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PostPosted: 16 Apr 2018, 09:05 
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Reniculous wrote:
Saturday has come and gone, and I do believe it was a very good evening - in terms of enjoyment and exercise, if not results.

Equipment and Style:

Perhaps one of the first things to be noticed is, is I flipped my grip back to a penhold - but I didn't flip my style back to the hyper aggressive hitting that had been how I would use it in the past. I'd been toying with this idea for a bit, ever since the first time I stumbled across David Kang videos here on the forum, and I'm glad that I tried it.

It's certainly not conventional, and I understand that there are probably some hardships that come from this that wouldn't be present otherwise, but I'm still currently of the mind to continue with this for a bit until I can better feel out how those limitations actually effect me.

The forehand for me is much more 'natural' at this point, though early in the night my stroke was a mess, and while I can see that chopping on the backhand requires more time and isn't so nice a stroke as the shakehand - it's basically just trading one wing for the other. I'll get into how some of that effected me through the night in the video breakdown below.

Currently I'm still rolling the Alligator Combi, and I might continue to do some for some time, but longer term a switch to a penhold blade again is probably in order. I am quite fond of my PG8 but I do think it might be a bit fast for what I'm trying to do here. I've heard so many good things about Appelgren Allplay on this forum, and I notice that I can get it in a penhold style, so I'm heavily leaning going that route (if I go for this play-style.) The other big change is I don't think there's anything to gain from keeping shortpips on that RPB with this, and there should be plenty to gain from inverted both in the service game, and in the ability to work on the twiddle and mid-distance game. (Not to mention resting the fingers against pips is a quick recipe for sore fingers.)

Overview:

Throughout the doubles I never really got my feet under me, it was a short warm-up and I hadn't quite figured out what kind of positioning I needed to make myself a good team-ate. Eventually I broke out of my habit of sliding to the right and focusing on backhands, and then my play improved, but I also didn't spend much time working on doubles serves this week, so I wasn't able to set anything up in that manner either. Those are the two biggest trends, game by game there are some other things that crop up, and I'll address those in the video section.

The singles were very interesting, all of my video is matches against the same person, as usual. I did, however, play two other matches for a total of six on the night. Late in the videos you'll see me make some very real changes to what I'm doing with my free arm, and I think that body balance is going to be a key focus in my next week of practice. I don't think the arm solution I used is the best, but it definitely helped. It's very easy to become lazy with that awkward backhand chopping motion, but I also feel like it 'can' be a good shot if done well. I will say that it seems a lot of them turned into more of a push on plenty of points, and it's not something that I can do quickly yet, but I'm not yet convinced that it's not possible to do consistently.

It was fun too! Which continues to be important to me. Shoulder isn't as sore today as I expected either!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

I highly advise not listening to the audio, my phone has something broken internally so there's an incredibly annoying buzzing to all of these videos. (Phone replacement in transit, should be fixed by Tuesday.)

Doubles:



First match of the night, and in all the worst match of the night as well. Neither I or my partner were able to put anything together in this match. Quick and brutal losses don't usually have as many key points to hone in on, as basically 'play better' is the biggest key. I do feel that my strokes weren't nearly flat enough in this game, its almost like I completely forgot about using the sponge. The positioning and movement problems mentioned above show up here as well, and I just generally didn't feel focused. Hips often coming up too high.

I need to find a better way of getting into the first game of the day/night. Once I get my body moving I usually move much better and with far less straight-legged movement. Maybe I should push myself harder in warm-up to get my body thinking about scrambling around. Maybe jogging to wake up the legs? I'm unsure.




We had a strong start in this one, and in many ways I feel like we could have won it. A majority of the worst errors came off of me leaving shots that were easily killed back to my partner. I also struggles with my returns and still hadn't fixed my swing plan at this point.

On the flip side our opponents were able to hit into my partner a number of times, which is just something that's going to happen in a match like this.

Mostly satisfied with my toss height and focus, and I think I moved in and out of the table well. One thing that I did in this match, and most of the night, is leave balls high after moving in for that short push. It's not enough to get to that ball, I still have to use my wrist to get good action on the ball and not get my partner blasted as a result of being content just to hit the table.




This was a challenging matchup, with one person whom can seemingly hit a powerloop out of nowhere, and the other a very flat hitter. Looking at this match, there are many similarities to the last. I think I ended up flat footed too often. I think that stems from being content to watch and react, but ended up on your heels is never a good thing.

I took a number of chances, and missed the table with strong frequency. Lots of poor footwork moving around backhands to attempt forehand hitting.

I don't see anything different enough from the previous two doubles to really need to say anything further on this match. Maybe future viewings will reveal something I'm not seeing now.


