Game and skills analysis Joo Se Hyuk (Korea)

The following observations are of course my personal view and do not claim to be the “truth”!

Let’s start with the currently best defender in the world: Joo Se Hyuk:


This recent game is one of the better ones against Ma Long even though he lost 3:1. He was using more often the pips-in on backhand and attacked with it. Only the use of pips-in when pushing from the backhand side and the use of longpips on slow spinny topspins down his forhand are missing to make up for a just too powerful Ma Long:

The two currently best defenders playing each other:

Poor video quality but great matches by joo:


  • Good footwork
  • Great Forehand topspin against chop, block and topspin
  • Good consistent defending on the backhand
  • Good defending  forehand against fast topspins
  • Great variety of serves
  • Good smashing with the backhand pimples against high balls or slow blocking


  • always uses the pimples on the backhand to push against a push ball thus taking the risk of getting heavily punished by big and fast forehand topspins à la Zhang Yike, Ma lin or Wang Hao. The Push with Feint pimples is too predictable. Rallies get too long and physically too exhausting so that especially in a tournament he might be too “crushed” before getting to the semifinal or final stage.
  • struggles getting the ball back low when confronted with heavy, but slow and short topspins into his forehand
  • When defending with the forehand there is not enough difference between float and chop thus making it to simple for the attacker to eternally spin on.
  • The Feint pimples or whatever he is using work fine getting the ball back low, fast and constistent but do not have enough back spin. He might have changed the pimples recently. I don’t have a confirmation of this. If somebody has: Get back to me with it.


  • When defending a couple of times with the backhand pimples and the attacker pushes the ball short into his backhand so that he cannot attack with his forehand Joo should consider using the pimples-in rubber side to push back the ball with heavy chop long down the line into the extreme backhand corner of the attacker.
  • Against slow, short top spins with heavy spin into his forehand, Joo should practice using a mixture of low slow blocking back the ball from underneath the table, using the pimples to play back the ball with the heaviest backspin possible,  trying to float the ball back in a deceptive manner.
  • Practice heavy chop by quickly hitting the bat upright down to give the most heavy chop or doing it deceptively by closing the bat and producing a float that looks like a heavy chop
  • Joo should consider trying to use a TSP Curl P-1 R or other pimples out that produce much more back spin when used against heavy top spin

5 thoughts on “Game and skills analysis Joo Se Hyuk (Korea)”

  1. About Joo Se Yuk : I was told he uses Tibhar Grass D-Tecs Pimples on backhand, not Feint. He used to play wiyh TSP Curl P1-R before (like Wang Xi, Chen Weixing, Chtchetinine Evgueni…)

  2. Oh yes, I forgot to mention: I’m a big fan of Joo and I follow him quite closely. The only thing he misses to win from the Chinese players is the courage to play more active with his forehand in the beginning of the match. He mostly does it towards the end of the match, but then it is already too late. Just watch some of his older matches: he does it there. If he hadn’t had this weakness and the ITTF didn’t come up with rules that gave the defensive styles a significant disadvantage, he probably would be number 1 of the world. He’s a technical and tactical genius.

  3. Hi, first of all, very nice blog!!! 🙂
    I love TT, I’m a very weak player who’s trying to learn the beautiful defensive style, but i watched so many videos and matches about it so i’ll leave some comments with my opinion, even if my experience is still very low 🙂

    I think your comments are almost always very good, above all the parts of the Strenghts and Weaknesses even if i think there are some errors now and then… but in general i think your suggestions are too “pretentious” even if they are theorically right:
    1) it’s impossible to learn to do averything well and being perfect, everyone have things that he can’t learn to make well because of “natural inclination”
    2) improving and mantaining skills needs time and you never have enough to keep everything trained up even if you could be able to do everything, so i think if they had tried to make everything good they would have ended up without the real strong points in their game that you underline so well
    3) the materials they use give them limitations: for example you say that Evgueni CHTCHETININE has got a realy spinny and good forehand chop but a bad attack that he could improve, but i heard he’s using TSP triple spin chop 1 mm on the forehand side, so how can he attack well with it? But this is just one of the many example

    About Joo:
    I think you misunderstand the interpretation about backhand chop. In fact joo have been using Curl p-1 since the beginning of his high level play until 2008, then he used Grass D.techs but very recently (beginning of 2012) he changed again to something unknown (perhaps curl p-1 or p4). In every case he uses high mm (1.7 i think). And also because of this motive Joo’s chops are probably some of the heaviest, and he also manages to keep them low most of the time. So i think you can’t say “he brings ball back but not heavy enough”, but it’s the opposite, he uses a very difficult to control rubber to have the heaviest chops even if it’s hard to control! (have you ever tried Grass D.Techs? It’s so fast and uncontrollable but have tremendous inversion on chops)

    I again thank you for this beautiful blog and i want you to know that everything i write is just a personal interpretation based on what i know and i hope it can be useful somehow!!!
    keep going!!!

    1. RevenII, nice reply! 🙂 ATM we are 100% certain Joo’s playing the P1-R again on his backhand. Visit the OOAK forum and find Joo’s thread in the video department. You’ll see a very recent picture there.

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