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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2012, 23:23 
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So I'm back in the game after 20+ years away. Getting into shape again, starting a local club, and having fun.
With my age, physical condition and situation in general, I'm not aspiring to be a top level player. I'm in it for the fun, and to help other players (including my son) to the same level of fun and hopefully a higher level of playing.
About myself: I play lefthanded, handshake, with backhand counterloop and flick as my strongest weapons. I like variety, so I will change from close to the table to mid distance to wayback lob/chop by choice (and of course sometimes by force, when facing a stronger opponent). When playing with different sides on the bat, I generally twiddle for both FH and BH, but not much (not yet, anyway).

I find that testing various equipment is interesting, so I will most likely be changing setups quite often. Such constant change is likely to harm my consistency, but will increase the fun factor and hopefully improve my ability to give advice to players in development (which to me currently are the more important aspects of the game).

Mostly for my own sake, but perhaps also to the benefit (and/or amusement) of others, I will try to document the changes in equipment, my impressions of the various combos, and how they affect my playing.

I welcome any input to this blog, comments to my own writing as well as your own experiences relating to what's entered here, as long as it doesn't resort to ranting (my blog, so ranting will be my privilege, if ever I choose.)

There will be edits to my posts, perhaps in conflict with the "blog tradition", but edits will only be for correcting typos and the odd clarification. No material content will be altered. (Most likely, none will ever be greater than this edit here, shown in blue.)


Due to the nature of this blog, an equipment history may be relevant. Here goes (from faint memories):
  • I recall a "Stiga pop" bat with sponge and pips-out, bought in a set of two. Fairly heavy, and with an uncomfortable handle, square and tapered. Quite long pips IIRC. Using it I developed up to a point, then I decided I had to get something else. (I believe I later thoroughly massacred one of the bats at one time, trying to remove the rubber. I can't recall that it was ever used again... FAILURE) One of them may still be in the attic at my mother's. Collector's item?
  • Bought a Stiga "Hans Alsér" allround with a "three star" rubber. Great improvement over the "pop", until someone stepped on it and broke the handle. Taught me a lesson to not let stuff lie around on the floor... FAILURE
  • Got a Stiga "Stellan Bengtsson" for my birthday. Immediately recognized that the straight handle was just right for me. I think it had Mark V rubbers on. However, the bat I got must have been a window display item, because the rubber on one side was "UV-treated" (brittle, to the point that it was literally cracking up) except for a diagonal band where the STIGA sticker had covered the packaging. Went back to the shop and got a refund that covered half the price of a Tackiness rubber. Got two Tackiness-D max thick rubbers (from a different shop), glued them on with regular contact cement, and used that for the rest of my "early career".


Last edited by keme on 19 Jan 2012, 21:57, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2012, 23:56 
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When resurrecting the old bat, I found it was in surprisingly good condition. Rubbers bouncy and grippy as ever (though not very tacky for a "tackiness"), and it worked very well. The same looping ability as before, and the same problems with pushing very spinny balls. After a few months of playing, I decided that I needed a new bat with better control, and I heard that pips on the backhand would help with that. So I ordered myself a Yasaka Synergy blade, LKT pro XT and Friendship 802 rubbers. Both with 2,2mm sponge. That blade was fast, and so was the 802. I got a 2,0mm LKT pro, which probably was for the better, but still I had a hard time controlling my game ... FAILURE

So what I had initially in my "resurrected state" (and also referenced in some of my early posts) was:
New bat in nov. 2011: LKT pro XT 2,0 Yasaka Synergy Friendship 802 2,2
The old axe (1980-ish): Tackiness Drive 2,2 Stiga Allround Wood Tackiness Drive 2,2


Last edited by keme on 19 Jan 2012, 18:59, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2012, 00:11 
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Some change was in order:
I moved the rubbers from the Stiga into "active retirement" on a cheap Stiga "toy bat" blade. Rubbers too good to throw away, I figured. Moved the 802 from the Yasaka to the slower Stiga blade, substituted a Milky Way Pluto OX on the Yasaka, and did a few other changes.
Wow! Suddenly I have two quite different bats that are both quite interesting, and then some...

pips+inverted:
The revamped oldtimer: LKT pro XP 2,2 Stiga Allround Wood Friendship 802 2,2
The wand from the dark: Friendship General 1,5 Yasaka Synergy Milky Way Pluto OX
Double inverted
The surprise paddle: Tackiness Drive 2,2 Stiga no-name Tackiness Drive 2,2
The all chinese: LKT pro XT 2,0 LKT Instinct+ LKT pro XP 2,2

Now I'm starting to give them names. Is that a sign that I'm tipping over some edge?
I'm not tagging this as a failure yet, though...