Singles:



I worked on a serve for two or three days this week, and tonight I tried it. It was extremely effective! So I used it to storm my way through game one. In hindsight, I should have mixed my serves better instead of letting him learn the serve by using it so many times right away.

Once we changed sides, the fact that I'm a bit of a headcase started to show. The table is a bit skewed, as was the net, because we have a bent bolt (we hope, because that's easier to fix than a number of other things.) Looking back at it, I should have taken it on myself to adjust, instead of blaming the table and getting frustrated. My immaturity as a player is something I'll have to work on.

After the first game I wasn't really in the others. I moved well enough, but I couldn't put it all together.





Match 2! I attempted to make some adjustments and mix in different serves, but I still wasn't able to keep any momentum going. When I could get him to be aggressive early I was able to do well in the point, but mostly I just get run around left and right and his consistency was better than mine.

After this match I watched the video while waiting to play again, and this is where I noticed that my tosses were starting to drop and that my left arm was just... all over the place. I would use this information to make adjustments for the final two matches.




Right off the bat, my choice to focus strongly on where my free arm was seemed like a good choice. I was able to capitalize on hitting opportunities, and keep my weight forward to keep my chops and pushes lower. Still some oddness in where that arm went at times, but I felt like it was a move in the right direction.

The tossing was much better as I was thinking about it, but my service wasn't quite as strong as a result. That'll continue to be a work in progress. Finding a good balance and figuring out the best timing to attack, and stop attacking, will be crucial.




In this match I tried to continue working on the points from the previous game, but at this point I realized my night was basically over. I no longer did a good job resetting after hits, my legs felt mostly like led, and it became a case of flail ball. I moved well enough in spurts, but I didn't have enough to play the way I wanted, and I couldn't think of a good way to adjust to tired legs.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Final Thoughts:

I need to be careful about not hurting my groin with the amount that I'm playing recently. I'm fairly certain that table tennis wasn't what caused the initial hernia, but I do know that the scar tissue is usually very angry after a long session such as this. I had to work pretty hard to get back to being able to drop into the squat position with and without weight, and I'm fully a year removed, but it's not something to make light of. I'll want to listen to my body, and not force anything. Especially next weekend.

I won't be playing today due to some family commitment, and that's for the best, but I should be playing against on Thursday, and then Saturday, in preparation for Sunday.

Feedback greatly appreciated!

Until then!


Hi,

Had a quick look through some of the videos. It definitely looks like your FH is much better with penhold and you move better in general compared to shakehand. I can't see a lot of difference with the BH chopping. Either way, you should pick a style and stick with it.

Generally it's easiest to stick with the style that you first got exposed to playing TT, penhold or shakehand. Muscle memory and such. I've tried to convert to SH and while I did pretty well in practice and doubles, I couldn't keep up with the speed in singles. Some say they required a few years to get back to their earlier levels after the switch.

It looks like most of your serves don't have much spin, more of a flat hit. This is something that penhold can get an advantage on pretty quickly if you practice.

I would also suggest developing some TPB/RPB for when it's not appropriate to chop. It seems just fishing/chopping with penhold BH has a lot of limitations.

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PostPosted: 16 Apr 2018, 11:47 
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Ma_Xin wrote:
Hi,

Had a quick look through some of the videos. It definitely looks like your FH is much better with penhold and you move better in general compared to shakehand. I can't see a lot of difference with the BH chopping. Either way, you should pick a style and stick with it.

Generally it's easiest to stick with the style that you first got exposed to playing TT, penhold or shakehand. Muscle memory and such. I've tried to convert to SH and while I did pretty well in practice and doubles, I couldn't keep up with the speed in singles. Some say they required a few years to get back to their earlier levels after the switch.

It looks like most of your serves don't have much spin, more of a flat hit. This is something that penhold can get an advantage on pretty quickly if you practice.

I would also suggest developing some TPB/RPB for when it's not appropriate to chop. It seems just fishing/chopping with penhold BH has a lot of limitations.


Mmm, I can see where the muscle memory would play a large role, and penhold is definitely the first real grip that I used and the one that I've used the majority of my table tennis lifetime. It makes me casually optimistic that you didn't see much of a drop off in the backhand chop!

I served almost entirely with anti over the course of last eve, so I imagine that they were a bit lacking. I'll try to get some video with inverted up soon for comparison (though I imagine that will still be less spinny than one might wish!)

My work with a jpen blade helped me build the fish and a slower controlled block, but I couldn't get the hang of hitting with it - however, while I was playing shortpip attacker I did a much better job of using an RPB. In all though it's definitely a stroke that even at my best wasn't my strongest. Right now I lack confidence in it because of the pips on that side, even in slower practice drills I couldn't do what I wanted with it.

