All Table Tennis players knowingly or unknowingly play CUT and PUSH also known as CHOP a lot. As it is one technique which comes very naturally to all players. But there are very few who understand the difference and use it to their advantage. For any table tennis player understanding and differentiating between CUT and PUSH is very important. This helps them in applying both these techniques effectively to win more points. Those who want to understand the difference please read Do you know difference between Cut and Push in Table Tennis? Once you understand the difference it’s all about its application.

Tip 1: When to Play CUT and PUSH

Logic is simple when you get PUSH ball play CUT and vice versa. You can also play PUSH on PUSH and CUT on CUT but this will be not that effective. You can also play CUT when your opponent plays DRIVE or LOOP shot but you would be needing a lot of skills for playing CUT on these two balls. Generally, players who have a DIFFENSIVE style of play adopt this technique. I will explain this technique in my upcoming blogs.

When you are serving you can start your service either by a PUSH or CUT serves. This will give you an option if you want to continue the rally further with CUT, PUSH or play an attacking shot. If your opponent responds with either TOP SPIN or LOOP respectively on your service you may have to respond either by BLOCKING, playing DRIVE, playing COUNTER or by CUTTING the ball. In continuation to the series of blogs, I will cover all these terms COUNTER, DRIVE, BLOCK, LOOP, KILL in detail. Similarly, when your opponent serves a PUSH or CUT service you can respond back in CUT or PUSH respectively or may choose to play either LOOP or DRIVE.

Tip 2: How to respond to CUT and PUSH

Whenever you get engaged in CUT or PUSH it is important to know your options and keep it sorted in your mind. Generally to begin with if you understand what are the right ways to respond and practice it correctly your muscle memory will come into play and it will take the required action. But the key is you should know what are the right ways of responding:

If your opponent serves or plays CUT

In this case, you have two options either you play PUSH or try to play LOOP. This way your percentage of successful response will increase. On CUT ball especially keep in mind there will be a lot of backspin in it which means the ball will be tending to go back. Hence you should aim to make maximum use of this backspin to return the ball effectively with very little effort. Yes, the key is very little effort. The kind of contact you have to make with the ball should be very gentle and with very lose grip of your bat. Also, your hand movement should not be stiff it should be very relaxed.

Never try to play DRIVE, CUT or KILL shots on the CUT ball. You will end up returning your ball on the net most of the times.

If your opponent serves or plays PUSH

In this case, you have multiple options either you can play CUT, PUSH, DRIVE or maybe go for a KILL. Actually, if you are good enough to judge the height of the ball you can also play COUNTER. Basically, on PUSH ball, you have almost all of your options open. But most effective responses on PUSH ball is either CUT, DRIVE or KILL. Remember playing PUSH or COUNTER on PUSH ball is like wasting an opportunity of winning the point by returning some unplayable balls for the opponent. As any good player in table tennis will always look for an opportunity to play tough balls like CUT, DRIVE, and KILL in response. So if you don’t play it first your opponent will try and capitalize it.

After going through this blog just try to keep a watch on your successful shots I can bet that 90% of your shots which end up landing successfully would be on PUSH ball. Because PUSH is the easiest ball to respond and gives you multiple options for responding.

Key is always keeping an eye on PUSH ball and take your chances against it never let it go uncapitalized. Always play either CUT, DRIVE OR KILL on PUSH ball.

Tip 3: How to win more points using CUT and PUSH

Let me tell you if you master the art of CUT and PUSH you will very rarely lose a match because of your mistakes. Moreover, if you are playing against an opponent who is not good in his attack chances of you winning the match by engaging him in CUT and PUSH rally increases a lot.

Always practice playing one CUT and one PUSH ball when you are in a rally. Sometimes you can mix it up but in general, try to play CUT and PUSH alternatively. This will keep your opponent confused and chances of him making a mistake while attempting an offensive shot increases. You will be able to control the ball in a better way as at any point in time there won’t be the uncontrollable amount of backspin which may force you to commit a mistake. Also at any point in time, you won’t be offering your opponent a very loose ball which your opponent can take advantage of.

Next important tip is to try to play your PUSH ball on extreme corners of the table so that it gets little difficult for your opponent to attack. Ideally, both CUT and PUSH should be played deep on both sides of the table but offering CUT ball to your opponent for hitting does not possess too risk to you and sometimes helps you in winning points. As chances of misreading CUT ball are more and even if your opponent attacks he can only play LOOP on the CUT ball. Defending LOOP is a lot easier than defending DRIVE or KILL and it will keep you in the rally. Catch over here is if your opponent does not know how to play LOOP shot 9 out of 10 times your opponent will make an error while playing the shot.

Key is to always take a chance and try to judge your opponent how well they differentiate between CUT and PUSH and how good he/she is in attacking these balls.

As you know in any sport you have to play with opponents mind and sometimes you may have to risk few points to understand the gameplay of your opponent. One way to do that is to service a couple of loose PUSH serves to your opponent and allow them to hit. Next with keeping your action same try to service CUT ball chances are if your opponent was successful in hitting your PUSH ball he will try and the hit the CUT ball in the same way. If your opponent does not understand the difference then by now you know what will be the outcome. Yes, ball will talk with net:-)

These are few tricks which I have compiled for CUT and PUSH in table tennis. Hopefully, this will help in enhancing your understanding and in turn winning more points. Try and grasp the theory, try applying them in your practice sessions. If you have any queries feel free to reach out to me. For more interesting stories, tips and techniques with regards to sports please sign up:

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In my next blog I will cover:

DRIVE and LOOP