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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2012, 02:47 
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Our club had a visit Saturday from the norwegian TT assosiation's "club development official" (not sure what a proper English title would be, but you get the gist of it). He happens to be also a coach with international recognition. The visit of Jan Berner was duly announced, and everyone were encouraged to come.
Turnout: 4 ... Four! MAJOR FAILURE
(Myself and my son, our main coach and one of the other kids).

Berner took it nicely, explained that this is how TT-Norway generally looks like, instructed us to take a good look at each other, "you are now looking at the people you can depend on". He then proceeded to give us a great tutorial. Not on advanced serves, killer loop against chop, or anything like that. Just basic technique: Grip, stance, footwork, counterhit, push. That was it. Mixed those elements in with a few drill patterns and demonstrated how efficient it was to just address the shortcomings in basic technique. "When you have those basics, the rest will come naturally." Sounds boring, perhaps, but we did that for three hours straight, improving all the way, and everyone smiling by the end of the session. An eye opener it was, to me and to the others.

Using myself as a prime example: I have had problems with inconsistent pushing, and blaming it on the equipment (too sensitive to incoming spin, yeah, right!). Commonly perhaps 2-3 good pushes and then I either hit wide (or at least popping up in a big way) or in the net. Berner solved it within a minute. When I get too pleased with my own playing, I either use the wrist for some extra spin (and a push with too much wrist will go wide) or inadvertently my index finger will add a little pressure (closing the blade angle a little to drop my return into the net). Now I know what I am doing wrong, and can correct it. Thanks a lot! (I had a few other bad habits corrected too.)

Berner advised us all to use allround blades with soft euro rubbers. He was a bit skeptical about mine and my son's Re-Impact blades. His statement towards those was more or less "I've been around, and nobody uses those blades."
The kid's T-4 he described as "faster than any of my rackets (and they're quite fast), faster than Timo Boll's racket, too fast for a learning player". He did observe that my son has problems controlling some returns, and attributed those problems to the blade. I know what other rackets the boy has used, and from day 1 he's been more consistent with this balsa blade than with anything else, fast or slow, so I'm not entirely convinced. Besides, I don't think his primary ambition is towards perfection and victory, but more towards the fun and show of the game. I'll see if I can get him to try an allround blade with soft rubbers, just so he can feel the difference in control vs. speed.

For my ridiculously thick blade Berner had little to say. I guess he was just too polite to say what he meant, and too honest to lie. Anyway, I switched to a backup with double inverted for the training sessions. Not much point in disruption when what we needed was to practice our basic skills.


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PostPosted: 25 Nov 2012, 20:10 
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Siddistreffen going on this weekend, biggest annual tournament around here, with some international participation. 5 players from our club. I have other chores (babysitter for the weekend) so I'm not playing, but my son is in. I drove him and a couple of the other boys in yesterday. I would rather be playing, but watching the elite class is not a bad substitute. I didn't mind sitting "ringside" to watch the playing of Bernadette Szocs (earplugs recommended) and Allan Bentsen, and luckily my little girl also found it mildly interesting. When the 3-year-old cheered the players on at exactly the wrong moments, wielding her very own dual SP racket, it drew us some attention: imagine Allan Bentsen being cheered on with the words "GO MAMA!" when he is about to serve. (No, you cannot take her cheering to mean that her mama looks even remotely like AB.)

I got a few comments through the day, to the effect that "...your daughter is the cutest ever...". Certainly one of the bright spots.

Our boys lost every match yesterday. Some losses to clearly better players, which is OK. Then there were losses accountable to tournament nerves (forgetting everything that Jan Berner told us a week ago, and due to the aforementioned chore I was distracted from the coaching task, FAILURE), and also some losses due to health problems, losses to players they ordinarily should beat.
Only one playing today, and I'm not going. Hopefully he'll do better than yesterday. In theory today's class C should be tougher than yesterday's class D, but I see many of the same names in both classes, so he may still do all right.


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PostPosted: 21 Jan 2013, 23:52 
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The last trainings have shown considerable improvement in my son's game. Basic offensive strokes are more and more consistent, and he's even looping a bit from mid distance. Footwork improving, and he's having a great time. Just have to work a bit in handling incoming spin this week, preparing for the upcoming series matches. In particular underspin serves still represent a big problem, but that's just a matter of adjustment. Not sure that he will win any match for the team, but he has a better chance than ever before.

