?
The chop block stroke(sometimes it is also called “side cut”) almost always has a sidespin component in addition to the backspin. This makes it harder for an opponent to return. Players can perform the chop block from both the forehand and backhand side of their rackets but typically opt for the backhand due to its greater control and potential to disguise shots.
To execute the chop block successfully, you must get into the proper stance. Stand relatively close to the table in the ready position and elevate your bat a bit more than normal and set it more upright. Read the incoming spin of your opponent’s ball, and adjust your bat angle accordingly to counter the topspin. Brush diagonally downward on the ball while maintaining a loose grip to impart both sidespin and backspin.
The setup for the chop block is very similar to that of a steady block, as we discussed previously–the main difference being that your bat should be slightly higher and more upright during the preparation.
It is important not to grip too tightly as this shot relies heavily on your ability to feel over the ball.
Additionally, don’t be discouraged when you first create contact with the ball, as it will often tend to kick upward from your bat. Even if you happen to hit the ball slightly higher than intended, it is still a successful attack as long as it breaks up their momentum. This can easily be regulated by having good technique and honing your newly acquired skill over time.
Tips for chop block
- The chop block really differs according to the different kinds of grips. About 20 or 30 years ago, most Chinese players had penhold grip, and they tended to do chop blocks. They use their forehand rubber to chop block in their backhand area, just like Ma lin or Liu Guoliang.
- Nowadays, most players have shakehand grip, and you can watch the video of Ma long or Koki Niwa. Ma Long is famour for his backhand side cut or chop block, while Koki Niwa likes to do chop block with both forehand and backhand.
- Try to use it when your opponent begins to loop far away from the table.
- You have to combine chop block with steady block and add more variation during the match so that it would be unpredictable for your opponent.
More thought about blocking in table tennis
Table tennis is often seen as a fast-paced game of reaction, but in reality, there’s plenty of thought and strategy involved.
Already knowing what shot you’ll make can give you an edge in anticipation, allowing for more accurate movement to back up your block. Paying close attention to your opponent’s body can also give clues about their next move, as well as how hard they’re hitting the ball – all these details help when deciding how much force to put on your blocks.
In training, you could practice with your partner or robot in this way:
Let your partner do constant forehand topspin.
- First block back to his backhand zone twice.
- The third stroke should be blocked to the forehand area.
- Repite this and after 3 groups, do a chop block!
Let your partner do constant forehand topspin.
- Firstly block back to his backhand zone once.
- Then block to the middle line.
- Then block to the forehand area.
- Repite this and after 3 groups, do a chop block!
Or you can even just practice blocking with a table tennis robot constantly to improve this skill.
Blocking may seem like just another part of the game for some players, but having an effective plan can be a game-changer for those who want to take their table tennis game up a notch!