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PostPosted: 13 Jun 2008, 16:54 
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Kees wrote:

Of course I don't know how well you actually are playing, but if there is the vaguest shadow of doubt in your heart about your current performance, then get a slower frame (8.5 speed max, instead of the 9.5 of the Primorac), no carbon, all wood, but preferably a balsa core for fine touch, and start over. I'm almost certain that you will find that there is a lot more to pips out play than you have found out so far.


Using a slower blade worked wonders for my game!!

Today I used my old Andro Super Core Kinetic OFF but used 802-40 instead, with 2.20 mm on FH and 2.0 mm BH (35 with degrees soft sponge).

The Andro gave a great feel and was just fast enough.
My smashes and flat hits were more consistent than with the Primorac Carbon. The better control made me smash with confidence.

Now I recall why my game really improved 5 years ago when I switched (again!) to the Andro from Primorac Carbon. I am completely dropping the Primorac from now on.

I like the feel of the 802-40 as against the plain 802. I could loop when needed and flat hit with a little or no topspin. I think when I used the regular 802 I was very uncertain about putting the right amount of topspin on the ball and thus became very tentative.

I asked another club member who plays with BTY Keyshot and 802 1.5 mm on both sides to compare the Andro vs. the Primorac Carbon. After a few hits, he concluded that the Andro felt way much better and recommended using it.

I really got quite a work out today with all the smashes I executed with confidence and vigor.

By the way, I have a Xiom Stradivarius. Is this a good blade for pips? I read that it flexes a bit and that may not be compatible with pips play.

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PostPosted: 13 Jun 2008, 19:18 
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Amateur 101 wrote:
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By the way, I have a Xiom Stradivarius. Is this a good blade for pips? I read that it flexes a bit and that may not be compatible with pips play.


I have no knowledge on this blade. Greg Letts reviewed it here: http://tabletennis.about.com/od/blades/ ... varius.htm
For my part, I am bound to have doubts about any blade both praised and priced that high.

In general, there are two schools of thought on the subject of compatibility of short pips and kinds of blades. One holds that blades which are good for looping (thus tend to be on the soft and flexible side) must suck for pips, because the greater dwelling-time would make it more difficult to hit through the ball, reverse spin, and in general would make the bat more sensible to incoming spin. This school advises to use very hard-feel, fast frames for short pips; in our days this means carbon or some such stuff in multiple layers. The other school holds that, since there is more to playing with short pips than plain smashing and blocking, actually some dwelling-time may be useful (for flips, rolls, "small topspin" drives) and may also improve your touch. This school would like to see hard (to medium) sponged pips on softer blades and soft sponged pips on harder blades. So, I would say it all depends on the style you are developing right now. I was pleased to read that everything goes quite well; maybe you can extrapolate your experience with the Andro blade and draw some conclusions about what it is you like and do best with pips. From what you write, my guess would be that you are developing a good allround attacking style, which is why (according to the second school of thought) a relatively soft-sponged pip like the 802-40 on a relatively hard blade like the Andro Super Core would continue to do well for you, for a long time. Maybe this is not a time for change, yet. But if you do want another blade, as an option, maybe this'll help: some time ago I asked a Chinese professional what in China would held to be the frame best suited to play with short pips; she said, without having to think about it, it would be a Galaxy blade from the T-series. Such a blade would cost you about a third of the Xiom Strad...

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PostPosted: 13 Jun 2008, 23:28 
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Kees wrote:
Amateur 101 wrote:
Quote:
By the way, I have a Xiom Stradivarius. Is this a good blade for pips? I read that it flexes a bit and that may not be compatible with pips play.


I have no knowledge on this blade. Greg Letts reviewed it here: http://tabletennis.about.com/od/blades/ ... varius.htm
For my part, I am bound to have doubts about any blade both praised and priced that high.


