Why the Ball Higher the Harder to Hit? Introduction of Table Tennis Lob Technique
Being a table tennis fan, believed the most delighted moment is that your opponent returns a high ball and let you smash it violently, getting a point easily. You won’t mind having more of these kinds of chances. However, maybe you never think about that when your wishes come true, having some really high balls to kill arbitrarily, it can be deadly painful, even for professional players, not to mention amateurs.
Table Tennis Lob
There’s a table tennis technique called lob. The ball is returned deliberately high to the sky and let the opponent smash at full power to his heart’s content. The player steps back quietly far away from the table, returning calmly and comfortably. The returned balls are getting higher and higher. The player waits patiently for the opponent making mistakes or the chances to counter-attack.
(Image courtesy of Pierre-Yves Beaudouin at Wikimedia Commons)
Those fierce smashes consume much of the opponent’s energy. Moreover, attacking for a long time without success, the opponent is easy to become fretful and hurried, leading to more mistakes. When it repeats every point, the energy consumption is huge after a game.
The table tennis lob skill originated from Europe long time ago. A classic battle ever happened in Hong Kong. In the 70s, the Table Tennis World Cup (Grand Slam event now) was held in the Macpherson Stadium (demolished and rebuilt) in Mong Kok. In the semi-final, it was the world ranked no. 2 Chinese player, Xie Saike, versus the European Champion, Mikael Appelgren.
Table Tennis Lob of European Players
Xia was leading all the way and controlled everything. Appelgren was desperate and just tried to lob. Unexpectedly, it worked! Xia didn’t know how to deal with lobs. He rigidly smashed at full power every point, which was ordinary to have ten to twenty strokes. You can imagine his energy waste. Gradually, his physical strength was unable to endure, making more and more mistakes. Appelgren made a big turnaround and won the match fianlly. A shoulder dislocation of Xia was found afterwards!
Learning a lesson, the Chinese national team once paid special attention to the training of handling lobs. Interestingly, the same thing happened again after more than two decades. In the Shanghai World Table Tennis Championships 2005, it was Danish Michael Maze versus Chinese Hao Shuai in the Singles quarter final. The new generation of the Chinese team made exactly the same mistake.
Shanghai World Table Tennis Championships 2005
Michael Maze vs Hao Shuai (9-5, 4th game)
Hao was leading far 3-0 (best 4 or 7 games, 11 points), just two points away from the victory in the 4th game. He followed the same steps of Xia and lost eventually, fading out from the national team afterwards.
Do you know how to defeat the table tennis lob technique?