Thank you so much for the feedback, I think reading your thoughts has really helped solidify my belief that I need to bring back the inverted side - it's just going to have much more potential and I've played that way in the past as well.

I think I'll break out the PG8 a bit this week to practice service and the like for sure.

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PostPosted: 16 Apr 2018, 14:30 
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Sounds good. PG8 is a good blade for your style.

Since you haven't done much TPB, probably best to practice RPB and use it for winners against semi highs. It also works against backspin and when you're not super close to the table.

I don't have much experience with defensive styles, just my thoughts: you can play an "all-around" penhold game, where chopping is used for variety to unsettle the opponent and keep them guessing. But due to the limited reach, it's tough to play defensively like SH. I can imagine a power loop going to your BH and chopping with either side of the paddle is awkward. You also shouldn't play far from the table in this "all-around" style.

Not sure what you have in mind but I would recommend double inverted.

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PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 09:10 
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Ma_Xin wrote:
Sounds good. PG8 is a good blade for your style.

Since you haven't done much TPB, probably best to practice RPB and use it for winners against semi highs. It also works against backspin and when you're not super close to the table.

I don't have much experience with defensive styles, just my thoughts: you can play an "all-around" penhold game, where chopping is used for variety to unsettle the opponent and keep them guessing. But due to the limited reach, it's tough to play defensively like SH. I can imagine a power loop going to your BH and chopping with either side of the paddle is awkward. You also shouldn't play far from the table in this "all-around" style.

Not sure what you have in mind but I would recommend double inverted.


In watching more of my own play, I'm also starting to get the feeling that my optimal range is closer than I was originally thinking - though it's not bad to be able to keep points alive when I do get pushed back.

I'm not sure I'll ever go back to being a double inverted player, or that you could even call it going back to. It's definitely something to think about, but it just feels so foreign to me~

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

So!

The last few days were relatively full of table tennis for me. I did a full evening on Saturday night of about three hours, before taking a trip to a tournament on Sunday. I took video at both of these things, but I'm not going to bother embedding that Saturday evening stuff this time, as that would quickly become a bit cumbersome.

In fact, I'm probably just going to share one video from each event at the tournament as well~

Fact of the matter is - I'm quite ill after this weekend, and even typing this up is proving itself to be more exhausting than it should have been, haha.

I was entered in the U3800 Doubles, U1100 Singles, U1300 Singles, and U1600 Singles.

Unfortunately, my health gave out and I only managed to play two of my U1600 matches as it was the last event of the day. Truly a shame, that.

Overall:

I had a really good time, despite battling some for of flu, and despite my physical limits causing me a bit of grief. I was not overly successful, winning only one of eleven matches that I played in, however, I was also not an easy win for my higher ranked opponents I feel. Five of my eight singles matches went the full five games, and I pretty much left it all out there, so I can't be disappointed at all. I got my monies worth, haha.


U3800 Doubles:



First and foremost let me say, we did not belong in this event at all! Our team was something like 1650 combined? It was a really good experience though. We play the same people week in and week out, so it was nice to get a change of pace and see what higher level games can be like.

I would have liked to have more space for doubles, but alas that wasn't the case. Despite the total blowout loss, I had a good deal of fun. I explained to my partner that I was angry, but not unhappy - which he finds to be an odd way of phrasing things..

Not really too much else to say about this match or the doubles on the whole~

U1100:



Well now! This was a knockdown drag-out for sure, including that second game that went 19-17 in my favor. (Though I clearly got the score confused while playing and recorded it as 20-18, oops.)

I'm really happy with my tenacity to stay in points, and I think I could have stayed in even more if I had more room. I felt like it was a good mix of aggression and defense to keep myself in game and keep the tempo in my favor. However, it was also exhausting!

After losing in five here I definitely felt a bit deflated, and ended up getting my next match as a loss too because of a combination of circumstances (including good adjustments by my opponent, credit to him.)

The U1100 is the one I have the most regret about, because I feel like I should have won out my RR, instead of going 1-2. Oh well!

U1300:



In the U1300's three matches, I lost a 3-0, and the other two were 3-2.

I've decided to embed the 3-0 loss because to me it is the more telling of the matches.

Another close to the table player whom completely destroyed me. I'm going to need to come up with answers to this style of play if I want to progress.

He made me afraid to hit, and then I became tentative, and then I lost terribly. It's so straight-forward to watch, but I'm not sure what to do different with it. Maybe the key is to just become more and more consistent in my attack placement.

I also found him odd in that his backhand was more threatening than his forehand.

I would have had to play him again in the U1600, but that's the match I became unable to play. I expect it would have gone very similar to this one.

