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PostPosted: 17 Dec 2015, 19:48 
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I've worked pretty hard on my forehand over the last couple of years as evidenced in another thread however I've had trouble transitioning from a fairly flat / counter hit to a full loop. In the last week I've watched various videos including from Brian Pace and watching him side on has really helped me and I feel the penny has dropped.

Today I also read the thread on when to push and when to loop viewtopic.php?f=16&t=23692 and in particular Carbonman said that when I can get the loop going I will immediately go up a few levels. I feel I've reached as high now as I am going to by having my current flaws and am about even with the 1000 players at our club but I want to be consistantly beating them and challenging the couple of 1200's.

Below is a a couple of videos which I invite comment on. The first is of me doing some multiball earlier in the week and its a big improvement on 2 years ago but I feel the main issues are lack of backswing and arm not coming through quite high enough to above eye level. Sometimes it does, other times it doesn't.

I've decided to try do the right technique through shadow swings to try get used to how I should be swinging before I next get a ball in front of me. The video quality is low but you should be able to see enough. There's a front, side and back view. I'd like to start on the right track before I cement in more bad technique.

Be as harsh as you like, I'd love to hear some comments.




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PostPosted: 17 Dec 2015, 23:54 
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It's a decent stroke and is going to be effective at the lower levels to a certain point, but it will break down under pressure unless you can sustain a high level of physical fitness to keep a low base and you will also have to use your wrists more. Try to finish more forward rather than across your body - or as I put it, try to finish on the same side of your body as much as possible, even when looping topspin, as it facilitates recovery. You could also say finish above the eyes. I opened this thread at TableTennisDaily to illustrate:

http://www.tabletennisdaily.co.uk/forum ... ith-TTEdge)

Hopefully, comparing the videos and reading the responses to certain questions will help.

Your finish is too far across your body and sometimes, you end up with your elbow on the same level as your racket when looping balls in the multiball drill and have your racket finishing at neck height. While some top players seem to loop like this, and superficially, it might seem that Brian is doing this (he is not), all the players who do this have far lower playing stances than you do either for height or fitness reasons and remain consistently so, including Brian, who does not do this. Brian tends to finish a bit more forward than you do so his arm does not come across his body as much unless he is looping for power, where his very low base usually means that his racket is going over his eyes.

It's much easier to loop at a fairly high level and to loop with more variation by straightening the arm in the backswing for your base loop. You don't have to straighten it all the way or straighten it all the time. It lets you get your elbow out and keep your swing in line with the ball much longer and swing more forward (yours goes across the body too early). If you do want to keep your current swing, try to finish more forward rather than across your body.

You also seem to be swinging much harder than you need to. What you need to do is time the loop so that your acceleration/speed is highest at the ball. Swinging hard all through the swing is a recipe for disaster, doesn't help you build touch and makes it harder for you to vary your loop timing and speed, especially in response to tricky balls.

I posted a lot of stuff, but you can look at Brian's form in this video whenever he is forehand looping:


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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 04:32 
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I agree with NL, but also you just look really tense, like your muscles are working hard to hit those loops. If you don't try to swing fast or hard, but just let your arm be loose and turn with your waist and shoulders, some of the things NL is saying may happen without you thinking about them.


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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 04:47 
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BRS wrote:
I agree with NL, but also you just look really tense, like your muscles are working hard to hit those loops. If you don't try to swing fast or hard, but just let your arm be loose and turn with your waist and shoulders, some of the things NL is saying may happen without you thinking about them.


Yeah, looping is a relaxed motion. I totally forgot to tell him to relax even though I did say he was swinging too hard.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 07:37 
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Thanks for the feedback. The multiball video is a bit of a 'before' video. Keeping my non playing am is another thing I'm working on. I had a tenancy to throw my arm out which caused my weight to go backwards. I'm going the shadow swings are an improvement and plan to do them several times a day before my next proper hit. If the shadow swing isn't an improvement i don't really want to be practicing the right thing.
I can feel that i am tense in the elbow region so will work on that.

