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PostPosted: 03 Dec 2008, 10:36 
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Yuzuki wrote:
Right now I've only focused on making one good pendulum service with some variations as I'm trying to narrow down the best responses to particular receives. Makes me quite predictable, however.


Read this interview with Liu Guoliang wherein he explains his serve philosophy. It was very helpful in focusing on the types of serves I need to practice on.

http://www.masatenisi.org/english/roportaj5.htm

It seems Liu uses mainly sidespin-topspin and sidespin-underspin serves with varying degrees of spin.

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PostPosted: 03 Dec 2008, 11:35 
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Speaking of earlier discussions in spinning with SP, I did notice that Wang Tao (in the Nittaku training video, in the 30-minutes mark thereabouts) did more of a very strong topspin drive against backspin (push in this case) instead of looping in the traditional sense -- from the sounds of things, it really did seem like he hit hard using a a bit more open racket angle, used the incoming backspin, then 'added his own', to let the ball land fast and on table.

From what I see, it seemed like the topspin drive is more upwardly diagonal than the usual drive against topspin, which it mostly forward and a little bit upward. It seems to me to be still consistent compared to 'looping' backspin, as there seems to be just enough spin to bring the ball down near the endline of the opposing court.

Comments on this?

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PostPosted: 04 Dec 2008, 05:20 
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amateur101 wrote:
Read this interview with Liu Guoliang wherein he explains his serve philosophy. It was very helpful in focusing on the types of serves I need to practice on.

http://www.masatenisi.org/english/roportaj5.htm

It seems Liu uses mainly sidespin-topspin and sidespin-underspin serves with varying degrees of spin.


I particularly like where Liu says these things: "Ma Lin uses the spin/no-spin serve much more than I do, and that’s because we have different styles. Ma is better with opening the forehand attack, and he also has better footwork. In general, when you serve spin/no-spin, the returns are not very high-quality, so it is a little easy to attack. My style is more "vicious", and my side-spin serves have a great range of spins. The opponent has to be very careful with the return. I get more direct points from my serves, but if an opponent handles that correctly, it is very difficult for me to open the attack."

Interviewer: "You have very high quality serves. You play pips-out, but tests have shown that your serves have more spin than the average among national team members. Can you share with us your knowledge?"

LGL: "You have to practice a lot on serves, and I also have a little talent in this area. Kong has outstanding skills, and yet his serves are very "amateurish". He could shore up this weakness by developing other skills. He practices serves every day, but his natural talent is less."

My serving style was more defensive, making sure to not let the opponent open first so I could take the initiative. I actually win more points on the receive right now, so if I can start serving more offensively that would be a huge boost to my game. I can seee though that serving is not my talent, though I've been working on it, I'm much better at finishing the point with a strong smash than serving a similar level player off the table.

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agooding2 wrote:
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can see though that serving is not my talent, though I've been working on it

Perhaps you shouldn't be too sure of that, Andrew! Liu is saying of Kong that his serves are amateurish, but he is exaggerating greatly! I discussed this very interview with Dong Li, former member of the Chinese National selection, who knew both Liu and Kong when they were little boys joining the team at age 13. She laughed. Affectionately. There was great rivalry between Liu and Kong and Liu tried to play down Kong's achievements as a rule; also, he counselled him loudly when they doubled. In actual fact, Kong's serves just looked simple; they were actually hard to read and he nearly always succeeded in getting returns he could use to win the initiative. Not being a penholder, so not being pressed to win the point in a 3rd ball game, this suited him very well. Nowadays, penholders using spinny short pips shouldn't feel forced to win the point in a 3rd ball game; I think you could play the cunning type of game Kong did, get your opponent on the run, and still win the point with a sound smash.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2008, 04:49 
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Amateur 101 wrote:
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Long rallies are not advantageous to pips play and so the third ball attack is so crucial.

I think it depends on what kind of pips you're using. With traditional, non-spinny pips you're right, because during a rally against an opponent who is using backside rubbers the topspin increases and there will soon come a moment when you are unable to return the ball on the table. With spinny pips this is far less of a problem, in my view. You don't even have to roll against long low fast loops; you can hit with topspin, taking the ball on the rise, blade open, making solid contact on the back of the ball, but using your wrist to rub it very fast upwards - more or less as if you were lobbing it (only with the wrist, not with the arm) and hitting it flat at the same time. This will produce a very fast ball with enough topspin to land on the table. You cannot, of course, aim it at the forehand or backhand of your opponent, because (since there is no heavy topspin on the ball) re-looping it is awfully easy. You have to aim at the body or out of reach - as you would as a general rule with short pips anyway.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2008, 06:52 
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Kees wrote:
agooding2 wrote:
Quote:
can see though that serving is not my talent, though I've been working on it

Perhaps you shouldn't be too sure of that, Andrew! Liu is saying of Kong that his serves are amateurish, but he is exaggerating greatly! ...