For me training has been against the wall, mostly. We have some strong players, and they want to come, but somehow things get in the way. Just hope that we can muster two full teams this time. It was a bit embarrassing last December, to turn up to our home matches with one team missing a player and a substitute available on the other team. Looks like bad planning. (While rules allow the same player to play for more than one team, it is not allowed if teams are in the same division.)

Have done some experimenting with the Re-Impact inverted rubber. Tried the Sanwei T88-I, which was too hard, felt lively on softer strokes and dead once I tried to speed up. (The opposite would have been nice.) This concurs with the maker's statement that too much sponge can work against the blade, so they cancel each other out. Mercury II was better, but too bouncy. Good fun but little control. Air Illumina is on now, and feels much like the Stiga Innova UL that I got with the blade, only a bit more spin on brush strokes (or so I imagine). Have to restrain myself now: no more changes this week, at least. :lol:


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PostPosted: 21 Jan 2013, 23:57 
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So when does your season start Keme? Is it a new season, or carry on same season from December?

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PostPosted: 22 Jan 2013, 05:58 
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TT-season is August to May, roughly, so we just continue from December.

Our players do not participate in a lot of tournaments yet. Just one or two within reasonable driving distance. The team series is the main competition, with matches scheduled from October to March. I hope to increase competition play, and perhaps have a tournament here too, but the club needs to grow a little for that to be possible. Of course, that works both ways. More competition play is motivating for most players, and will help us grow. Working on it...


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PostPosted: 25 Feb 2013, 19:50 
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Some changes again, on several blades...
Main axe: Palio CK531A 0,9 | Re-Impact Swift 6 (?) | LKT pro XP 2,2 164g
Re-Impact Perfect 995-2-Si-WRZ-6x6. Achim refers to the Swift 6 in some PMs advising me, so I assume that this is that, or at least equivalent.
Unusual handle shape, which works surprisingly well for twiddling.


Backup: Gambler Reflectoid 2,0| Yasaka Synergy | Palio Thor's MAX 169g
Reconfigured. Got some slightly used rubbers from so_devo for testing, and they are a nice match for this blade.

Upcoming... Friendship 729 Cream Transcend 1,5| Re-Impact Dr. Barath 224 | Air Upupupup U3 OX 136g That didn't work. Trying something softer and less extreme
Palio WP1013 1,8| Re-Impact Dr. Barath 224 | Stiga Innova UL 1,8 153g
Achim's latest invention (?). Blade with huge variation between sides/positions, requires a clear mind. Excellent spin, and also very good control if you just remember which way you twiddled...

... and then some ...

"Demo rigs" mostly, but I would gladly sell most of them cheap, should someone in the club find something suitable.
Kokutaku 119 1,5 | YinHe T-2 | Air Illumina 2,0 162g - Cheap but good setup for "smacking".
Milky Way Mercury II 2,2| HRT 2076 | DHS Hurricane III 2,2 171g - Had to put those rubbers somewhere when I didn't want them on my main setup. Not bad at all. This one could have served as my backup.
Friendship 729 General 1,8| YinHe Y-4 | Friendship 729 General 1,8 175g - Nothing beats this for demonstrating how wrong a carbon blade is for most people.
Air Upupupup U5 OX| YinHe Y-4 cpen | Sanwei T88-i 2,2 145g - Yes, I have to have something for penhold too. Just have to... (No, don't ask!)
Friendship 563 1,8 | YinHe T-11+ | Air Upupupup U2 Ox 121g - Dual pip, very light, "smacker" like the T-2 but with a twist...
XiYing 999 2,2| Cheap crappy blade | XiYing 999 2,2 178g - Just something to demonstrate how cheap you can be and still have something decent.
XiYing 979 OX | Cheap crappy blade | Friendship 729 1,8 155g - As above, with the added LP-OX, so you can get a feel for what you gain and what you lose with LP.

... and a small store of other blades and rubbers, with glue, cutter and chopping board at hand, just in case ...


Last edited by keme on 05 Mar 2013, 12:10, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: 01 Mar 2013, 19:40 
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Last round of series matches coming up, hopefully we will play the last two matches tomorrow. There is no way we can top the series, but a theoretical chance of going to the bottom, so there should still be motivation to play our best. Our other team has been falling apart. One "solid rock" and three players who quit mid season. Now, that one faithful player was taken ill, so tomorrow will be the substitutes' day for our #1 team. I assume that we, the #2 team from the outset, will stay ahead of them on the scoreboard. Some biblical justice going on there, "But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."

