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PostPosted: 13 Feb 2016, 02:32 
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So back to reality and some thoughts.
I shouldn't be too hard on myself - I've accomplished much in the last 2 months TT wise.
Grip is now stable and more relaxed than ever.
I'm bending my knees a little more - more to work on there.
My backhand loop is considerably stronger now all around. At times it is creative and down the line shots are more than just possible.
My forehand loop is now looking like a quality shot if I have time to line it up (Brett approval even).
Forehand block is much improved - forehand in general in terms of hand eye coordination.
Backhand serve has improved. The amount of spin and deception has gone up a little.
Forehand pendulum and backspin serves are now useful options.
The beginnings of a forehand flick.

Now going forward I need to focus on some other things.
First off let's look at what I want the end goal to look like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdQFuQFfofw

Obviously fitness is still an issue but I've had a GREAT month of progress and hope to continue that effort.
I need to work on light footwork drills - 2 ball left 2 ball right, move body and hit. Maybe even shadow some. I loathe shadow practice when I have a robot. Do it for a warmup. At least I might be able to count it as cardio.
Backhand timing is still a problem when the ball comes at me fast. I feel the need to reach at it - even tho it's coming fast! Maybe the robot can help - random fast and slow balls at me.
Forehand has yet to reach a critical 'bat speed' - a speed that handles backspin balls well. Continue the forehand in static drills.
Forehand and backhand flick drills. New robot will help here.
Forehand from the backhand corner drills.
Blocking from both sides drills.

I think that's enough to focus on for the next 2 months until my next tourney.


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PostPosted: 19 Feb 2016, 02:20 
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For the past week I've worked hard on my fitness and consistency. Trying to do X number of balls from the robot without making mistakes. I can do ~30 on each side forehand and backhand loop, which is pretty good considering there are broken balls and the feed can be pretty odd from ball to ball.

I had two playing sessions yesterday.

Day sessions included playing a short pips guy who was able to block the ball deep and flat pretty often. I kept putting my backhand into the net off of that. Just when I thought I had my backhand pretty good and had a lot of confidence with it - I run into that. Without a doubt he took my time away and I noticed that I was not completing the stroke - which fed right into him. I committed to doing the full stroke near the end and I had mixed results, but at least I made sure to do it right.

The night session started off well, playing the same guy as the video above had. I lost the first set very close, like 13-15. Easily won the other sets. Counter looping his forehand was the key. It's pretty fun to do but also kind of exhausting! Speaking of exhausting I played a long pips player with really good control, each set was very long and I finally won with an easy final game. After that the wheels completely came off. Serve errors, wasn't moving my feet. I lost badly to two players that I normally beat. I was actually tired, wanting to sleep after that.

I think I just ran out of energy. I've been losing a little weight and it's possible I didn't quite get the calories I needed to do two sessions yesterday. My confidence in my backhand is a bit in the gutter now too. It was amazing last week and now this week just too many errors. Pretty horrible because I worked on consistency! I'm thinking that perhaps my idea of training there wasn't the best. I'm going to try the same consistency training but a bit closer to game pace for a while. Also make sure to add in different spins and speeds. Drilling the same thing over and over might have been slightly counter-productive.


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PostPosted: 19 Feb 2016, 02:41 
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A good coach who you also know once told me that people.often confuse good and bad days with improvement and regression. Don't let every short term result spawn an analysis of whether you are training properly or not. Just stick with whatever training plan you had and complete it before changing to a new one. Change on the basis of 2months of results not one day of exhaustion.

That said, I always recommend that 80% of practice should be comfortable and 20% at a level beyond so that you can assess whether you are being too conservative or not.

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PostPosted: 19 Feb 2016, 02:53 
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Thanks NL. Sometimes must be reminded of the forest and the trees.


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PostPosted: 23 Feb 2016, 15:43 
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Well my back and hip are just so sore lately that I've decided to take a couple of weeks off and see if I can get things to heal. Being re-animated every day to play just wasn't working anymore. My game was getting worse and it hurts a lot while sleeping.

On a bright note I did identify a huge problem in my game: I move my right leg before my left if a ball is going to my wide forehand. Not only does this make for a poor quality shot - it's hurting my back and hip area right where I have problems. It was most noticeable last week and perhaps it was so bad I finally felt it.

I need to fix this issue if I am to continue playing. It's beyond just poor quality shots, it's actually adding to my injury/muscle fatigue.

My plan is after 72 hours of rest and light massage to start doing some stretching and light footwork/hitting, practicing my left foot first technique. In a couple of weeks if I'm feeling good I am going to purposely serve side/back and really work on moving my feet correctly during a match. I expect many losses and frustration, but I will make that left leg work!

Oddly enough going right to left, I do use my right foot first. Actually that isn't very odd - I just tend to always use my right foot first.


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PostPosted: 23 Feb 2016, 23:07 
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Check and see if you have any weight on your left leg in your ready stance. You can't push off from a leg that is bearing no weight. That was/is my problem. Doing one-leg wall squats for up to two minutes with just the left leg has helped some to equalize the strength and reduced the movement errors a little. You can also try doing static robot drills with your right foot off the ground or only toes touching like in karate kid. That is a very interesting experience.


