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    Default Singles play advice?

    What strategies do you use to someone who is a power player in singles? Any suggestions?
    (Smash, flat/punch clear, drive a lot)
    How do I get the point on these types of players without beating them at their own game?

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    Yes you need to move them around with drives and attacking clears to prevent them getting easy smashes on you. Also block smashes to the net rather than lift as they tend to be quite good on repeated smashes. Another technique I employ is see how they are at the net, usually power players are not great in netplay, so a good tactic would be to push them back into the corner, then do side to side net exchanges and see how they respond. Good luck!

    Kindest regards,

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    Quote Originally Posted by InvincibleAjay View Post
    Yes you need to move them around with drives and attacking clears to prevent them getting easy smashes on you. Also block smashes to the net rather than lift as they tend to be quite good on repeated smashes. Another technique I employ is see how they are at the net, usually power players are not great in netplay, so a good tactic would be to push them back into the corner, then do side to side net exchanges and see how they respond. Good luck!

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    Agree. Good advice

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    Is there anyway to play a completely slow game and still manage against them?
    All high clears, slower drop shots etc.

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    You can use more drops and net shots, half smashes as well. Counter his smashes with cross blocks to test his diagonal movement.

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    Power players do not like very high deep lifts - it ruins their timing on their smashes and allows you to play blocks/cross blocks as others suggested. If they lift it, you can clear high and deep or play a drop shot to the middle - they will be very frustrated if you play lots of soft shots to the middle, not too close to the net (push it back to around the service line) - it will mean they cannot play tight netshots and probably have to play a soft net shot back, or lift - shots they probably don't want to play.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilan View Post
    (Smash, flat/punch clear, drive a lot)
    In addition to what are already discussed, I'd like to comment on a few things. The shots OP described are all shots from mid/read courts. How does this power player play at the front court? How is his footwork? Is he primarily a Singles player or a Doubles player playing Singles?

    Just because someone is a power player doesn't mean he's not good at the net. Quite the contrary, it's quite possible that he's decent net player, in order to force his opponent to lift, so he can engage his own style. OP needs to test him out.

    The shots described all go to the mid/rear court as well. If there are few front court shots, and/or if there are few net shots, you could bias your bases further back to anticipate his probable returns.

    Finally, whatever you do, it's about giving him a chance to use his strengths against your weakness, but rather exploit his weakness, etc. It's more than just smashes, drives and flat clears.

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    Thank you for all the advice everyone!
    I especially like the idea of playing net/drop shots to the middle of their court (front service line as MSeeley suggested)

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    Frustrate them with clears/lifts that drop vertically down. It reduces their smashing angles and allow you to defend better and move them around easily and bait them to attack.

    Another thing I do is to counter drives is to counter them with drives. Normally, this will get them rooted to the ground and once you spot that, you can vary your next shot and catch them by surprise.

    Next thing to try is testing out how fast they are at covering the court. From experience, they are fast to the back court, that's why they could afford the power play, but not necessary as fast to the front. So keep shots as tight as possible and see how fast they can cover it. If they are fast to the front and engage you at the net, your best chance is to try out some cross court net shots or catch him by surprise with another push/drive to disrupt his play and not play into his game plan.

    Power players also may not be placement players, because they can win by sheer power. If you get the chance to attack, place them on the lines, hit some nice angles and see how they react to those. Against players whose play that only has power but nothing else, it may introduce doubts and they get wary of using power to counter it and play safer shots. If they play back safer shots, you may have found something to exploit. Use it wisely to keep them in check.

    Also, you can try cross court fast attacking lifts and attacking clears. Some power players develop very fluid straight back court movement and use this to their advantage, but don't necessary favour the diagonal court movement. If that's the case, their movement could be slightly slower when it comes to diagonal court movement and such shots will limit their power play effectively. If they are fast to cover those as well, then you will have to vary them.

    I don't usually favour a slow game against power players because they have a tendency to pounce on them. It's because they could afford to, thus they develop such a style. Unless they are truly very slow, but I haven't seen players who favour such a style being slow. It may drain them, but aside from that, it doesn't slow them a lot once they recover from it. Also, it depends on the type of power players you meet. A smart one that uses clears, smashes and drives effectively will be very hard to deal with using slow games. You will end up playing into their hands and make yourself tired instead. But against someone who keeps smashing and driving, you may get some chance by disrupting the pace of the game and get on their mind for being a solid wall.