U1600:



This match broke me, kinda literally. This match is also a testament to how playing in an odd style can be enough to keep you competitive against those who lack experience. I think if she would have had past experiences to draw on she likely would have run me over 3-0, but I was able to keep myself in games by flailing wildly and being very obstinate about not giving up.

At this point in the day I was burning up really badly, and I feel multiple times in this match, including one very bad fall in the second to last point. I maybe should have accepted defeat more gracefully, but I fought until the end and I feel the effects today, and likely will still be feeling them all week.

She probably hit the most spin of opponents I played today on the forehand wing, and I was able to use that to my advantage. She also really liked to hit the corner with her forehand, which made it easy to predict for me. I guess in some ways being too good and consistent can also be a weakness at times.

I particularly felt like I played very strongly off my own backhand side, so that was nice.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, the rest of the videos are there if you wanna look at them, but those seem to encapsulate my day fairly well from my perspective.

Because I'm broken and sick, I expect it will be two weeks before I play again. In that time I'll likely go back over the video myself a number of times, paying more attention to swing plane, and general technique issues I might have had.

Feedback welcome, as always.

I expect I'll be lurking pretty heavily the next few days here, as I can't go into work like this, haha.

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PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 12:32 
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On that last video - It's pretty common against young trained kids not being able to cope with odd styles. Especially against lobbers.

It's sort of, too much training and not enough playing.

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PostPosted: 24 Apr 2018, 12:39 
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Silver wrote:
On that last video - It's pretty common against young trained kids not being able to cope with odd styles. Especially against lobbers.

It's sort of, too much training and not enough playing.



That makes a ton of sense actually.

The next match in that same round robin was another youngster, and while he did thrash me quite well - he was very confused about the anti. I let him hit with it a bit so he'd believe me that it wasn't inverted, actually.

Eventually though the experience will surely catch up, I doubt they'll be in my brackets terribly long~

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PostPosted: 07 May 2018, 06:11 
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Two weeks can certainly feel like an eternity, this is the biggest thing I learned while I was down and out.

What started as a cold, turned into something so much worse. Honestly, looking back at it I shouldn't have gone to that last tournament, though I would have hated to give up my registration fees and the like...

The exhaustion let the cold/flu come back much harder, I ended up missing about a week of work, annnnnd then I had a very badly infected tooth that I eventually decided to have pulled just this last Friday.

Throughout all of that I barely even picked up my racket, but I've been playing enough years now that I didn't expect it to be too much of an issue. Maybe I was wrong, or maybe the painkillers I'm on dulled my response times just enough, but either way - I played like garbage last night.

I didn't feel like I had any touch on my service receives, I didn't feel like I as tracking the ball well or getting low into anything. My footwork was especially heinous, and that was very apparent as my game is predicated on movement currently. I was also a bit too aggressive for my own taste, but I think that stems from the understanding I had that I couldn't move like I wanted to....

Still - having said all of that - I'm so happy to have gotten to play again. I had considered playing again today, but I'm a bit too exhausted after last night. I'll work myself back up to playing more throughout the coming week, while also getting my legs under me and just trying to get my body active again. (The fact that I'm on codine right now is surely not helping my energy levels.)

I'm only going to include one video from last night, though I did upload all that I took, as is usual. It's the last match I played, and one in which I was able to do a few things right, many things wrong, and I feel like it does a good job representing how I was doing on the whole throughout the night.

I think upon counting it up I ended up playing six doubles matches and two singles matches. Not a bad night in terms of volume of play.



So a couple of key things from my perspective. I'm off balance frequently, be that because of a late start or just bad small adjustments. I felt like, and it looks like I had trouble controlling my momentum when I would move forward to the table to try to attack.

The TBH doesn't feel strong against high shots, though I did use it quite a bit last night, and I'm in an odd spot right now because I haven't been able to switch out my pips on the RPB yet. This frustrated me from time to time and I know that the sooner I can make this change the happier I am going to be.

My body was out of sync on most chops, leaving many many balls higher than usual. Some nights are going to be this way, and that is OK, but it doesn't make it less frustrating when you're getting hammered as I was.

Serves felt like they went fairly well, I was able to get more spin than I expected throughout the night and I'm even more excited for having inverted for service in the future.

Looking at the video, I need to figure out why I frequently end up on one foot. It's clearly intentional on my part, but not something I'm conscious of doing. How odd.


------------------------------------------------------

Practice and Odds and Ends

I did get a bit of practice in with the RPF, and it was interesting. I'm looking forward to working on it more with rubber on the blade I want it to be and such. I think once I get a red inverted on the Alligator Combi that one of the first things I'm going to want to do is put in multiball on the RPB to get it back to a level of comfort, and then try to assess what situations I would even want to use the RPF.

