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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2016, 06:28 
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BRS wrote:
You didn't do anything wrong. If you watch the receiver he had to reach outside his body for the block.


That's a good spot. However, I think the opening bh down the line would have been a good shot. What do you think?

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2016, 07:29 
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I agree. I have a strong tendency to open right down the center fh. It's surprisingly effective at my level, which ia not too much lower than ringer. Most people have a weaker fh block than bh, and don't expect the open down the line. Also if you do it properly they have to move, leaving their bh open for the next shot.

However, there is less room than on the diagonal, and for players who react well you are opening an angle to your own wide fh. And obviously you are going at most people's stronger wing. Despite all that it's usually a good play, particularly if you get very close to the line. That's often an outright winner.


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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2016, 10:07 
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The answer to Ringer's question is all of the above, it all depends on how the player usually plays.

Usually, the right approach to opening up against backspin is to open up with spin. You can only consistently drive against lower level players and they have to repeatedly return the serves poorly. In this case, I don't think the attacker opened too hard, but it depend on how he usually plays

The block was made and the placement was excellent- and it is easier to block drives - and the attacker was not fully ready and made a great shot. If the attacker consistently drives the ball, he needs to understand the risk he is taking and the fact that he needs to place the ball better if he wants to win the point outright without rallying. But he could easily have stepped slightly back and played another strong shot had he prepared for a return. One could argue that the attacker played too close to the table after opening but that is a style preference. That said, a majority of loopers would take a slight step back. In the end, it's one point. Would need to see more to establish a trend.

LordCope,

The attacker's body orientation gave him almost zero chance of going down the line. Don't seriously consider that.


BRS,

I agree it is a nice point, but the attacker could have stepped back to prevent getting jammed at the elbow. Or at least have prepared to make more shot.

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2016, 13:15 
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Thanks for the input everyone.

So it looks like the general consensus was that I didn't necessarily hit the ball too hard. Rather, I would have needed improved placement to win the point outright or I would have needed to take a small step back in order to play a stronger fifth ball. So this brings me to the point I want to make:

I think one of the reasons we as lower rated players always want to hit the ball hard is that we don't have confidence in the other aspects of our game to desire a long rally. I don't much confidence in my ability to switch between looping backspin to topspin, gamereading skills to anticipate where the next ball is coming, or the proper footwork to move to the ball. So, in essence, I feel that in order to give myself a chance to win the point I must hit the ball hard and win the point quickly. This reminds me somewhat of the conversation about how we often push and play it safe if our opponent doesn't have a strong loop... except in this case the tendency is overagression instead of passivity. It is difficult for below 2000 players to link together long, multishot combinations going to the 5th or 7th ball. We know we will screw SOMETHING up in there along the way.

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2016, 13:36 
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Ringer, the argument is circularly self-destructive, don't you think?

In order to be more consistent, I need to play with more spin.
I don't trust my ability to be consistent so I play with less spin.

I agree with what you are saying but not in quite the way you have phrased it. Lower rated players lack the practice and timing to be consistent with spin because they haven't practiced it. So they try to end the point quickly so that their inconsistency is not revealed.

In any case, the solution is to build the skills that help with consistency. I was stubborn about it so I learned or the hard way - you don't become more consistent by hitting the ball harder or practicing that. You become more consistent by playing with and learning to manipulate more spin. That's the bottom line. Even when I drive the ball, I drive the ball with spin. But I didn't start by doing it fast. I stared in every case with slower strokes, built up the technique for slower timing and enhanced it over time with power and thicker contact when I had masters thinner contact to guarantee spin and arc.

The thing is that unless you have a spin based player around you, you will have the wrong impression of what is happening when better players are playing. They are looking for opportunities to kill the ball but only if the opportunity is the right one. Otherwise they play spin based rally shots. When they kill the ball, they make sure the opponent does not touch it for the most part as lower spin kills are usually easier to block as the timing is not challenging ( completely dead kills are slightly different and that depends on the opponent). High spin kills or shots ruin passive blockers and require really good counter loopers or counter hitters to handle them.

Spin based timing is not easy to develop without practice. It requires repeated attempts to change the trajectory of the ball with repeated practice looping it with varied contact points.

Because you have to start slow, most people refuse to start. Don't be like those people. Start slowly and build up the timing. It will reward you handsomely in time. There are shots you can't consistently make unless you know how to play with heavy topspin.

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2016, 22:31 
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Ringer84 wrote:
Thanks for the input everyone.