Actually the review was by a forum member: "Forum member TheRealSkippy has kindly contributed this review of the Xiom Stradivarius..." I don't recall the quality of that poster's contributions, only that it does seem to follow the format DerEchte and others have used. I've never used a Stradivarius, Xiom or otherwise...

I think that the psychological effect of wanting to justify an expensive purchase can play a big role in reviews. Probably that is why some people like Bryce (which I never did) even if it hurt their overall performance as non-professional players. Of course if buying expensive stuff makes you play better, than I'm all for that, but a more objective eye may notice that you make fewer errors with slower equipment, even if the faster stuff "feel" better on big loops and kills.

Of course I could be guilty of this too, as I got a set of three custom made penhold blades from Jack Miller that had been made for a member of the U.S. Olympic team but were rejected as out of spec. I, of course, want to use the blade and have adjusted my rubber to thinner sponge and short pips both sides to accomodate the weight (110 grams) and increased speed of the blades. My consistency on the RPB has actually gone up with short pips, so that's a good change. My blocking is better but I'm still not sure if my returns of serve, esecially short pushes, and my opening against long balls is as consistent as it could be. Still, I fall into the former school, along with Toshio Tasaki who used a hard carbon blade, a streaky player like myself who could win or lose against a wide range of levels but not quite up to the level of the top Chinese.

One of my coaches, a former teammate of Wang Liqin's, World University Champion, and professional player in Slovenia, used an Avalox P700, a very soft all wood blade, with supersoft thick sponge 802 most of his career. He had two matching ones, one of which he destroyed after not making the national team (Kong Linghui got the #5 spot and at the time pips out penholders weren't seen as viable). He's in good company as Wang Tao and Liu Guoliang also played with those blades in the 90's.

He said that my previous blade, the Joola Guo 3C was too hard and thought my Yasaka Max Wood had much better control, but I couldn't get used to the latter due to the lower throw and need for speedglue. My custom blades are definitely softer, though heavier, than the Guo 3C.

Now Shigang Yang (U.S. #13, rated 2602 after beating Mark Hazinski) is playing with a Spintech 9th Wonder which he likes and the same rubber, soft sponge 802 and Nittaku Moristo 2000. Last year he bought one sheet of each, used them in tournaments and coached with them. When I saw him last November the sheets were over 6 months old. He switched colors from last year (black to red) but otherwise no changes. Not sure what he'll be doing about the upcoming glue ban though. As he won the Cary Cup Hardbat Championship last spring, he'll probably adapt fine.

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PostPosted: 13 Jun 2008, 23:53 
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amateur101 wrote:
I like the feel of the 802-40 as against the plain 802. I could loop when needed and flat hit with a little or no topspin. I think when I used the regular 802 I was very uncertain about putting the right amount of topspin on the ball and thus became very tentative.

I asked another club member who plays with BTY Keyshot and 802 1.5 mm on both sides to compare the Andro vs. the Primorac Carbon. After a few hits, he concluded that the Andro felt way much better and recommended using it.


If you want something inbetween 802-40 and 802, try 802-1 which has a pip size inbetween the above two. The black 802-1 has significantly more spin for me than red 802, even with a harder and thinner sponge.

I tried a Primorac Carbon for about a week a number of years ago and hated it. It had less control (due to being high throw and far too bouncy) than pretty much any blade I've tried. I thought the Schlager Carbon I hit with briefly and the Japanese penhold equivalent, the Aeolous I used for a few months before going to Chinese penhold had far better touch.

If the Andro is working, then stick with it. You'll make many fewer errors and the extra few miles per hour on full out kills won't make a difference.

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PostPosted: 14 Jun 2008, 00:57 
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kagin wrote:
I know next to nothing about boxing so please correct me if i'm wrong. From what i can tell a jab is quick but weak, harder to avoid but does less damage. It's not a big power shot.

In combat you're hitting a target that not only moves, but will react to your movement/swings. In table tennis you don't have to worry about that because once your opponent hits the ball its flight path is pretty much set, so if you're fast enough and proficient enough you can take big roundhouse swings at every single ball. You don't have to worry about the ball seeing your stroke coming and trying to dodge it.