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    Regular Member ucantseeme's Avatar
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    I can't recommend playing in the middle most of the time. The corners of his court are always the longest distance from his neutral point. Lifts and dropshots will give him more advantages than you. For corner the same shot travels a bit longer but, force him to have bad angles and a longer distance. The return like clears and lifts are more predictable. Also you don't gain anything by playing in the middle of his rear or front court because it makes his return easier and the possible shots more variant and his smashs more deadly. You don't get time advantages, if you are in trouble etc. You have to move to every corner the longest distance. Take a look at a high class mens single game. Their neutral position moves often to the sides. In which situations did he score?
    IMO it's good to have a deep cross court clear. Especially a good crosscourt backhand clear. Without any analysis of his weakness like overweight/slow movement, weak areas of court, tall etc. we can't help much. Sometimes it's time to realize that somebody is just better than you and not beatable with any tactic. Maybe he is good to generate situations to finish the rally easily.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ucantseeme View Post
    I can't recommend playing in the middle most of the time. The corners of his court are always the longest distance from his neutral point. Lifts and dropshots will give him more advantages than you. For corner the same shot travels a bit longer but, force him to have bad angles and a longer distance. The return like clears and lifts are more predictable. Also you don't gain anything by playing in the middle of his rear or front court because it makes his return easier and the possible shots more variant and his smashs more deadly.
    Whilst you give good advice, I do not agree with this analysis. By hitting to the middle, you make it easier for him to get to the shot (we agree on that) but you make it much harder to play a good shot of his own. If you lift down the middle and he hits a straight smash, it comes straight to you! If he is in the corner and he hits a straight smash, it may land on the sidelines and be very difficult to reach. Hitting from the middle means you have to "create" your own angle - hitting the sidelines from the middle is much more difficult than from the sides of the court, as its easier to make a mistake (you have more margin for error when hitting cross court from the sides). So lifting to the middle could potentially make his smash less effective, as he must have much better accuracy in order to get it to the side of the court and his fastest smash will be very easy to defend against as it comes down the middle.

    Playing drops or net shots to the middle is also a very good tactic - it can frustrate your opponent. They want to get the shuttle away from you, but again its harder to lift from middle to the corner, than it is to lift from corner to corner (for example). Its also much more difficult to play a net shot to the sides of the court when you take the shuttle in the middle - whereas if you take it at the side, then its easy to hit a straight net shot, OR to hit a cross court net shot.

    So - to be clear - hitting to the middle makes it easy for opponent to get to the shuttle, but much more difficult for opponent to hit shots away from you. This may put pressure on the opponent and he may make mistakes as a result.

    If you want to see these tactics being put to good use, watch Taufik Hidayat versus Lee Chong Wei in the 2010 World Championships - Taufik plays lots of net shots to the middle.

    I will agree however, that the best tactics involve being much more aggressive and hitting winners to the sides of the court. However - most people can't achieve this. If anyone reading this has not tried playing shots to the middle in singles, then give it a go. It requires you to be patient - but thats the whole focus of singles anyway!

    Good luck all!

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    Playing a lot of shots to the middle is a very good tactic (in single and doubles) if you have a mediocre position (which you have very often) and want to play a neutral shot.
    Of course, the opponent will get most shots to the middle easily. But he has very limited options, because his angles are so bad.
    A very good example is a stick-smash to the middle in doubles. What the hell should the opponent do with this shot? He can hardly block it to the net (with the bad angles, it is very likely the frontcourt player will kill it), it's very difficult to drive it through the frontcourt player to the midcourt (guess why? because he has no angle...). So he almost HAS to lift it back.
    This is why we call it a neutral shot. You can't win the point, but the opponent cannot profit either. He lifts it back, you're back where you started before the neutral shot.

    Similar thoughts hold true for singles games, where you play rather fast, flat drops to the middle of the court. Given your footwork is ok, the opponent has hardly a chance to play a winner from below the net, behind the service line. You will get the next shot for sure. You play this shot very often when you're under pressure (e.g. in the backhand corner). But against power players (that often take a lot of risk because they want to win immediate points) this is a very good tactic. They can't apply their best weapons (often above the head shots), but still want to play aggressive from below the net. And that is very prone to mistakes...

    The idea is to use their aggression against them, by giving them the chance to play risky shots they're not good at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSeeley View Post
    Whilst you give good advice, I do not agree with this analysis. By hitting to the middle, you make it easier for him to get to the shot (we agree on that) but you make it much harder to play a good shot of his own. If you lift down the middle and he hits a straight smash, it comes straight to you! If he is in the corner and he hits a straight smash, it may land on the sidelines and be very difficult to reach. Hitting from the middle means you have to "create" your own angle - hitting the sidelines from the middle is much more difficult than from the sides of the court, as its easier to make a mistake (you have more margin for error when hitting cross court from the sides). So lifting to the middle could potentially make his smash less effective, as he must have much better accuracy in order to get it to the side of the court and his fastest smash will be very easy to defend against as it comes down the middle.

