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 Post subject: Auzcar's Adventures
PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 07:10 
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My journey to become a modern defender came to an end when I realised that there are other playing styles that suits me better and I'm now back to OX chopblocking/chopping and FH attacking. This blog is now more about me trying to develop my style and in the meantime finding a setup that can cure the EJ virus inside me.

I also changed the name of the blog since "Destination Modern Defense" didn't seem approptiate anymore. This will give me some wiggle room as wekk if the intended destination should change again in the future :rofl:


Welcome to my blog or whatever we should call it, I will use it as a journal and to reflect on my game and my progress since changing my game to modern defense! I'm not sure how active I will be able to be in posting but I'll try to do it a couple of times per week since I think it'll benefit my game quite a bit to reflect upon it. I will start by giving you a quick rundown of my table tennis background so you know where I come from.

I started playing table tennis at the age of twelve, eleven years ago. Sadly I didn't really have a proper coach and have never really had one since then neither. Because of this my technique is far from perfect since I got it a bit wrong right from the start. I started out as an attacker but won a lot on my serves and pushes in the beginning, especially on the FH. When I grew I got a better and better FH attack and when i was around 15 it was my main weapon. My BH attack have never been consistent though but I had a good push and a good block on BH. This made my "coach" suggest LP on BH, I started out with 837 and changed after a couple of months to Feint Long II. I used this during two seasons before changing back to double inverted when I was 17. At this time my FH power had grown a lot and I had a real weapon to utilize. The problem have always been my footwork though, I'm 195cm (6'4") and not that quick close to the table which makes it hard to really use my FH as much as I would like. One year later I changed to LP again but this time to CK531A ox and used it closed to the table, this in combination with a lot more practice and a lot of physical exersice made me take a big step and get a lot better. Suddenly I could actually use my BH and make something with the ball, I still tried to set up my FH and use it at every chance I got. Being in a much better physical shape made it a lot easier as well. At this point I played in the Swedish Division 2 which would be the fourth highest in Sweden. This was the peak of my "career" and I had a solid win ratio the first two years, since then it has gone majorly downhill.

After this I stopped practising due to lack of motivation, some work abroad and just overall a lack of time, I practised about once or twice a month but still played the league, this went on until this season when I got a job with good hours and got my motivation back. Had some injuries in the beginning of the season, an inflamation in my shoulder which stopped me from played during September and at the moment I'm playing with a mild tennis elbow, but that is surprisingly not holding me back, it's more a problem in my work, but that's another story.

Since my level dropped a lot I started loosing a lot of matches that I felt I should've won and last season my win/loss ratio was horrible in the same league that i had a major plus ratio just two years earlier. This made me loose some motivation and I've been struggling this whole season with thoughts about putting away the paddle for good. Perhaps a week ago it really dawned on me that I played a style that I really don't find enjoyable anymore and I made the decision to fully commit to become a modern defender instead since this is the style I enjoy playing most of all. This is where I am today and I feel both happy and relieved that I made this decision!

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Last edited by auzcar on 19 Feb 2015, 18:16, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 07:30 
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So I had my first session of my new table tennis life today and it actually went better than expected.

I started out by testing some equipment for the first hour to be able to settle on a setup. I've played with a lot of LP's and a lot of blades so I knew which ones I would like the most. The biggest question was which blade I would choose, the VKM or the Joo Se Hyuk, I mounted a Curl P1r 0,5mm and a Rakza 7 max on both blades and started playing. It was obvious after about 20 minutes that the Joo suited me better, especially on the FH so that is the blade I'll be using. After I had decided on the blade I started the actual session which consisted of only matches, as usual. In the beginning I had a bit trouble adjusting to the grip of the P1r, no surprises there, coming from a low grip OX LP. Surprisingly though my chopping worked very well right from the start and being able to put some backspin on the first chop/push really made it easier to set up a chopping rally and not get blown away on the first attack. My level was of course lower than usual but not at all as low as I expected and this was such a big relief, since I really don't want to loose every match in the beginning and loose faith in this decision. Don't get me wrong though, I still have a very long way to go!