In table tennis, assuming you have adequate footwork and speed, a jab should be a useless shot. However it's used by most penholders as well as most seemiller players on the backhand because of the weaknesses of those grips (penhold is too open, seemiller is too closed). A proper backhand loop with penhold is mechanically much more difficult and requires a lot more time to set up compared to shakehand, so those players have to use the quick punch.

A shakehander doesn't need to develop a jab; it's even an inferior/damaging thing for some players to learn. They can and should be taking swings on all backhand attacks. Penholders (and boxers) develop jabs out of necessity.. That's my theory on-the-fly.


Actually your knowledge of boxing isn't as weak as you think it is. I do think though that there are equivalents to the jab in table tennis though. Here's why, and apologies in advance to non-boxing fans (or just skip down past the next four paragraphs):

The primary use of a jab by a skilled offensive boxer is to set up his (or her) power shots. There are a number of fighters who do "everything off the jab" and will use it to set up combinations, like a one-two (jab-straight right) or one-two-three (jab-straight right-left hook). For offensive fighters, the jab disrupts the opponents balance, making them stop, obscures their vision when it is at the face, and tips the opponents head back so that the following punches have maximum effect.

Mike Tyson was not known for his jab, but he was far more effective when he used it as it helped him disrupt his, invariably taller, opponents movement and get inside. When he stopped, after breaking with his trainer Kevin Rooney, he became a one punch fighter, which wasn't good enough to beat more complete fighters like Douglas, Holyfield and Lewis.

For a defensive fighter, the jab can be the cornerstone of their defense, keeping the opponent at bay and off balance as they can't effectively throw a punch when someone is hitting you and you can move out of range. Also a jab exposes you less than any other punch to a counter punch, which is how many fights are won (Holyfield knocked out Douglas to take the championship after Douglas missed a wild uppercut for example).

Larry Holmes' entire style was based on the jab, Lewis, Douglas and Ali all had the jab as their primary weapon and the second coming of George Foreman after his ten year retirement and unlikely comeback that won him the heavyweight championship, was based on a jab that could knock you down (along with some of the hardest punches in history). All four fighters also had a good right hand that could follow up on the jab, so people couldn't just walk through them. Fighters like the early George Foreman and Earnie Shavers had the two most devastating right hands in history, but as neither had a good jab, they lost to more complete fighters like Ali and Holmes respectively (too bad Holmes and Foreman never fought).

To bring it back to table tennis, the "jab" for a table tennis player is a safe shot that sets up your next shot. You can't take a home run swing on every ball as often they are not in the right position (too low or wide or close to you) or you may not be able to read the spin completely. So you take a safe shot, placed so the opponent doesn't have an easy attack and wait for the next ball. Against a player with good defense, top players vary spin, speed and placement so it's hard for their shots to be times. If every ball has the same spin or speed it's much easier to adjust. Boxers will do the same thing by hitting lighter and quicker sometimes and harder others as it's much harder for your opponent to counter when you vary the timing and also the punch that knocks you out is the one you don't expect, not the one you can prepare yourself for.

The only two times I was ever dropped in boxing (to one knee, and both in the same round) was when I didn't see the punch coming. That it was thrown by a professional middleweight who outweighed me by 20-25 pounds and had just gotten back from sparring with Evander Holyfield (when Holyfield had just turned pro and was still in his weight class) was only incidental to that, as I sparred with him many other times and stunned him a few times as well, though he was too big and tough to drop. But the only times I hurt him was when I did something he didn't expect (by throwing a southpaw one-two-three for example, even though my right hook that hurt him was never as hard as my left).

In table tennis if you set up right, then you get the opportunity to either attack, due to an opening (poorly placed ball possibly with weak speed or spin) created by your previous shot, or by counterattacking against an attack. My fencing coach (my other current hobby) points out that when someone is attacking, they can't think about defending at the same time, so it is much easier to counter them when they are thinking about winning the point. This is why a good block or quick counterloop over the table can be devastating as it blows by your opponent while they are still following through, often off balance and not thinking about the next ball.