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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2015, 21:54 
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The shadow swings still finish too low and across the body though you sometimes turn the whole body in a way that makes the stroke work, but makes it larger than a practice swing should be. Again, strive to finish with the 90 degree forearm/elbow snap on the same side of your body with racket above the eyes. Close the racket more if the ball goes long. This kind of finish helps with your recovery and consistency and also consistently generates topspin.

You drop your shoulder on the shadow swings. Don't do that - just rotate your body and upper arm/elbow with it while straightening the arm. That will give you all the lift you need.

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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 01:37 
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This same side of the body finish idea confused me for a bit. NL means your upper arm doesn't come across your body, only your paddle and forearm cross in front of your face. I started keeping everything on the right side for a bit, paddle included, which yields a swing that is much too upwards and no forwards.

NL, correct if wrong.


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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 02:09 
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BRS, you are right on the main point. There is room to let the paddle come across your forehead or rightly past the right eye or even across the front of the face and most standard loops from high level players finish this way, especially when aiming cross court. Of course, the elbow must not finish above the shoulder and definitely not above the paddle (the chicken wing).

That said, whether a swing is too upwards depends on where you contact the ball in your stroke path and and what point on the ball you hit and not really where your paddle finishes per se relative to your body. How far you put your elbow to make your golden point is probably the biggest factor in whether the stroke should usually end up across your body or not. You want to finish close enough to your golden point/ready position which is where you may want the paddle (and *sometimes* forearm) to come slightly across your face, but you can keep everything on the right side, including the paddle and swing over the ball as well finish at head height and get a forward swing as well. Your arm might need to be pretty straight to do so, your paddle will need to be closed to do so, you may not get optimal power as the swing may not be fully in the direction of your rotation and your elbow might not be in the optimal ready position area at the finish, but it is quite possible (and all the above are not necessarily true either). People with good movement probably shouldn't be doing such stuff but but it's how I used my long arms to work around my movement issues. I developed round house type loops/strokes to compensate.

It's much easier to hit the ball more consistently and move so that you get a better idea of what your stroke does. But in the end, for me at least, I still see value in trying not to tie your arm's stroke path too rigidly to the body position. As much as we try to avoid shallow swings, there are times when the ball is on you and you can't avoid doing a few. In those cases, you need your arm to behave pretty much the way it behaves when you are not swinging shallow but you will have to swing shallow but aim the ball where you want it to go. This is not your base loop or your proper loop, but something that comes up in emergency situations. But if you find yourself doing it all the time, then you need to fix something.

In general, think of your arm/racket as swinging over the ball in the direction you want the ball to go in.

If you go to the link I posted on TTD, you will see the third video and I do a few of the loops where my racket does not come across my body at all. I doubt I could consistently do this in a random drill as that would force my elbow position into my golden point more often.

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PostPosted: 19 Dec 2015, 02:25 
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At 46-47 seconds into the video above that I posted, Brian Pace gives a moving illustration of what I am taking about where he is late to the ball so he uses a straighter arm but makes contact in a similar way to what he would do if he got to the ball on time. Obviously, he can't do a textbook stroke, but that is the kind of independence and harmony of arm and body that I am talking about.

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PostPosted: 20 Dec 2015, 21:41 
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After doing some air swings during the week, today I tried to put it into practice. The four main things I'm trying to focus on are: -
1) Bigger backswing
2) Follow through higher above the eye and more forward
3) Weight forward on toes
4) Relax
5) Keep my non-playing arm tucked in.

The main thing I worked on today was the bigger backswing though at times I was telling myself to relax as well. First up is various points from a couple of sets I played with my mate. His current rating is 550 on Ratings Central which is perhaps about 650-750 US.
Lucky I didn't get the first few games as he got the jump on me. I was trying to put everything into practice and really was playing poor. The static you may hear is actually some palm trees blowing in the wind out the back yard. Quite windy today, the mesh blinds are great though.



Second video is a snippet of some multiball



Look forward to any comments.

