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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2017, 22:51 
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Pgpg, if you decide you don't like the Defense Alpha, I have dibs. ;)


Perhaps - I find it quite difficult to part ways with my blades, though. It's weird.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 07 Aug 2017, 10:02 
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Got back to the club this weekend after ~2 week absence (trip to Iceland - highly recommended!). Promptly lost first match yesterday that I did not expect, but touch was way off and, well, no big deal. It got better after that, I don't think I lost another match through the weekend, although I probably should've.

Found myself attacking more with LP on BH, mostly imitating one of Jian Li's shots, especially against higher balls on BH. Was pretty aggressive against backspin with LP as well, which caused quite a few problems to my opponents.

Played M, another chopper for the first time (she usually plays at another club) - she had a LOT of problems with my bumps to FH against her backspin serves. She adjusted somewhat later in the game, but it was a big issue for her - as a side note, I've seen many LP players having trouble against LP opponents, not enough practice, I guess.

Had a wild 5-game match against the guy I never beat before, winning at deuce :rock:. Spectators later commented that my FH was unusually solid - to be honest, I simply was more aggressive there, stepping around to attack BH balls, because I had to against this guy.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 08 Aug 2017, 14:41 
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Table 1 on league Wednesdays in the Chinese club in Sacramento is simply drooling for you to come over with Ur LPs... There are 3 gents with OX BH LPs who float in and out of table 1, usually play more on table 2. Your league rating would put you near bottom of table one.

There is a gent here with OX LP who tries to take the ball off the bounce and either do it with touch or forcibly bump it at body, sometimes FH hits if you give a loose ball. Tough player for anyone, you gotta have touch and hang in there.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 14 Aug 2017, 10:06 
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Played few hours over the weekend and found myself being more aggressive on FH - partially on purpose, but also somewhat organically. The thinking was that it did not look like I am made for classic defense, psychologically wise, so might as well take maximal advantage of the loose balls LP helps to create.

Also, while choosing topspin over push on FH, I went more often than not for a softer shot, which helped with consistency. Was even able to play long rallies with moving opponent side to side (in retrospect, going into the body would probably be better).

Found myself more frequently moving to BH corner to attack high balls to my BH - and quickly realized that it also opens up more opportunities for FH down the line. One of the guys in the club told me recently that jumping rope is a great exercise for TT as it helps with footwork, so got myself one :?:

Finally, wonder if my newfound confidence on FH has anything to do with me finally re-gluing my Baracuda sheet, it was getting annoyingly loose around the edges.

Right now the plan is to stop experimenting with equipment and stick with main setup until next tournament (in 2 weeks).

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2017, 11:41 
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Tonight was the night of blown opportunities. Lost 3 matches in 5th game, while having decent leads in both. One was against my 'nemesis' blocker (and I came back from 0:2 only to blow 8:4 lead in the 5th). Lost in 5th to a ~2100+ chopper - OK, he was experimenting with LP setup (usually plays double inverted), but still...

And then lost to 2300 player in 5th. Was up 2:0 and then 9:5 in the 5th. We never played before, so he probably took it easy (plus nothing important was on the line), but I should've been able to close it off. At least 1 out of 3 wins in these would be awesome. :@

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 23 Aug 2017, 11:30 
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League night was about average (2:3 record), but what stood out for me that I think I knew exactly how I won a specific match and also how I lost another one.

In the win I made a single adjustment on serve receive: chop it as much as possible to opponent's FH. Had to move on receive few times to make it happen, but it was very effective. Won 3:0 compared to previous 0:3 loss - although I'm sure that was not the only factor.

In the loss I gave up 2-3 points per match on FH by not being ready for the ball coming back to wide(r) FH, and also admiring my decent FH shots too much. That was probably enough to tip the scale in 1:3 loss, as all games ended at 9 or deuce.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2017, 02:33 
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It's helpful to know how your opponent thinks about playing you (wannabe chopper):

https://triangletabletennis.com/tournament-tactics-attacking-choppers/

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2017, 03:22 
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pgpg wrote:
It's helpful to know how your opponent thinks about playing you (wannabe chopper):

https://triangletabletennis.com/tournament-tactics-attacking-choppers/


Thanks for posting this. It's interesting reading. To my unskilled eyes, it looks like some of the descriptions of what's going on there are inaccurate, especially early on. Eg. he describe a "positional conflict" in a sequence where
  1. he serves backspin from his backhand corner to the (long? can't see the depth too well from that angle) middle-ish (somewhat torwards the FH corner)
  2. the chopper twiddles and does a BH push with the inverted rubber but flubs it and gives him a high float ball to the middle, and (recognizing his error) immediately starts backpedaling
  3. the attacker pummels the loose ball into a corner

Obviously this worked and it won him the point, but not for the reason that he stated IMO - it was a technique error (popping up the push) more than a tactical error.

