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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 08:50 
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thanks Brett

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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 09:33 
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rodderz wrote:
Most of the time I have no idea what you are trying to say, but it is not about being rigid or loose it's about learning as we go or getting some help (self analysed, getting coached, or advice from peers) rather than doing it wrong for ever, the other thing is what looks like rigid stance to you may look very natural to me or the person themselves,


A while ago I did some window shopping for coaching and wasn't satisfied with the results to partake myself. Student were going from one rigid stance to perhaps a better one, but you can tell they were swinging slow despite exertion and timing their contact badly if the lack of pop on the other end was any indication. They often have trouble linking lessons together, and tend to fall apart under pressure. This all implies priority wasn't placed on resolve fundamental problems or misconceptions and instead papering them over by practicing forms a la some martial arts demonstration.

I also tried to find worthwhile reading material but all stuff out here frankly seemed like it was written for children. Srsly, I know what a "loop" does and looks like, and I don't need a book to tell me to do 100 of them. In short I gave up using existing sources and just started from scratch breaking down how to swing & move efficiently, and various decision-making processes to glue it all together. For example, to create a quality shot the backswing & timing has to be there, and before that the body has to be in position, and before that some determination has to be made where to go, etc, etc, down to first principles. This was intertwined with sanity tests and other experimentation to clear up insufficiencies or ambiguities. Fortunately I didn't have to develop the basic pedagogy from zero since it's worked well on other hobbies & pursuits.

Feedback from better opponents seems good, and it's frankly surprising how well it turned out. I've written a few arbitrary posts on this like viewtopic.php?p=283380#p283380, or viewtopic.php?p=284347#p284347.

Having done it this way IMO learning TT or such by copying strokes & forms is like learning illustration by tracing drawings or paint-by-numbers. It'll end up OK if you do it enough to memorize all the movements, but it's hard to foresee leading to good art.


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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 10:17 
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rodderz wrote:
Most of the time I have no idea what you are trying to say, but it is not about being rigid or loose it's about learning as we go or getting some help (self analysed, getting coached, or advice from peers) rather than doing it wrong for ever, the other thing is what looks like rigid stance to you may look very natural to me or the person themselves,


Hi roddrez,

Problems don't just fix themselves, unfortunately. Some people aren't very good at copying the actions of better players or they don't get adequate feedback from their own movement, especially when performed at high speed. When left to chance, many club level players just end up with technique that completely restricts their potential for improvement.

So i'm agreeing with your observation.

Playing lose and relaxed is vital, so when learning something new, you should start incredibly slowly to reduce muscular tension and then slowly build up when you are ready. When trying new things, many try so hard that they end up looking stiff. This is the result of conflicting muscular tension (all the muscles tensing at once, rather than everything firing in the correct order).

I've spent a lot of time at major tournaments in the training hall and one thing that has always stood out to me is how slowly Samsonov starts his basic strokes in training. It's like a 10 year old child. It takes him ages to hit the ball with any speed. When he increases the speed though, it all looks so soft and beautiful. Everything works in the right order as he is prepared to slow down and work on his softness (is that a word???)

The bear in the video has no muscular tension, but he is an expert. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR_ll18VZg8

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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 11:40 
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Brett Clarke wrote:
Playing lose and relaxed is vital, so when learning something new, you should start incredibly slowly to reduce muscular tension and then slowly build up when you are ready. When trying new things, many try so hard that they end up looking stiff. This is the result of conflicting muscular tension (all the muscles tensing at once, rather than everything firing in the correct order).

I've spent a lot of time at major tournaments in the training hall and one thing that has always stood out to me is how slowly Samsonov starts his basic strokes in training. It's like a 10 year old child. It takes him ages to hit the ball with any speed. When he increases the speed though, it all looks so soft and beautiful. Everything works in the right order as he is prepared to slow down and work on his softness (is that a word???)

+1
A good deal of my coaching time is spent with players who took up the game late. In most cases their number one problem is that they are way too rigid. It affects everything - touch, stroke-production/follow-thru, recovery/preparation/swing speed (if you are stiff you can't move fast), serving, spin-production... Also, if you have a technical glitch the problem becomes magnified if you are stiff.

The problem is not just with beginners. Korbel visited our club a while back and his main advice to a number of US2400ish players was that they were too stiff (and they were). Oh to be as loose as Korbel and Samsonov!


Last edited by carbonman on 19 Nov 2014, 12:06, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 11:59 
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carbonman wrote:
+1
A good deal of my coaching time is spent with players who took up the game late. In most cases their number one problem is that they are way too rigid. It affects everything - touch, stroke-production/follow-thru, recovery/preparation/swing speed (if you are stiff you can't move fast), serving, spin-production... Also, if you have a technical glitch the problem becomes magnified if you are stiff.

The problem is not just with beginners. Korbel visited our a while back and his main advice to a number of US2400ish players was that they were too stiff (and they were). Oh to be as loose as Korbel and Samsonov!


Carbonman, Korbel was/is a sensational player and a master of softness. He probably learned tt at the age of 6 which does help a lot because kids learn better for a whole bunch of reasons that I won't go into here. Doesn't surprise me that he was talking to you guys about the topic.

Correct, it isn't just with beginners. Great post :up:

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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 12:09 
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> Playing lose and relaxed is vital, so when learning something new, you should start incredibly slowly to reduce muscular tension and then slowly build up when you are ready.

I went the other way for loopdrive development, starting fast to ensure the right feel and easing up for safer shots.

Beginners initially have no idea what a "good" stroke/contact feels like, but the basic mechanics isn't unlike skipping a rock on water, with the contact right at the point of release. I also figured that going too slow only allow those often subtle tensions to go undetected for the uninitiated, whereas optimizing for fast possible contact for a given exertion means inefficiencies have nowhere to hide. I suspect it's difficult to "teach" since it's in large part a matter of body awareness.