I think traditional penholders, Seemiller players and defensive players counter more often, but offensive shakehanders do as well. They can't take full power shots everytime, so the "jab" may be a short push, a low roll, a slow loop, or any well-placed, but not powerful shot that isn't meant to win the point, but simply gives you the opportunity to do so later by not either missing or exposing holes in your defense. Even players like Kreanga will have to go on the defensive at times by stepping back form the table to give themselves more time to respond, as he did so well against He Zhi Wen in 2003 when He seemed to have his number.

I'm pretty sure that you've heard Sean O'Neill talk about "extending the point" at the About.com forum when he talks to his student, top international class paralympic (and also top able-bodied U.S. player) rather than playing "New York style" table tennis which is going for the big shot on every point. Too many errors doing this, even for the top players.

Players who go for the big shot on every point, as I used to as a Japanese/Korean style penolder who played 95% forehand, are vulnerable to being beaten by those who can play safe shots and make us miss, or block/counter even our strong attacks when we're off balance after a big swing.

Back to boxing, see Foreman's 1974 fight against Ali in the great documentary "When We Were Kings" for a textbook example of this. The first Foreman had possibly the most devastating attack in boxing history, but Ali weathered it through the "rope-a-dope and one of the greatest chins in boxing history and knocked Foreman out when he got tired.

Interestingly, "Big George" Foreman now says that he was a better fighter after his 10 year layoff and comeback than he was as "The Executioner" in the early 70's when he destroyed Joe Frazier twice and was the most feared fighter since Sonny Liston in the 60's and until Mike Tyson in the 80's. Sean O'Neill thinks he in many ways is a better player now than when he was national champion. The late Waldner may have been able to beat the young Waldner, though I wouldn't bet on the outcome.

Hope this overly long message helps clarify things. Biggest adjustment I had to make switching from boxing (where I was more talented and which you can probably tell still fascinates me) to table tennis (which is far better for me and ultimately more fun) is that a point is not a match.

In boxing if you hit someone right, you can end the match right there. I did this every time I fought in my short amateur career, three of four times with a single punch in the first round. My first fight lasted only 11 seconds, including an eight count after I dropped my opponent the fourth punch I threw and second one I connected with. He tried to get up and fell down again. Too bad I didn't keep the clipping for USA Today that reported it. Tyson has me beat with an 8 second fight as an amateur but there was no eight count there.

In table tennis, no matter how hard you hit the ball, your opponent goes and gets it (or gets a new ball) and play continues until one wins 11 (or more) points and 3 of 5 or 7 of 9 matches. So it's a series of sprints, not an all-or-nothing all out effort, just like a professional match is a series of rounds, which (barring a knockout) you have to win the majority of to win. Even the greatest knockout artists, like the early Foreman (at 88-89% knockout ratio) and the great Carlos Zarate (at 90-95%) went the distance a few times, generally losing those efforts to more complete fighters with better endurance and they also got knocked out in some of their biggest fights when they exposed their defenses to greater fighters.

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Jack Miller custom Kevlar/carbon Chinese style penhold
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PostPosted: 14 Jun 2008, 02:22 
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agooding2 wrote:

One of my coaches, a former teammate of Wang Liqin's, World University Champion, and professional player in Slovenia, used an Avalox P700, a very soft all wood blade, with supersoft thick sponge 802 most of his career. He had two matching ones, one of which he destroyed after not making the national team (Kong Linghui got the #5 spot and at the time pips out penholders weren't seen as viable). He's in good company as Wang Tao and Liu Guoliang also played with those blades in the 90's.



I am actually a fan of the Avalox blades. I was able to try the Avalox 500 about 10 years ago and was very impressed by the control and feel. But I found it a bit slow because I was using a Sardius then. I eventually gave it to my trainer/coach who also liked the feel but he had been playing for years with a 7-ply DHS blade and found it slow for his style.