Certainly the chopper could have made a better tactical decision there - I'm pretty noobish, but I suspect a low FH push to the attacker's BH corner would have worked better, or even a BH punch to the attacker's FH corner if he could pull it off - but if he'd executed what he was trying to do well by keeping the push low the attacking opportunity wouldn't have been there.

The later clips where he's focusing on moving the chopper around the table seemed like they matched up pretty well, though.

Am I missing something?

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 24 Aug 2017, 03:37 
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kaesees wrote:
pgpg wrote:
It's helpful to know how your opponent thinks about playing you (wannabe chopper):

https://triangletabletennis.com/tournament-tactics-attacking-choppers/


Thanks for posting this. It's interesting reading. To my unskilled eyes, it looks like some of the descriptions of what's going on there are inaccurate, especially early on. Eg. he describe a "positional conflict" in a sequence where
  1. he serves backspin from his backhand corner to the (long? can't see the depth too well from that angle) middle-ish (somewhat torwards the FH corner)
  2. the chopper twiddles and does a BH push with the inverted rubber but flubs it and gives him a high float ball to the middle, and (recognizing his error) immediately starts backpedaling
  3. the attacker pummels the loose ball into a corner

Obviously this worked and it won him the point, but not for the reason that he stated IMO - it was a technique error (popping up the push) more than a tactical error.

Certainly the chopper could have made a better tactical decision there - I'm pretty noobish, but I suspect a low FH push to the attacker's BH corner would have worked better, or even a BH punch to the attacker's FH corner if he could pull it off - but if he'd executed what he was trying to do well by keeping the push low the attacking opportunity wouldn't have been there.

The later clips where he's focusing on moving the chopper around the table seemed like they matched up pretty well, though.

Am I missing something?


You are way ahead of me - I only scanned the post 'diagonally' and have not watched the videos yet. 8)

I suspect Brian's main point is that serve/attack to the middle by definition is creating a pause and hesitation for your opponent, since they have to decide whether to return it with FH or BH. Choppers are not unique in that regard, I suspect, but may be good chop requires a bit more 'wind up'. So, perhaps poor return was caused by that extra moment of hesitation?

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 26 Aug 2017, 04:25 
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Dropped by at the club for a half-day training camp in the morning. Coach mostly put me through FH drills to work on a) more forward going stroke, not vertical, b) body rotation and weight transfer, c) creating lag between hip/shoulders/arm, and d) not being afraid to loop anything to your FH, especially on 3rd ball. The last one will take some time to adjust to, I'm sure. Practiced stepping around to BH corner to attack pushes, and also covering wide FH from there.

In between those drills I figured something out on my LP side: it is MUCH easier to return serve by lifting it with pips while ball is still ascending. Basically taking it early gives you much more control and creates uncomfortable ball for the opponent. I've read about this on some Russian forums, but never put it into practice. Need to try it against other opponents to confirm.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 28 Aug 2017, 11:49 
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Well, this weekend's tournament will take a lot of effort to forget... ;(

Didn't do well on either days, losing left and right - don't think I beat anyone above 1700, which tells you something. Advanced out of few RR groups but did not go beyond QF in any event. Don't even want to diagnose it right now. The only positive was that I stayed calm mentally. Perhaps too calm.

And to add insult to injury, got home after 3.5 hour drive and discovered that I left my main and spare setups at the club... :@ . Most likely will get it back (I hope) or perhaps it's a sign that someone up there wants me to change equipment :devil:

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 28 Aug 2017, 13:20 
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pgpg wrote:
Well, this weekend's tournament will take a lot of effort to forget... ;(

Didn't do well on either days, losing left and right - don't think I beat anyone above 1700, which tells you something. Advanced out of few RR groups but did not go beyond QF in any event. Don't even want to diagnose it right now. The only positive was that I stayed calm mentally. Perhaps too calm.