Last edited by keme on 22 Jan 2012, 20:43, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2012, 07:41 
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Good on you for starting a personal blog! I like you title too :lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2012, 11:58 
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IMO those old stiga all-rounds were amongst the nicest blades ever made - treasure it! apparently they were made from mahogany in those days but i heard that is no longer the case. just be careful, they can develop hairline fractures near where the handle meets the blade proper.

despite your age and current physical condition dont think you cant improve considerably. its largely a matter of attitude. i have read some great motivational words by hookshot (i think he is in his late 60s) on this subject. also, whilst it maybe be fun to tinker with lots of different equipment (ive never understood this but thats another matter :) ) its a hell of a lot of fun getting your game stronger by developing new shots and greater ball-control/consistency etc.

anyway, good luck with it all and i look forward to reading your future installments.


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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2012, 18:55 
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carbonman wrote:
... despite your age and current physical condition dont think you cant improve considerably. its largely a matter of attitude. ...
Attitude? I have that! Now where did I put it... :^)

Seriously now, attitude towards TT explained:
I'm not saying I don't want to improve. It's just that improvement of others is a higher priority than my own improvement right now. (The expression in the faces of the young players sometimes when they "get it", that's instant gratification.) Also, coaching others will make me more conscious about my own playing, I guess.

I do practice to improve my own skills too, and I play in tournaments. I played in one with international participation a few months ago, lost every set, and learned a bit from it. Then recently played in a more informal setting (as much a social gathering as a sports event), a local "christmas tournament" that looks to be a regular event. Different opponents. Lost all matches again, but took a few sets. Still improving and still having fun.

Also, at 46 I do not consider myself old (though I guess some people do ::-) ), only six months older than JOW, and he is still a world class player. However, to have any chance of being a top level player I would have to invest more time and effort than my current situation (family and all) allows. From my current TT activity I'm getting workouts, honing my skills, coaching others, receiving some advice back, and from my ventures into EJ territory I'm learning new stuff that may help my coaching efforts. That is the level of my ambitions, and the foundation of my "TT attitude".

Or perhaps I use "that's not my ambition" as an excuse for not training properly. Now that would be a ... FAILURE.


Last edited by keme on 19 Jan 2012, 21:52, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2012, 21:26 
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lol.

sounds like you are getting a lot of satisfaction out of the game which is great.


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PostPosted: 20 Jan 2012, 16:26 
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BH: Tibhar Grass Dtecs
I know a guy who started TT...YES....STARTED from scratch...at age 66! He's now 74 I think. I haven't seen him for maybe 6 months, but at 73 he was playing around the level I play at now (and have for about 2 years) that took me 2-3 years to get to after coming back from a 20-odd year competition layoff. So starting at 46 (which is same as me, but I've really played for about 34 years on and off) is well and truly early enough to build a satisfying game.

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PostPosted: 21 Jan 2012, 00:01 
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Hmmm... I just saw my status had changed to "senior member". Did I have a "senior moment" recently, perhaps... :rofl:


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PostPosted: 28 Jan 2012, 00:05 
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Training on the tuesday previous week, we warmed up, got the drills going, business as usual.

After an hour there's a visitor who hasn't been for a while.

Tatjana plays for a club in Stavanger, but she recently moved here and can't always drive 3 hours to train with her regulars. She plays in the "1st division" (below the top "elite" division) team series - the men's series - and they do quite well. To say the least, we're grateful to have chance to test ourselves against top level players, and hope that it is of some use to her too.

So she asks if I want to play some, and of course I don't mind. After a couple of rallies I notice the sound has changed.
Now we're the only ones playing. Everyone else have stopped and turned, looking at what's going on at our table. I guess they take pleasure in seeing the old guy getting a thorough beating :lol: (and it's a pleasure to the old guy too).
Later some of the more talented young boys have a few rallies and get some advice. Couple of questions get answered, and someone sure are going to have a couple of new serves ready for next week.

Last tuesday Tatjana was back. We had quite a workout (well at least I had) doing drills, and then played a few sets. I lost twice 11-4, with a major racket change between (one set with the LKT and one with the Yasaka, as mentioned above), then I lost count...
Some more experience with the Pluto, so I guess I can soon add some info to another thread too.

Looks like she'll be visiting weekly. The word is out. TT interest rising locally. No failure to report this time. All is well!


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2012, 12:47 
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I suspect I have been misleading the community.

My "Stellan Bengtsson" may be the blade from an intermediate level bat, and not a proper "allround wood" as I have been stating. When changing rubbers I've seen that the blade surface is somewhat bulgy, and also the grain of the outer veneer differs significantly from other Allround Wood blades I've had my hands on. This also corresponds to the faint memory of a "three star rubber", as the intermediate level bats came with "Cobra ***" rubber.

I'll upload a few images for closer inspection and final judgement.