In the future, when my skill in pips has vastly improved I may then consider the Avalox 700 or maybe just the Galaxy T series (cheaper!).

Does anybody have any experience with the T series?

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Stiga Clipper CR WRB
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amateur101 wrote:
I am actually a fan of the Avalox blades. I was able to try the Avalox 500 about 10 years ago and was very impressed by the control and feel. But I found it a bit slow because I was using a Sardius then. I eventually gave it to my trainer/coach who also liked the feel but he had been playing for years with a 7-ply DHS blade and found it slow for his style.

In the future, when my skill in pips has vastly improved I may then consider the Avalox 700 or maybe just the Galaxy T series (cheaper!).

Does anybody have any experience with the T series?


Keep in mind those are very different blades, with the T are carbon/Arylate combination and the 700 a 7 ply wood blade.

If you want to keep the price down, you might consider a 7 ply wood blade from one of the top Chinese makers, like Galaxy.

The M6 is 85 grams or so and the M5 is 90 and Alex should be able to get them for you in AUS or Cole can if you live in the U.S.

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Jack Miller custom Kevlar/carbon Chinese style penhold
Armstrong Attack 3L 40 1.8 red
Nittaku Nodias 1.8 black

Jack Miller custom Kevlar/carbon Chinese style penhold
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Andrew, all you said about boxing as related to table tennis is well said indeed! I completely agree. This is definitely the way to think about tactics and technique! Great stuff! You win by KO!

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Kees wrote:

So, I would say it all depends on the style you are developing right now. I was pleased to read that everything goes quite well; maybe you can extrapolate your experience with the Andro blade and draw some conclusions about what it is you like and do best with pips. From what you write, my guess would be that you are developing a good allround attacking style, which is why (according to the second school of thought) a relatively soft-sponged pip like the 802-40 on a relatively hard blade like the Andro Super Core would continue to do well for you, for a long time.


Kees, you are right. I am heading towards an all around attacking style and belongs to the second school of thought. I have always preferred smashing and flat hitting when I was using inverted and this current all pips setup seems to suit me. I guess I just needed the right blade that would give me enough stability and control. Looking back now, the Primorac Carbon was just too fast and error prone for my style.

Again this is another lesson for all regarding choice of a blade to suit one's playing style.

A month ago, I met a club member who had a V-6 and and a BTY Michael Maze. We decided to compare them with the Primorac Carbon and the Andro Super Core Kinetic OFF.

The V-6 had a little more vibration (but not in a bad way and great if you like this aspect) and lower throw. Maze was just a bit faster and had slightly better feeling of control. For me, both were quite good blades. The V-6 was heavier though.

The Primorac Carbon was the fastest but had the least control and feel. This is probably better suited for mid to long distance play.

The 6-ply Andro was without doubt the least speedy but definitely not slow. It had excellent feel and control for its good speed. Weight was just right (85 g) and had very little vibration without sacrificing feeling. I guess thats due to the foam inside the handle. I wish it were faster but thats the trade off.

My smashes with the Andro were speedy but not as fast as I wanted. The upside was that I was more consistent and less error prone.
The neck of the blade flares out a bit too wide for my taste since I have small hands.

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TSP Spectol 21 - 2.1 mm - BH
Stiga Clipper CR WRB
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agooding2 wrote:

Keep in mind those are very different blades, with the T are carbon/Arylate combination and the 700 a 7 ply wood blade.

If you want to keep the price down, you might consider a 7 ply wood blade from one of the top Chinese makers, like Galaxy.

The M6 is 85 grams or so and the M5 is 90 and Alex should be able to get them for you in AUS or Cole can if you live in the U.S.


Yes, I am aware of the differences of the T series but finding the right blade among them is the next issue.

I had been actually looking over the M6 the part week. Its seems like a great blade for the price.