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PostPosted: 02 Mar 2016, 07:18 
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BRS wrote:
Check and see if you have any weight on your left leg in your ready stance. You can't push off from a leg that is bearing no weight. That was/is my problem. Doing one-leg wall squats for up to two minutes with just the left leg has helped some to equalize the strength and reduced the movement errors a little. You can also try doing static robot drills with your right foot off the ground or only toes touching like in karate kid. That is a very interesting experience.


I'm playing again and yeah, I am telling myself to play on my left leg. It's an odd feeling but I might be close to balanced when I force myself to do that. I did some extra exercises on the left leg as you suggested. I didn't quite go all 1 leg counter-hitting tho!


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PostPosted: 02 Mar 2016, 07:19 
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Just wrote my review of my new ball machine (Butterfly Amicus Advance)

viewtopic.php?f=67&t=29471


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PostPosted: 02 Mar 2016, 12:40 
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A ah-ha moment. New robot exposed another issue that I will need to correct. When the robot is on random forehand or backhand I'm always solid on the backhand side but always late on the forehand side. I'm favoring the backhand a little too much in my ready position.


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PostPosted: 02 Mar 2016, 12:54 
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I owe you a forehand topspin video and it's next on my list.

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PostPosted: 03 Mar 2016, 05:52 
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Sometimes less is more! After a week of not playing - I'm playing as good/better than ever based on some matches this week.
Weight has dropped down a few more pounds in the last couple of months and I'm feeling pretty good. Even playing at my usual pace has gotten much easier. I might have Brett send me a message between games to tell me to get lower....err get lowah! Point is maybe I can start getting a bit lower during my play.

I've decided to play in a Tourney in So Cal in early April. I'll be driving there, playing in the U1700 and the U1500 and then driving home all in one day! I might end up having to default later in the day if things drag on too long. Just time constraints because I'll need to get home to play doubles in the Corporate challenge table tennis tourney the next day at 8 AM. I'll be playing with someone who is around 1000 rated so no real expectations, but most of the teams will be U1000 for at least 1 player.

For the next 3 weeks I plan to really hone in my skills with the robot and with others.
1. Work on footwork to my right. Must use the left foot first and play more on my "left" foot (actually be balanced)
2. Continue to work on the forehand loop - Brett has a video for me soon....uh oh :)
3. Focus on forehand attacks over the table and recovery
4. Reset my arm ready position to closer to neutral

Take a few days off in late March and mentally/physically prepare for what looks to be a demanding weekend!


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PostPosted: 03 Mar 2016, 09:48 
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ETTS27 is out. It's about your fh topspin.

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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2016, 01:22 
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Quick updates:
I've been suckered into playing a Badminton tourney next Tuesday. I've been doing somewhat regular practice for the last 2 weeks. It's quite a work out. I'm using my wrist like crazy - Brett may as well teach Badminton basics too as they're fairly similar.

Also I've entered into the Blackpool Grand Prix. Yeah in England. That should be fun, I'm hoping that having a tourney which means nothing to me will let me play more relaxed. Plus it gives me an incentive to work on my game for the next 2 weeks :)


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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2016, 03:55 
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One small detail: In the videos I have seen, you almost always swing the upper arm a lot. That may give some issues with control, particularly on forehand. The movement should come from the body, only slightly lifting your upper arm, with the forearm and wrist following through in a whip-like motion sequence. (A coach I saw in action with some kids made his students practice counterhits with the bat cover tucked under the playing arm. If the cover fell down, they were doing it wrong...)

Try some counterhit drills with the robot, where you focus on having the top half of your upper arm touching your body most of the time (the bat cover thing may help you focus on the upper arm). Start slow and build up speed gradually.
You should notice a change in consistency almost immediately. If it doesn't work for you within 15 minutes, I probably explained it wrong. Forget what you just read, so I don't ruin your technique. ;)

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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2016, 05:55 
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keme wrote:
One small detail: In the videos I have seen, you almost always swing the upper arm a lot. That may give some issues with control, particularly on forehand. The movement should come from the body, only slightly lifting your upper arm, with the forearm and wrist following through in a whip-like motion sequence. (A coach I saw in action with some kids made his students practice counterhits with the bat cover tucked under the playing arm. If the cover fell down, they were doing it wrong...)

Try some counterhit drills with the robot, where you focus on having the top half of your upper arm touching your body most of the time (the bat cover thing may help you focus on the upper arm). Start slow and build up speed gradually.
You should notice a change in consistency almost immediately. If it doesn't work for you within 15 minutes, I probably explained it wrong. Forget what you just read, so I don't ruin your technique. ;)


So this is how I used to play, arm much closer to the body. It's true I had more consistency. Brett Clarke has specific introduction videos, getting us to put our elbow out. The goal here is to get more whip action, more leverage. Now that is where your post is quite right - my whip action is still a huge work in progress and I'm going back to ball drops to get it right. Brett even made a video for me to use in practice. Specifically he wants me to use more elbow whip - which you are mentioning.

Consistency is a huge issue right now. When it makes contact it's pretty powerful even right now - and there is even more power to be had from the body and elbow!


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