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PostPosted: 10 Nov 2014, 18:15 
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Another nice video by Brett Clarke :up:

Watch member Laj battle to improve his Reverse Pendulum Backspin Serve in this series using some unconventional training methods. Laj is a better than average USA tournament table tennis player, however this serve is difficult to master. Reverse Pendulum Table Tennis Serve mastery remains the holy grail for many club and tournament players worldwide.


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PostPosted: 10 Nov 2014, 20:18 
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The problem with this type of instruction video is that they never pay attention to how the serve feels. I don't mean to pick on this particular instance since it's pretty endemic to TT/sports instruction in general.

For instance what really matters is the loose arm esp elbow & wrist sensation before any motion, the increasing pressure of racket against the finger through to the contact, and most importantly the subtle bite of the ball on the rubber.

Once you hone in on the feel of a high spin serve at various speeds with any swing, it's just a matter of adjustment for whichever direction the spin needs to go, and whatever resulting form is a consequence of its function. Just mimicking the form and hoping for the best only leads to the weak serves usually seen at club level.

If someone already has a good pendulum serve and a similar level of reverse pendulum doesn't come easily, then it's probably the case they haven't figured out what they're doing right for the former (ie unwittingly stumbled upon an intuitive motion). Figuring that out and applying it to any other serve is likely much easier than starting anew and hoping lightning strikes twice.


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PostPosted: 10 Nov 2014, 22:22 
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I really like the way he presents the videos, especially how he uses very practical ways and examples on how to gauge your progress. I like his down to earth approach, which I think will appeal to a large number of people.
I assume he's targeting the intermediate level players, who already have some decent serves, as it's probably a little tricky for someone that does not already do normal pendulum serves.
I do this serve myself, but I'm not sure if I'm getting as much spin as he's getting, so I'll take a closer look next time I try it. His pointers are quite useful too. :up:

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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 00:07 
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I agree. He gives good, practical tips on the correct way to learn the serves. This isn't a serve I've tried very much, I mainly rely on the pendulum and can make the spin ambiguous enough to fool some players who are better than I am, but I need more serves. I'm going to have to give this one a try. I've even got a frisbee I can use!

Just curious, though - what's the benefit of the reverse pendulum? You're putting sidespin so that your opponent's return is to your forehand side. The regular pendulum forces the return to your backhand - when Danny Seemiller coached us that one time he said to stand over to your backhand side and serve the pendulum over to your forehand side with enough sidespin to bring the ball back over to the backhand side of the table. This sets you up for an inside-out third ball attack, and if the ball pops high and short the table's not in your way if you take the return over the table. The reverse pendulum would cause the opposite to happen - would you do this expecting a return to the forehand, and then attack it crosscourt?

Any way we can watch the snake serve video? It's set to "private".

Iskandar


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 01:10 
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The snake serve video is available again.

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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 02:09 
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agenthex wrote:
The problem with this type of instruction video is that they never pay attention to how the serve feels. I don't mean to pick on this particular instance since it's pretty endemic to TT/sports instruction in general.


Guys, I really appreciate you watching the content etc. Thanks to haggisv once again for posting.

Agenthex, you made several good points in your posts and I will take you views into consideration when making videos. I've almost finished a 9 part tutorial series on this serve alone, so I think it is a pretty big topic. Getting the feel of the serve across is a challenge for a video producers, however it's worth me spending some time thinking about for sure.

If anyone has any direct questions, I will be around to answer them. If anyone posts footage of their serve, I will comment for sure. I will be making more free videos with the member featured in part 1 and I'll be posting them on youtube for haggisv to post here if he chooses. The next one will be in a week or so from today.

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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 05:23 
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The way I came to the conclusion above is that most decent club players tend to practice serves at least some yet rarely put out anything unattackable with a mediocre over the table topspin. This would imply whatever they're practicing has some fundamental flaws. Going by their motions I suspect they're trying to mimic elite player form (the same sort most training vids, etc tend to advise for) so that's probably not the best way about it. Serving is also a set piece shot so there's no real reason for weaker players to be unable to pull decent ones off. They might lack the dynamics to handle a poor return but at least the serve can be good.

The reason I believe this happens is because the "form" even if in video only easily demonstrates the path of the motion, and not the changing velocity & timing along that path. The irony is that the more players try to focus on the replicating the exact path the less they focus on the more important aspects of what muscle groups to use and when for the best/quickest acceleration.

