The pyramid rule is a very useful concept for explaining why it is important to develop a 'close to the table' game.

The concept revolves around the increasing distance between two wide angle balls the further back you go from the table.

The best way to demonstrate this is to feed two balls, one to each corner, consecutively...

  1. Close to the table (A) you can move and hit both balls in turn.
  2. Then you move back 1-1.5 metres from the table (B). You can get the first ball but have to stretch or play out of balance for the second ball.
  3. Finally, move back again to around 2-2.5 metres from the table (C). It becomes very difficult for you to get to the ball.

The diagram above shows the point illustrated. So why is playing close to the table important?

  • Allows you to play earlier in the bounce as opposed to later, which reduces opponent reaction time and the effectiveness of hard placements.
  • Keeps your weight forward and the pressure on the opponent, giving a balanced centre of gravity instead of chasing the ball down.
  • Allows you to push your opponent back and make it difficult for them and to play with more depth and speed variation, smashing, looping for placement, drop shots etc.

To build this close to the table game you need to be fearless, when the opponent attacks you need to hold your ground and be confident.

Timing is very important, as is placement. When you get the chance to attack, being close to the table can make your shots far more devastating in terms of opponent reaction time than if you are far back playing a slower opening game and loop-to-loop counter style. At the table you can use an early-bounce counter style which can be very effective.

So, remember the pyramid rule when you find yourself drifting back from the table and don't forget that you are much better off staying up at the table!

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by Matt Hetherington