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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2012, 08:31 
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So I decided I'm going to keep tabs on my progress here.. First an introduction

I'm a 26yo from the south-east part of the Netherlands and 4 years ago I started playing table tennis at a local TTC (called Destatec, for further reference). Two of my best friends played table tennis since they were kids, and another one of my best friends joined a year earlier than me and convinced me to join.

The first two years I didn't play competition because I didn't know if I really liked the sport (only did team sports before). But in 2010 I finally took the decision to play competition. Now some info on the Dutch competition, there is a nationwide competition for the really good teams, and then there's all the regional leagues, where I play. I play 5th class regional league which is ofcourse the lowest. The first year I found out there is still a lot to learn. You might think that 5th class is full of beginners or people who don't know how to play well, but that was not the case. There were young people who just came out of the youth leagues and were really really good (in comparison to me anyway...). Or really old people with very strange techniques and playing styles where I wasn't used of playing against or I didn't know what to do.

Thinking back of my first half year of competition (there's always a spring league and a autumn league, so 2 competitions a year).. all I could really do is push and counter-hitting. I wasn't good at blocking, I couldn't loop at all, and when somebody threw a sidespin serve at me I had no clue what to do. Ofcourse I had plenty of coaching from teammates and trainers but I really lacked in technique and knew then I had been fooling around the first 2 years at the club. I ended the league not winning a match :rofl:

Since then I've started training a lot more seriously and made progress every season (1 season = 1 half year). From 10% (winning percentage) in my 2nd season to 20% in my 3rd season, and 30% last season. I quickly found out I'm a real attacker, so I'm working on becoming better at that. But I also want to be able to master other strokes in case I need them. So you could describe me as an all-round/attacker
I always try to keep improving my weak points and my strong points. First my backhand was really bad, I could only really push with it and counter-hit once or twice... but now I can do pretty much anything with it... Except chopping, but I always prefer blocking anyway. My forehand loop was another problem, I'd always more or less 'lift' the ball instead to open up the game because I couldn't get the hang of doing a proper forehand loop. So I worked a lot on that as well and I'm glad to say it's much better now (but still needs work, could be better).

The next point I'm trying to improve this season is service-return, because I still make silly mistakes against the best players in our league.. and my footwork. I'm lazy because I'm tall (1m97 or 6.4ft) and think my arms will reach anything. But that isn't enough in table tennis because with some strokes my body needs to be behind the ball... and then it isn't.
Still, this season is going really well for me so far. I had a bad start in our first 3 games (won 1 out of 9...), but since then I've won 9/15 I played. Our team racked up some victories and we moved from 6/7 to 4/7, with 3rd place still in sight.

Long intro is almost at an end... One last thing, the material I play with.
I started out knowing nothing and played my first 2 seasons with Donic Epox Control (i think) as paddle and Vario Cooper S on FH and Revolution C.O.R.2 on BH. This was way and way too fast for me and had poor control. Then I switched my rubbers to Donic quattro formula on FH and donic quattro on BH. This was mainly to compensate for my poor looping. Never a good idea to compensate for poor technique with rubbers. It was ok...but in hindsight I still lacked in control.
Now I have a persson power AR senso v2 blade with yasaka mark v gps fh and andro backside 2.0 D on the backhand and I'm really happy with it at the moment. It's much much slower than my previous rubbers but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in control. Plus if I really apply power myself I can still produce powerful shots. More than enough for this division anyway.

I think that within 2/3 seasons (so 1/1.5y) we can promote to 4th class. I'll keep up on my thoughts about matches/training and other stuff here... and if anyone has a golden hint or tip, I'll be glad to read it.

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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2012, 09:49 
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Good luck with your adventures! :)

You have already made a good discovery. Slow equipment! After my first time in China, I went to slightly slower equipment. After the second trip, (11 months) I went to slower equipment. On my last trip I got to hit with my coaches coach. I was watching him coach a 12 year old that would be easy 1600 USATT. The coach had been blocking and would set his bat down to go show what he wanted every now and then so I walked over, picked up his bat so he could stay with the student and I blocked. Wow! His bat was way slower than mine. I have since gone to an even slower setup.