    Playing drops or net shots to the middle is also a very good tactic - it can frustrate your opponent. They want to get the shuttle away from you, but again its harder to lift from middle to the corner, than it is to lift from corner to corner (for example). Its also much more difficult to play a net shot to the sides of the court when you take the shuttle in the middle - whereas if you take it at the side, then its easy to hit a straight net shot, OR to hit a cross court net shot.

    So - to be clear - hitting to the middle makes it easy for opponent to get to the shuttle, but much more difficult for opponent to hit shots away from you. This may put pressure on the opponent and he may make mistakes as a result.

    If you want to see these tactics being put to good use, watch Taufik Hidayat versus Lee Chong Wei in the 2010 World Championships - Taufik plays lots of net shots to the middle.

    I will agree however, that the best tactics involve being much more aggressive and hitting winners to the sides of the court. However - most people can't achieve this. If anyone reading this has not tried playing shots to the middle in singles, then give it a go. It requires you to be patient - but thats the whole focus of singles anyway!

    Good luck all!
    Thanks for your explanation. I can only speak from my singles experience and I never got advantages when playing to the middle. Opponent can take the shuttle much earlier at the net which means he can choose if he lift or just do a tight net shot. At the corners he must take the shuttle much lower/later and with a sharp dropshot he will be forced to lift depending on his position of his previous shot. Sometimes he/she will lift short. I can say that good clubs train crosscourt smash and if you are trained to smash from the corner in MD between your opponents, you can also smash to the sides in singles. If you can lift from the middle to the corners in MD, you can do it in singles as well. Same angle. If you do your drops and lift to the middle from the corner, your opponent can do this as well. Position different. Angle the same. I only see the advantage in return during pure netplay that you don't have to cover the whole net. If your opponent has shorter distances to hit, you will always have less time to get in position for your return. I think that your tactic will work against players which tend to try to hard to play accurate or too powerful with less control and hit out of the sides, but if the opponent don't have problems with his placing. He will maximum need one set to adjust fme.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ucantseeme View Post
    Thanks for your explanation. I can only speak from my singles experience and I never got advantages when playing to the middle. Opponent can take the shuttle much earlier at the net which means he can choose if he lift or just do a tight net shot. At the corners he must take the shuttle much lower/later and with a sharp dropshot he will be forced to lift depending on his position of his previous shot. Sometimes he/she will lift short. I can say that good clubs train crosscourt smash and if you are trained to smash from the corner in MD between your opponents, you can also smash to the sides in singles. If you can lift from the middle to the corners in MD, you can do it in singles as well. Same angle. If you do your drops and lift to the middle from the corner, your opponent can do this as well. Position different. Angle the same. I only see the advantage in return during pure netplay that you don't have to cover the whole net. If your opponent has shorter distances to hit, you will always have less time to get in position for your return. I think that your tactic will work against players which tend to try to hard to play accurate or too powerful with less control and hit out of the sides, but if the opponent don't have problems with his placing. He will maximum need one set to adjust fme.
    I understand your explanation and experience. You are correct - the angles you talk about are the same in singles as in doubles e.g. smashing from middle to the sides in doubles is the same as in singles. However, I believe there is much greater pressure to play the same shot in singles - there is a higher margin for error when smashing from the middle in doubles. You expect the opponent to get it, and your partner will cover the net.

    However, in singles, it is very bad if your opponent gets to your smash. Hence, whilst the angle is the same, in singles you must really place the shot within about 1 foot of the side lines, otherwise your own smash will put you in trouble. And hence, players aim for the sides, and make more mistakes. In doubles, the chance of hitting out is very slim, as you normally attack the defender, rather than the actual boundaries of the court.

    A similar explanation is true for most shots in singles versus doubles. A lift from the middle in doubles does NOT need to go right to the side of the tramlines - it just needs to go up and to the side. However, in singles, you normally aim right for the corner, so that you can move your opponents lots. Hence, because you aim for the corner, it is more difficult to keep the shuttle in. I agree in theory that the shot is the same, but in practice, it is much harder to do under pressure against a good opponent because your do not have room to make mistakes.

