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 Post subject: Mitch's TT Progression.
PostPosted: 23 Oct 2016, 09:24 
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I recently started playing table tennis. I did not take long for playing casually a few days each week to evolve into a desire to train and work towards competing in tournaments.

It began a little over 2 months ago. My wife and I would play for an hour at the gym after working out or taking a yoga class. After three weeks, I started researching how to do the correct forehand and back hand swings. That led to researching how to serve, and then researching a better racket.

Around this time, we found a table tennis gym/club downtown and started going a few days a week. These sessions were two hours long, and included about 30 minutes of coaching in the basics. Mainly hitting multi ball from an old robot, and getting feedback of swing and hitting technique.
the last hour and a half was rotating among players and playing matches. Sometimes we play doubles matches, which is a lot of fun.

We bought a table and have it setup in our living room. At first it was only me that was really interested in getting better at playing table tennis. My wife was content to just play casual games; lately she has become more interested and competitive. She is planning to go to more coaching sessions.

Recently I have purchased some rackets and different rubber. We have been looking for TT shops and have found many that have 20% off sales.
Lately in Hiroshima, Japan, their baseball team (Carps) have been doing very well. Many stores in Hiroshima have been having celebration sales. On TT store just had a 30% off Sale, so we did some shopping. As a result I have more rackets than I need. :D

In addition to my evening sessions at the TT club, I've been watching You Tube videos and practicing at home.
Mostly multi-ball and hundreds of serves each day (most days).

We went to a tournament as spectators. I wanted to get an idea of how tournaments were done.
I registered for a tournament in the states. I'll be travelling to Phoenix, Arizona and found a tournament to compete in during my trip.
http://www.tabletennisandmore.com/2016octoberopen.htm

In preparation for this tournament I went to a shop in Hiroshima and attended a 2 hour group coaching/training session.
Followed by a private 1 hour coaching session.
This was a much nicer TT shop than the one in Iwakuni, Japan. It's 45 Km away, but we'll worth the drive. (See pictures).


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Last edited by MitchellS on 23 Oct 2016, 11:24, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: 23 Oct 2016, 09:50 
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Details on the group training session:

The group consisted of four older women who regularly attend this 2 hour training session, along with my wife and I.
We would rotate among tables in 5 minute intervals. The coach would set a timer, and you would practice at the table you were on.

Table 1: serve practice.
Table 2: forehand drive rally practice.
Table 3: forehand drive rally practice.
Table 4: multiball practice with the coach, along with feedback to correct any technique mistakes.

We did this for 2 hours. It was a lot of fun, and very productive.

Regarding the women players. Three of them used carbon blades and tenergy rubber. One of them was a Penhold player.
Many older people in Japan compete in TT tournaments and train regularly. It appears that they prefer the high end gear.

Later that afternoon I attended a 1 hour private lesson with a different coach.
This consisted of 30 minutes of multi ball working on forehand drive.
Followed by 15 minutes of backhand smash technique and practice.
The lesson concluded with about 15 minutes a practice on backhand push.

I was surprised to begin with the backhand smash and then work on backhand push. But that's the way this coach prefers to teach.
The backhand smash multiball practice was a LOT of fun.

It also made me realize that equipment reviews regarding blades and rubbers should be taken with a grain of salt; you have no idea how the reviewer is actually hitting, which will affect their perception of gear.
I trust the OOAK Forum reviews and recommendations more than the Tabletennis DB reviews.

I have learned the value of coaching and practicing with faster players! What a difference the 2 hour trainjng session and 1 hour with a coach made.
I will be scheduling more coaching sessions after my tournament.

My first tournament is next weekend! :)
-Mitch

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PostPosted: 23 Oct 2016, 10:43 
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Sounds very organised and productive MitchellS! :up:

How did your body feel the next day? :( :oops:

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PostPosted: 23 Oct 2016, 11:16 
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Thank you Haggisv,

Funny that you ask.......I was pretty sore the next morning.
A lot more tired than I thought I would be.

I'm going to order Brian Pace's loop fundamentals/shadow training video soon.
I realize I need to develop better TT specific fitness and endurance.

I just listened to this podcast last night, which discusses the shadow training video.
It seems like I could benefit from this kind of fitness training.
http://www.experttabletennis.com/brian- ... le-tennis/

-Mitch

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"You have to DO something to the ball." -Leatherback


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PostPosted: 23 Oct 2016, 12:35 
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Yes I'm not surprised...you're not just training for 2 hours, but using the same muscles continuously for 2 hours, which puts a lot more stress on them than regular matches or play, where you use different muscles all the time. Make sure you take a long enough recovery time, or you'll get yourself an injury.

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PostPosted: 23 Oct 2016, 16:36 
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Keep going - and reporting, MitchelS.

