By Carl Danner

Did I just say something bad about everyone’s favorite shot? DId I also brand a long push the most popular shot in table tennis? Looking around any club, you would think so based on how many seem to be used — especially around the 1200 to 1800 levels that are the backbone of most club memberships.

And yes, I want to say something bad about this shot. If you aspire to higher level play (say, above 2000 in U.S. ratings), you can’t make long pushes a routine part of your game. Opponents will attack them and you will lose. Worse, doing this can make your feet lazy, so you don’t have the wheels to get into position to attack your opponents’ similar offerings. A smart opponent will eat you up if he sees that his long pushes usually yield similar shots in return, for him to attack.

It almost doesn’t matter how much drilling and training you do on exciting shots, reloops, and all the rest. If you have it, this weakness will definitely limit your progress, and even become a brick wall at a certain level.

Bottom lines: Don’t push long without a specific reason. Push short instead, or open. When someone pushes long to you, get into position and loop it even though it requires hard work with your feet.