General Rules of Ball Placement When Attacking
Crosscourt: It gives you the largest margin of error, but is usually the easiest for the opponent to return. (Corner to Corner crosscourt is about 10.3 feet, compared to 9.0 feet for down the line so you have about an extra 15.5 inches.)
Down the Line: It is the most likely to surprise the opponent, and gives him the least amount of time to react, but it gives you the smallest margin for error. It also can often leave you open to a wide-angled return to an open court, if you don’t move to cover it.
To the Middle (opponent’s elbow): This makes the opponent choose between forehand and backhand, and so they have the most trouble reacting. Most top players will agree it is the most effective place to play when attacking against a player who is close to the table. However, many beginning and intermediate players have trouble with accuracy, and when aiming for the middle, end up going to the middle forehand or backhand, the worst place to go!
Against Shakehanders: They are especially weak in the middle, since they are the only major grip that normally uses both sides of the racket for these shots.
Against Penholders: They are less vulnerable in the middle, but still have to choose between forehand and backhand, and so are still weak there. Most penholders tend to be weak on one corner.
Against Seemiller style players: This grip is not particularly common outside the U.S., but you will face them in U.S. tournaments. This is the only grip that is strongest from the middle, but is relatively weak on both corners.