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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 03 May 2017, 02:00 
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NextLevel wrote:
pgpg wrote:
Yup, wise words.

In an ideal world I would play like Jian Li 8) . That would be lovely. In reality I need to beef up my FH to make it much more consistent and dangerous AND have an answer for the people who refuse to attack and simply abuse my BH. Forgot to mention that at the last league one guy basically beat me without a single attacking shot, so it's an issue.

As far as deciding how to win points - that kind of depends on the opponent, no? Loop-happy folks are different from blockers, who are different from choppers, anti players etc. I am probably in the same boat as Japsican, who also dislikes 'soft' players.


If you leave how you win points entirely on adapting to the opponent, it leaves too open the question of how you play.
I also adapt to my opponents but within the framework of my game. My strengths are my serves and my backhand, my weaknesses are my receive and my movement, with my forehand and blocking being on either side depending on the weather. I built up my forehand in order to enaure that my backhand play would be harder to avoid on my terms. If I play a good receiver, I cannot stop trying to beat tbem with serves. I just have to adapt my serves to their quality of receive.

If you decided that you want to have a monster forehand, then practice more third ball, backspin looping and counterlooping. You already have a decent swing, you just need to practice against different levels of spin until you can subconsciously and quickly adapt the swing plane and racket angle to the ball. You probably need to work on your blocking game as well. I suspect though that having the quality of forehand you desire would require a change of identity to your game that you might not be willing to support.

The thing ia that if you look at Jian Li, how does he win points? No, the answer is not that he has a monster forehand, he usually is more consistent than his opponents and uses their unfamiliarity with his game to provoke errors. But he also has a well built forehand third ball game and a decent counterlooping and fishing game for the right cuatomer. But it is really about being more conistent than his opponent, which is the first rule of defensive play.

If soneone could beat you without taking an offensive shot, it calls into question your consistency, your deception and asks you how you win points. Soft players are like other players, you need to draw errors from them. If your game style is too different against different playing styles, you really need to think it through unless you thoroughly enjoy it. Too much complexity needs too many training hours. You need to have set plays that give certain results and leave the chopping rally as the reward for those who survive the set plays. If You define your game by ypur rally style, it is hard to get better as you are always winning pointa on rallies. It is better to look at the opponent and identify a structural weakness in their gsme that you can take advantage of with spin variation abf ball placement. Even soft players have these issues in spades. You are looking for the spin variation pattern or the ball placement pattern they struggle with. No matter the opponent's style, these are universal things, that you can get better at any level.


I don't think we disagree, to be honest. It's just I tend to ask question of 'How do I lose points?" more. The answer lately was 'consistency', on both wings. So, when I say that I need to beef up my FH, it does not mean making it into 2500+ monster, just making sure that I don't lose stupid points with it, be it dealing with backspin or attempting 'put away' shots when I probably should not. Same story on soft/no-spin balls to my BH.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 03 May 2017, 03:10 
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All true. If Jian Li goes up against a soft spinless player (which i doubt he does anymore...ever) then he would likely not use his LPs very much, and instead loop the person off the table. Those balls "should" be easier than we think they are, but they aren't, which is exactly what you are getting at. We (pgpg and I) are unfamiliar with how to defeat those players, as they are less common. The same problem loopers have with LPs and choppers, just not as common to play against. So, really we just need more exposure and more practice.

The soft blocker's hallmark play is their consistency and the fact that they are safe with minimal amounts of movement as compared to their opponent. In the case of my SP blocker lady, I moved her with LP placement, and then I also started 3rd ball attacking. Took me 3 games to figure out which serve she hated the most, and that was the scoop (or punch) serve with side/top or side/under to her FH. I then got some easy balls and looped the 3rd ball, targeting each corner. She had no answer for it. A younger faster player may have returned those, and I would have had to adust. Still, it's all about PGPG and I becoming more consistent, and putting more tools in our tool bag. It takes time and experience.

Now that I've gameplanned for the Pushblocker style, it's time to work on how to beat this weird lobber who puts a LOT of sidespin on his below the table lobs/fishes. I have to practice adjusting to the sidespin kick off the bounce beacause adjusting in mid air isn't working. Also, I don't know how he does it, but he forces me to be offensive and gets me into his game. I have to look at that...

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 03 May 2017, 08:25 
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pgpg wrote:

I don't think we disagree, to be honest. It's just I tend to ask question of 'How do I lose points?" more. The answer lately was 'consistency', on both wings. So, when I say that I need to beef up my FH, it does not mean making it into 2500+ monster, just making sure that I don't lose stupid points with it, be it dealing with backspin or attempting 'put away' shots when I probably should not. Same story on soft/no-spin balls to my BH.


In a sense, that is the problem with coaching defenders as an attacker or all rounder. Defenders value their mistakes and those of their opponents, while attackers tend to value their winning shots and see mistakes as accidents.