One of the things I had most trouble with was when my opponent would push one of my chops to my FH and I had to rush in for a push. I pushed A LOT of these over the table despite being in a very good position to make the shot. I think this is mainly because the Joo is a lot harder and faster than both the VKM and the Defplay which makes the angle a bit different, I'm quite sure this problem will go away when I've gotten used to it though. Had some trouble with the FH defense as well, I didn't chop much at all but I "fished" a lot of balls long as well. Again, hoping that this is mainly because of the different setup since I've never had that problem before.

All in all I felt a lot more comfortable than I expected and the footwork felt so much more natural, yay! I just need to get used to the equipment in the beginning and then I'll make a real evaluation of what I need to work on!

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 07:31 
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Great story auzcar. :up: :up: :up:

I'm sure you'll feel much more motivated now that you've decided on the style you play, and I look forwards to read about your journey back to the top! ;)

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 07:34 
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haggisv wrote:
Great story auzcar. :up: :up: :up:

I'm sure you'll feel much more motivated now that you've decided on the style you play, and I look forwards to read about your journey back to the top! ;)


Haha thanks Haggisv! Feels really good and at this point I can feel the motivation in my whole body! Now I'm off to bed to make sure I'm rested for my next session tomorrow night.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 08:03 
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Super start! I shall follow your journey with interest! I'm doing something similar - just journaling my findings and experiences and musings for future reference. I do hope for comments, and maybe some of my experiences will be of use too, but mostly it's a learning tool.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 08:06 
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I am glad you decided to blog this journey down (is that proper English?)
I had the same problem with FH push with Joo-blade. Later you will probably find out how much you will use FH attack and if you find out (like I did) that you would benefit more from extra control and spin than from FH power, don't hesitate to change blade to Defplay or VKM. Just don't wait three years like I did :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :oops:

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 17:14 
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Yeah I think it's gonna help me quite a bit to write down my thoughts and to really reflect upon my game and strategy. Now in the beginning I will have full focus on getting a better, proper, technique in my defense and getting used to the equipment. The more detailed strategy part will have to wait a little while before I implement it in my game.

The plan is still to use my FH when I get the chance, I will try to play more like Wang Xi or Gionis than Shiono for example. The plan is to implement a FH chop into my game and this is something I need to put a lot of work into. I really think this is the way to go and I also think that Rakza is a pretty good chopping rubber to be honest. I should add that the Rakza I had on the Joo blade is very old and worn and have been boosted 2 times, and the last time not so long ago. It'll probably get a bit easier when I move the new unboosted Rakza sheet from the VKM to the Joo. The plan is also to move to 1mm+ sponge on the BH in the future but that will have to wait until the next season I think. Spin is probably not such a big issue, I chop pretty hard and it's just a matter of perfecting my technique, as we all know there's a lot of world class chopper using the Joo/P1r combo and they seem to get decent spin ;) Control will probably be the issue for me if there is one.

I will try to record a training session with my phone or borrow the clubs camera (shitty quality though) but it will probably take a week or two before I have a proper opportunity to do this, would be really hepful though.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 18:12 
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Awesome stuff auzcar, I'll be keeping an eye on this thread :)

Personally, to date, I've avoided the forehand chop. This might be different for you because I know you were already an established player but I found when learning that if I started using the forehand chop, I stopped looping - and I need to make sure my forehand wing is really offensive and wins me a lot of points. I'll definitely go back to the forehand chop at a later date but for now I'm basically trying to hit as much as I can on my forehand, regardless of whether it's over the table or beyond.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 22:17 
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dunc wrote:
I'll definitely go back to the forehand chop at a later date but for now I'm basically trying to hit as much as I can on my forehand, regardless of whether it's over the table or beyond.


Interesting. I've noticed that many of my recent games I've shied away from FH hitting, preferring to staying in a pushing rally, or chop, and only punish 100% dead-cert bad balls. I guess that's because I'm more of a classical defender. But interesting, as a learner, to take the view that we should play the shot, and bugger the consequences.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2013, 22:47 
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Of the two shots, I think the forehand loop is significantly harder to master - especially when your opponent is looping to your forehand. Once I'm confident playing that, I can learn to chop too, then decide which shot is the best to play at that specific time, i.e. I've let it drop too low to loop or my opponent hates playing against backspin.