Every time I have gone to a slower setup, there is a noticable increase in spin and control. Hitting in practice is one thing, in a match is quit another. Power? Play that coach and you will think he has a cannon. He can also make more spin that I can, even with my bat. Technique is the real answer. :)


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PostPosted: 02 Apr 2012, 09:52 
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Good on you Nebur! I look forwards to read about your progress, and your journey to the top! :rock:

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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2012, 20:06 
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So..

Yesterday we had a match against the leaders of our competition... The 2nd team of our club (we're the 4th team). It's weird playing against your own club players / training mates in a competition match. The previous match ended in 7-3 for them, only our best player won all his 3 matches back then. But now things could be different. Because I knew I was in form too. And I knew from training that their weakest player was out of shape and I beat him easily in the past few matches.

It turned out I had to begin against him. For some reason I got nervous and could never play my game. My blocks were poor and attacking didn't work out at all. Luckily pushing went well and my opponent couldn't.. It dragged on for 5 games but finally I managed to win. Next up was our best player against their best player. They also played 5 games and my teammate won! Unfortunately my other teammate lost his match and then it was time for the double.

Normally I'd say I and Marco (best player of our team), would not stand a chance. But their 2nd best player was clearly not having his day and made a lot of mistakes. Again 5 games were played. In the final one we were down 1-7 and it looked hopeless. But all of a sudden we started a strong comeback and they never recovered. We ended up winning 10 points in a row to make it 11-7 and winning the match!
Marco ended up winning his other single matches too. Unfortunately I lost a 4-game match against their 2nd best player and had no chance against their best. And my other teammate Rene had a chance against the weakest player but he made a bit too much errors to earn a victory. So we ended the match 5-5. Still very pleased with it as we're the only team not to have lost against them this season.

On my own game I know where to work on. My service return is still pretty poor and could cause a lot of problems if I ever moved up a division. And I wasn't satisfied with my forehand loop either. This is purely due to my footwork in matches... if you have the wrong foot forward it's kinda hard to hit the ball properly! Nothing I can do about that but train on it... :)

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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2012, 21:34 
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So..
In yesterdays training I noticed I have a problem with smashing or finishing a good setup..I use my loop to open up the game, and then when I get a good place to finish off the point I... either block or just loop again.. Or start with a loop movement and halfway through realize I have to smash the ball and finish the point, and then I suddenly start speeding up causing the ball to fly up and over the table. Or worse, I go backwards with my footing, bring the ball back a couple of times with high arc loops until I'm too much out of position.
Think I just forgot how to attack myself with all the work on my looping. Luckily no league match saturday. So I have the next week to work on finishing the rally after opening up the game.

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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2012, 22:06 
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For continuing the attack, one should rotate shoulder and not drop it. One good think to keep in mind is to keep the racket at least net hieght after the 1st attack, or even higher. This will cause you to pivot the shoulders and drive forward, which is what you need to do vs an incoming light topspin, which is a typical ball you get from a block. Every new player seems to have issues with continuing attack, so it isn't like it affects only you. You do this enough in practice, eventually you do it a few times in a mathch and later, it is natural without thinking.

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PostPosted: 16 Apr 2012, 23:16 
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Der_Echte wrote:
For continuing the attack, one should rotate shoulder and not drop it. One good think to keep in mind is to keep the racket at least net hieght after the 1st attack, or even higher. This will cause you to pivot the shoulders and drive forward, which is what you need to do vs an incoming light topspin, which is a typical ball you get from a block. Every new player seems to have issues with continuing attack, so it isn't like it affects only you. You do this enough in practice, eventually you do it a few times in a mathch and later, it is natural without thinking.