I like the idea of smashing first before pushing and driving. It gives you a sense of how the ball behaves when using (full) force. This could (or does?) prevent people from using a too timid, too soft approach on the ball for topspin and drive.

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PostPosted: 23 Oct 2016, 19:39 
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Will do Red.

I liked the idea of smashing first also.
After that it seemed easy to throttle back a little bit and still have some feel for the ball when pushing.

I have a long way to go, but it's nice to have a sense of "feel" For the ball early on.

-Mitch

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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2016, 09:50 
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My result from my first tournament brings some disappointment along with the feeling that it was a good, and necessary experience for me.

There was originally supposed to be a tournament for unrated players on Saturday night. I was told that I was the only one that registered for it, so it had to be cancelled.
There was also a round Robin tournament on Sunday (today) that was open to all players, so I entered this one.

I knew that I would be the only beginner, however I wanted to jump in and get some experience in a tournament.

The first round (or groups) was against all levels of players. I played 3 matches and lost all three of them.
It was clear to me that I was in over my head, and was easily destroyed in all the these matches.

The second round took the results of the first round and grouped everybody into groups, based on their performance.
So, of course I was in the lowest group.
I was feeling pretty good at this point, because I was hopeful that I might actually win a match.....or at least be on a level playing field in this lower group.

Well......I got my ass kicked in all of these matches too. :sweat:
Literally.......last place out of 20 people.
Dead last. :D

So a disappointing day for me. All that time spent practicing and preparing, only to be wiped out in every single game.
On the upside.......I have to look at the positive side.

1.) I wanted the experience of being in a tournament. The only way to make progress is to be under the pressure of a competitive atmosphere.

2.) I knew that I would know the area I needed to work on. I know that now.

3.) I want to have something to look forward to. So competing in tournaments is a great way to focus on something specific. Preparing for this one was a lot of fun, even though I had a terrible result.

4.) I did have a few good moments in some of my matches today. Good serves (sometimes), some good hits, and some good points scored. Within the disappointment overall (only in my performance, Not the experience), there were some fun, and exciting moments.
-------------------

My biggest problem.......NOT being able to read spin.
Man, this was the root cause of most of my problems today.

It would have been nice to have played against more people at my level, then I would know more about how I did overall.
Against people that are way above me.....it's had to truly know where I stand, performance wise.

As I'm thinking over everything that happened today, I wanted to post while it was fresh in my mind.
I had a good experience, but I'm left thinking that entering a tournament after only starting TT two months ago, might not have been the best idea on some levels.

But on other levels, it's nice to have the experience behind me, and can now move forward with more progression.

Reading serves.....man! I'm going to have nightmares about those serves! :D

Back to work........I've got a lot of work to do.
Two hours after the tournament....and I'm already day dreaming about another one!
I'm going to schedule an appointment with the coach next week.

Now I have to figure out where my forehand drive went.....and where my backhand is hiding.......good in practice, but neither my backhand or forehand showed up today. Lol!
I guess it was because I felt like I was hanging on of dear life in my matches today.

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(OFF) Mizuno Fortius FT- FH 729/Friendship Geospin Tacky (2.15)-BH Yasaka Mark V (1.8 ).
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(ALL+) Stiga Allround Evolution- FH Yasaka Mark V (2.0)- BH Butterfly Tackifire Drive (1.9).

"You have to DO something to the ball." -Leatherback


Last edited by MitchellS on 05 Nov 2016, 00:52, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2016, 10:03 
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Your description of the first tournament matches mine pretty well from ~3 years ago - except I played TT quite a bit in high school/college (recreationally) and then picked it up again at work, so I had much more than 2 months under my belt. And I still got my a** handed to me.

Still, don't let this be a huge let down - it's just the way things are when you start out.

Sounds like you were part of a Giant Round Robin tournament - these are great for getting plenty of games in against people 'close' to you in skill, but obviously not in this case. USATT style tournament would've been better - enter Unrated and U800 or similar event to get a better experience.

In the end - it's great you made a jump into tournament play and now you know what you should work on and where you are approximately skill-wise (is there a rating system in Japan?). Keep at it!

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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2016, 11:05 
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don't be discouraged!

i had played for several years and was the one of the bests in one of the local clubs. when i switched to playing with pips on the bh, i suddenly dropped to dead last, losing to even people that i had given 5 handicap points before.

i had to learn by myself and climbed my way up slowly over the course of several months.

having a good coach will help you leaps and bounds and would cut the time considerably. from what i've seen, practicing with coach 1-2 times a week, i've seen very good results out of my friends in about a year's time.

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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2016, 11:50 
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@pgpg,

Yes, it was a giant round Robin. In the future it would be a blast to participate in one where I'm close to the rest of the field.
Time to start stepping up my game.

I agree, it was a big leap for me. I'm so happy I did it.