In any case, the way you frame the problem is the way a budding player woukd frame it. A more exprienced player would ask what sequence of shots led to this point and is this a good place to end up? What shot ore more likely sequwnce of shots can I use to avoid or deal with it?

No spin balls are a common kryptonite for players with LP, Thwre are infinite solutions once you define the problem in terms of how you want the point to evolve. If you wanted to win thr point bt looping then you shouldn't be using the pips, but id not, there are quite a few ways to draw errors or get into rallies with LP shots vs pips. The problem of course is the next ball.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 03 May 2017, 08:34 
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Japsican wrote:
All true. If Jian Li goes up against a soft spinless player (which i doubt he does anymore...ever) then he would likely not use his LPs very much, and instead loop the person off the table. Those balls "should" be easier than we think they are, but they aren't, which is exactly what you are getting at. We (pgpg and I) are unfamiliar with how to defeat those players, as they are less common. The same problem loopers have with LPs and choppers, just not as common to play against. So, really we just need more exposure and more practice.

The soft blocker's hallmark play is their consistency and the fact that they are safe with minimal amounts of movement as compared to their opponent. In the case of my SP blocker lady, I moved her with LP placement, and then I also started 3rd ball attacking. Took me 3 games to figure out which serve she hated the most, and that was the scoop (or punch) serve with side/top or side/under to her FH. I then got some easy balls and looped the 3rd ball, targeting each corner. She had no answer for it. A younger faster player may have returned those, and I would have had to adust. Still, it's all about PGPG and I becoming more consistent, and putting more tools in our tool bag. It takes time and experience.

Now that I've gameplanned for the Pushblocker style, it's time to work on how to beat this weird lobber who puts a LOT of sidespin on his below the table lobs/fishes. I have to practice adjusting to the sidespin kick off the bounce beacause adjusting in mid air isn't working. Also, I don't know how he does it, but he forces me to be offensive and gets me into his game. I have to look at that...


Actually I dont remember him Jian Li third balling any of my awful pushes off his serve, he just bumped or pushed them with his pips and waited for me to loop or push them off the table. You have to realize that putting balls deep to the opponent just by itself causes all kinds of errors in the pushing game. I get the familiarity issue but it really comes down to understanding and accepting how you want tp win points and what you do to handle or avoid those situations when you can not. Ball quality is a factor in any style of play, 6 inches to the left or right or front or back of a particular ball placement xan be the difference between quality placement and a sitter in the strike zone. And those things mess up soft players too but lower rated players don't work on them hakf as hard as they should, which makes it harder to get better when uour opponent can deal with your spins.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 03 May 2017, 13:01 
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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 03 May 2017, 22:27 
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NextLevel wrote:
Japsican wrote:
All true. If Jian Li goes up against a soft spinless player (which i doubt he does anymore...ever) then he would likely not use his LPs very much, and instead loop the person off the table. Those balls "should" be easier than we think they are, but they aren't, which is exactly what you are getting at. We (pgpg and I) are unfamiliar with how to defeat those players, as they are less common. The same problem loopers have with LPs and choppers, just not as common to play against. So, really we just need more exposure and more practice.

The soft blocker's hallmark play is their consistency and the fact that they are safe with minimal amounts of movement as compared to their opponent. In the case of my SP blocker lady, I moved her with LP placement, and then I also started 3rd ball attacking. Took me 3 games to figure out which serve she hated the most, and that was the scoop (or punch) serve with side/top or side/under to her FH. I then got some easy balls and looped the 3rd ball, targeting each corner. She had no answer for it. A younger faster player may have returned those, and I would have had to adust. Still, it's all about PGPG and I becoming more consistent, and putting more tools in our tool bag. It takes time and experience.

Now that I've gameplanned for the Pushblocker style, it's time to work on how to beat this weird lobber who puts a LOT of sidespin on his below the table lobs/fishes. I have to practice adjusting to the sidespin kick off the bounce beacause adjusting in mid air isn't working. Also, I don't know how he does it, but he forces me to be offensive and gets me into his game. I have to look at that...


Actually I dont remember him Jian Li third balling any of my awful pushes off his serve, he just bumped or pushed them with his pips and waited for me to loop or push them off the table. You have to realize that putting balls deep to the opponent just by itself causes all kinds of errors in the pushing game. I get the familiarity issue but it really comes down to understanding and accepting how you want tp win points and what you do to handle or avoid those situations when you can not. Ball quality is a factor in any style of play, 6 inches to the left or right or front or back of a particular ball placement xan be the difference between quality placement and a sitter in the strike zone. And those things mess up soft players too but lower rated players don't work on them hakf as hard as they should, which makes it harder to get better when uour opponent can deal with your spins.