    I can understand your experiences of singles and why you feel the way you do about hitting to the middle. However, if I play to the middle at the net, it is very easy for me to cover the net - so my opponent cannot play a tight net shot (I will kill it). Furthermore, if I play to the middle but as a neutral shot (to the service line, not tight to the net) then my opponent will struggle to play a tight net shot return - he will take the shuttle too far away from the net and too low to spin it properly.

    Finally I will say - my opponents are fast enough that they take most shots relatively early at the net. Whether its in the middle, or at the sides. I can hit neutral shots to the middle faster, because I don't try to get it too close to the net (think fast drop or push rather than a slow drop or a tight net shot). Because I hit the shuttle faster, my opponents have to take the shuttle a little lower. I find it much easier when they have to play shots from low in the middle of the court, than if I play tighter to the sides. Some opponents are slow - I like to try and move those around as you describe. However, against fast opponents, I cannot make them take it late. So instead. I find it much easier to put them under pressure by making them have to come up with good shots to keep the shuttle away from me.

    And they will make them - they don't make many errors because they are very very good players. But it helps me to control the rally and stop them attacking, which I find useful.

    Good discussion! Its interesting to hear your experiences of singles!

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    Just as a remark:
    The "best shot" heavily depends on your own level and the level of your opponent!
    What might be the best shot against mediocre opponents (just let them run to the 4 corners) eventually needs to be a bit elaborated as your the level (and the level of the opponents) rises.
    Especially as the level rises, you see a lot more neutral shots, because both players know they won't win the rally outright They wait for better chances.
    This requires you to know you get the next shot.
    Kinda like:
    "I don't have the position to play a winner/very good net shot. So here you have a steep fast drop you can easily get. But hey, I get your next shot anyway. Because with this steep fast drop I don't give you the opportunity to do me any harm. Play it back to me and we will see what happens next."

    The game needs much more patience at higher levels...

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    Regular Member ucantseeme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by |_Footwork_| View Post
    A very good example is a stick-smash to the middle in doubles. What the hell should the opponent do with this shot? He can hardly block it to the net (with the bad angles, it is very likely the frontcourt player will kill it), it's very difficult to drive it through the frontcourt player to the midcourt (guess why? because he has no angle...). So he almost HAS to lift it back.
    This is why we call it a neutral shot. You can't win the point, but the opponent cannot profit either. He lifts it back, you're back where you started before the neutral shot.
    I must disagree for doubles. IMO every shot which force my opponent to lift is an offensive, because I get in the attack/stay in the attack. Neutral play in doubles means too me that you play flat, and non of the sides clearly defend or attack which means that no side feed the other side to play shots down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ucantseeme View Post
    I can't recommend playing in the middle most of the time. The corners of his court are always the longest distance from his neutral point. Lifts and dropshots will give him more advantages than you. For corner the same shot travels a bit longer but, force him to have bad angles and a longer distance. The return like clears and lifts are more predictable. Also you don't gain anything by playing in the middle of his rear or front court because it makes his return easier and the possible shots more variant and his smashs more deadly. You don't get time advantages, if you are in trouble etc. You have to move to every corner the longest distance. Take a look at a high class mens single game. Their neutral position moves often to the sides. In which situations did he score?
    IMO it's good to have a deep cross court clear. Especially a good crosscourt backhand clear. Without any analysis of his weakness like overweight/slow movement, weak areas of court, tall etc. we can't help much. Sometimes it's time to realize that somebody is just better than you and not beatable with any tactic. Maybe he is good to generate situations to finish the rally easily.
    Quote Originally Posted by ucantseeme View Post
    Thanks for your explanation. I can only speak from my singles experience and I never got advantages when playing to the middle. Opponent can take the shuttle much earlier at the net which means he can choose if he lift or just do a tight net shot. At the corners he must take the shuttle much lower/later and with a sharp dropshot he will be forced to lift depending on his position of his previous shot. Sometimes he/she will lift short. I can say that good clubs train crosscourt smash and if you are trained to smash from the corner in MD between your opponents, you can also smash to the sides in singles. If you can lift from the middle to the corners in MD, you can do it in singles as well. Same angle. If you do your drops and lift to the middle from the corner, your opponent can do this as well. Position different. Angle the same. I only see the advantage in return during pure netplay that you don't have to cover the whole net. If your opponent has shorter distances to hit, you will always have less time to get in position for your return. I think that your tactic will work against players which tend to try to hard to play accurate or too powerful with less control and hit out of the sides, but if the opponent don't have problems with his placing. He will maximum need one set to adjust fme.

    ucsm - your posts are so hard to read due to lack of paragraphs.

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