20 Tips For Twiddlers
Here there are some tips that I find useful to play a twiddling game...
1 - Do not use any rubber as passive one, or to cover some weakness. Play actively with both rubbers, and develop a shot repertoire as wider as possible. You have to master both rubbers on both sides. You are not playing like this to cover some weakness or inability. You play like this because it's your tactic of choice.
2 - Do not depend on any rubber. Do not receive serves always with the same rubber. That's a weakness. Your goal should be able to receive any serve with both rubbers.
3 - Use equipment that you can handle. Spend time and money and know what you can handle and what you can't, what suits your style and what doesn't. Experimentation with equipment is critical to archieve this, specially with long pip rubbers.
4 - Use both surfaces for attack and defense. Learn to attack with your 'defensive' rubber and to defend with your 'attack' rubber, as sometimes you'll have to. Use spin-reversing rubbers to hit against backspin. Use pips out to pick hit. Use control rubbers to attack at wide angles. Use slow rubbers to do drop shots. Think about how to get the most from your equipment.
5 - Do not be afraid to serve with both surfaces, or from both sides. Long pips or anti can produce effective serves too.
6 - Twiddle when your opponent is serving. Twiddle every time he checks your racket when he is preparing for serve. Twiddle before you serve. By doing this you can make him serve to the side you wish, or make him serve without knowing what rubber are you going to use to return his serve.
7 - Learn to rally. Do not be afraid of it. Twiddle during rally and switch to attack and defense back and forth. You can do that easier and more effective that a player having the same rubber both sides.
8 - Train both surfaces on both sides. Train against any style or equipment. Train against your partner's strengths. Develop special drills to train your weaknesses.
9 - Get a defense rubber and an attack rubber. This gives you any choice when it comes to tactics and variations. I recommend chopping long pips, even if you don't plan to chop. Slow spiny (sticky) inverted is very good as an attack rubber.
10 - The more extreme and the bigger the differece the between your rubbers, the more dangerous will be your play. Very spiny + very dead, very fast + very slow equipment is a must combo for any material player. One spiny rubber and one long pips rubber is a good contrast. One fast and one slow rubber is a good combo.
11 - Get a racket with a handle that makes twiddling easy. Conic or concave handles are fine to me. If you plan to use OX long pips, you'll need a flexible, high dwell time blade. Do not underestimate the control you'll get when going for slower equipment.
12 - Adjust your grip during rallies if you need it, depending on rubber used, shot selection and spin & direction for the incoming ball. There is nothing wrong with it. Also play with a loose grip, or wrist strokes if you like. Just make yourself sure that your style and technique is capable of evolution and improvement and that it doesn't limit your style.
13 - Watch defensive players, see how they adjust his game depending on lots of factors, You have to do the same, since you'll have to play defense sometimes.
14 - Do not go for frenzy attack or self-imposed defense. Leave that to all-inverted or all-long-pips players. You can switch between both, and do so at your will. You should be able to play various styles as long as your equipment allows it.
15 - Take care of your rubbers. Long pips are not more effective when are dirty, instead they can even be less effective (that depends on the type of pips). Keep your inverted clean.
16 - Play both rubbers during warm up. You plan to use them both during the match, right? Don't doing so could hurt your opponent's play, but also yours. Also, twiddle during warm up, to get used to twiddling against your opponent's style.
17 - Show others how they have to play against you. Tell them your weak points. Make your partners used to your style. Make them tough rivals to you, so you can improve. Otherwise you could be winning all the time because of their inability to handle your style or equipment and you won't be improving much. You'll have to win your harder opponents through tactics & skill: Do not expect them to be incapable of dealing with your equipment.
18 - There are combinations of rubbers and styles that are more effective when facing other combinations of rubbers and styles: Long pip choppers can have problems against pick hitters who can play short, anti blockers can give big-swing loopers a hard time (that of course is very relative, and depend on lots of other factors). Find out if this is the case when you are in a match and get profit of it.
19 - Find out what gives your opponent most problems (no spin, short game, chopping...) and then do it. You can do that because you have a better weapon than your opponent. Well rounded players, with no easy to spot weaknesses are extremely rare until you get to a certain high level.
20 - Fuck robotnazis. There are players out there that doesn't like to play against certain styles or equipment because they can't play against them, due to misconceptions or misunderstandings of the game and for some irrational reasons (anti needs no skill, long pips are tricky...). They will make themselves sure that you are aware of this. You can argue, accept advices, apologize for being an inferior athlete or just piss on that piece of shit. Just remember: You have to prove nothing to nobody. You play like this because you can, and because it's your will.
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