Nowadays, penholders using spinny short pips shouldn't feel forced to win the point in a 3rd ball game; I think you could play the cunning type of game Kong did, get your opponent on the run, and still win the point with a sound smash.


Wise words as always. Right now I win more points on serve return than serves, but I'm getting better. You're exactly right, that spinny pips allow you to hit the ball to the body or out of reach and win the point that way.

Of course Liu was one of the greatest servers the game ever knew, and he did acknowledge that Ma and Kong's serves were effective for their games. Hard to be a World Champion if they weren't...

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2008, 08:06 
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Kees wrote:
You cannot, of course, aim it at the forehand or backhand of your opponent, because (since there is no heavy topspin on the ball) re-looping it is awfully easy. You have to aim at the body or out of reach - as you would as a general rule with short pips anyway.


Great tip -- I figured that out just as much recently. :lol:

Thought I can use speed to penetrate the wing, does not really work well with the better players, you really have to put it out of place.

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Liu has a history of playing down nearly everybody else's achievements. My wife has translated some of his comments in Chinese media about Waldner, Kong, Persson, and others. He has been less than gracious.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2008, 22:14 
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Yuzuki wrote:
Speaking of earlier discussions in spinning with SP, I did notice that Wang Tao (in the Nittaku training video, in the 30-minutes mark thereabouts) did more of a very strong topspin drive against backspin (push in this case) instead of looping in the traditional sense -- from the sounds of things, it really did seem like he hit hard using a a bit more open racket angle, used the incoming backspin, then 'added his own', to let the ball land fast and on table.

From what I see, it seemed like the topspin drive is more upwardly diagonal than the usual drive against topspin, which it mostly forward and a little bit upward. It seems to me to be still consistent compared to 'looping' backspin, as there seems to be just enough spin to bring the ball down near the endline of the opposing court.

Comments on this?


I think that's pretty much what I do. It's faster and more effective if you take the ball at the top of the bounce or even earlier. If you take the ball after it drops it is more effective to loop the ball which creates more spin or less speed, nice variation, but the former is more effective.

Of course Wang Tao is close enough to the table and quick enough that he doesn't let the ball drop. Where did you find his training video?

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2008, 23:54 
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Hi Andrew, Chornyi pasted a Megaupload link in the Videos Section (Short Pips Instructional Video), http://www.megaupload.com?d=32LKT2LE

I still haven't gotten around translating the whole thing, only his very early comments about his shakehand grip.

---

Still haven't gotten around trying out the hitting through backspin thing, too many people like games more than learning a new technique, it seems. :?

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agooding2 wrote:
I think that's pretty much what I do. It's faster and more effective if you take the ball at the top of the bounce or even earlier. If you take the ball after it drops it is more effective to loop the ball which creates more spin or less speed, nice variation, but the former is more effective.

Of course Wang Tao is close enough to the table and quick enough that he doesn't let the ball drop. Where did you find his training video?


Regarding Wang Tao's hitting backspin balls, I must share what Stellan Bengtsson instructed me a few days ago - which is to focus on hitting the ball at the peak of the bounce with an open racket.

The timing is very crucial and I was quite doubtful whether it would work --- but I was able to execute it. Consistency is another matter to be worked upon.

Another observation to add: Coach Stellan and his wife Angie both did not like my Darker Speed 90 after they tried hitting with it. They said it was soft and slow. It seemed to them that even when I was hitting forcefully, the ball still did not have enough pace. They also could not feel enough of the ball's impact on the blade especially on service. It seemed "dull".

When I mentioned carbon blades, they said it was too stiff and did not have enough feel. The only advantage is that the sweet spot is larger but one cannot really feel where the ball is exactly impacting on the blade face.

Their curious recommendation was --- Juic Texalium - an ALL+ blade with a crisp feel and great control, with medium hardness.

The choice is surprising because I always thought that all pips hitters need a fast and stiff blade.

I can only surmise that in really high levels of play, control and feel is more important.