I get your point about ball quality and putting opponents into awkward spots whenever possible even with 'simple' shots. Let's remember, however, that Jian is 500+ points above you, so he was playing you in a way like myself and Japsican likely would play ~1100 opponent - most likely just keeping the ball in play with low risk shots and waiting for opponents to make mistake, which they usually do.

This approach breaks to a degree for 'same level and above' opponents, at least in the cases when you realize that it's you who are making more mistakes, either forced or unforced.

Again, I should definitely think about tactics more ('how do I plan to win points'), but shot consistency is a major issue now, which is awkward coming from someone who tries to be somewhat defensive in play style. I should be able to outlast most of them, in theory.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 04 May 2017, 00:38 
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Not to mention, NextLevel, you are not a "soft player". Soft doesn't have to do with one's relative level, it's their style. I said Jian Li would just loop against a soft player...(I think). You put quality on your returns even if it was the wrong type vs. Jian Li's ridiculous serves. You don't float no-spin meatballs....if it's high and "horrible" as you put it, it still had spin.

There is a player who is 1800 at my club, and he can loop and hit, but he rolls EVERYTHING and it's frustrating as hell. He's very good, but "soft" and spins not so much...until he does. I cannot get within 5 points of him. There are 2100 level players that I can manage a game against or get wthin 5 points. Not him. Those same 2100 level

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 May 2017, 02:39 
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How I deal with these people Is just treat their slow loops a basic chopping drill.

This is THE biggest test of s choppers patience.

Just take a leaf out of the girl chopper vs the girl chopper books and just bring everything back. Don't rush. Even if it takes you 50 chops to win the rally. Do it.

Once you win a few points like this (I understand it's painful. I know. I feel the pain lol) they will try to hit it harder to win. Then they start making errors.

The hardest part isn't losing patience and trying to loop like a pro or smack it or something....it's after the set when your fellow players start telling you loop more.

Trust me. They aren't choppers. They don't get it. And they probably can't step around and hit a forehand loop on that kind of ball either they just think like attackers. Which you aren't. Don't forget that:)

Now I'm not saying don't loop. Definitely loop. But loop ones you can loop. And be insanely patient on the others.

If you win a match 14-12 and every point lasts 2 minutes of just really lame slow soft looping and you just making really easy pushes and chops. Guess what?

You did it right. You won.

It wasn't glamorous, it wasn't pro caliber. But you won.

Therefore why loop?

Jian Li loops because he wants to loop. Not because he is forced to. If his chop was better then his loop he would probably chop. Look at evgueni ctch. His chop is better then his loop and pros know that if they just slow loop to his backhand they will lose and he will just chop.



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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 May 2017, 03:23 
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leatherback wrote:
How I deal with these people Is just treat their slow loops a basic chopping drill.

This is THE biggest test of s choppers patience.

Just take a leaf out of the girl chopper vs the girl chopper books and just bring everything back. Don't rush. Even if it takes you 50 chops to win the rally. Do it.

Once you win a few points like this (I understand it's painful. I know. I feel the pain lol) they will try to hit it harder to win. Then they start making errors.

The hardest part isn't losing patience and trying to loop like a pro or smack it or something....it's after the set when your fellow players start telling you loop more.

Trust me. They aren't choppers. They don't get it. And they probably can't step around and hit a forehand loop on that kind of ball either they just think like attackers. Which you aren't. Don't forget that:)

Now I'm not saying don't loop. Definitely loop. But loop ones you can loop. And be insanely patient on the others.

If you win a match 14-12 and every point lasts 2 minutes of just really lame slow soft looping and you just making really easy pushes and chops. Guess what?

You did it right. You won.

It wasn't glamorous, it wasn't pro caliber. But you won.

Therefore why loop?

Jian Li loops because he wants to loop. Not because he is forced to. If his chop was better then his loop he would probably chop. Look at evgueni ctch. His chop is better then his loop and pros know that if they just slow loop to his backhand they will lose and he will just chop.


Thanks, leatherback, as always useful.

I think both myself and Japsican mostly refer to slow no spin balls (predominantly to BH, often high) when grumbling about 'soft' players. No loop to speak off here - these I think I handle reasonably well on BH, but still frequently struggle with on FH.

So, at least for me it's a challenge now to control no-spin balls with my Dornenglanz. Not there yet with twiddling.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 May 2017, 03:36 
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Exactly! If you are lower level than a looper, they will always advise you to loop or attack balls when perhaps you shouldn't because that's not your strongest technique vs. a given type of ball. You have to ignore that advice...which is hard because many of these players are far more knowledgable in TT than I...but as attackers!

That being said, we are talking about slow, soft, SPIN-LESS players. Not the slow loopers who have lots of spin.