Oh well, one of our players has also given notice that he's not playing, but going two full team matches is not too much for any of us. Our #1 team is facing 5 matches in a worst case scenario, with only inexperienced players and no substitutes. That will be 15-20 individual matches for each player. We'll be carrying them home at the end of the day...

Got a new blade from Achim to test. First impressions of the Dr. Barath blade are really good, so I wonder if I should take Debater's example and switch racket now. I have sub-optimal rubbers on that blade, but that is the case for my main setup too, I have been told. Familiar setup with quite good control, or an unfamiliar setup (with some surprises) giving excellent control and added options (as long as I focus properly)? Choices, choices...


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PostPosted: 01 Mar 2013, 20:59 
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Hey Keme,

Can you please tell me something more about chopping and blocking ability of Palio 0,9? Can you compare it with OX? I normally stick to thin or no sponge, but I have a new sheet of Palio 1mm at home that I haven't tried yet... I did try Neptune 1mm on Defplay and that combination was way too springy for my liking...

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PostPosted: 01 Mar 2013, 23:32 
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Pipsy wrote:
Can you please tell me something more about chopping and blocking ability of Palio 0,9? Can you compare it with OX?...

My experience against strong opponents is from competition play. I do not have the mobility to be competitive with a chopping game, so all I can say is that in a training situation I can hit mid distance chops very low over the net, and land them deep. Not sure how strong the underspin is, but judging from the trajectory it looks very good. My training partners are generally not very experienced in playing against choppers, so I haven't even asked them about the spin.
I do not get to play specialised drills, so not sure how I'd do against strong loops, or against drive/smash from way back. I believe the rubber is good for chopping against high spin and from long distance too, but can't say for sure.

In competition I have to stay close to the table mostly. Against modest loops I can block passively and get some reversal, but when I try to block at an angle, I frequently overdo it so the ball goes over the side. With chop blocks I have better directional control, and can get really good speed or effectively a drop shot with virtually the same movement, so the opponent is often caught off guard. The chop block is effective even against very spinny/fast loops, and also doable from the forehand (I twiddle frequently, also in the middle of a rally). I find it very hard to block passively on the forehand side.

Against underspin I can "push" (not sure, but this is perhaps what you'd call a "pushblock") and still get a surprising amount of topspin. If I can reach an incoming underspin ball at net heigth, it is easier to just smack it back. With good placement I don't need very high speed to make that a winner.

I have a sheet of CK531A OX ready, so I expect that in half a year or so I can compare them. Not now, sorry! Compared to other LP rubbers I have tried in OX (DF1615, XiYing 979, Air Upupupup), I have much better control with the sponged CK531A, but the disruption (ability to alternate between killing and reversing the spin) is a bit better with OX. I guess control and disruption are two sides of the same coin...


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PostPosted: 03 Mar 2013, 02:24 
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keme wrote:
I have a sheet of CK531A OX ready, so I expect that in half a year or so I can compare them. Not now, sorry! Compared to other LP rubbers I have tried in OX :cash: :swear: (DF1615, XiYing 979, Air Upupupup), I have much better control with the sponged CK531A, but the disruption (ability to alternate between killing and reversing the spin) is a bit better with OX. I guess control and disruption are two sides of the same coin...


Thanks Keme, I will probably have tried the sponged version before you tried OX then :lol:

I can't imagine having more control than with Palio OX for the way I play now. I've always played OX and I'm experimenting a bit with (thin) sponge underneath my pips, it's difficult to get used to that. Not so much for chopping, but especially for the short game (much more closed angle, bouncier). I presume attacking with sponged Palio will be easier, but on the other hand attacking with pips is not really part of the style I have developed over the years.

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PostPosted: 04 Mar 2013, 21:07 
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My starting configuration of the dr. Barath blade showed promising qualities, but there were unresolved issues. I swapped rubbers to other sides, but it still did not support my game reliably. I should have heeded the maker's statements and waited for proper coverings, I guess. Also, from the impressions I get, I assume that the different options provided by the blade are enough, and adding "material properties" (like LP) to the equation is counter productive. That seems to be the case for me, at least. FAILURE
We had series matches coming last weekend, so I felt there was no choice but to go back to my main setup. I have to restrain the EJ within.