Testing this produced very promising results quickly for fairly modest effort. The main issue with this approach is it requires patience for missing quite a bit at first, since proper stroke mechanics is prioritized over consistency which comes later. So that could be problematic for those who need to build up confidence rather than have faith it's going to work.


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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 12:46 
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In regards to learning to loop I think there are 2 main paths you can choose:

1- Starting slowly in order to help develop a fairly technically correct swing. The disadvantage of this approach is that you don't get the spin (and arc) of the shot which is pretty much the point. You are also unable to lift backspin because you dont have the necessary swing speed.

2 - Swinging faster to generate a decent amount of spin and arc (and lift for backspin). The disadvantage here (compared to 1) is that technique and timing can be harder to master than with 1.

I think both approaches are legitimate. I prefer to teach 2 because in my experience most players can usually learn the stroke okish but struggle to get sufficient spin and bat speed.

Of course in both 1 and 2 one should be relaxed.


Last edited by carbonman on 19 Nov 2014, 13:57, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 13:39 
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some good posts there, even though we are a little off topic hehehe

I would sometimes experiment with students young or old, and say "Im going to serve", then Ill say "you must do what i say" and then Ill serve at their body or further towards their backhand" then say " forehand" and I was amazed the amount of times most players would just move and do a nice topspin stoke, then i would say "it about effort and about telling yourself to move"

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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 14:21 
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> The disadvantage here (compared to 1) is that technique and timing can be harder to master than with 1.

It does take some experimentation to find that point of peak efficiency and some discipline to keep at it, but there was usually a sense of what to adjust after each shot. I also tried 1/slow for a bit but couldn't find a good metric to feel for, and with each increment in speed the timing changes; so it seemed quicker to just face that learning curve for the speed I eventually hoped to use. I can definitely see how Samsonov went the other way.

Another auxiliary benefit worth mentioning is that this body-awareness business brought to light how inefficient my everyday posture/breathing/sit-on-my-ass-stance was. Fortunately the TT bad habits were less ingrained than those, lol.


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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 17:08 
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The problem with all this stuff about being "loose" is - how do you teach this to someone?? Sure, it may all be true, but other than saying "loosen up" over and over again, how would you teach it? Doing yoga, maybe? Take up interpretive dance? Listen to certain sorts of music while drilling?

Imagine you're talking to some U-1400 player here (you are). I mean, OK, so learning forms by watching videos "isn't optimal", reading books "isn't that helpful", what sort of practical thing would you suggest in its place?

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2014, 21:28 
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iskandar taib wrote:
The problem with all this stuff about being "loose" is - how do you teach this to someone?? Sure, it may all be true, but other than saying "loosen up" over and over again, how would you teach it? Doing yoga, maybe? Take up interpretive dance? Listen to certain sorts of music while drilling?

Imagine you're talking to some U-1400 player here (you are). I mean, OK, so learning forms by watching videos "isn't optimal", reading books "isn't that helpful", what sort of practical thing would you suggest in its place?
Iskandar

You really don't know when you are rigid and when you are loose? Do you have to be over a certain rating to know , for example, when your shoulder is stiff and your arm is rigid and locked?


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PostPosted: 20 Nov 2014, 00:18 
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I actually think iskandar is making a great point. Ben Larcombe has a recent post at experttabletennis discussing this at length.

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PostPosted: 20 Nov 2014, 02:58 
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iskandar taib wrote:
The problem with all this stuff about being "loose" is - how do you teach this to someone?? Sure, it may all be true, but other than saying "loosen up" over and over again, how would you teach it? Doing yoga, maybe? Take up interpretive dance? Listen to certain sorts of music while drilling?

Imagine you're talking to some U-1400 player here (you are). I mean, OK, so learning forms by watching videos "isn't optimal", reading books "isn't that helpful", what sort of practical thing would you suggest in its place?

Iskandar


The short answer is to slow down and/or bring conscious awareness to existing tension to remove it. Having good technique on your strokes is important too. In time, I will make videos about how to build a backhand and forehand and elaborate on what I mean. There is no way I can explain this in a forum post, but I will try to actually show you. For now, I'm working on part 2 of the Reverse Pendulum Backspin Serve for this thread.

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PostPosted: 20 Nov 2014, 07:57 
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Slowing down will help. Doing specific drills (rather than playing games) will also help as the relative simplicity of the activity (compared to the randomness of games) allows you time to focus on your body. It is really a matter of focus and self-awareness. You have to invest mental energy into ensuring that you are not stiff: remind yourself to stay loose and correct yourself when you tighten up. People who struggle to improve quite often switch their brain off once a rally has begun. Avoid be mentally lazy.

At the end of the day its your body. If you have played for a moderate period of time you should be able to tell the difference between being rigid and being relaxed when you are playing. It is then a matter of practicing enough so that being relaxed becomes second nature.


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PostPosted: 20 Nov 2014, 11:01 
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carbonman wrote:
You really don't know when you are rigid and when you are loose? Do you have to be over a certain rating to know , for example, when your shoulder is stiff and your arm is rigid and locked?


If it were that simple then no one would have this problem, and telling people how to overcome it would be unnecessary. The thing I'm trying to get at is, what can one do (as a coach, or as a forum poster) to help someone through this problem? Apparently existing videos and books aren't going to work, based on previous comments. If not, then what?

I'll have to admit - Brett's latest video is a good step:



Now it's a matter of putting that into action. I don't think it's as simple a swinging the body around and allowing ones' arm to flop around in a circle, though... :lol:

Iskandar


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