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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 08 May 2018, 05:28 
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Japsican wrote:
pgpg wrote:
Had one of those rare TT days in the club today, when everything seemed easy and almost every shot landed :rock:

Went undefeated, and I don't think I even lost a single game, including couple of matches against difficult opponents. Probably was more aggressive than usual - including recent experimentation with hitting off the bounce, I think I got 5-6 outright winners just from that, without missing once, IIRC.

Wonder how long it will last...

Hitting off the bounce with LPs?


Nope, inverted :P. Violates a couple of commandments like 'wait for the ball' and 'spin everything', but I guess occasional changeup is useful to keep opponents on their toes. I'm also doing it 'blindly', that is without tracking the ball till contact and it somehow works often enough (not enough sidespin on the shots I'm attacking, most likely).

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 09 May 2018, 12:33 
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League tonight had a twist: opportunity to play doubles for folks who wanted to practice for the upcoming World Veterans Championship. I think there are at least 10-12 players from our club going, and quite a few of us have a club mate as a doubles partner. But - not a lot of doubles experience for all of us...

So, I played 2 or 3 matches with my partner (J-pen, around 1950 USATT). We did OK, losing close matches against stronger pairs. Both of us noticed that we tend to hit shots while moving, which is probably not the best idea. At least we did not run into each other, so not a bad start.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 09 May 2018, 17:21 
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If you are not a regular doubles player here are a few simple thoughts you might want to try to incorporate into your game (s)....forgive me if this is basic and already known.

- Serve is less of an advantage in doubles, so a tight short serve is a must....heavy backspin generally. If you are being beaten on angles try to play it down the middle line. Don't allow the 2nd bounce to drop over the end or side lines.
- Placement of shots during the rally....you can do worse than playing it straight back to the player it came from! Obviously this isn't how you'd tend to play singles and you'd look for gaps, but in doubles that player needs to get out of the way so his partner can play his shot.
-As the flip side of the above, consider the angle you'll be subjecting your partner to if a return comes back....try not to leave them exposed to being stranded. (Eg if receiving serve with your partner to your left, down the line would tend to be the safe return so your partner is in better position).
- movement tends to be somewhat circular as well as in and out....right handers moving forward and from the left to be on their mostly stronger forehands for most shots.
-Alternatively as a pimple player if you can get your partner to serve with heavy spin and a bit of side and force a pushed ball you have a good candidate to get your pips on!

As I say, if too basic just ignore and apologies, but the tactical side of doubles isn't often talked about...and historically I've done far better in doubles than singles so hopefully have a few ideas to offer!


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 09 May 2018, 21:31 
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so_devo wrote:
If you are not a regular doubles player here are a few simple thoughts you might want to try to incorporate into your game (s)....forgive me if this is basic and already known.

- Serve is less of an advantage in doubles, so a tight short serve is a must....heavy backspin generally. If you are being beaten on angles try to play it down the middle line. Don't allow the 2nd bounce to drop over the end or side lines.
- Placement of shots during the rally....you can do worse than playing it straight back to the player it came from! Obviously this isn't how you'd tend to play singles and you'd look for gaps, but in doubles that player needs to get out of the way so his partner can play his shot.
-As the flip side of the above, consider the angle you'll be subjecting your partner to if a return comes back....try not to leave them exposed to being stranded. (Eg if receiving serve with your partner to your left, down the line would tend to be the safe return so your partner is in better position).
- movement tends to be somewhat circular as well as in and out....right handers moving forward and from the left to be on their mostly stronger forehands for most shots.
-Alternatively as a pimple player if you can get your partner to serve with heavy spin and a bit of side and force a pushed ball you have a good candidate to get your pips on!

As I say, if too basic just ignore and apologies, but the tactical side of doubles isn't often talked about...and historically I've done far better in doubles than singles so hopefully have a few ideas to offer!



Thanks, so_devo - no need to apologize, I think total number of doubles matches I ever played in my life is still in single digits, so I am as ignorant about them as I can be (as you saw in person last year :) ).

These are very useful - I need to probably watch some doubles on YouTube as well to get some ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 10 May 2018, 00:00 
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I would say that so_devo's advice about playing doubles is very good. But I would like to note something from my experience about this point:
Quote:
- Serve is less of an advantage in doubles, so a tight short serve is a must....heavy backspin generally. If you are being beaten on angles try to play it down the middle line. Don't allow the 2nd bounce to drop over the end or side lines.

Well, if you play amateur players(I would say we are not pros here) quite often you can try to serve once/twice some normal singles serve(like side-top, or pure side) and check the receive. Why? because very often players at our level have no problems pushing an underspin serve and they expect it when playing doubles. but when they face a non-regular doubles serve than they can possibly start making more mistakes (cause they feel more unsure about the reception of your serves).
So I would advise you to be not very conservative when serving and inspect the receives.
I'm pretty sure so_devo didn't mean to tell you to feed your opponents only one type of serve so my comment is just something I wanted to say from my experience.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 10 May 2018, 00:38 
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v100ev wrote:
I would say that so_devo's advice about playing doubles is very good. But I would like to note something from my experience about this point:
Quote:
- Serve is less of an advantage in doubles, so a tight short serve is a must....heavy backspin generally. If you are being beaten on angles try to play it down the middle line. Don't allow the 2nd bounce to drop over the end or side lines.

