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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 02:11 
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Some ground rules to guide discussions:

The idea of this thread is to look for the kinds of plays and patterns that people should be aware of when playing table tennis matches. Most players who train will have base strokes and techniques and plays that feed their game. I usually work with a five strokes and rally framework (review what happens on serve, serve return, third ball, fourth ball and 5th ball) and look for sets that give an advantage. The basic for looking at the plays are stroke quality with spin, power, placement and footwork/transition as the key elements.

In the end, you still have to use your weapons to play matches, and you want to uncap your weapons, but you also need to realize that playing every opponent is different and the weapons you build and deploy can make your life easier or harder. It is very easy to lose to a weaker opponent by playing mostly to his strengths and beat a stronger opponent by playing mostly to his weaknesses. The strengths of lower level players tend to be more one-dimensional and the weaknesses of higher level players can be subtle, but if they exist, they exist.

While as a coach who is unfamiliar with a player, you may need to ask about the player's strengths and weaknesses and recommend areas for development, most of the match should be about trying to look for ways to win given the player's skill set. This is what we try to do when we try to win table tennis matches. Players who can't push won't magically develop good pushes in a match. But they can always take that as part of their homework as something that might have made the match easier to win.

That said, let's start.

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 02:16 
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I grab you before I play my opponent below. I lost my first match that I ever played against him when I was 1600 USATT and have beaten him ever since, but mostly with some struggles recently. He often stomps his feet during the points and it drives me crazy. I have beaten him 3-1 the last two times we played, but not without struggle (unfortunately, I didn't record the matches those times). He is an excellent blocker with good touch. Before the match, he walks up to my club coach and says that I am the only player who complains very loudly about his foot stomping during points - he is a good guy and we laugh all the time, though I so badly want to beat him 3-0 again.

The match begins as below:



What is your coaching advice? What are the strengths and weaknesses? What would you tell me to do?

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 03:45 
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You have a tendency to serve to the BH or middle. Even your rallies tend to be to his BH. Didn't see any serves to the FH and only a few rallies to his FH. You need to serve/loop more to his wide FH to pull him over and then follow up to his BH. It doesn't look like he's an attacker so he probably won't flick or loop your serves to his FH side so you can count on a push return.

One pattern that I like to use is heavy backspin to his wide FH. If he pushes to my BH, BH loop to his BH. If he pushes to my FH, FH loop to his BH.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 08:07 
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Both of you have a weakness with mobility. He caught you a couple times with BHs down the line and you had to take too long an angle to get there. Your fh topspin is much better than his fh block. His bh hit/block appears more consistent than yours, at least in that game.

So either get into fh-fh exchanges where you dominate, or make him move before he makes you move. Avoid bh-bh exchanges unless you start with a lot of topspin. Consider pushing long to his fh. I think you did it once and his response was not impressive.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 08:53 
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BRS, isn't pushing to the forehand capped technique? Gman4911, exploiting backhands is what I like to do - it puts me in a tough spot when the opponent has a good backhand, so I have to work a little harder. I usually duck forehands, though I do serve more often to the short forehand than this match.

I reviewed my memory banks and found all your comments spot on - I was just annoyed that I lost the first game again.



Any advice after this game?

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 08:56 
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Okay, here is a club match from today. I have played this guy a few times over the four years I've been competing. He was initially much better than me, then he had a serious elbow problem, and I passed him while he was out. He has been training a lot lately and it is showing.

Anyway here are the first two sets. Sorry about the lighting and the walls and floor. Please can they start making orange poly balls someday soon.



So now it's 1-1. I won the first set fairly comfortably and then started the second like 0-7 and got killed. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses here? What patterns are to my advantage? Again, like NL said in the intro, it's pretty safe to assume that if you don't see me using a serve or stroke, it's because I don't have that. So preference to things I could have done with the game I brought today, please and thank you.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 09:00 
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Pushing to the FH isn't technique at all, but maybe it's capped tactics. But if you have a strong push, which you do, and your opponent has no ability to FH loop backspin and has a poor fh push, then it's a pattern where you have the advantage.

You didn't ask "How can I beat this guy and make it look pretty?" That's a different question.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 09:41 
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So the guy you played BRS is fairly similar to my game but even more extreme on hitting backhands.

I know this isn't a technique thread but I want to put this image here and tell you that you had the right idea - but you need to keep low like you do in practice. Going wide to the forehand was the perfect shot - to easily beat this player you need to execute these.
Attachment:
ForehandTechnique.png
ForehandTechnique.png [ 918.37 KiB | Viewed 756 times ]


So let's talk about serving. You only served to the middle or backhand from the serves I saw. Let me show you his ready position:
Attachment:
SetuppositionBackhand.png
SetuppositionBackhand.png [ 907.13 KiB | Viewed 756 times ]

He is unbalanced in his ready position and can't wait for the backhand to come. I know this because I am in the process of removing this habit.

See when you serve to his middle :
Attachment:
ForehandOrMiddleReturn.png
ForehandOrMiddleReturn.png [ 876.05 KiB | Viewed 756 times ]

And the point right after:
Attachment:
ForehandOrMiddleReturn2.png
ForehandOrMiddleReturn2.png [ 924.47 KiB | Viewed 756 times ]


Those are both garbage returns you can pivot on. He only needs to learn to take a half step to his forehand and attack you with the banana flick, but not yet. Try to serve to the forehand considerably more against this guy. I'm talking like 60-80%.

Just to show you how much he wanted to play backhands just watch this point again:
Attachment:
MrBackHand.png
MrBackHand.png [ 885.19 KiB | Viewed 756 times ]


He put himself in a forehand position and hit multiple backhands! I'm not saying you needed to do anything real different in this point - but you need to be seeing his stronger side.