One team match for my team. The team we were facing beat us 6-4 in their home match, and they are just ahead of us in the series, so we really wanted to win this one.

First round, two won, one lost. Pretty much as expected, as their strongest played our weakest.
Second round I faced their top player. He transferred from a higher division team to fill in for players who couldn't make it. Before the match we had a friendly talk, went into equipment subjects, and I showed him my bat and explained the pros and cons of long pips. He had good serves, but they mostly went to my strongest areas (straight underspin short to my backhand and top/sidespin long to my forehand) so I would smack them back for a winner half the time. He just couldn't adjust, even with good coaching and me being quite frank about the strengths and weaknesses of my setup. Playing a leftie and a pip player was just too much, it seemed. He took a set, but that was it. One more win for me, and the others had one win and one loss, so in all we were up 4-2.

Last round started with two losses for us, and I was playing last. Even with the pressure of 4-4, my confidence was up for my last singles match, after having beat their best. However, this guy had a large arsenal of serves, so he was up quite a bit (7-2 I think) before I knew what was going on. Really good serves with strong spin from that boy, but he gave away both spin and placement. I learned to read his serves, and then I was back in the game. His reaction as I was closing in the score was rather unexpected. He really fell apart when his serves came back with his own spin on them, and his usual winners were returned seemingly effortless. To the bystanders it looked like he suddenly decided to give away the first set. 2nd set I won 11-0, and I doubt that I could have given away a grace point even if it had occurred to me. He just didn't seem to care about the game at all. Their coach talked to him, so 3rd set was more of a match, but still no contest, and we were up 5-4. Still a doubles match to go, but at least we secured one point.

We are too few consistent players on our trainings to ever train doubles properly, and I know that the other team is from a larger club and have better coaches, so I expected to face a loss. Regarding the strengths between us:
We have had a good run through basic doubles tactics, and we are experienced readers, one left- and one righthanded.
They are young and agile, have a polished technique, and have had better opportunity (I believe) to train for doubles.

So we each had our strengths. Surprisingly, their better mobility did not help at all. We applied safe tactics (returns "down the line", mostly, so they could not run us around the court) and patience. Opposite handedness means our ready positions do not occupy the same space (unlike the situation for our opponents), and also means we are not so easily "pinned". They attacked on half chances, and had difficulties recovering when we managed to return. Altogether this helped us, much to our surprise, to win comfortably in 3.
End result 6-4, and 2 points in the book. My legs didn't fail, and I had four good wins. Perhaps even more pleasing to me, my words on the importance of tactics in doubles were confirmed by practical experience.

Our other team (supposedly our top team) has been troubled with sickness and other problems, so mostly substitutes have played this year's matches. Too bad! This weekend we only managed to muster two players, so their match was instantly down 0-3. The substitutes are decent basement players, but unfamiliar with proper playing venues (they have attended maybe 3-4 trainings). While they had some good rallies, they did not really stand any chance against the players they faced. However, they are old enough to be realistic about it, and seemed to enjoy the game. They also had to pick up one of their postponed matches, this time against an all-girl team, and lost that one 1-9.
Imagine a man in his mid 40-s, tattoos covering both his arms and his beard approaching ZZ-top style, trashed by a skinny 13-year-old girl. They both laughed their way through the match, more or less, and he later described it as a "fascinating experience".

Our teams are not rock bottom in the series, and everyone played well and had a good time. The only real downside is that the best player on our team 1 was sick, so he lost the top spot for "best team player of the season" in the division. I guess he'll survive that...
In all, we had a good day!


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PostPosted: 13 Mar 2013, 23:55 
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Taking my chances, altering main setup before end of season...
Main axe: Milky Way Earth 1,5 | Re-Impact Swift 6 (?) | Palio CK531A OX 145g
Re-Impact Perfect 995-2-Si-WRZ-6x6. Achim refers to the Swift 6 in some PMs advising me, so I assume that this is that, or at least equivalent.
Unusual handle shape, straight on one side and rounded/"anatomic" on the other, which together looks like a slightly modified banana shape. Works surprisingly well for twiddling.


Backup: Gambler Reflectoid 2,0| Yasaka Synergy | Palio Thor's MAX 169g
Reconfigured. Got some slightly used rubbers from so_devo for testing, and they are a nice match for this blade.

