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Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)
http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=33275
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Author:  freakinjstu [ 13 Aug 2018, 03:45 ]
Post subject:  Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

My name is Don, and I'm a Table Tennis newbie in Central Florida (USA).

Most of the Blogs here are by seasoned veterans trying to perfect the nuances of their technique, or by gifted young people making the kind of rapid progress that's hard to believe. But not this one. This is the story of a 48-year-old out-of-shape schlub who has somehow become addicted to this glorious game. So if you need the simple confidence boost of knowing that someone, somewhere has less talent for this game than you, then this may be your blog :)

My story:
Almost 2 years ago my company bought a ping pong table, and a few of us started knocking the ball around at lunch. It was great fun, though I was outclassed by my more athletic coworkers. So in April 2017 I visited the local Table Tennis club to pick up a few tips. I had no idea of the world I was entering, or of the obsession that would soon take hold...

Here's a summary of my first year+ in under 4 minutes:


This seems as good a place as any to organize my video analysis and thoughts about what to do next to improve. To anyone that has made it this far, your tips and suggestions are most welcome, I need all the help I can get!

Author:  LOOPOVER [ 13 Aug 2018, 04:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

A lot of info here in one place. Read the intro then make your decision, well worth 5-10 minutes of your time.

Link .... North Little Rock Table Tennis Group timeline page on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/NorthLittleRockT ... =bookmarks

Author:  Zhaoyang [ 13 Aug 2018, 06:07 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

So smart to get a coach. You look great.

Author:  BRS [ 13 Aug 2018, 06:31 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

Excellent video skills, and your fh vs robot is awesome too. A couple things:

Your nemesis at work is not beating you on athleticism alone. He has clearly played some proper table tennis at some point in life.

It may be your grip or your stance preventing you from hitting the forehand in matches. Whatever it is you certainly aren't using your practice stroke. That's a very common mistake is learning adults like us. In kids, not so much.

Are you playing Lakeland this Saturday? Would be fun to see you there. I am playing on the table behind you in your clip from Orlando last November at the Florida closed, but pretty sure we haven't met.

Author:  Retriever [ 13 Aug 2018, 07:36 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

Thanks for posting your compendium, warts and all.

Keep practicing the forehand and for a while in matches try to stop running around to use the backhand, no matter what.

Don't get sucked in to the EJ (equipment junky) trap, thinking "if only I get the right rubber I will start using my forehand".

Keep on with the coaching and keep practicing.

Maybe try the robot on some sort of random cycle.

Author:  Cobalt [ 13 Aug 2018, 16:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

Great video. Some big improvements there. The only way you will get comfortable is to play the forehand in matches is if you play it in match situations.

Maybe do some drills with someone where you are only allowed to hit to the opponents forehand side of the table. Score like in a match but you only get a point if your last shot was a forehand. Make it an obvious exercise, don't just 'try' to hit more forehands, structure the match that you have to.

I love watching beginner adults improving, they are the best videos if you ask me. We all know the kids do it.

What sort of robot do you have, looks like the Joola Master V300 (like mine) at the start but at the end it looks like its quite complex by firstly serving then doing topspin?

Author:  TTbuddy [ 13 Aug 2018, 18:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

'For the love of God would you hit a freaking FH' - that sure cracked me up :rofl: :rofl: Seriously a very good video and presentation which reflects your commitment and dedication to improve whilst enjoying this lovely sport. Well done so far and good luck with further improvement and use of your FH. You are nearly there. ;)

Author:  pgpg [ 13 Aug 2018, 21:11 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

Can you use your forehand against a human player during warmup? What about practice matches (outside tournaments)? I wonder if you have a case of "too much robot practice' or something like that - or may be it is indeed a very old habit that is hard to get rid of (I can relate).

Author:  freakinjstu [ 13 Aug 2018, 22:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

BRS wrote:
Are you playing Lakeland this Saturday? Would be fun to see you there. I am playing on the table behind you in your clip from Orlando last November at the Florida closed, but pretty sure we haven't met.