I also worked a bit on RPF serves, as I've seen some pretty interesting ones in videos and the like. Those will take a significant amount of work before they'll be game ready.

I think after the feedback I've gotten, that I'll just roll with the Hurricane 3 as my inverted. I'm used to it (unfortunately I have it in black on a different blade) and that familiarity should help make some adjustments easier for me.

As it stands, I might play Tuesday, or Wednesday of the upcoming week. If I play Tuesday I likely will not play Thursday, but if I don't go Tuesday I likely will Thursday, haha.

My final thoughts - I really don't want to have any more teeth pulled any time soon. Ouch.

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PostPosted: 07 May 2018, 08:13 
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It looks like you miss more than him when the shot is not very threatening. IMO you move better than most people. Not sure how you perceive it. Probably moving around a little too much sometimes and missing the timing. I tend to move less than I think I do, but I'm still hitting mainly FH when I play that style. You can probably become a good FH-dominant player if you choose to go that route.

Your FH is excellent against high balls. Against normal balls tho your stroke doesn't look like either a drive or a block, so it misses. Practicing this every time (preferably with multi-ball) to build muscle memory is probably the quickest way to up your play. :)

The BH chopping tends to just give him high balls that he can smash. I've noticed this in earlier videos too. I'm not sure if the way you chop with penhold pips or anti can result in strong spin or good depth - since he flats, there's no spin to reverse. I can be wrong here. Maybe someone else can chime in.

The TPB is not bad, it just looks a bit like a chop and the ball tends to pop up. You'll need to keep the blade angle closed. Watch some videos on that - the index finger needs to apply pressure while the thumb relaxes, opposite of a FH stroke. Also, it doesn't work well once the ball starts falling, because TPB is more of a passive stroke.

Your RPB looks fine. It goes into the net because of the anti. Happens to me too when I try it.

Good to hear about the inverted choice. Hopefully your attack can become more balanced on both wings.

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PostPosted: 07 May 2018, 23:25 
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I am new to your blog and I haven't been keeping up the whole time (have to go back and read). But your last couple of posts were very interesting. I enjoyed them quite a bit.

And...am I reading this correctly? You are a penhold chopper with ANTI??!! That is one seriously unique style. You would be the only one I know of. I know some penhold attacker/pushblockers with anti, but no choppers. Very cool!

I too started out as a JPen player, and switched to SH to chop. I can't play penhold worth a crap anymore. I do so for fun only. But it looks like playing PH is working out for you.

Keep up the good work.

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PostPosted: 12 May 2018, 02:35 
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Japsican wrote:
I am new to your blog and I haven't been keeping up the whole time (have to go back and read). But your last couple of posts were very interesting. I enjoyed them quite a bit.

And...am I reading this correctly? You are a penhold chopper with ANTI??!! That is one seriously unique style. You would be the only one I know of. I know some penhold attacker/pushblockers with anti, but no choppers. Very cool!

I too started out as a JPen player, and switched to SH to chop. I can't play penhold worth a crap anymore. I do so for fun only. But it looks like playing PH is working out for you.

Keep up the good work.



I am in fact playing with penhold and anti as primarily a chopper! It's exceptionally fun for me, though also a bit exhausting, and while it has limitations, I'm in no hurry to change or look for something different!

I have noticed it's pretty rough on me in doubles right now, because I can recover from my own errors much better than if I hang my partner out to dry, so that's one shortcoming that I'm definitely not fond of!

JPen was so interesting, and I felt so strong - but after two weeks of playing or so at my usual rate it was destroying my wrist. It didn't feel worth the time investment to wait to get stronger or to find lighter rubbers to play a similar game that I could do with a CPen.

I'm glad you've enjoyed the blog!


Ma_Xin wrote:
It looks like you miss more than him when the shot is not very threatening. IMO you move better than most people. Not sure how you perceive it. Probably moving around a little too much sometimes and missing the timing. I tend to move less than I think I do, but I'm still hitting mainly FH when I play that style. You can probably become a good FH-dominant player if you choose to go that route.

Your FH is excellent against high balls. Against normal balls tho your stroke doesn't look like either a drive or a block, so it misses. Practicing this every time (preferably with multi-ball) to build muscle memory is probably the quickest way to up your play. :)

The BH chopping tends to just give him high balls that he can smash. I've noticed this in earlier videos too. I'm not sure if the way you chop with penhold pips or anti can result in strong spin or good depth - since he flats, there's no spin to reverse. I can be wrong here. Maybe someone else can chime in.

The TPB is not bad, it just looks a bit like a chop and the ball tends to pop up. You'll need to keep the blade angle closed. Watch some videos on that - the index finger needs to apply pressure while the thumb relaxes, opposite of a FH stroke. Also, it doesn't work well once the ball starts falling, because TPB is more of a passive stroke.

