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PostPosted: 26 Sep 2017, 06:00 
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Is there a connection between core movement and serve placement? I figure out for myself that to place the serve down the line it is best to prolong the core rotation. I don't know it it is optimal though.


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PostPosted: 26 Sep 2017, 07:28 
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fastmover wrote:
Is there a connection between core movement and serve placement? I figure out for myself that to place the serve down the line it is best to prolong the core rotation. I don't know it it is optimal though.


The principles of going down the line with any stroke are the same. Taking the ball late relative to your crosscourt contact is one legitimate way of going down the line if your full stroke is a circle.

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PostPosted: 28 Sep 2017, 13:31 
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That may sound provocative, but... At which level it becomes really advantageous to attack first (instead of playing ping-pong)? My estimate is USATT 2300, maybe 2200.


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PostPosted: 28 Sep 2017, 14:19 
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I imagine the answer depends on how reliable your attack is? I assume you are talking about attacking backspin balls?


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PostPosted: 28 Sep 2017, 19:35 
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fastmover wrote:
That may sound provocative, but... At which level it becomes really advantageous to attack first (instead of playing ping-pong)? My estimate is USATT 2300, maybe 2200.


What's your logic? Your attack is inconsistent so you think you lose more points attacking?

If you play anyone at any level with a consistent opening attack that your defensive skills cannot handle, it is important to get the first topspin in sufficiently often to prevent them from sitting on your pushes until they get the first topspin in. So I think it is not about level but really about the point patterns with your opponent.

As a general rule, better players are more consistent and powerful when they attack and defend. But how that means that the first attack is less important at the lower levels is beyond me. I couldn't loop when I was under 1800 so most of my game was built on pushing and blocking but that made me susceptible to juniors who knew how to attack my pushes which popped up topspin serves. So learning to read and attack those serves was important to get my level higher as it was easier to defend if I rolled the ball or at least put some topspin on it to make sure if didn't sit for them to attack me with a kill shot.

The one thing I will say is that in my experience, the plastic balls have made the spinny opening topspin less potent than it used to be so I seem to be working harder to get errors off spinny openers. That said, the confidence one gets from being able to consistently place the ball on the table makes mastering the slow spinny opener a must before looking at more aggressive options. Unless you are a speedy Gonzalez in the footwork department.

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PostPosted: 28 Sep 2017, 21:39 
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fastmover wrote:
That may sound provocative, but... At which level it becomes really advantageous to attack first (instead of playing ping-pong)? My estimate is USATT 2300, maybe 2200.


I think it is much lower than that, 1950-2000. Obviously it depends on the relative quality of your loop vs push/block. But generic players above 1950 are not going to miss enough of their first attacks to give you the match. You would have to block them down. Or counterloop, but if you are doing that it makes no sense not to take the first attack instead.

I suspect your post may be related to using a pivot fh as your first attack too much. I found when I tried it that I had to decide in advance to pivot, so I went in some balls that weren't good candidates. Opponents also looked for it and pushed wider to my bh. A bh open is a better option for me unless the ball is on my right hip making the pivot relatively small.


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PostPosted: 28 Sep 2017, 21:53 
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BRS wrote:
fastmover wrote:
That may sound provocative, but... At which level it becomes really advantageous to attack first (instead of playing ping-pong)? My estimate is USATT 2300, maybe 2200.


I think it is much lower than that, 1950-2000.


I think it is still lower than that - 1600 is it for me. The problem is consistency makes it harder to implement at the lower levels but I think 1600 is about the level where I can't just give people the first attack on their terms anymore.

I agree with your insights on pivoting - I think your forehand needs to be 400 pts above your general playing level to make pivoting on almost every ball worth it, especially in the plastic ball era - its just too easy to block and counter close to the table.

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PostPosted: 28 Sep 2017, 22:48 
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NextLevel wrote:
fastmover wrote:
That may sound provocative, but... At which level it becomes really advantageous to attack first (instead of playing ping-pong)? My estimate is USATT 2300, maybe 2200.


What's your logic? Your attack is inconsistent so you think you lose more points attacking?


Imagine an opponent that pushes quickly and heavy to angles, then glues himself to the table to flat punch the opener. The vast majority of players of rating <= 2000 that I saw play like that. I admit, though, that my sample size is limited. Probably the right estimate is 1950-2000, as BRS said. I feel like against this kind of opponent there is absolutely no point in attacking as soon as possible because 1) they are prepared: it is obvious that at an attack is coming after a long push 2) since they push fast and heavy, the quality of the attack is compromised (unless you have very fast feet or anticipate early), so they can punch hard.

I feel like against this kind of opponent it only makes sense to attack when I am 100% sure that I can keep the ball low so that they can't punch, otherwise just wait for their attack and punch as well.


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PostPosted: 28 Sep 2017, 23:32 
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fastmover wrote:
NextLevel wrote:
fastmover wrote:
That may sound provocative, but... At which level it becomes really advantageous to attack first (instead of playing ping-pong)? My estimate is USATT 2300, maybe 2200.