So it looks like the general consensus was that I didn't necessarily hit the ball too hard. Rather, I would have needed improved placement to win the point outright or I would have needed to take a small step back in order to play a stronger fifth ball. So this brings me to the point I want to make:

I think one of the reasons we as lower rated players always want to hit the ball hard is that we don't have confidence in the other aspects of our game to desire a long rally. I don't much confidence in my ability to switch between looping backspin to topspin, gamereading skills to anticipate where the next ball is coming, or the proper footwork to move to the ball. So, in essence, I feel that in order to give myself a chance to win the point I must hit the ball hard and win the point quickly. This reminds me somewhat of the conversation about how we often push and play it safe if our opponent doesn't have a strong loop... except in this case the tendency is overagression instead of passivity. It is difficult for below 2000 players to link together long, multishot combinations going to the 5th or 7th ball. We know we will screw SOMETHING up in there along the way.

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This is not true for me. In play I don't think about ending the point, or that I won't be able to play a fifth or seventh ball. All I think about is where I want the ball to go.

We are coached to swing fast, because you have to swing fast to generate good spin and to get that whip action we hear so much about. But it takes a boatload of touch, position, relaxation, and timing to take a free swing and make a thin brushy contact. Usually it just doesn't happen. Instead you get thick contact and a fast shot with too little spin. And if the sound is a nice loud "CRACK!" it does not make the slightest bit of difference where on the ball you made contact, you aren't getting much spin.

I think muscle tension is my biggest reason for lack of touch and timing. Like almost everyone else, I don't play as well as I practice because of match nerves, even when the match doesn't count for anything.


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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2016, 22:52 
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BRS,

When I saw you last year in NY, the first thing I noted was that your backhand did not have brush timing or spin avoidance built into it. But I figured it would come with time and did not stress it.

A good crack on the bat is a good thing, not a bad thing, especially when countering topspin. But it is often best combined with spin avoidance. I have decided to build spin avoidance into my students strokes early rather than get them better and then rebuild everything.

You just have to return to the ball drop a and mess around with spinning the ball almost like you are serving, but using your looping swing. Hit the left side top of the ball and finish over the ball like Brett taught you but avoid hooking the ball. Do it every day for a month. Spin 70% slowly, 30% fast with different arcs. After you have done that and practiced it, then the muscles will adapt and it will go away.

You don't have the swing. It has very little to do with tension. You cannot use a swing you do not have.

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 28 Mar 2016, 23:14 
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You see NL, this is where I get confused. You say that a loud crack of the bat is a good thing, yet at the same time you want to see "brush timing". In my head, a ball that is brushed would never make a loud cracking sound. Much like BRS, I have a hard generating massive whip and racket head speed whilst still having the ball come off without much pace and mostly spin. I still feel like I need a more vertical swing to get less pace/more spin. I will rewatch some of the videos you've sent me and do some looping against backspin in multiball on the BH, and maybe you can tell me whether im doing it right or not. I was surprised when you said you thought I was doing it on the FH side...

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 29 Mar 2016, 00:12 
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Ringer,

It's about following the shape of the ball as opposed to hitting the ball off your racket. When people play towards the forehead on both their backspin and topspin strokes, they tend to follow the shape of the ball with a slightly curved stroke.
A proper forehand topspin which finishes at the forehead will often have elements of spin avoidance but this depends on where contact is made. If you loop backspin with a similar looking stroke to your topspin stroke, you are definitely using spin avoidance for both. You come round the side of the ball and finish over the ball and avoid the main spin axis

Spin avoidance, thin brush timing and thick brush timing are all disparate concepts - they can be related but they are different. I said you were using spin avoidance - I didn't say you were using (thin) brush timing. Thin brush timing is for getting more arc and has a focus on spin over speed. It is not about lifting ( do you lift serves to get topspin???). It is about putting the effort into rotation. The same way you can slice the bottom of the ball to get backspin, you can slice the top of the ball to get topspin. You don't have to make contact at the top first. You can make it on the side and then come over the top. Make sense?

A loud crack on the bat can be a good thing or bad thing but it is a sign of brush contact and is a good thing if you have the skill and timing to consistently generate it, especially on topspin vs topspin. Against backspin the timing is more demanding unless you have a slower rubber or the ball is high, so looping backspin/chop tends to be thin brush timing unless the ball is high or the spin is light relative to the swing speed.

When I loop in drills, it's not like you are hearing no sound. You are hearing cracks on my bat. They just are not flat cracks. They are spin cracks and more silent than what you would hear if I smashed the ball flat. When I mistime the ball you hear the issue.

