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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 02:40 
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BRS wrote:
NextLevel wrote:
For your opponent, nothing has really changed. Trying topspins is not the problem, but something I noticed is that you only know how to smack the mall. It's almost like your grip is always tight and you can't relax and play a soft topspin. It's like soft topspins with a focus on spin over speed are a sign of weakness to you.

I still think that you are pushing mostly to his backhand and are not setting him up by moving him. You need to move him a little, either with serves or pushes. Fast topspins feed his counter game. You want to avoid that unless it is for a clear winner.


Trying topspins is not the problem, trying them and being completely ineffective is the problem. Then what do I do, not try them? Maybe my grip was tight, maybe my eyes were crossed, I don't know what was wrong. Playing soft topspins was not even an issue, I couldn't put the ball near the table. My timing was so off. So what does that leave me with? His push is better than mine everywhere, so pushing to the FH is not a good pattern for me. Pushing anywhere isn't. I don't have any serves that could bail me out. And my return game completely depends on making BH topspins, which I couldn't. And I couldn't block his attacks with any placement or quality, which was the nasty surprise, because usually I can block at my level.

Still, we are going to set 5, chances are 50-50. At this point or early in the set I had the same brainwave NL had at 1-1, maybe I should serve lighter backspin, or no-spin, or topspin, and maybe I can loop off of that. Because I'm a looper, and I'm not going to win any tight matches doing anything else.


If I was consulting you prior to game 5, I'd have to switch to the backhand serve and put the ball to the middle or the forehand long with no spin and backspin variations and see what happens. I'd also tell you to close your paddle angle on the forehand and do a couple of shadow strokes. After 6 points (4 serves) I would have called a time out and adjust after seeing how he handled the serves and then again have you do a couple of shadow strokes, taking the full time out.

You also need to be doing a shadow stroke after misses, even if just a little one (can be mostly mental), fix that mistake right there. Do all you can to get your form back during a match. Sounds crazy but it can work. Suddenly the forehand comes alive and the match is easily over - happens in tennis and table tennis. Perhaps a different mindset: My forehand has been poor but if can find my forehand form, this guy has no chance then!

Personally I would have thrown every possible serve at him until I found one that worked. Larry's thinkers book says it all in there.


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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 02:52 
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Another interesting post wilkinru. I did serve almost all bh later int the day when I play McC and MD who are from my club. The problem wirh my bh serves at present is they tend to produce a low push receive to my fh, and I don't have much of a third ball response to that. That is going to be a big focus of my training with McC on Wednesday and for however many weeks it takes to develop a third ball behind those serves.

The mental stuff is absolutely right. I had played a horrible match against a stronger player before this and was very mentally weak along the lines of "what a lousy day - i can't do anything right - maybe i should just leave early - but i drove so freaking far - on and on." Just to be clear, this was not a tournament. I certainly hope I would give better effort at a tournament. But that also means timeouts are sort of bad form. You can see there are people waiting next. I might take one at my club or with my friends, but it's unusual.

@NL I just realized you broke your own thread groundrules telling me to loop soft. You know I can't loop soft, you say it at least once on all 30+ pages of my blog. So it's not like I'm suddenly.going to bust out the touch at 1-1 in this match. Try to stay with the program. LOL


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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 03:17 
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BRS wrote:
Another interesting post wilkinru. I did serve almost all bh later int the day when I play McC and MD who are from my club. The problem wirh my bh serves at present is they tend to produce a low push receive to my fh, and I don't have much of a third ball response to that. That is going to be a big focus of my training with McC on Wednesday and for however many weeks it takes to develop a third ball behind those serves.

The mental stuff is absolutely right. I had played a horrible match against a stronger player before this and was very mentally weak along the lines of "what a lousy day - i can't do anything right - maybe i should just leave early - but i drove so freaking far - on and on." Just to be clear, this was not a tournament. I certainly hope I would give better effort at a tournament. But that also means timeouts are sort of bad form. You can see there are people waiting next. I might take one at my club or with my friends, but it's unusual.

@NL I just realized you broke your own thread groundrules telling me to loop soft. You know I can't loop soft, you say it at least once on all 30+ pages of my blog. So it's not like I'm suddenly.going to bust out the touch at 1-1 in this match. Try to stay with the program. LOL


Hahaha - nice catch and I actually "broke" it knowingly too, so I didn't really break it. Avenues for growth are reasonable to suggest but are not part of the match coaching advice. So I separated it from the specific advice I gave you. I have the same problem but to a lesser degree than you and Big D has the same problem but to a greater degree than me. Watching someone like Sinha is interesting - Sinha can hit a harder backhand than I do, but you don't see it in matches on openers unless he is playing someone who he knows extremely well at the home club. He just loads up on the ball and spins it and you get hypnotized until you touch it, then you wake up from the trance all pissed that the ball is off the table.

