[Singles] How to win with lower stamina against a rally-style player?

Discussion in 'Techniques / Training' started by MrHoang, Sep 17, 2022.

  1. MrHoang

    MrHoang Regular Member

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    Some context: I'm an intermediate-level men's singles player and I am able to play pretty well against other fairly skilled men. I have a fairly balanced playstyle (relying on a mix of counter-attacks and my own attacks to win points).

    In a recent tournament, I played against a player whose strategy was to completely tire me out. Their main shots consisted of high serves, long pushes, punch clears, and well-placed blocks. They would never take a "bad" attack that left them open to counter-attacks on a lift, and would opt for a drop or clear instead. In the first set, I kept up with their rallies, but my stamina drained well before theirs and it was very noticeable in the second set when I could barely move my legs.

    What kind of tactics can I employ against such a player to have a better chance of winning against them (while my stamina is lower)? I understand that improving my stamina is one thing, but tactically, is there something I can do?
     
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  2. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Regular Member

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    This video might help:


    If your opponent has a very good defense AND better stamina, it's gonna be pretty hard to win. I don't know how much deception you use in your shots, but that could be a way to create attacking opportunities.
     
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  3. SnowWhite

    SnowWhite Regular Member

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    They can only beat you on stamina if the rallies are long. The rallies will only be long if you cannot find ways to score points. Therefore, you must try everything you can to shorten the rallies and score points. If you have tried everything you can, and nothing seems to work, you need to take more risk. You can try to smash closer to the lines. You can try to play the corners more accurately. You can try to play the net tighter. Undoubtedly, if you do this, you will make more mistakes, but you will likely score more points as well. As long as the points keep up with the mistakes, playing with this extra risk is worth it, because it shortens the rallies. His stamina cannot save him if you are playing winners, whether they are smashes, tight net shots, or deceptions.

    You can also try to play with more pace. This is counter intuitive, because if you keep losing on stamina, why play faster? But this faster play puts more pressure on the opponent and can result in winning points and shorter rallies. Stamina is a funny thing. Some players can play forever at their own pace, but if they have to play faster, their stamina could burn out very quickly. Then suddenly you can be the one that's winning on stamina.

    You can also try to play slower. Maybe you run out of stamina because you are trying to play too fast. In general it is easier to keep pace than it is to make pace. It is easier for the opponent to keep up with you, than it is for you to try to actively play faster. And if it doesn't score points, you will likely get tired faster than the opponent. It is possible that if you tried to slow the game down with high lifts and clears, and more neutralizing shots, you would be able to keep up with your opponent's stamina all the way.

    A combination of these ideas is to keep the game slow to conserve energy, but at the same time look for opportunities to take the initiative. Whenever the opponent plays anything that is subpar, start pushing the pace, and play as fast as possible for the next few shots at least. Whether it is a slightly short clear, or a predictable dropshot, or he is lazy in his recovery, immediately try to take advantage. By only doing this when the opponent is already at a slight disadvantage, you maximize the points you get from outpacing your opponent, without having to keep it up the entire rally. It's important however to recognize when the opponent neutralizes your initiative and is no longer in trouble. If you keep up the pace then, you are just getting tired without payoff. Better to slow it down again and wait for another opportunity.

    Often, when a player is used to relying on their footwork, consistency, and stamina to win games, their shots can be straightforward and predictable (to prevent mistakes). If you are able, look for their favorite shots. What shots do they play in certain situations? What do they most often play from their backcourt forehand? What about the backhand? What about the frontcourt? How do they most often defend a smash? If they are too predictable, you can anticipate their shots, move to take them earlier, and take advantage.

    Furthermore, if you know beforehand that your opponent has better stamina, don't rush in between points, even at the start of the game when neither of you is tired. Take your time in between the rallies, even at the start because it can make a difference towards the end of the match. Eager younger players often rush, immediately ready to play the next point. Don't let yourself fall into this habit. And if your opponent is like this, don't let them rush you.
     
  4. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Difficult opponent.

    Remember they are controlling you and the pace of the game. How do you prepare for the next competition?

    Be prepared to rally. It means getting a) fitter and b) increasing quality of your shots and c) understanding your own footwork / body movement weak points and rhythm.

    Be prepared to change pace. Slow rallies and then change the pace with cut drops, attack clears, drive into the body. Not necessarily to win a point but to disturb the opponent’s rhythm and see if the opponent returns a lower quality shot which you can take advantage of.

    High serve indicates to me a player who likes to slow the pace down. It may not be your natural rhythm. You can start your own rallies at a faster rhythm by backhand low serves. Important to note backhand serves can have a lot of variation to your advantage. Need to think about using them as a creator of advantage rather than just a stroke move to put the shuttle into play.

    Improve netplay. Control forecourt and play better spinning net shots to get the short lifts.
     
    #4 Cheung, Sep 17, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
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  5. MrHoang

    MrHoang Regular Member

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    Great points here and I really like the call-out about not rushing between points. I think I do fall into this habit and feel "guilty" for taking too long on a point even if the opponent is not necessarily rushing me. I have been told by one of my friends that I should try to lower my BPM a bit between each rally and get my breathing under control before we begin.
     
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  6. baronspill

    baronspill Regular Member

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    How do you return the high serve?

    Dangers are if you smash full power you use a lot of energy and most likely lose the point from a simple block. Conversely if you return with a high clear you're straight into a clearing war which is your opponents strength.

    Smashes at 80% power down the line with a follow up are very effective. When your opponent starts to anticipate this and moves their base more to the side then throw in a punch clear to the opposite corner.

    See this video...

     
    #6 baronspill, Sep 18, 2022
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2022
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