Training session today went reasonably well. I'm the only one coaching, but saturdays are generally more for "free play" and not so much for drills. More playing with the Pluto OX, and I find I'm learning its capabilities and limitations. I can do very precise defensive strokes. Attacking short underspin balls is OK to some degree, but there's no "killer stroke" yet. It may need a sponge. Looks like I can't make proper use of OX pips (or it's just that my patience is lacking). minor FAILURE

Changed to the Instinct+ for some looping fun. It seems that my ventures into the dark realms of Pip has helped my game with inverted, or perhaps if was just that I had to focus more when changing between different setups. I found I had a wider register of placement and spin on most of my strokes, varying sidespin on both FH and BH loops, Double inverted is fun!
Can't say I notice any significant difference between the LKT pro XP and ~-XT.
I recognize that I'm not ready to go all-in with the pips just yet. Some change of rubbers is coming up, and I will probably be geared more towards double inverted. However, I still have a few pip sheets waiting. Can't let that go untested

A couple of the younger players have noticed that I use a few different combos. They came over and asked for advice on changing rubbers. They had old, but perfectly playable rubbers, so I just explained my own findings from playing different rubbers, along with some advice about favoring contol over speed. I have some suitable rubbers around, and offered to change for them, only charging for my own expenses. Their parents were surprised to find that they could have a decent quality chinese rubber at a lower price than what they paid for their Srivers some 20 years ago, and I was hired...

Oops! Suddenly I am considered the expert on equipment. That opens up for an interesting perspective: EJ by proxy?

Going down to the basement for a glue job or three now...


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2012, 13:06 
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From memory around the mid-70s the stigas were frequently sold with Cobra 3 star rubber. The rubber was pretty crappy (and very hard to remove!) but the blades were still the real deal. I have a feeling that before a certain date there was only one type of blade and so they weren't differentiated by 'all-round', 'offensive' etc. Also, the wood used in them then was different than now. Despite all this it could well be that Stiga made an intermediate model as well.


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PostPosted: 29 Jan 2012, 19:47 
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carbonman wrote:
From memory around the mid-70s the stigas were frequently sold with Cobra 3 star rubber. The rubber was pretty crappy (and very hard to remove!) but the blades were still the real deal. I have a feeling that before a certain date there was only one type of blade and so they weren't differentiated by 'all-round', 'offensive' etc. Also, the wood used in them then was different than now. Despite all this it could well be that Stiga made an intermediate model as well.

There is the early model (not differentiated). The handle sticker on the "Stellan Bengtsson" in this catalogue does not ring a bell. (Bottom of PDF page 3, print page number 6)
Later there were differentiated models. The sticker on the one on page 9 in this catalogue does ring a bell (and also the better image from the ITTF museum). That one is listed under the "för skoj skuld" (for the fun of it) heading.

Due to my fear of flying bats :lol: , I soon sanded the laquered handle down to bare wood, thus removing the handle sticker. I'm pretty sure my bat is the one I indicated above, though.

It seems that I've been mistaken...


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PostPosted: 03 Feb 2012, 18:11 
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Back to double inverted as my primary setup, I guess, putting the pip experiments on hold for a while (still carrying some pip material, though).
Training last tuesday, I skipped most of the warm up routine the others went through (can't run properly due to persistent achilles tendonitis), and did my own routine instead.
(There were no comments on my "power walking", but I could see laughter bubbling below the surface.)

Due to the tendonitis I try to start slow, just playing the push/block side of drills, and go "instructor rounds" for the drills that require more active footwork. Same thing today. Foot coming around nicely, to the point that I forget about the pain.

Done with the drills and starting the "free play", I am the odd one out and don't fancy playing double on one side or waiting my turn. Rather I do some exercises using a flat wall for a return board. (Smooth wall is a bit like playing against anti, I suppose.) I'm improving my loops, and attacking the underspin returns when possible, and everything feels right. Someone leaves and I join the established "ladder tables" game, soon playing alternatingly at the top two tables and beating everyone. Session nearly finished, and I am a bit out of position in a rally, sidestepping to reach a wide ball to my forehand, and there's a loud pop from my right foot. Tendon FAILURE
Hurts. ROTFL without the L. Cursing myself for being so careless. Not as bad as I thought, though, just a mild case of brain FAILURE I guess.

Don't think the tendon or muscle has any tear, but it's heavily strained. Walking half steps for a couple of days now. The pain (and the limp) is not getting any better, so I'm seeing the doctor today to be on the safe side. Probably no TT for a couple of weeks... Could have been worse, though.

Wish me luck!

Edit: As I thought, nothing torn, just me being overly sensitive. Doctors orders are rest for the strained muscle and pills for the tendonitis. Got to see if I can do that.
Perhaps pull out a chair and play TT sitting down. There are many wheelchair users who play TT, and this may be an opportunity for me to get a glimpse at their perspective.


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PostPosted: 04 Feb 2012, 19:00 
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Retiring the pips (almost)
Double inverted
LKT combo: LKT pro XT 2,0 LKT Instinct+ LKT pro XP 2,2
Sweet spot: Friendship 729 General 1,5 Yasaka Synergy Friendship 729 General 1,8
Hotspot: Friendship 729 General 1,8 Galaxy/YinHe T-2 Friendship 729 Cross 2,2
Blast from the past: Tackiness Drive 2,2 Stiga no-name Tackiness Drive 2,2
pips+inverted:
The revamped oldtimer: LKT pro XP 2,2 Stiga Stellan Bengtsson Friendship 802 2,2
(It is not a proper "Allround Wood", I guess. Sorry about the previous misguiding info...)

Have to get a larger sports bag now, to carry them all.


Last edited by keme on 06 Feb 2012, 19:51, edited 1 time in total.

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