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PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 02:04 
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IMO, you need to master the FH counterhit before you can do a proper loop. If you look at this series of videos which I've ordered by level of difficulty, the main differences between the counterhit and the loop is the loop starts lower and has a bigger backswing but the basic form is the same.

Forehand counterhit:


Forehand loop against block:


Forehand loop vs backspin:


Forehand loop vs loop:


Notice how Jeff keeps his form nice and consistent? His starting and ending positions are very consistent. When you practice, try to get your training partner to feed you balls as consistently as possible so you can execute the proper form.

Your 'multiball' practice is horrible, no consistency whatsoever. You should not move on to the loop until you can do 100 counterhits in a row.

After you've mastered the counterhit, work on the loop vs block. You need to be able to do 30 loops vs a block in a row. If your practice partner can't feed you consistent balls, you'll need to supplement your training with shadow practice.

Try to do your shadow practice in front of a mirror and mimic Jeff's form. Your form is not even close to resembling Jeff's form.


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PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 06:47 
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Gman,

I currently can't see the videos but reading your comments, I would please ask you to be kind. You don't have to sugarcoat anything but everything can be stated in a way that shows empathy. Cobalt is always working hard and his loop form even as flawed as it was is better than my loop form when I first hit 2000 (see the link in my first post if you doubt me). But if the videos are as bad as your comments warrant, I will admit it.

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PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 07:20 
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No offense taken Gman and thanks for the support Next level, all good. The problem with loop vs block is my training partner on this occasion would struggle to block more than a couple and even then unlikely to be able to return them to the right spot. I'm grateful he's willing to help out though.

Do you have anything specific i should work on first?

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PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 13:56 
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The multiball session stroke is interesting. It can only be evaluated in the context of what exactly you are trying to practice. As a core stroke, it is too large, and as a kill shot, it is too slow but that said, there should be a massive amount of spin on that ball that should trouble players at your level so it is servicable as a heavy attack ball. The issues would consistency and recovery as the swing has too many moving elements that make it unlikely to be reproducible at the kind of level one would want a forehand topspin to be.

You need to get away from this idea that the arm motion on the forehand loop is large or that you need a large backswing. A straighter arm does not mean the same thing as a large backswing. What your large backswing with relatively little practice/experience is currently causing you to do is mistime the forehand snap and to get lucky on the acceleration at ball contact. For tricky balls, you need the acceleration at ball contact to be sufficient and if you swing hard and the ball ends up somewhere other than where you expect, you will miss and/or mistime the ball badly. The magic of what happens is what the kind of contact and acceleration is made with the ball and taking large swings before you have mastered that will just ingrain bad habits.

Use a smaller backswing (you can still straighten your arm) and get the elbow snap tight. Stop trying to loop hard in the beginning - it encourages really bad habits. Start with slower controlled loops and build up the power over time. Without the muscle memory of timing and looping slower balls, players get tuned to looping at only one speed and in only one way and start struggling when they play slower players or balls with weird spins as they have no real control over how they swing at the ball.

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PostPosted: 21 Dec 2015, 15:13 
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Cobalt wrote:
No offense taken Gman and thanks for the support Next level, all good. The problem with loop vs block is my training partner on this occasion would struggle to block more than a couple and even then unlikely to be able to return them to the right spot. I'm grateful he's willing to help out though.

Do you have anything specific i should work on first?

If the question is for me, as I said in the previous post, master the FH counterhit using the proper form before trying to loop. It is the foundation for the proper form for a loop.

But first, read this article about Rhythm and Timing – Underrated Table Tennis Skills http://www.experttabletennis.com/rhythm-and-timing-underrated-table-tennis-skills/#more-4523. Then go back and watch the PingSkills forehand counterhit video. Notice how Jeff establishes a beat/rhythm to the FH counterhitting drill. That is one of your objectives when practicing the FH counterhit. Establishing a beat/rhythm will help you develop consistency and allow you to do 100 counterhits in a row.

As I said before, shadow practice in front of a mirror. You want to do your counterhitting by mimicking Jeff's form as close as possible. After you and your training partner have mastered the counterhit, you and your training partner will find it easier to do the FH loop vs block drill.


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