Monday 11 May 2015

Pro Tip Blog: Bilenko on Modern Defence

The defensive game has always been an entertaining and professional style in table tennis and remains so to this day, but attack is becoming more prominent even in the defensive style. More and more we hear about the phrase 'modern defence' a careful balance of defensive strokes with opportunistic attacking. There are not many traditional defenders left. In this Pro Tip Blog I spoke to Tetyana Bilenko about modern defence and the importance of attacking.

Pro Tip Blog
Tetyana Bilenko on Modern Defence
Players like Joo Se Hyuk and Masato Shiono have embraced the ability to combine their defensive style with a reasonable backhand attack and in many occasions, a world class forehand attack. The forehand of Joo could be matched with many attacking players on the international stage. The real key to balancing attack and defence is patience and shot selection. There are a few elements to consider if you are a defensive player trying to attack more frequently:

- The stage of the game, is it more important to achieve the element of surprise at crucial parts of the game and try to swing for attacking strokes more?

- Is defensive play working against your opponent or do you need to make more attacking strokes to keep the pressure on them and keep them wondering and on their toes?

- Are you giving up big attacking opportunities and taking the more passive route to trying to win points? 

The key is to develop reliable attacking strokes and know when the best time to use them is, sometimes it may be possible to set up attack on the 3rd ball, sometimes you might be able to launch a counter-attack and on other occasions you may find yourself chopping and gradually moving into position to fire off an attacking stroke. Here is what Tetyana had to say:

"I think now for defensive players it's more important to have a combination of attack with defence. Now just with defence we don't have a chance. 

You must know when to choose the ball to attack and be able to also setup the attack. Sometimes you must be patient, sometimes attack after the serve, you must have these skills. Using the skills depends on the situation and the player who you will play against.

It is also important to have some variation and range to attack, sometimes good and hard, sometimes fast, sometimes good placement, again depends on the situation." - Tetyana Bilenko.

Thank you Tetyana for contributing your thoughts on the growing age of modern defence! :)

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