One of the things that you do have to work on, having seen the whole match now, is that you have to take more risks in anticipating responses to your serve to set up your best shots. I didn't want to bring it up as a match coach (though I would), but you still keep acting like you served something mysterious after you served backspin to the backhand and the 60% -80% possible return is a push back to the backhand. And since you know how heavy the backspin you served was, you should really be bending your knees and getting down low to loop with either your forehand pivot or your backhand. Your paddle must drop below the table or your backswing must have the racket pointing downwards before coming forward. You should be learning to come round the side of the ball instead of looping into the ball when going for heavy spin openers. OR you should make the combination of forward and upward motion perfect.

The advice to change spins when you see that the opponent's push is heavy should be your biggest takeaway from this match. That it took you 5 games to get to it is not good enough. It should be your immediate realization when the first push got netted by you or at most the second push. You can also get lower and see if your opponent can handle the amount of spin build up with a slow but confident topspin. I have had opponents net my push trying to drive it and then laugh when they slow spun it but I could not block or counter it. So it goes both ways. What I also found was that if I serve no spin bu the opponent pushes it low, I am usually able to still kill it because the spin is still lighter, even if the push was low.

Wilkinru's shadow stroke advice is excellent. It might not save you in a match, but it is excellent.

The main reasons I like tournament matches is that the pain of the losses makes people take these lessons seriously. These lessons are truly not optional. Fast rips are impressive, but none of you guys, and no exceptions, NONE of you guys is going to break 2000 purely as a fast looper without slow topspin opener. The funny thing about your game BRS is that it was one of your strengths before your recent changes and I can't believe it disappeared 100% because of the changes. But it would be trolling for me to say that I just think you don't work on it hard enough. You overvalue consistency in practice when the value should really be in experimentation. I find it funny when I tell people to hit the ball in the net and they can't do it after trying 10 times despite believing that their loop would only go over the net if they lifted the ball into the sky. Think of the sport as ball control - you need to learn to make the ball do things you want it to do, not make the ball just go over the net per se.

Tonight, I will post my weirdest match of the tournament. And I will post video tonight of me not turbo-serving. I like that....

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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 03:46 
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Yeah I understand about the time outs part. I have seen your tourney matches and I wondered where the time outs were, so I just wanted to mention it. Even in my matches like this I'll keep a mental marker "this is where a time out would be called". Anyway drop the ball on your foot for a second, give yourself some time to breathe or do a couple of shadow strokes.

So I'm hearing a couple of things - you didn't commit to the 3rd ball attack and you have little in the way of serving options.

Serving options - well heck learn a top/side spin pendulum serve. I have 3 versions of it. One that bounces twice on the table, one that spins out of the side of the table and one that's fast and deep. Some of them are entirely ineffective against one player but will work great against another but usually one of them will work at least a little bit. Get the pop-up or the error.

3rd ball attack - NL had all of the good suggestions there. You know it's going to be a backspin serve - because you served it. You know he will return with some backspin - as he's done all match so get ready for it and give him something to deal with! Also find a spot on the table you are going to attack - like in practice, aim small miss small. Also he might block some of them and give you trouble but he will probably not want you to be attacking him either - blocking isn't his game, his game is getting to his backhand and looping. So he will likely try to make a better return off of your serve. That's when you use a different serve! Nothing is better to me than when the person across the table looks at their paddle like it's broken :)

In the end I think your 3rd ball attack thing is all mental and maybe you should do the pain I'm doing: only give short backspin (not a ton of backspin either) and then attack the 3rd ball - use these players like a new Butterfly Robot. Some days it works just horribly and everything goes wrong but after a few weeks I've had some amazing success against my usual opponents.


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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 04:00 
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The changing serve spin if it's too heavy for me, and the shadow strokes from wilkinru. Those are borh things I can easily implement if I just remember to do it. Sometimes I do the exact wrong thing and shadow the wrong stroke or block, which only reinforces doing it wrong. I'll try to put both those suggestions in.

I can do a perfect spinny fh loop in practice, but not a bh. I practice them all the time, every day. You have to swing fast to make spin, and my contact is always too thick on the bh. And that's with the robot with uniform incoming spin. Lately I'm trying to model the bh stroke on the fh and swing mostly up the back of the ball with thin contact.