The good news is that Coach Stellan said that with the glue ban, pips players now have a better opportunity to rise and he knows of some who are quite promising.

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2008, 07:55 
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amateur101 wrote:
[Regarding Wang Tao's hitting backspin balls, I must share what Stellan Bengtsson instructed me a few days ago - which is to focus on hitting the ball at the peak of the bounce with an open racket.

The timing is very crucial and I was quite doubtful whether it would work --- but I was able to execute it. Consistency is another matter to be worked upon.

Another observation to add: Coach Stellan and his wife Angie both did not like my Darker Speed 90 after they tried hitting with it. They said it was soft and slow. It seemed to them that even when I was hitting forcefully, the ball still did not have enough pace. They also could not feel enough of the ball's impact on the blade. It seemed "dull".

When I mentioned carbon blades, they said it was too stiff and did not have enough feel. The only advantage is that the sweet spot is larger but one cannot really feel where the ball is exactly impacting on the blade face.

Their curious recommendation was --- Juic Texalium - an ALL+ blade with a crisp feel and great control, with medium hardness.

The choice is surprising because I always thought that all pips hitters need a fast and stiff blade.

I can only surmise that in really high levels of play, control and feel is more important.

The good news is that Coach Stellan said that with the glue ban, pips players now have a better opportunity to rise and he knows of some who are quite promising.


Makes sense to me, when I switched to short pips my coach had me hit with a number of blades and said that the softer blades didn't have enough pace. Hard blades allow a crisp hit, I may have to try the Texalium, though I'm happy with my blade. As long as you can hit it past the other player when you need to, you don't need something super fast.

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2008, 09:13 
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Interesting comment there by Stellan; I was thinking of trying again another carbon blade, now that's a good reason to stick to a sale item...I got a Persson Powerplay at a good discount recently.

I've always thought hitting needs crisp feedback, but not very stiff, as it's hard to 'hit through the sponge', a concept I've never really understood until just recently, both for hitting and looping.

Probably at high levels of play, indeed you'd have good technique to hit at a good pace, away from the opponent.

---

Regarding Stellan's lesson about hitting through backspin (amateur101) -- was that a flat hit, or did you make some motion for a little topspin with an open racket?

I'm curious as for some light backspin, I find flat hitting with about 50%+ effort works well, but for heavy ones, it has to be a strong (80%+ effort?) flat hit or it'll sink to the net.

Any particulars/special advice on below-net-height backspin (I assume you'd have to roll those), and near endline backspin balls? (I assume you'd have to put a little topspin on the stroke)

Thanks in advance.

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Regarding technique, I asked Stellan's wife, Angie, about the short pips since she uses both 802-40 and Juic Offense. Angie said that the kind of short pips is not really important, the crucial thing is to develop good technique. So she is able to use all kinds of SP.

With respect to hitting backspin, you need to add your topspin on it and not merely flat hit. He stressed that one uses the forearm more and just let the wrist follow suit. The backhand is thus a forearm based stroke. Too much reliance on wrist motion for the stroke makes more room for error. I was thus advised to use less of my wrist.

I am really puzzled about the comment regarding Darker Speed 90 being slow. It is reportedly very fast and I observed that it is a much faster than my Avalox 700. One of the other players later told me in his experience with his Speed 90, the wood has some softness which seems to result in slower balls when hit close to the table (with short strokes I assume). But when hit a little away from the table (and with a more powerful swing I surmise), the ball is faster.

Regarding balls that have dropped lower, one has to spin it and bring it over. I used to flat hit those ball (just enough force to land it on the other side which means they were slower) and I usually get an attack in return.
Bad move!

One more thing, Stellan observed that when I counter hit I tend to hit balls very early. He said that I could get better shots if I just wait for maybe half a second and wait for the peak of the bounce. My flat hits them would get better chances of landing. He cautioned not to wait too long though. Pros of course will hit anything rising above net height without waiting for the peak.

In counter hitting drills, he advised that that I hit the first 2 balls at medium power and the 3rd ball at high power, or alternate them. This makes ones balls varied and so your opponent will not get the rhythm of your hitting. In the game, it will be instinctive for you to vary the pace.

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PostPosted: 09 Dec 2008, 10:08 
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I have placed an order for the Texalium and it will be delivered this Friday.
I should be able to use it by Saturday afternoon and will post my observations on its performance.

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Stiga Clipper CR WRB
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TSP Spectol 21 - 2.1 mm - BH
BBC 9-10-9


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