Yes I should be there. I'll be over with the lowbies, but will look out for you when I come over to watch the good players.

I'm enjoying your blog as we seem to have some in common (except you started it at a much higher level than I). I'm particularly interested in the first part where you struggled reaching the ready position after a serve. I have the exact same problem - a screenshot of me when my opponent makes contact invariably shows me just leaving the service stance. Can I assume you figured out that issue? What helped the most?

Author:  freakinjstu [ 13 Aug 2018, 22:06 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

LOOPOVER wrote:
A lot of info here in one place. Read the intro then make your decision, well worth 5-10 minutes of your time.

Link .... North Little Rock Table Tennis Group timeline page on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/NorthLittleRockT ... =bookmarks


Thanks for that, a ton of good stuff, I will work my way through it all.

I've thought a fair bit about trying LP, in fact it seems perfectly logical given my age/ability. What am I thinking trying to learn a two-winged attacking style at this age??

The thing is, I feel like a natural BH player, and my BH loop vs underspin is the only real weapon that wins me points. (I also have a few decades as a BH-focused racquetball player under my belt - not sure how that figures in). But I don't think I'd be gaining much with LP on the BH right now - it's already my best shot.

A while back I came to the following conclusion about "my style": I want to learn all of the basic strokes, footwork, and spins before I even think about what my style "should be". When I get to that point, maybe LP will make the most sense. But I'd rather not commit to something unorthodox before I even figure out what my strengths might be...

Author:  freakinjstu [ 13 Aug 2018, 23:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

Thanks to all for your suggestions about my FH issue. In the last few months I've spent 90% of my robot time, practice time, and coaching time on FH, so it has nothing to do with reps. I still reflexively hit BHs way too often (not always) in actual games. I think it's more of a reset/stance issue, so I've decided to break it down into parts.

One of the things that drives me craziest: my opponent lofts a shot 10 feet in the air and if the ball happens to land on the left side of the table, I will shorthop it with my BH like any other BH drive. I could have time to stroll around the table twice and still hit my FH, but instead I just stand there in BH position waiting for the ball to land. It's reflexive and each time I kick myself afterwards, but for some reason I still do it.

So I'm trying to fix this aspect of the problem first - I figure if I cant pivot to FH on a high, slow ball I have no hope in a normal speed rally.

Here's the robot on random, high, slow:


Out of 30 balls I still hit 2 BH, reflexively. I've done this drill 6-8 times now and havent yet completed a set without a BH even though that's the only thing I'm trying to accomplish. It's maddening, it seems I am incapable if conscious decisionmaking once the ball is in play, even in my own garage when I know what's coming.

I really have no ideas other than to keep thinking about it and plugging along.

Author:  freakinjstu [ 13 Aug 2018, 23:50 ]
Post subject:  Re: Diary of a New Player (comments welcome)

Cobalt wrote:
What sort of robot do you have, looks like the Joola Master V300 (like mine) at the start but at the end it looks like its quite complex by firstly serving then doing topspin?


The blue one is the iPong V300 and I used it exclusively for the first year, then bought a Newgy about a month ago. The Newgy has been a revelation and I regret not having started with it right off the bat.

I always thought I had no footwork because I'm old, fat, and uncoordinated. Turns out, I have no footwork because I'm old, fat, uncoordinated, and I had no way to practice footwork. I've since discovered that if you can actually practice it, it gets better. Who knew?

I'm just starting to feel the effects of this practice and I can't believe I missed its importance this whole time. It's possible the more athletic types don't need as much of this, but I sure do and I wish I had started it sooner.

PS: I had thought that once the Newgy arrived I'd donate the iPong away to some kid, but I've kept both as they've turned out to be quite complimentary.

The Newgy is great for footwork, movement, variation, and combinations - 80-90% of what I need. But honestly, the Newgy sucks for anything push-related, at least at my level. The backspin is tremendously heavy, and since all shots start at the end of the table, the angle, arc, speed, and spin are all wrong if you are working on your pushes or looping pushes. The iPong is perfect for this, so I pull that thing out at least once a week or so.

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