Well, if you play amateur players(I would say we are not pros here) quite often you can try to serve once/twice some normal singles serve(like side-top, or pure side) and check the receive. Why? because very often players at our level have no problems pushing an underspin serve and they expect it when playing doubles. but when they face a non-regular doubles serve than they can possibly start making more mistakes (cause they feel more unsure about the reception of your serves).
So I would advise you to be not very conservative when serving and inspect the receives.
I'm pretty sure so_devo didn't mean to tell you to feed your opponents only one type of serve so my comment is just something I wanted to say from my experience.


One doubles-specific aspect I came to appreciate more, especially with serves and receives, is that you are actually dealing with two opposing players, each with their own strengths and weaknesses on both serves and receives. Somewhat of an extra challenge to deal with.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 10 May 2018, 01:29 
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pgpg wrote:
v100ev wrote:
I would say that so_devo's advice about playing doubles is very good. But I would like to note something from my experience about this point:
Quote:
- Serve is less of an advantage in doubles, so a tight short serve is a must....heavy backspin generally. If you are being beaten on angles try to play it down the middle line. Don't allow the 2nd bounce to drop over the end or side lines.

Well, if you play amateur players(I would say we are not pros here) quite often you can try to serve once/twice some normal singles serve(like side-top, or pure side) and check the receive. Why? because very often players at our level have no problems pushing an underspin serve and they expect it when playing doubles. but when they face a non-regular doubles serve than they can possibly start making more mistakes (cause they feel more unsure about the reception of your serves).
So I would advise you to be not very conservative when serving and inspect the receives.
I'm pretty sure so_devo didn't mean to tell you to feed your opponents only one type of serve so my comment is just something I wanted to say from my experience.


One doubles-specific aspect I came to appreciate more, especially with serves and receives, is that you are actually dealing with two opposing players, each with their own strengths and weaknesses on both serves and receives. Somewhat of an extra challenge to deal with.

And sometimes and advantage. The disadvantage to me is the reduced surface area with which you can direct your serves. Also, people used to serving from the BH corner (if right handed) start to struggle in doubles.

I actually now have a lot of experience in doubles because our league uses it as a tie breaker. It's been the difference between a win or loss for our team at times.

As an LP player, when playing with a non-LP team mate, they might get confused by your pips and lose track of the spin. Also, for me, my strategy is different. In singles, I might try to give them a ball to attack on serve knowing I can go back and chop. Your partner as an attacker probably doesnt' want that.

Also, spacing and footwork is different. As a chopper, I usually tell them I'll play back so they can have the area closer to the table.

And, knowing your partner and vice versa is key. Doing service signs under the table to indicate the type of serve is a must. My partner has a pretty good no-spin serve that he gets high returns on, and I know to be ready with a FH attack vs. a defensive LP chop. If he indicates underspin, I may be ready with a bump attack to the weak side. These things have to be learned with practice. I dislike greatly playing with a guy who won't communicate serves under the table, or who doesn't understand that a defender is going to play differently than an attacking partner.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 11 May 2018, 10:08 
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Serving heavy and short is a needed setup, but you make money on tight no spin serves in doubles.

You can get points off serve, but it is about getting a predictable ball for your partner in doubles. You find ways to set each other up.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 11 May 2018, 11:52 
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Japsican wrote:
...
And sometimes and advantage. The disadvantage to me is the reduced surface area with which you can direct your serves. Also, people used to serving from the BH corner (if right handed) start to struggle in doubles.

I actually now have a lot of experience in doubles because our league uses it as a tie breaker. It's been the difference between a win or loss for our team at times.

As an LP player, when playing with a non-LP team mate, they might get confused by your pips and lose track of the spin. Also, for me, my strategy is different. In singles, I might try to give them a ball to attack on serve knowing I can go back and chop. Your partner as an attacker probably doesnt' want that.

Also, spacing and footwork is different. As a chopper, I usually tell them I'll play back so they can have the area closer to the table.

And, knowing your partner and vice versa is key. Doing service signs under the table to indicate the type of serve is a must. My partner has a pretty good no-spin serve that he gets high returns on, and I know to be ready with a FH attack vs. a defensive LP chop. If he indicates underspin, I may be ready with a bump attack to the weak side. These things have to be learned with practice. I dislike greatly playing with a guy who won't communicate serves under the table, or who doesn't understand that a defender is going to play differently than an attacking partner.


Several good nuggets here - have not thought that it might be easier to stick to chopping or at least ensure you are in a better position to do so. Wonder though if it's going to help my partner, since he is likely to get a spinnier loop in return, assuming opponent does not net the first one. Might be easier to set him up for a pop up with a weird LP ball...