By the way I live in Los Angeles so its Cole for me.

_________________
TSP Spectol Soft - 2.1 mm - FH
TSP Spectol 21 - 2.1 mm - BH
Stiga Clipper CR WRB
--------------and--------------------
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TSP Spectol 21 - 2.1 mm - BH
BBC 9-10-9


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Kees wrote:
Andrew, all you said about boxing as related to table tennis is well said indeed! I completely agree. This is definitely the way to think about tactics and technique! Great stuff! You win by KO!


:oops:

Thanks. Fortunately this is a cooperative, not a competitive venture.

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amateur101 wrote:
agooding2 wrote:

Keep in mind those are very different blades, with the T are carbon/Arylate combination and the 700 a 7 ply wood blade.

If you want to keep the price down, you might consider a 7 ply wood blade from one of the top Chinese makers, like Galaxy.

The M6 is 85 grams or so and the M5 is 90 and Alex should be able to get them for you in AUS or Cole can if you live in the U.S.


Yes, I am aware of the differences of the T series but finding the right blade among them is the next issue.

I had been actually looking over the M6 the part week. Its seems like a great blade for the price.

By the way I live in Los Angeles so its Cole for me.


Cole says he's been very impressed by the M6, even though he was skeptical at first because of all the hype. Let me know what you think of it.

Cole is my first choice too, but if he can't get something, I've ordered from Alex with no hitches and surprisingly low shipping costs to the U.S.

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Jack Miller custom Kevlar/carbon Chinese style penhold
Armstrong Attack 3L 40 1.8 red
Nittaku Nodias 1.8 black

Jack Miller custom Kevlar/carbon Chinese style penhold
TSP Spectol Blue 43 hardness 1.5 red
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We had previously discussed earlier on whether to hit the ball on the rise or at the peak.

Here is a good discussion on the advantages and disadvantages - which may be applicable to short pips. It seems hitting late on the rise is the recommended timing (for inverted at least). I never thought of this before.

http://mytabletennis.net/forum/forum_po ... 17271&PN=1

"The 3rd phase which in his words is the "main course", is hitting the ball:
When to hit the ball (on the early rise, late rise, highest point, early fall or late fall) and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each:

On the early rise, the speed is highest and the ball is often below the net, so it is not easy to control... good for borrowing power from the ball on return, but difficult to put more power into the ball from your own stroke... To him, Wang Liqin tends to take BH shots too early.

And yup, best in his opinion to take the ball on late rise: spin is not as strong as when at highest point and timing is quite good ... good for borrowing power from ball as well as for putting power into the ball... To him, Wang Hao does this the best.

For the highest point, ball is at highest point with respect to the net but increased spin of ball compared with when it is on the rise... the stroke is more obvious, so it is easier for opponent to judge what is coming...
It is the easiest point for hitting and gives the most control... the loop trajectory is higher as there is more time to prepare for the shot... Ok in his opinion, but should aim to have more of the attacking shot to be in the late rise period.

For the early fall period, need to generate more of the power from your own shot ... probably more for choppers, but even then, he suggests that choppers should not concentrate all their shots at this point as they should aim for more shot variation...

The late fall period is best avoided..."

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PostPosted: 14 Jun 2008, 16:11 
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agooding2 wrote:
I do think though that there are equivalents to the jab in table tennis though. Here's why, and apologies in advance to non-boxing fans (or just skip down past the next four paragraphs):


From a tactical point of view i absolutely agree there are many parallels that can be seen. In that realm, serves, pushes, chops, blocks, etc are all useful as setup shots. Personally i go into a lot of matches with a rope-a-dope strategy.

However i was looking purely at the physical aspect in response to the thought that shakehanders "cannot" use punch-like shots. It's not that they can't, it's that they have better ways to do things. There are shakehanders who punch (dave sakai for example) but they're not known as big power players.


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PostPosted: 14 Jun 2008, 16:20 
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The spin gets faster as the ball raises? Don't think so.

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