And to add insult to injury, got home after 3.5 hour drive and discovered that I left my main and spare setups at the club... :@ . Most likely will get it back (I hope) or perhaps it's a sign that someone up there wants me to change equipment :devil:


I haven't played any tourneys lately .. but I had this happen to me when I started seriously training. My coach adjusted/changed every single aspect of my game: service, receive, chop, you name it. As a result I lost over 200 league points without any reasonable explanation. I then completely gave up on playing the league for a couple months, and when I returned - I got all the points back and some more in just two sessions. As long as you know where you're going - keep up the good work and the results will come.

As for your lost equipment .. maybe it's a sign from above to give that VKMO another try ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 28 Aug 2017, 18:09 
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Sorry to hear the tournament sucked... although I do think we can learn a lot from such things. Unless you just played terribly, which can happen for all sorts of non-tt reasons - tiredness, stress, diet, mental state, there's probably a lot of useful lessons to be gleaned.

Losing setups can be an interesting catalyst for change - I probably wouldn't have had the courage to switch to inverted on my FH if I hadn't lost mine at a tournament, and had to borrow a friend's to continue playing! Of course, I hope you get your kit back again.... *fingers crossed*

Also echo notfound's comments - although I'm not sure you're undergoing particularly radical changes to your game - sometimes a downwards dip is a precursor to a jump. For example, I lost the last 12 matches in the league, because I'd switched to inverted and my service return and FH were correspondingly hopeless, but now my FH service return is much stronger than before I changed, and my FH topspin is more flexible. I feel as if I'm playing a lot better now than I was six months ago, but I certainly experienced a dip in results on the way.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 28 Aug 2017, 22:06 
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notfound123 wrote:
pgpg wrote:
Well, this weekend's tournament will take a lot of effort to forget... ;(

Didn't do well on either days, losing left and right - don't think I beat anyone above 1700, which tells you something. Advanced out of few RR groups but did not go beyond QF in any event. Don't even want to diagnose it right now. The only positive was that I stayed calm mentally. Perhaps too calm.

And to add insult to injury, got home after 3.5 hour drive and discovered that I left my main and spare setups at the club... :@ . Most likely will get it back (I hope) or perhaps it's a sign that someone up there wants me to change equipment :devil:


I haven't played any tourneys lately .. but I had this happen to me when I started seriously training. My coach adjusted/changed every single aspect of my game: service, receive, chop, you name it. As a result I lost over 200 league points without any reasonable explanation. I then completely gave up on playing the league for a couple months, and when I returned - I got all the points back and some more in just two sessions. As long as you know where you're going - keep up the good work and the results will come.

As for your lost equipment .. maybe it's a sign from above to give that VKMO another try ;)


Equipment was found - will get it back when I'm there next time (September or October). Obviously will have to use something in-between, so VKMO will get another shot. 8)

Don't think I'm undergoing too many changes, perhaps had this thought in my head that I need to be much more aggressive/consistent on FH, but it did not translate into matches yet. Lost plenty of point with no-spin serves into my BH too, need to plug that hole. Will keep plugging away...

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 28 Aug 2017, 22:10 
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LordCope wrote:
Sorry to hear the tournament sucked... although I do think we can learn a lot from such things. Unless you just played terribly, which can happen for all sorts of non-tt reasons - tiredness, stress, diet, mental state, there's probably a lot of useful lessons to be gleaned.

Losing setups can be an interesting catalyst for change - I probably wouldn't have had the courage to switch to inverted on my FH if I hadn't lost mine at a tournament, and had to borrow a friend's to continue playing! Of course, I hope you get your kit back again.... *fingers crossed*

Also echo notfound's comments - although I'm not sure you're undergoing particularly radical changes to your game - sometimes a downwards dip is a precursor to a jump. For example, I lost the last 12 matches in the league, because I'd switched to inverted and my service return and FH were correspondingly hopeless, but now my FH service return is much stronger than before I changed, and my FH topspin is more flexible. I feel as if I'm playing a lot better now than I was six months ago, but I certainly experienced a dip in results on the way.


That's the thing - I don't think I was playing horribly, even got some compliments from spectators in my losing efforts. Opponents were better than me, that's a problem :lol: There is always next time, though.

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