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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2013, 00:44 
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dear Auzcar,
recommending you to go with 1.0-1.3 Curl directly, even 1.4-1.7 ( if set up is not gonna be heavy with thick rubber on fh), so in three weeks to three months body is gonna have coordination, harmonizing..
consider Donic Defplay with 1.4-1.7 Curl
flared handle maybe, to support fh and not slipping away
a training of a topspin attacker + a training of classical defender is necessary
with best footwork ( as much as) and endurance
when chopping taking the ball as late as a classical defender, even more, knee and under the knee level, specially when you play with Joo blade and chopping with rubbers like Rakza or T64 etc. with thick sponge


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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2013, 01:03 
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deva sarjan wrote:
dear Auzcar,
recommending you to go with 1.0-1.3 Curl directly, even 1.4-1.7 ( if set up is not gonna be heavy with thick rubber on fh), so in three weeks to three months body is gonna have coordination, harmonizing..
consider Donic Defplay with 1.4-1.7 Curl
flared handle maybe, to support fh and not slipping away
a training of a topspin attacker + a training of classical defender is necessary
with best footwork ( as much as) and endurance
when chopping taking the ball as late as a classical defender, even more, knee and under the knee level, specially when you play with Joo blade and chopping with rubbers like Rakza or T64 etc. with thick sponge


Thanks for the advice deva!

I would prefer not to go down the EJ route once again but luckily I've tried the Curl in thicker sponge before and I've used the Defplay as my main blade for the last 4 years. Personally I don't really like how the Defplay feels with a sponged LP, especially not with a thicker version, I much prefer the Joo Se Hyuk for this. The reason I started with 0.5mm sponge was because I had a good sheet in the right color at home and also to make the step from low grip OX LP a bit smaller. It's still quite a bit different to what I've gotten used to the last years but if I feel like I have good consistency with it after a month or so I may change to a thicker sponge earlier than planned, but that's a decision I'll make later though, depending on how it feels.

I will definitely need to work on the footwork, especially the in and out movement. It was quite clear that I had problems with that yesterday, not so much getting to the ball and being in the right position but to execute the shot properly and with control after a long forward or backward movement. Of course I have a lot of other things to work on as well but I want to evaluate my game for a week or so before deciding what needs to be fixed first.

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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2013, 01:28 
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About footwork... Isn't Tomas Mikutis also a tall guy? Perhaps it would help to study his movement pattern across the court? viewtopic.php?f=35&t=15511&start=15

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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2013, 06:57 
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Def-attack wrote:
About footwork... Isn't Tomas Mikutis also a tall guy? Perhaps it would help to study his movement pattern across the court? viewtopic.php?f=35&t=15511&start=15


He definitely looks to be very tall, yes. It seems like the average height of the defenders are a bit higher than the attackers. Gionis, Liu Yi and Hou Yingchao are quite tall as well, at least if you compare it to the attackers.

Lets hope I was built for this style ;)

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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2013, 07:17 
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Had my second session tonight, wednesdays is more a day for the main team to spar against the youngster but at the end we always play some matches against each other as well. I was a bit more tired than yesterday after a hectic day at work and not much sleep so the footwork was a bit sloppier today but it still went quite good. I won more matches than I lost and this is against two guys that are very good and pretty much doesn't loose a match in our Division 2, for reference I would rate them at about 2500 if my estimation is correct. One of them is a classical defender though. It's very clear that being able to put a lot of spin on the first chop/push really prevents them from hitting the first attack with as much pace as they usually do.

What I noticed both today and yesterday is that my pushes close to the table needs a lot of work, on both BH and FH, need to brush it a bit more and be a bit more active. Once again, the push when I have to run forward is the one that I have most trouble with keeping low enough.

Against lower rated opponents I definitely don't win as easily as I did before, they tend to push a lot more and as I said that's where I have the most problems at the moment. Since I'm not really used to the footwork patterns yet I find it a bit harder to be in a good position to attack these pushes as well.

Another thing, my racket is a lot heavier now than before and this is something that I'm noticing a lot, sometimes my timing is a bit off because of this and I get tired in my arm a lot quicker. This is not really a problem though, just a matter of getting used to it since I'm used to a very light blade.

Still very happy to be playing this way and the promising results just makes an added bonus!

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