Thanks, very helpful. I'll pay attention to this. :up:

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PostPosted: 28 Apr 2012, 07:21 
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The curious thing called form

I'm now nearing the end of my 5th season as table tennis player. I'm training hard, usually twice a week (w/coach) (which is the most possible at my club)...I've learned a LOT. On the whole I'm still improving every week. But one thing that always annoys me is how for a period of 2 or 3 weeks, everything seems to go beyond good, everything works. And then you also have a period of a week or two where you can't even be able to perform the most simple things.

Form. Top form, you feel like superman and most of the things you plan work out. Normal form, you play well, but not everything works for you, this is your actual level. Bad form, you play like an oempa loempa on valium.
I don't know if other beginning table tennis players recognize this, but I think the most 'we' struggle with is consistency. My 'normal' level is not worse than people who play 60/65% in our competition. In my top form, i could even beat a 70/75% player and play a decent match against the top 5 players... But in my bad form, I can struggle against even the simplest of players who barely win a match all season long..

After a bad start to the season (oempa loempa level), I slowly recovered to normal form... and then I had a period of 2/3 weeks where everything went super. I still lost some matches against the best players of the league, but I had my best month of all time. I played 67% if you count march alone...(i had 29% as end percentage last season) And then I get a cold and poof, it's all gone. Last 3/4 trainings I even lost to some youth players I train with who'd never beat me before. I just lost the 'feeling'. The feeling when you have top form and do things right automatically. Now I do everything wrong automatically. The last match as a low... even our 3rd player who'd only won 3 matches the entire season won a match and I lost all three. Felt like I let the team down. Ofcourse the cold was an excuse, but this tuesday I struggled to get the good feeling back.

Tomorrow our penultimate match of the season against the bottom team of our league. Normally I'd stand a chance to win all 3 matches, but now, I don't know! Agh...form. I hate it. Don't you?
:rock:

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PostPosted: 28 Apr 2012, 10:13 
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i think that is to do with over confidence ( happens to a few of us, i think, does for me anyway). when you train and you train well and you are thinking to yourself after practice "ive done well, unbeatable( within reason :P) that kind of thinking and mental state can punish you when you play actual matches that go towards something. you have to address the two instances separately.
I.E. training is training remember what you learned but dont give yourself too much credit.

also in game situations are always different you mind is going 90( irish expression, basically too much going on in your head. then you start playing a safe game not risking a loop off a push or a chop which leads to a zombie mode( ive gone through this and only really coming out of it), so you got to learn how to take risks, pulling of shots that you might not be confident enough producing during a league match.

( like i did last season when i played for a bottom league team (Division 8/11( 11 for shield 8 for league, i think) during matches i would go into a state of pure pushing or hitting the ball if it popped up high enough) but mostly pushing there would be long rallies of jsut pushing and i would be to scared to loop even though at the back of my mind i could loop it. but didnt bring my self to do it as it would cost me a point. and each time i brought myself to try and loop it would go horribly wrong so i would revert back to pushing. towards the end of that season i stated weaning myself out of it as we were winning the league and and i got the individual award at the end of it( winning most games) but that was merely due to my standard already being better than most people in that division, or all of them, my only draw back was not being confident to loop and other things regarding technique.

then i switched clubs because at the end of the season i was beating everyone in the club including the guys on the first team( i was on 4th) and they played division 6, but at the start of this years season they wouldnt bump me up and i would end up being still in div 8 and 10. so i left and now i play for a div 4 team and have improved more over a period of a month than i did over a period of 6 months in the old team.

never the less you made good progress and your enthusiasm is top notch and keep it up.

PS get some videos of you playing :P

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PostPosted: 28 Apr 2012, 18:53 
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I recognize the zombie mode... :D instead of keeping up pushing I usually revert to a sort of 'lift' ball to open up the game instead of a proper loop when I lack the confidence. Usually ends up horribly as well (opponent can easily smash lift balls most of the time).