I'm not sure if Japan has a rating system. I'll have to ask my wife to check into it.
I'm moving to Guam soon, so they have some tournaments, and a TT club there.
My plan is to travel around Asia a bit and look for tournaments.

@Rokphish,

I'm good to go. My mind has been processing the entire experience.
I'm going to be pursuing coaching and regular practice.
I can see that it would be very difficult to make progress alone.

/////////

Thanks for the encouragement, and for sharing your experiences.

I've been laughing to myself all evening about how it all began........they had me playing my very first match against a Chinese guy, probably 25 years old. I watched everyone warm up and already knew he was one of the top players in the group.

My son mentioned to me while observing the warm-ups, when he saw the Chinese player...."Dad, that guy is awesome. He looks like a Pro."

Then afterwards......when they called my name to play against him in MY VERY FIRST MATCH.......my son looked at me and said......."Sorry Dad."

I will always have fond memories of that moment.
Although, at the time, my only thought was..."Oh s***!"

:D

Cheers Gents,

Mitch

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(OFF) Mizuno Fortius FT- FH 729/Friendship Geospin Tacky (2.15)-BH Yasaka Mark V (1.8 ).
(OFF-) Butterfly Hadraw VK-FH Butterfly Sriver (2.1)- BH Butterfly Sriver EL (1.9).
(ALL+) Stiga Allround Evolution- FH Yasaka Mark V (2.0)- BH Butterfly Tackifire Drive (1.9).

"You have to DO something to the ball." -Leatherback


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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2016, 23:27 
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Even if winning a single match seemed to be out of reach this time:
Keep on going Mitch, the gap will get shorter and in the not so distant future you'll see success as well.

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PostPosted: 01 Nov 2016, 08:54 
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Thanks Red.
I'm going to keep at it for sure.

I'm taking a lesson with a coach this Wednesday.
I'm looking forward to that.

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(OFF) Butterfly Korbel- FH Yasaka Rakza 7 (2.0)- BH Yasaka Rakza 7 Soft (2.0).
(OFF) Mizuno Fortius FT- FH 729/Friendship Geospin Tacky (2.15)-BH Yasaka Mark V (1.8 ).
(OFF-) Butterfly Hadraw VK-FH Butterfly Sriver (2.1)- BH Butterfly Sriver EL (1.9).
(ALL+) Stiga Allround Evolution- FH Yasaka Mark V (2.0)- BH Butterfly Tackifire Drive (1.9).

"You have to DO something to the ball." -Leatherback


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PostPosted: 01 Nov 2016, 20:52 
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In my first ever tournament, I walked in with hardly any practice into the club, hit for like 10 minutes and started playing. I only won two matches, both against the owner's unrated wife who came in or ended up with a 300 rating - I came out with something in the 500. I lost to just about every kid I played and I couldn't return their serves (all side topspin), could not push and could not figure out why I was hitting all these backspin balls into the net when I tried to hit them.

8 months later, after only 4 months of coaching (I couldn't get play for a while as I was in the middle of a job search), I was pretty much significantly better than every player I lost to that first day. Sometimes, when I go to tournaments, players who are 600-1200 don't believe me when I point to players at NJTTC or Westchester I played against 5 years ago who are still where they were back then.

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PostPosted: 02 Nov 2016, 01:23 
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Within my "D Group" I felt like I wasn't far behind. Reading spin on serves was tricky for me however; I would push a topspin serve thinking it was bottom spin.
I need to learn to pay more attention to their racket as they are hitting the ball when my opponent serves.

I will find out soon what my rating is. Hopefully some of the things I did right, such as serves, points scored, occasional good hits will have me not too deep in the whole. I realize the rating number isn't of much importance at my beginner level, but it will be nice to feel like I have an official starting point.

Most important will be my coaching session tomorrow. Im sure there's a big difference between what I think, versus what the trained eye of a coach sees. I'm looking forward to the guidance and feedback.
It's clear to me that coaching is critical to good development.

By the way, I'm reading through your "rebuilding my forehand" thread at the moment. Thanks for posting that.
Reading the experiences of the better players here, and seeing the videos is helpful and encouraging.

Big thanks Next Level!
I like your Cobra Kai signature......great stuff!

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(OFF) Butterfly Korbel- FH Yasaka Rakza 7 (2.0)- BH Yasaka Rakza 7 Soft (2.0).
(OFF) Mizuno Fortius FT- FH 729/Friendship Geospin Tacky (2.15)-BH Yasaka Mark V (1.8 ).
(OFF-) Butterfly Hadraw VK-FH Butterfly Sriver (2.1)- BH Butterfly Sriver EL (1.9).
(ALL+) Stiga Allround Evolution- FH Yasaka Mark V (2.0)- BH Butterfly Tackifire Drive (1.9).

"You have to DO something to the ball." -Leatherback


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