This was my worst match from a bad day. Maybe I will have something better to post next week.


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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 04:12 
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Trust me when.I say that the contact point on your forehand is not what you think it is. The ball goes off your paddle before you have time to do anything if you try to spin it from the back.

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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 04:13 
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Just saw wilkinru's post. I do serve a side-top pendulum but people still chop it back. Sometimes it comes back heavier than the nominal side-under serve. I practice a lot of serving but it's not very good. Most of my practice time is wasted or a net negative, probably. The robot is mostly useless. Good exercise, but useless really.


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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 04:31 
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BRS wrote:
Just saw wilkinru's post. I do serve a side-top pendulum but people still chop it back. Sometimes it comes back heavier than the nominal side-under serve. I practice a lot of serving but it's not very good. Most of my practice time is wasted or a net negative, probably. The robot is mostly useless. Good exercise, but useless really.


Off to your blog? I want to discuss robot.


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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 04:32 
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BRS wrote:
Just saw wilkinru's post. I do serve a side-top pendulum but people still chop it back. Sometimes it comes back heavier than the nominal side-under serve. I practice a lot of serving but it's not very good. Most of my practice time is wasted or a net negative, probably. The robot is mostly useless. Good exercise, but useless really.


I could tell you how to fix this but it would take us off the topic of this blog (basically it is contact point ans swing trajectory). The last thing you have to learn to do is to serve short backspin to the forehand and then loop or push the return to the BH side if left undefended. Follow Reuss to your blog.

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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 04:40 
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wilkinru wrote:
BRS wrote:
Just saw wilkinru's post. I do serve a side-top pendulum but people still chop it back. Sometimes it comes back heavier than the nominal side-under serve. I practice a lot of serving but it's not very good. Most of my practice time is wasted or a net negative, probably. The robot is mostly useless. Good exercise, but useless really.


Off to your blog? I want to discuss robot.

Sure, please post in my blog. I'd love to have a robot discussion.


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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 04:42 
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NextLevel wrote:
BRS wrote:
Just saw wilkinru's post. I do serve a side-top pendulum but people still chop it back. Sometimes it comes back heavier than the nominal side-under serve. I practice a lot of serving but it's not very good. Most of my practice time is wasted or a net negative, probably. The robot is mostly useless. Good exercise, but useless really.


I could tell you how to fix this but it would take us off the topic of this blog (basically it is contact point ans swing trajectory). The last thing you have to learn to do is to serve short backspin to the forehand and then loop or push the return to the BH side if left undefended. Follow Reuss to your blog.



You're right, I've gone OT treatinh this thread like my blog. Thanks for the in-match tips. I'll post another one next week.


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PostPosted: 08 Mar 2016, 15:16 
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Here is the full match vs Malench if any of you are curious:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ5cUQELVLU

9-11, 11-2,11-3,11-7 I think.

Since one of my coaches instructed me to practice NOT turbo serving, I gave it a shot - hopefully, I can get better at it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50q_U4VVt7w

This below is a weird match, but I would like to post it any way and ask for comments. Again, you are all coaching me. The opponent is in the 1700s - this is the warm up and game 1.



I come to you after the game and feel I got lucky. What are your observations and comments?

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PostPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 00:51 
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You didn't get lucky. It was close because you missed four bh loops -- three vs push and one the second time vs block. I had the score at 10-8 when you switched so there was something I didn't see the result correctly, but it still wasn't as close as the score.

If I was coaching I would tell you you are doing fine, just relax and keep taking the bh loops he gives you and they will start landing. That's all.

It looks like you overestimated the backspin on his serves, probably due to switching from higher to lower rated opponents. But that didn't really matter since he couldn't hurt you with his fh loop even when you popped it up. So I wouldn't mention that in the break unless you brought it up yourself.


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PostPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 01:23 
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Thanks, BRS. I will post the second set later this evening. Others can comment as well. I think this match is an example of how missing your bread and butter shot can distort your whole view of what is going on and one of the reasons why it can be helpful to get a friend to coach you sometimes.

As an aside, my opponent was 2000+ a while ago and played his first tournament in many many years last November. He is notorious for having (co-)authored a largely unreadable TT book.

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PostPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 01:49 
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In what way was this a weird match?

Not sure if I understand the lucky comment either - did you know the guy before playing him? I noticed he went for wide shots quite a bit, though not always successfully. Or maybe you felt you popped up his serves too much? He does have an unorthodox serve.


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