But you don't get to the point where you can consistently do it unless you get the general timing right. And you get the general timing right by learning to swing at the ball at different speeds and to hit different points on the ball. You can see that I don't hit the ball on the back - I hit the ball on the side top and come over the ball. When I started doing this, I practiced it with thin brush timing, almost like serving. I learned to hit the ball on the side and make things happen. I did it with thin brush contact. Then I pushed the brush to its limits for speed and spin.

When you loop hard, you have to deform the rubber and sometimes the wood. The crack on the bat comes from the deformation to the wood to get good spin and pace. The timing demands are tough at the table. And the arc is not great unless you are further back and there is time for the spin to develop. At the table, only very fit athletes can consistently use this timing on balls and they need top notch rubber too. But the advantage is that you get to kill the spin on the existing ball with your inverted rubber and sometimes use it (if counterlooping, for example).

Thin brush timing is based on putting more of the effort into rotation. It makes your loops consistent because you are focused on generating spin and addressing the rotation first. It isn't good for driving into heavy topspin unless you have really strong rubber but it is great for using spin avoidance on heavy backspin and getting it to dip and stay short.

The main point here is that these strokes you see me use now are the end result of months/years of slowly timing the ball and building up to a point where I can swing for more spin or swing for more pace. I use a very hard sponge rubber so it supports my ability to do this. Softer rubbers would have a lower max swing speed, but I could still adjust to them, just not with my preferred swing and results. You can use one swing speed if you want, but the athletic demands of playing that way are too great. And even kids don't do that.

To cut a long story short, you don't get to this point by trying to hit everything hard. You get to this point by trying to put an emphasis on spin. You contact the ball with an emphasis on rotation. Think of it like serving. In the beginning, you swing at the ball and get flat contact. You swing and whiff. Then over time, you get good at being able to get the ball to spin. Then you have to learn to aim at the ball on different points with different racket angles and see what happens. You can hit as hard as you want if you time the ball excellently. If you do not hit the ball off center, you cannot get spin. So you cannot hit the ball from the back without aiming for the top or the back and this will limit you ability to hit the ball hard because as soon as you make contact, the ball will be off your racket before you have time to spin it, So you come at it from an off center direction.

And like everything else, it gets better with practice. But if you start it by hitting the ball hard, you will struggle to adjust to the ball when you need a shorter stroke or just need to get the ball on the table etc.

Look at Cobalt's latest videos. Compare his current stroke for looping backspin to his old stroke. Or even looping topspin. You might see something that helps.

Here is a video - I am spinning the ball. If the ball dips below the table, I brush more. But you hear cracks off my bat because of my distance. Closer to the table, to get more arc, I would brush much more if the ball dipped.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfCRWfcIz4g

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 29 Mar 2016, 01:40 
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Last thing, Ringer.

If you don't swing and hit the back of the ball, you can swing forwards and upwards at the same time. It may not feel like you are swinging forwards and upwards but you are. And you can swing forwards and upwards and come round the side. But you have to experiment with the swing. If you send me video, I can always tell you how to fix it. It doesn't always look how it feels. But once you know how it feels, then everything clicks.

Here is something that LordCope posted that you may have missed if you don't follow his blog.

LordCope wrote:
I remembered another interesting thing that Jo said. NextLevel has been talking about this a bit too. She says that when returning serve in particular, but also on any shot where you are trying to overcome or change the spin on the ball, you need to come *around* the ball, not try to counteract it directly. She says this makes it easier for you to change the spin, and when you come around it, almost as if you're curving around the shape of the ball, but not in direct opposition, but 'near' opposition to the ball, your spin is more natural and effective. I tried it when returning serve, and I felt like it made a difference.


Jo is Paul Drinkhall's wife. But the kids in my club has been returning serve and looping like this for a few years now. I only return serves like this in one way. And I have been stubborn about learning to consistently loop like this. But as my coach said, I am finally coming round. I am rebuilding most of my looping strokes to work like this, It's just what good players do. It lets you swing faster when you get a hang of it, as you have figured out. But it also lets you swing slower when countering heavy topspin or looping a falling ball. If you watch Henzell's video on looping a falling topspin ball, this was his ultimate recommendation.

Starting slowly is just about being able to be patient enough to see the ball and adjust your timing. If I loop a ball just below table height, you can't tell the difference from my regular loop most of the time. Same with Big D. In fact, we brush so much we often overcompensate and loop long with spin.