So final suggestion - get the ball wide to his forehand in rallys. Maybe it goes to the backhand on the return but then it goes to the forehand - even if it's a push.

When did you take a time out? What adjustments did you make between games? I think this match is the perfect example of you needing someone watching over your shoulder to give advice.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 09:46 
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NextLevel wrote:
BRS, isn't pushing to the forehand capped technique? Gman4911, exploiting backhands is what I like to do - it puts me in a tough spot when the opponent has a good backhand, so I have to work a little harder. I usually duck forehands, though I do serve more often to the short forehand than this match.

I reviewed my memory banks and found all your comments spot on - I was just annoyed that I lost the first game again.



Any advice after this game?


I really think you need to get into a serving routine that slows you down and gives you time to think. Your turbo serving is leaking into your game. How many good player just go up to the table and just serve super quick like you do? In fact if it was a rated match I would put my hand up between each point just to throw off your timing.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 09:58 
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BRS wrote:
Okay, here is a club match from today. I have played this guy a few times over the four years I've been competing. He was initially much better than me, then he had a serious elbow problem, and I passed him while he was out. He has been training a lot lately and it is showing.

Anyway here are the first two sets. Sorry about the lighting and the walls and floor. Please can they start making orange poly balls someday soon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbrIsFuEmMk

So now it's 1-1. I won the first set fairly comfortably and then started the second like 0-7 and got killed. What are the relative strengths and weaknesses here? What patterns are to my advantage? Again, like NL said in the intro, it's pretty safe to assume that if you don't see me using a serve or stroke, it's because I don't have that. So preference to things I could have done with the game I brought today, please and thank you.


Most of your points came off his serve return errors or your attacks of his serves. You seemed to push every time he returned your serve, meaning that you served an amount of spin that you felt uncomfortable attacking behind. It's very important to be able to attack behind your serve. You need to serve something that looks like backspin but isn't - lighter backspin is fine. Pushing back your third ball opportunities is not going to cut it. He pushed every serve back into you backhand but you kept waiting for it to get to your backhand before you got ready to loop it. You have to loop a few and read the spin because if you don't and he starts looping your push back, you are going to be the one picking up the ball.

Play slowly with soft topspins. You are hitting the ball too hard. He seems to get stuck in one wing once he switches into it and prefers to enter the backhand stance and play backhands. You need to transition him more with moving the ball to different parts of the court during rallies. It's probably best to serve to the forehand first and then get the ball into the backhand after that to test his transition.

All your serves went into his backhand as did most of your balls. This made the game too easy for him as he loves to get into an extreme backhand game. You need to do more. It's hard to build a game plan if you aren't even trying to execute your basic plays. Maybe you need to change the one-push rule to push every other point at best. You must get into the habit of attacking behind your serve.

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 10:01 
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wilkinru wrote:
I really think you need to get into a serving routine that slows you down and gives you time to think. Your turbo serving is leaking into your game. How many good player just go up to the table and just serve super quick like you do? In fact if it was a rated match I would put my hand up between each point just to throw off your timing.


I thought it was okay to turbo-serve older and lower rated players. Should I slow down against them as well if I think I can rush them into exhaustion, coach?

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 10:07 
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NextLevel wrote:
wilkinru wrote:
I really think you need to get into a serving routine that slows you down and gives you time to think. Your turbo serving is leaking into your game. How many good player just go up to the table and just serve super quick like you do? In fact if it was a rated match I would put my hand up between each point just to throw off your timing.


I thought it was okay to turbo-serve older and lower rated players. Should I slow down against them as well if I think I can rush them into exhaustion, coach?


You ask for advice and go straight for s*** talking every time don't you.

I guess you need to turbo serve old guys who are lower rated than you to win...

Good luck because I'm done with you.


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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 10:11 
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wilkinru wrote:
NextLevel wrote:
wilkinru wrote:
I really think you need to get into a serving routine that slows you down and gives you time to think. Your turbo serving is leaking into your game. How many good player just go up to the table and just serve super quick like you do? In fact if it was a rated match I would put my hand up between each point just to throw off your timing.


I thought it was okay to turbo-serve older and lower rated players. Should I slow down against them as well if I think I can rush them into exhaustion, coach?


You ask for advice and go straight for s*** talking every time don't you.

I guess you need to turbo serve old guys who are lower rated than you to win...

Good luck because I'm done with you.


Coach, people will ask you questions all the time based on things they know or do, and how you answer keeps things in context. I'm asking honestly. Of course, as a coach, you are free to give up on your players. I have seen it happen all the time. I am asking honestly - is it bad to turbo serve an older player who is lower rated than myself? One of my usual strengths vs. other adult players is being able to play during points at a pace that they find exhausting because of all the kids I practice with.

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 11:31 
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NextLevel said:

Quote:
Coach, people will ask you questions all the time based on things they know or do, and how you answer keeps things in context. I'm asking honestly. Of course, as a coach, you are free to give up on your players. I have seen it happen all the time. I am asking honestly - is it bad to turbo serve an older player who is lower rated than myself? One of my usual strengths vs. other adult players is being able to play during points at a pace that they find exhausting because of all the kids I practice with.M


I am not worthy etc, etc, but I will butt in here.

So how many students who pay their coaches dismiss their coaching without even trying what has been suggested, or only do it in a halfhearted way to prove that it can't work, for them.

You have also had the counter argument of what if the opponent won't let you serve quickly after the previous point.

Carry on.

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PostPosted: 07 Mar 2016, 11:36 
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NL is just trolling here and just went right into the "I'm higher rated than you" card.


Last edited by wilkinru on 07 Mar 2016, 11:38, edited 1 time in total.

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