Upcoming... Palio WP1013 1,8| Re-Impact Dr. Barath 224 | Stiga Innova UL 1,8 153g
Blade has huge difference between sides/positions it seems, so this requires a clear mind. Excellent spin, and also very good control if you just remember which way you twiddled...

... and then some ...

"Demo rigs" mostly, but I would gladly sell most of them cheap, should someone in the club find something suitable.
Kokutaku 119 1,5 | YinHe T-2 | Air Illumina 2,0 162g - Cheap but good setup for "smacking".
Milky Way Mercury II 2,2| HRT 2076 | DHS Hurricane III 2,2 171g - Had to put those rubbers somewhere when I didn't want them on my main setup. Not bad at all. This one could have served as my backup.
Friendship 729 General 1,8| YinHe Y-4 | Friendship 729 General 1,8 175g - Nothing beats this for demonstrating how wrong a carbon blade is for most people.
Air Upupupup U5 OX| YinHe Y-4 cpen | Sanwei T88-i 2,2 145g - Yes, I have to have something for penhold too. Just have to... (No, don't ask!)
Friendship 563 1,8 | YinHe T-11+ | Air Upupupup U2 Ox 121g - Dual pip, very light, "smacker" like the T-2 but with a twist...
XiYing 999 2,2| Cheap crappy blade | XiYing 999 2,2 178g - Just something to demonstrate how cheap you can be and still have something decent.
XiYing 979 OX | Cheap crappy blade | Friendship 729 1,8 155g - As above, with the added LP-OX, so you can get a feel for what you gain and what you lose with LP.

... and a small store of other blades and rubbers, with glue, cutter and chopping board at hand, just in case ...


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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2013, 00:15 
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What's the reasoning in having a draw possible in your league Keme? Why don't they have 2 doubles, so there's 11 matches and no draw possible? Is an extra 15-20 minutes out of the question?

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S/U 1: Blade: Bty Gergely . FH Black Andro Rasant 2.1 . BH Red Tibhar Grass Dtecs
S/U 2: Blade: Bty Gergely . FH Black Hexer+ 2.1 . BH Red GD Talon
S/U 3: Blade: Bty Gergely . No rubbers...thinking of adding Red Dtecs and Black Rasant
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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2013, 08:23 
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RebornTTEvnglist wrote:
What's the reasoning in having a draw possible in your league Keme? Why don't they have 2 doubles, so there's 11 matches and no draw possible? Is an extra 15-20 minutes out of the question?
The extra time would not be a problem. The possibility of a draw is also not a problem when we play a league series.

Tournaments are different (elimination required): When there is a team class it is 5 individual matches in a team match (3 players to a team and no doubles, or two player teams with doubles).

It's just the way things work for the norwegian leagues:
  • For our 4th and 5th divisions: 3 player teams, all play singles matches against all, and there is one doubles match. 10 in all, and all matches are played (there is no stopping at 6 wins to a team).
  • For 1st to 3rd division there are 4 players on a team. Each player has two singles matches and one doubles match. Also 10 matches, and no stopping at 6 (all matches are played).
  • The ladies league teams have 3 players and play the same scheme as our lower division, but they stop at 6 wins.
  • In our top division, the Stiga league, the teams are 3 players, and matches follow the same scheme as is common for international team matches. 5 singles matches, no doubles, stop at 3 wins to a team.
So in our series, only the Stiga league has no draw possible. All the other divisions have a team match played as 10 individual matches, so a draw is possible.


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PostPosted: 14 Mar 2013, 23:55 
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I guess it must be a cultural thing then. I've never played TT where a draw is possible in Australia.

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I'm always in the dark, but the Dark sheds lights upon everything!! :twisted: Beauty is only pimple deep! Beauty is in the eye of the pipholder!
S/U 1: Blade: Bty Gergely . FH Black Andro Rasant 2.1 . BH Red Tibhar Grass Dtecs
S/U 2: Blade: Bty Gergely . FH Black Hexer+ 2.1 . BH Red GD Talon
S/U 3: Blade: Bty Gergely . No rubbers...thinking of adding Red Dtecs and Black Rasant
Aussie Table Tennis Shop / Aussie Table Tennis Facebook Page / Equipment Review Index / Read my Reb Report Blog: click here.


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