Your RPB looks fine. It goes into the net because of the anti. Happens to me too when I try it.

Good to hear about the inverted choice. Hopefully your attack can become more balanced on both wings.



A few things here:

My footwork is quick, because I'm decently fast, but my footwork is very lazy. I use that speed and quickness to recover rather than to prepare. Or so I am frequently chastised for. I can move well, but I move with very little precision or intent, it's like I'm flailing more often than not. I'm still working on the basic fundamental steps of table tennis and trying to break free from the steps I use for other sports, so I end up on the wrong foot and off balance a ton.

I played a forehand oriented style when I was trying to emulate Wang Zengyi. It was decently effective, but I didn't find it enjoyable and it was fairly high risk. I think that could go much better with double inverted, but I'm just not interested in playing that way currently. I'd never say never, because I change setup so often, but it's not on the current agenda.

My chops do end up high quite often right now, but it's getting better. I'm traveling more again and getting used to different spins. The biggest issue right now is the timing to get the right angle, because it's a sensitive stroke and it's not very forgiving of my lazy feet. With more practice I think we'll see that ball getting lower and deeper. It took a while to adjust when I was using the C7 as well. Too soon for final verdicts.

I'll continue working on both types of backhand, and I'll take your advice on this!


------------------------------------------------------------------------


So last night was a bit of a disaster in terms of personally, as I was driving back from practice in a neighboring city, my truck tire exploded and tried to kill me. Somehow I'm very lucky and didn't fully throw it, but I have to deal with the aftermath of that today. A shame too, because it definitely taints an otherwise lovely night of table tennis.

I can't take video when I go to the place I was, because the setup is very confined and there's simply no room. I use the setting as a way to focus on my attacking and near table play, and thusly that's what I worked on last night. (Though I did get some great practice in against high topspin as the night was wearing down and space became less of a premium.)

I played only singles, and I believe I played five matches in total, while also hitting around two or three times aside from that.

I was able to beat the first player I was up against, a promising younger player whom I play fairly even with generally. He had been ill the last few weeks and wasn't moving very well, so it wasn't the usual level of tension. Still, he hits well and forced me to block more than chop because I couldn't get far enough back to take the table where I wanted it.

My second opponent absolutely destroyed me, as he is wont to do. He does a great job with attacking and angles, when I could draw out a point I was in good shape, but I'd love to play him with more space. At the table I'm not anywhere near his level. He did have a serve that I enjoyed returning very much, in that I wasn't good at it, but by the end of the match I had somewhat figured it out.

My third match was something of a teaching match, where afterwards we went over the things that went very poorly for me and looked at the correct technique for dealing with those situations. Always nice to have a post match review like that.

My fourth match was a 3-0 loss, but it felt like a much longer game with long points and great rallies. I need to do a better job of selecting my attacks, because a week attack is an invitation to be murdered.

My fifth match was against someone I know very well, whom is around an 1800. He also reviewed the match afterwards with me and helped me try to take some of the wildness out of my motion in order to up some consistency, which is important when you're punching above your weight class. He then let me get some great chop practice in, as mentioned above.

In all it was a very good night in terms of practice, and I'm super glad I went.

My biggest takeaways:

At the table play is currently a weakness, not a strength.
I need to improve my shot to shot depth, because short angles are hard to deal with.
Lazy feet get cross, and a body turned sideways is a body in trouble.
Humidity and anti really might not play well together.

Anyway, truck being as it is I might not travel tooooo soon, we'll see. But! I should be playing locally Saturday, so I'll hopefully have an update then!

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PostPosted: 13 May 2018, 09:57 
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Sorry about the truck. I think you're on the right track TT-wise though and know your own strengths/limitations well. Keep up the good work.

One thing I didn't realize was that since we're using anti or LP now, the blade angle in TPB can't be closed like inverted. Probably around perpendicular or slightly facing up. It actually makes TPB more useful also, since you can block forward hard against backspin turning it to topspin, etc.

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PostPosted: 14 May 2018, 07:24 
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Ma_Xin wrote:
Sorry about the truck. I think you're on the right track TT-wise though and know your own strengths/limitations well. Keep up the good work.

One thing I didn't realize was that since we're using anti or LP now, the blade angle in TPB can't be closed like inverted. Probably around perpendicular or slightly facing up. It actually makes TPB more useful also, since you can block forward hard against backspin turning it to topspin, etc.



The observation about closed angle is very on point. When I was trying the JPen I was still using short pips on the forehand, and I noticed that it was an extremely easy transition because I didn't need to turn over as much, that made it faster (but not necessarily safer because I'm still poor with the stroke.)