I serve quite a bit from FH corner, so not that much of a challenge, but have to watch for reduced area, of course. On the receive I found that it's better to be somewhat unpredictable, since repeated bumps/chops to FH eventually allows them to control return better. While trying to vary the placement on the receive (cross-court vs. down the line), sort of came up with a new shot, some weird mix of drive and flick, but with LP. Lately few unusual shots emerged on their own - something I'd call a LP BH 'Loop' and more aggressive punch version of it. Have not really tried to do it deliberately, body kind of decided to go for it 8) .

Not sure I get how my partner can get confused by my LP shots - I'd think that's what opponent have to deal with, their returns are more predictable (assuming double inverted players).

We obviously have to work on signals and figuring tactical stuff out - I tried to give a signal once, but since I did not hide it enough under the table, our opponents were basically laughing their asses off (not sure why, since my partner had no idea what I've just showed him either :rofl: ).

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 11 May 2018, 20:43 
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pgpg wrote:
Not sure I get how my partner can get confused by my LP shots - I'd think that's what opponent have to deal with, their returns are more predictable (assuming double inverted players).


At a high level, you are underestimating how much people read spin off assumptions - even when I am using inverted, the spin on my serves can confuse my partner and he isn't compensating for how much is on the ball after the return comes back.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 12 May 2018, 04:54 
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pgpg wrote:
Not sure I get how my partner can get confused by my LP shots - I'd think that's what opponent have to deal with, their returns are more predictable (assuming double inverted players).


Playing against pips and playing next to a person who uses pips is very different. Against, you are used to watching for twiddling and the nature of the ball after it hits the pips. But as your teammate, he might not be used to paying attention at all to your twiddles or lp strokes. Subconsciously, might be perceiving your strokes as inverted strokes, even if logically he knows you have material on your BH.

Things like this :
They serve underspin, I bump with my pips sending top, the opponent returns it high but with less spin, my partner nets the ball because it had the spin scrubbed off.

when i push a push with LP (inverted style) it's no-spin or slight topspin. The opponent may know this and attack it, but my opponent is not expecting such a strong attack because subconsciously he just saw me push it and isn't ready to counter or block. On the other hand, we, as defenders, might be okay with an attack.

I realized this when I started having to coach my teammates about what kind of spins to expect after my LP shots. Chopping is no problem, underspin is underspin, but passive reversal balls and no-spins tended to confuse both my opponents and my partners.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 14 May 2018, 02:22 
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My opponents for the last several weeks were wondering aloud what the heck do I have on my FH, since to them it sounded like an anti. I typically said that it's a soft rubber on a slow blade, but since it (T05fx ) started to peel off on one of the edges, I decided to re-glue it - and saw that quite likely it got detached in the center as well. Oops... Pretty sure it did not help my FH much.

Had a lesson and practice yesterday - found that when I'm not trying to kill the ball and go for 70% of effort, I land more of them. Relaxing helps too, the challenge is to stay relaxed through the point/game/match.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 21 May 2018, 22:10 
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Played a teams tournament on Sunday - our team was pretty even, with 3 players all close to 1750-1800 USATT. We were in Division B this time, which was about right. Format was very weird, though - 3 RR groups of 3 teams each, with everyone advancing into SE to determine the final RR group of 3. On a plus side - lots of matches. On a minus side - lots of matches: we started around 13:00, and lost in the bracket that would take us to final RR around 19:30 pm. No idea when they finished it.

Our team went 2:2, and I think I was 2:3 or something like that. Played pretty well, I thought, pressuring players who had no business being in Division B :). Chopped mostly in warm up, and then ended up playing close to the table in matches. FH from practice slowly started to show up in matches, but 'slowly' is the key here.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 31 May 2018, 23:48 
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Jorgen Persson is in my age division (50-55) at World Veterans, so I have at least two chances at actually playing him (singles and doubles) :rock: . Would be awesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 04 Jun 2018, 21:43 
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Lately I've been focusing more on FH attack, since that's the way my game is evolving anyways: not so much defense on FH, mostly trying to win points there. Took a couple of lessons with a coach, with the focus on making FH stroke more forward-going, trying to brush the ball more, and engage hips. Occasional advice is not to have such a large backswing as well.

It is starting to show up in matches, but very slowly: more of my FH shots from BH corner land on the table and fewer come back. Also getting better at sending the ball down the line, sometimes without even thinking (that's good, right?). It also means I am playing more of a close to the table game, with mostly BH blocks, bumps, and pushes, not that many chops, which is somewhat disappointing.

Tried to play more of a higher level opponents at the club lately - one of the guys told me few weeks back that I should do more of that, since it will raise the level of my game. In a way he has a point: I find that rallies are different and I need to deal with stronger spin, better serves, and figure out how to win points. Bumps with LP to their FH still work quite well, though. Managed to beat our best LP player 'JL' 3:2 this weekend (and lost another match 2:3) - interestingly enough I did get quite a few points in LP to LP exchanges. Lost to another 2200+ player 2:3, so at least I'm doing something right... Yes, meaningless club matches, but still some progress.

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