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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2012, 00:44 
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5-5 today, I won 2/3 and had a good feeling about this match :clap: I won 3-0 against a guy i lost 3-1 against the previous time.
My old-timer (dad) went with us and made some videos. I could already see that i'm still really flawed. will upload all 3 matches later. So maybe people here can help me improve my game 8)

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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2012, 02:20 
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Nebur, when we improve upon something in training, later, much later, it takes effect in match play. Along teh way, we are inconsistant, so we have better days and along the way, we are sometimes more conficent, sometimes less, sometimes physically good/mentally good, sometimes work or life got in the way of this.

Nothing will be smooth straight line in our sport, ever.

Don't sweat these details and look to learn why you fail when you do, then do the stuff needed to fix it, knowing it will not come together right away, or we would all be pro players.

There is a good thread addressing many things a newer player needs to do to raise level and it is worth a read.

(How to move up to 1500 USATT level) 1500 is in the ball park of an average USA club player, some places average, some places less than average.

http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=19594&p=215645#p215645

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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2012, 05:48 
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Hah, I recognize most of those points as my flaws :up: Just watched the videos. Only my wins were recorded unfortunately, my loss was probably a far more interesting match (against a pure defender!). But even in these 3-0 wins you can see a lot of my flaws.
For myself it was enlightening to watch... where at the table you have the idea you're doing okay. Here I can see I still do a lot of things completely wrong (technique!!). Though I must say in practice, technique goes better than matches, but that goes for most players I reckon.
My service went well though, they had problems with it. My service return was not that bad today either. Most problems I had where with pushing (too early, too high!) and doing a proper topspin / loop...lack of confidence, I can do way better than those weak mini-spins, but I also knew I could counter their attacks most of the time...

Anyway, see for yourself (im the guy in black w/blue obviously)

Match 1 (won 11-6, 14-12, 11-7)


Match 2 (won 11-8, 11-9, 11-4)

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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2012, 09:17 
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Nebur, let me know if you are willing to make an extended visit to Korea, I link you up with Joel, near your age, who coaches here near a Uni. You would have a blast and all the TT action you could ever want.

Nice that you put up a vid.

Way to go and sucessfully defending a smash (for a point! Block-By-Ya!) at 2:01 of first vid.

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PostPosted: 29 Apr 2012, 13:34 
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start off with this.. and practice this till you cant swing no moar....


here you see off the table play, which you realy wont need by the looks of it at the moment but the same idea still applies . pay attention to WLQS hand/palm movement( how it snaps at the ball jsut before contact- this is where more speed/power and spin come from) so try more of that.. also the wrist doesnt snap into the ball, its starts jsut below the ball and goes upwards grazing the ball

straight away .

main things to help you.. you need to get lower. but not with your back more with your legs.. since you are quite lanky you need to sue those legs more or you will hurt yourself. so basically a wider stance with your feet will help you get lower.

also movement , you are way too planted you need to get yourself to be more lively on your feet
also when you are stepping in to push then step back you arent stepping back enough

your build is kinda suits samsonov or WLQ play watch how they play and try to move like them.

technique wise, you need to drill more, at the moment its quite sketchy:
- when you are hitting with FH , you are hitting it too flat.
- when you are trying to spin the ball you are hardly spinning it.
-there were some decent flicks you produced there but then others werent so good ( the ones where you stepped in nice and ealy and had yourself quite low followed with a decent technique both BH and FH).

if you drill down the loop you will beat those guys everytime and they wont be close games, you will beat them outright . mostly because they return you un-challenging pushed balls which are mostly long. so lean to loop backspin be it light push or a chop.
and to do that you need to get your body and bat nice and low( bat way under the table) then go in for the loop the moment it bounces ( kinda, you gotta time it).

also some times when you are countering topspin you are turning your body but hardly moving your arm( and the bat angle is waay to flat).



@Der-Echte - are there any training camps in Korea over the summer??? prices?

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