From some of the back and forth we've had I made some tweaks and decisions last night that were pretty interesting. I'm not sure if they're conclusive or not, but it was quite interesting.


-------------------------------------------------


Last night I was able to get in a strong amount of play, and while I ended up with some serious frustration at my own movement again, I'd still say that all in all it was a pretty good night.

Because I've been wondering about the impact of humidity (not to mention how much I sweat on my poor rubbers) on the way my anti plays I took some time before the session last night to lovingly apply my C7 to my PG8 in place of the much too fast Hexer Pips that had been on it. I played with the C7 on my previous Alligator Combi, but I didn't do much hitting with it then, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.

I used it for the first half of my doubles matches, and for two out of three of the singles attempts I made on the night. I can feel the difference in terms of my own ability to generate spin, and after a bit I felt ok taking swings and attacking strokes. It's not as safe as the anti, for sure, but the trade off is it's slightly more dangerous I think.

I might decide to alter my Alligator to use the C7 again, and move my black H3 to it in an attempt to see how it would feel like that, as the PG8 is a faster blade for sure.

Anyway, on to the match play.





This is a rematch from earlier in the night. In the first match I used the C7 and we were able to push them to 5, while here I was using the anti and we lost in 4. Some of that is the difference in rubber perhaps, but more of it has to do with the fact that I just don't have the stamina to still be playing well after three hours right now. This is something that carries over into my singles. On one hand it's nice to spend four and a half hours for table tennis, on the other it's very difficult to maintain a high level of play throughout.

Both of our opponents here are good spinny players, though the player in blue is better (or at least more consistent.) I enjoyed the chance to chop against the heavy spin, but I didn't do a very good job of getting to it in time. I'm finding that the distance for a good spin player is actually closer to the table - which is at odds with where I'm used to standing from playing with people who hit through the ball more. This is something that I'm going to have to do a better job of adjusting to in the future for sure, but it shouldn't be too bad. Probably harder in doubles than singles.

Alot of points in these doubles were won off of the push, which doesn't feel too normal, but it is what it is.

In both of these matches I feel like they were well within reach, but we just couldn't find the win. I'm sure we'll get to play this matchup more in the future, maybe we can make some adjustments then. At the very least maybe I'll be moving a bit better, haha.





After losing fairly convincingly in my first match using the anti, I made the decision to try singles with the PG8, which had the C7 forehand and has TinArc 3 on the back. The initial change definitely took him by surprise and I was able to get a huge lead in the first game. I did really well early, be it equipment or focus.

Oh, I also changed socks and made the choice to get into my other shoes. They're not really great for table tennis, but they're infinitively more comfortable and I was starting to have some issues with arch pain in my right foot that I didn't want to make any worse in the wrestling boots.

I like the way I can create my own spin a bit better with this, and I feel that generally the throw off of that backhand chop motion was lower than it was with the Ellen. It is of course more sensitive to spin as well and I start to make a number of simple push and lift errors as the match goes on and he starts to vary his spin more, especially off the serve.

I moved decently in this match, which is why I've chosen to highlight it rather than the other two, but I'm still not content. I'll maybe never be content, or at least not until I drop 30 lbs. and get back to the movement I had a year and a half ago.

Hitting wasn't great, but when it was in it had strong finishing potential, blocking was so-so as well. I'm chalking it up mostly to familiarity, because obviously the shots could be there, I just didn't always execute them.


-------------------------------------------------


And thus another week is done. I played twice in the previous week, which is decent. I had considered playing today, but there were enough reasons to stay in that I ended up doing just that~

I hope that I'm not going to overthink this equipment issue. Admittedly the two play very similar, and it's not a style change in the slightest. Also, at least I'm not looking at buying and trying something completely new, just things I already had. Still, I want to build a foundation of consistency going into August, so whatever comes of this needs to come quickly.

If humidity is in fact part of what's causing my anti to feel different in different settings (for example I couldn't keep serves down or on the table on Thursday), or if the balsa in the blade is really bad for anti, then maybe the C7 is a good choice for me, seeing as I have no interest changing my blade...

Anyway, food for thought moving into next week!

Until next time!

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PostPosted: 21 May 2018, 06:09 
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Not as much play over the last week as I might have liked, but seemingly some improvement in my weight over the last few weeks regardless, and a week free of strange life happenings, I'll take it!

I thought long and hard about if using the C7 was going to be better or if I'd enjoy it more, etc. and the conclusion that I came to is that I'd rather stay with the antispin for a variety of reasons.

I think I've also made the incredibly obvious realization that the barrier to entry in using the anti was very low, so I was able to start seeing nice results and build an idea of how the style should look, but to take it as far as it can go I'm now reaching the point where there's a matter of technique to be considered much more heavily.