For practice, do something like camp out on the forehand side of the table on the SIDE of the table. Think of a tomahawk serve by Henzell that has dropped off the side of the table. Loop that ball from below net height over the net onto the corner where the serve came from. Keep the ball low. You will have no chance of doing something like this unless you come round the side of the ball. No chance.

Something like this, with whatever form you choose. I am happy Ma Long is doing this so that it proves my point - no one can swing at the ball at one speed all the time.

https://youtu.be/ddVkXRh1UeY?t=1896

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 29 Mar 2016, 03:16 
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Thanks, NL.

I have one more question and I am going to bow out of here, as I don't want to pollute BRS' blog with my own questions. But how does this concept work when returning sidespin oriented serves? Since many serves contain an element of sidespin, and this entire theory involves making initital contact on the side of the ball, wouldn't that mean we are contacting the ball in the "danger zone" when receiving sidespin serves?

Image

Image

"To face the least amount of spin we could hit position 2 and 5. However it’s technically harder to hit the north and south pole exactly and the error chance for completely missing the ball is therefore bigger. The big advantage is the fact that we can slighty misjudge the amount of imparted topspin / backspin as seen in the pictures below.

As a rule of thumb, if we are sure about the sidespin to topspin / backspin ratio we use a location like 1,3,4 or 6 to compensate a possible technical inaccuracy in hitting the exact point."

If we are not sure about the ratio we have to take the greater technical risk and aim for position 2 or 5 to minimize our judgemental error. If we are confident in our technique and spin judgement we also go for 2 or 5. The promised example can be found below"

-thoughtsontabletennis dude


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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 29 Mar 2016, 04:19 
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Ringer,

With serve return, you are not so much using spin avoidance as you are shaping the ball. In this case, it is even more critical to have the wrist action focused and target at matching and generating spin, even overpowering it, as opposed to hitting through the ball. Over time, the experience and feel gained from using such strokes will then help you read serves faster and hit them harder with better timing. But the way to think about it in general is like peeling an orange, especially when pushing or flicking with sidespin.

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 31 Mar 2016, 07:33 
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Doesn't it seem like once you get the paddle going fast enough to over power the spin, it doesn't seem to matter what spin is on the ball?

I tend to see this even in my own backhand flicks - I'll go long on a short ball that has heavy backspin! Should have kept my angle closed more! Same stroke seems to work on any ball coming short.


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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 31 Mar 2016, 07:47 
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wilkinru wrote:
Doesn't it seem like once you get the paddle going fast enough to over power the spin, it doesn't seem to matter what spin is on the ball?

I tend to see this even in my own backhand flicks - I'll go long on a short ball that has heavy backspin! Should have kept my angle closed more! Same stroke seems to work on any ball coming short.


It may not have as much spin as you think it does and sometimes, you may have made contact on the right spot but swung too hard. Lifting the racket too high to finish an over the table stroke also often produces too long a trajectory. But all these things are intellectual considerations. Would need to see video to make sense of it.

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 Post subject: Re: a BRS blog
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2016, 01:45 
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Ringer84 wrote:
Hopefuly BRS won't mind me posting my GIF in this thread, but since he's always being accused of hitting the ball too hard, I wanted to post this here and get some opinions on what happened. This is the type of point that I can imagine happening to BRS also. So let's do a poll. What did the server do incorrectly in this point sequence?

A) He hit the ball too hard for his own good, the ball came back fast, and he could not recover.

B) He did NOT hit the ball too hard, but the ball placement was poor.

C) He did NOT hit the ball too hard. Rather, he did not recover properly and did not move his feet.

D) Something Else.

Image


I understand the server won the point, but it was obviously luck. The receiver gave up on the point since he thought the ball was out.



I know I'm really late in answering this one. I run into the same problem - so I want to share what I think you could do.
So you made a nice serve, looped the 3rd ball into a pretty decent location - this is all very solid and you shouldn't question any of that.
However after the 3rd ball you went ball watching.
Attachment:
BallWatch.gif
BallWatch.gif [ 47.88 KiB | Viewed 409 times ]


If you had been prepared for a block and had your forehand ready, it could have ended with a powerful forehand loop. I understand the ball watching - we work so much at the 3rd ball attack, when we do a good one we expect to have won the point. When it comes back it's very difficult. I see this all of the time if I play a 1900+ player. I'll get my shots off but he makes me hit one extra.

This is actually one of my main drills on the robot. Robot gives me a ball to backhand to loop and then quickly a fast, deep, highish dead ball to the middle.


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