This specific video is actually pretty good in that regard since it illuminates the intent of the motion (with the frisby throw). The better the players execute that intent (throw the frisby farther) the more spinny their serves will be. But OTOH if they're not executing that same/similar intent for the standard pendulum it's kind of odd to introduce it as novel for the harder motion. IOW, if they have good fundamental feel for the easier shot they prolly won't need it for the harder one, and if they don't it's prolly better to fix the problem at a more basic level.

> Just curious, though - what's the benefit of the reverse pendulum?

The serve limits what the opponent can easily do and to a certain extent shapes how the rest of the point plays out. It's useful to have a full orthogonal set of serve spins/speeds to probe opponent's return weaknesses. For example it's usually harder for penholders to get the right bat angle on BH pushes against reversed side-back, or to contrast PH push is good against normal side-back, and RPB is naturally pretty good against reversed side-top. So if you're only good at one serve spin it can limit the pressure you can apply from the start.


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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 11:01 
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iskandar taib wrote:
Just curious, though - what's the benefit of the reverse pendulum?


My aim with the reverse pendulum backspin is to make people return into the net. I try to use more backspin than sidespin and hope they can't read it. With the reverse pendulum (topspin not in the video), I'm hoping for higher balls so I can play aggressively.

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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 13:01 
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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 15:27 
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I seriously believe that the feeling of a serve should be learned from the basic backspin serve. If you haven't developed a good backspin serve, I think learning to serve any serve with spin will just be a matter of having the luck of the draw and getting God-given talent.

The one thing I have wondered about is that with the frisbee toss and the floor serves, I have been working on building muscles in my shoulder that I never knew I had or could be built....

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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 15:40 
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NextLevel wrote:
I seriously believe that the feeling of a serve should be learned from the basic backspin serve. If you haven't developed a good backspin serve, I think learning to serve any serve with spin will just be a matter of having the luck of the draw and getting God-given talent.

The one thing I have wondered about is that with the frisbee toss and the floor serves, I have been working on building muscles in my shoulder that I never knew I had or could be built....


NextLevel, I totally agree with first learning the backspin serve. Really good observation imo.

In my original backspin serve video, I mention that if you learn how to do the basic backspin serve, it will flow over into all your other serves. The brushing contact with static elbow position is key and I'm guess that is what you are now experiencing. As a junior, I did didn't have a table at home so I served a lot of backspin bed and floor serves and it really helped me to develop all other serves later.

I'm in the process of re developing the backspin video for various reasons and I will make it available soon.

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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2014, 16:26 
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NextLevel wrote:
I seriously believe that the feeling of a serve should be learned from the basic backspin serve. If you haven't developed a good backspin serve, I think learning to serve any serve with spin will just be a matter of having the luck of the draw and getting God-given talent.

The one thing I have wondered about is that with the frisbee toss and the floor serves, I have been working on building muscles in my shoulder that I never knew I had or could be built....



Maybe at elite levels only because I can't strictly tell the degree of touch, but anything less it's the thinking player's domain with some modest practice. Serves/returns are pretty technical set pieces relative to the physical execution of rally, etc.

At lower <2k levels most players don't understand spin well, and very few generate enough of it. This isn't a matter of muscle but effective swing mechanics leading to contact speed. Deception is a natural consequence of substantial spin and difficult without potential for it.


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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2014, 05:49 
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It's nothing to do with the elite level. One of the reasons I decided to work with Brett was that he said so many things that I empathised with. When I started out, my first coach told me I needed to get more spin on my serves. I thought I had good spin but it wasn't until I started practicing floor and bed serves in a bigger apartment and doing drills like slicing and catching the ball that my spin went up. The key is to just start the process and have measurable feedback. Discussing the feeling doesn't help as much because until you have it, you may never get it, and different rubbers bite the ball differently. It is important to pay attention to the feeling, so your body continually seeks it and ideally reproduces it, but one cannot discuss it apart from the results.

There is very little high level instruction on serves out there. Look for anyone who is giving tips on how to build a serve (as opposed to just demonstrating it). Let's use this opportunity to ask questions and get knowledge, as opposed to pretending that we know things we do not.

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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2014, 06:56 
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NextLevel wrote:
When I started out, my first coach told me I needed to get more spin on my serves. I thought I had good spin but it wasn't until I started practicing floor and bed serves in a bigger apartment and doing drills like slicing and catching the ball that my spin went up. The key is to just start the process and have measurable feedback.

Well said! That's what Brett does so well, better than other instructional videos I've seen! :up: :up: :up:

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PostPosted: 12 Nov 2014, 07:43 
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NextLevel wrote:
The key is to just start the process and have measurable feedback.


This is my favourite sentence I've seen on a forum, although I'm new to forums.

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