One of my focuses over the coming weeks is going to be in increasing my hand speed. Early experiments last night were mixed, as the timing change created a number of missed balls that I wouldn't have with a slower swing. However, I did feel like I could keep the ball consistently more dangerous in terms of depth and height with the faster speed. I think this additional speed will come primarily from the wrist action as that should also lead to a looser grip and more ability to corral harder balls.

The second focus is going to be precision in footwork, which I've often talked about. That backhand chop isn't as awkward to me as people often make it out to be, but there are certainly limitations. It becomes a much stronger stroke when I take the half step to get my body weight correct and I have a much easier time with the blade angle as well. It's important to note that I still need to be able to hit it quickly from a neutral stance, because the pace of the game won't always lend to having that time, especially close to the table. I'd also like to take far less small chops right in front of me. Getting to either side allows a much better stroke.

In terms of hitting, I feel very comfortable right now attacking long backspin, I feel like I still need to work on over the table play in this regards, but I also feel like maybe that's not the most important focus for the moment, as a strong push works just as well as long as I place it well enough. I am still struggling a bit hitting against weaker topspin. It's good that I'm making the choice to attack these balls, but I need to find the best way to get that hit flatter I think.

When moving into the table, I need softer, faster hands to stop popping up so many short pushes. When I'm already at the table I can handle this kind of ball with no issue, but when moving in from the backcourt it's nearly always a poor quality shot.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


As usual I played a great deal last night, primarily doubles with two singles matches against my usual opponent at the tail end of the night.

The doubles were a mixed bag, but I didn't feel like the limiting factor in most of my matches. I was able to do what I felt was a good job of creating chances for my opponents to hit against high backspin, and we lived and died by that for the most part. I was incredibly aggressive though, especially in my service returns, and for the majority of the night I attacked any and all backspin sent my way. That overconfidence hurt at times, but also led to some of the best shots I've hit. I definitely feel like that's a stroke that's going to be a very real weapon for me.

The singles matches were polar opposites, and I'm only going to post the second despite recording both. The first was an absolute beat down in which I was crushed 3-0 in roughly 7 minutes. Looking at the video, I was upright, I had little to no energy, and I basically had no right to be at the table. I can't find a single redeeming moment in that match, and I'm relatively ashamed of it overall.

Fortunately, knowing that, and having time between to watch it, I was able to make some adjustments. Thus, the video below is probably some of the best video I've gotten to date in terms of playing how I want to.



Early on the footwork here is what I'm happiest with, moving well on service receives, stepping back well after my own serves. Mostly, I kept a higher level of footwork throughout this entire 3-1 loss, and that's great. I was exhausted, and that had an impact on me a number of times, and there are certainly points where I lapsed, but it was a significant improvement on matches from last week.

Early I was aggressive more often, and that was working for me ok, but as the fatigue set in a bit more I found that I wasn't keeping my legs under me on hits. In the 4th game I made a decision to become more patient and wait out chances to attack, and I think if I had made that change sooner I might have been able to push this to 5 games. In all though, the way I was building points was exactly what I want. A probing attack, a chop and a push to set up the next attack, and then an attempted forehand winner. I just missed too many of those forehand winners with a body moving sideways, etc.

I missed too many serves, definitively. Two per game I just threw away, more or less. That could swing a match, that could definitely swing a match. Sometimes I got a bit too hurried serving. I usually do better when I make myself pause briefly and just re-center.

Service returning was much improved on last week, but I still don't feel good about it. Hopefully I'll travel some in the next week and get some more practice with more spins and placements and just keep building that library of muscle memory/technical understanding.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


For the next two weeks I'll be alone at home as my significant other is abroad. I'm planning to use that time to really jump start my physical training. I expect that I won't see as much table time this week, but the following I should play 2-3 times. With luck I can establish some good routine for myself and really keep making strides in weight loss department, as well as the strength in my legs and lungs.

Anyway! Until next time!

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PostPosted: 21 May 2018, 07:24 
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Good job. I see very clear progress in terms of movement, FH attack (both timing and power), chopping placement, TBH serves etc. Even when you missed an attack, I think you made the right move and the rest is just practice/experience.

I purposely watched the video (first 5 mins only tho) first before reading your summary.

I would've guessed you won the match. Oh well. It likely all comes down to the number of errors. For me, I can't remember how I played 2 years ago - a lot of the game is still the same and I just get more proficient and make less errors. It helps to play a lot of different opponents so you learn to avoid mistakes and make reasonable shots in many different situations.

I agree with sticking with anti - it's surely easier to use and you can play a more 'normal' game while at the same time being quite insensitive to spin. If you go LP, you need to like the idea of using its weirdness to unsettle people.

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