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Last edited by Japsican on 05 May 2017, 03:38, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 May 2017, 03:37 
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pgpg wrote:
leatherback wrote:
How I deal with these people Is just treat their slow loops a basic chopping drill.

This is THE biggest test of s choppers patience.

Just take a leaf out of the girl chopper vs the girl chopper books and just bring everything back. Don't rush. Even if it takes you 50 chops to win the rally. Do it.

Once you win a few points like this (I understand it's painful. I know. I feel the pain lol) they will try to hit it harder to win. Then they start making errors.

The hardest part isn't losing patience and trying to loop like a pro or smack it or something....it's after the set when your fellow players start telling you loop more.

Trust me. They aren't choppers. They don't get it. And they probably can't step around and hit a forehand loop on that kind of ball either they just think like attackers. Which you aren't. Don't forget that:)

Now I'm not saying don't loop. Definitely loop. But loop ones you can loop. And be insanely patient on the others.

If you win a match 14-12 and every point lasts 2 minutes of just really lame slow soft looping and you just making really easy pushes and chops. Guess what?

You did it right. You won.

It wasn't glamorous, it wasn't pro caliber. But you won.

Therefore why loop?

Jian Li loops because he wants to loop. Not because he is forced to. If his chop was better then his loop he would probably chop. Look at evgueni ctch. His chop is better then his loop and pros know that if they just slow loop to his backhand they will lose and he will just chop.


Thanks, leatherback, as always useful.

I think both myself and Japsican mostly refer to slow no spin balls (predominantly to BH, often high) when grumbling about 'soft' players. No loop to speak off here - these I think I handle reasonably well on BH, but still frequently struggle with on FH.

So, at least for me it's a challenge now to control no-spin balls with my Dornenglanz. Not there yet with twiddling.

correct, we are talking more about the spin-less soft player types. Not the slow spinny loopers, but they suck too!

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 May 2017, 05:37 
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One favored way to play vs that kind and level of player who gives much no spin to bh is to open blade and give bach a short stroke lp hit only fast enough to land safely deep, preferable to uncomfortable zone.

They often go apeshyt trying to attack that low percentage ball. If they dont attack, usually theor return is poor quality and crushable on fh if you moved your hitting foot back sfter ur deep bump.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 May 2017, 06:38 
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Der_Echte wrote:
One favored way to play vs that kind and level of player who gives much no spin to bh is to open blade and give bach a short stroke lp hit only fast enough to land safely deep, preferable to uncomfortable zone.

They often go apeshyt trying to attack that low percentage ball. If they dont attack, usually theor return is poor quality and crushable on fh if you moved your hitting foot back sfter ur deep bump.

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Right, good to know that I was thinking about the same line. Was watching some Bogeyhunter's videos last night (mostly his students) and thought that I need to copy some of the shots I see there:

Serve return:





Probably need to watch some more of Greg Letts videos as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 May 2017, 13:38 
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Decided to make a 'fun' trip to the club: moved few rubbers around and took couple of setups I have not touched in a while for a ride.

1. Moved old DG sheet that was fraying at the edges from Defplay to W6 (has Big Dipper on FH). Since W6's head is smaller, DG now looks almost like new there. Feels much faster compared to Defplay/VKM, so originally sent quite a few chops/bumps long, but adjusted. Played one match with it, did OK, but lost. Got impression that DG produces more weird balls on W6, perhaps because it's quite a bit faster.

2. Dug out barely used Defplay/Dtecs OX/Marder II(?) combo and played another match - plenty of funk on Dtecs, chops seem to be higher. Marder is very controlled, easy to push and chop, serves are fine, in general quite a few balls end up where they should. Promotes patient controlled defensive game. Might revisit it later.

3. My main setup, but brand new DG sheet. Interestingly enough it did not feel too different from the used one. Mostly spent time trying to hit/punch balls on my BH in the matches, preferably landing them as deep on the table as possible. Had reasonable success, just need to keep refining it. Also was more defensive in general, on purpose - to make sure I can push on FH consistently, and was also avoiding smashes if possible, instead opting for something slower but that lands on the table :) .

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 May 2017, 18:06 
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Der_Echte wrote:
One favored way to play vs that kind and level of player who gives much no spin to bh is to open blade and give bach a short stroke lp hit only fast enough to land safely deep, preferable to uncomfortable zone.

They often go apeshyt trying to attack that low percentage ball. If they dont attack, usually theor return is poor quality and crushable on fh if you moved your hitting foot back sfter ur deep bump.

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These are the kinds of things that I was trying to get pgpg and Japsican to think about. The fact that your opponent is playing soft and with minimal movement is often a function of what your ball placement is giving him. If you serve short and then bump the ball wide, the soft player is left taking the ball retreating on his heals. Getting players out of position is an underestimated aspect of TT strategy that all improving players need to master.

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