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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Be Unpredictable through Deception

Body language gives away tendencies...

I hope that the previous 2 days of posts have shown that watching your opponent for clues about shot direction can potentially be problematic. Players use their bodies to send false clues and use deception to their advantage. Morgan Shepherd showed 3 different deception techniques in yesterday's post. There are even more that he did not show. Today, we will view a video from called Unpredictable that shows deception used in actual play.

The first shot in the video is one shown by Morgan - the hard short off a short backswing.

And in slow motion.

The second shot is the same as the first and shows just how fooled an opponent can be.

The third shot is another shown by Morgan - the misdirection shot done by changing the paddle angle.

The fourth shot is a soft drop shot after a series of overhead smashes.

The fifth shot is one of my favorites - a lob after a series of dinks.

Finally, the last shot might be king of all the deception shots - the Erne.

Here is the full video.

This seems like a good time to revisit a comment I made last week. In Watch Your Opponent, I stated:
Now we have three expert's thoughts on the topic, with some different opinions. I would like to wrap this up with my own thoughts...but I can't do that yet. Next week, I want to talk about deception and misdirection. That discussion has an impact on my conclusion.
I think I gave away my thoughts in the opening paragraph. Watching an opponent's leading shoulders or toes will definitely provide clues. The problem is knowing whether the clues are real or deception. Beginner and intermediate level players are less likely to to be able to execute deceptive shots and watching for those clues is good strategy. But advanced players can execute with deception. A bad guess is even more costly than no guess at all. The better strategy against advanced players to watch their paddle angle by focusing on where the tip of the paddle is.

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