What's your logic? Your attack is inconsistent so you think you lose more points attacking?


Imagine an opponent that pushes quickly and heavy to angles, then glues himself to the table to flat punch the opener. The vast majority of players of rating <= 2000 that I saw play like that. I admit, though, that my sample size is limited. Probably the right estimate is 1950-2000, as BRS said. I feel like against this kind of opponent there is absolutely no point in attacking as soon as possible because 1) they are prepared: it is obvious that at an attack is coming after a long push 2) since they push fast and heavy, the quality of the attack is compromised (unless you have very fast feet or anticipate early), so they can punch hard.

I feel like against this kind of opponent it only makes sense to attack when I am 100% sure that I can keep the ball low so that they can't punch, otherwise just wait for their attack and punch as well.


Well, maybe you are just a worse player than they are?

If not, the question is why are you giving them something they can push fast and heavy? Are you always serving the ball where they like it? Are you always serving with the same amount of spin which makes them ready to push the ball without thinking? Are your serves too high and making aggressive returns easy? Or when you loop the opener, are going for more speed than spin and thereby making the block easier? Are you looping with straight topspin all the time or using some hooking sidespin or looping with some ar so that they are timing their blocks with more difficulty?

Without video, this is all talking but usually the point patterns are what you look at. It helps to be able to have an objective understanding of your ball quality so that you realize to what degree your serve is limiting your opponent's responses at his level. Getting the opening topspin doesn't mean always attacking the first long ball, especially if your opponent is a defensive player or a counterpuncher. It sounds like this is what you are doing. But it also sounds like your opponent's opening is not powerful enough to trouble you. IF it was, you would realize there is no point in giving it to them.

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PostPosted: 29 Sep 2017, 01:45 
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fastmover wrote:
NextLevel wrote:
Imagine an opponent that pushes quickly and heavy to angles, then glues himself to the table to flat punch the opener. The vast majority of players of rating <= 2000 that I saw play like that. I admit, though, that my sample size is limited. Probably the right estimate is 1950-2000, as BRS said. I feel like against this kind of opponent there is absolutely no point in attacking as soon as possible because 1) they are prepared: it is obvious that at an attack is coming after a long push 2) since they push fast and heavy, the quality of the attack is compromised (unless you have very fast feet or anticipate early), so they can punch hard.

I feel like against this kind of opponent it only makes sense to attack when I am 100% sure that I can keep the ball low so that they can't punch, otherwise just wait for their attack and punch as well.


Or when you loop the opener, are going for more speed than spin and thereby making the block easier?


This was my thought as well, they are using your power against you. We aren't playing in the same area so it may be different there, but I almost never see a player under 2000 really do an Amy Wang-style punchblock on a spinny loop. I practice that shot regularly and I can hardly ever do it in matches. Fast flat loop drives get blocked back past the looper all the time. It happens to me and everyone else. Spinny loops usually don't.

We are generalizing here, and it would be interesting to know if this conversation is prompted by one specific opponent or really is more general. There are still blocker/hitter styles out there, and arguably the new ball has made that more effective, so there may be cases where pushing back a long push is the best tactic.


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PostPosted: 29 Sep 2017, 01:46 
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Whoops, I reversed the quotes. You know who you are.


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PostPosted: 29 Sep 2017, 01:56 
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BRS wrote:

We are generalizing here, and it would be interesting to know if this conversation is prompted by one specific opponent or really is more general.


As I said, I meet blockers all the time, locally and around. I feel like I developed a knee-jerk reflex: see a long ball, try to loop, no thinking. When I play another aggressive looper, it is fine. Even if I lose, because I know that it was the right thing to do. When I play a blocker, it makes me suffer. So I wonder if I should recalibrate my reflexes to alleviate the pain.


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PostPosted: 29 Sep 2017, 02:28 
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fastmover wrote:
BRS wrote:

We are generalizing here, and it would be interesting to know if this conversation is prompted by one specific opponent or really is more general.


As I said, I meet blockers all the time, locally and around. I feel like I developed a knee-jerk reflex: see a long ball, try to loop, no thinking. When I play another aggressive looper, it is fine. Even if I lose, because I know that it was the right thing to do. When I play a blocker, it makes me suffer. So I wonder if I should recalibrate my reflexes to alleviate the pain.


Watching your videos you like to loop like King Kong. But you don't have the footwork, recovery or power to get the ball past most opponents unless you are getting consistently bad or easy returns. When you see a blocker, you should be thinking - I can loop as much as I want with control because he is going to block. When I get the easy one, then I go for it and put it past him.

I haven't seen your matches but I get the impression that you tried to develop more power to put the ball past people, rather than to get them to block your loops long or high to get easier balls.

And if the blocker is a rated 300 points above You, there is no point in pretending that makes no difference. It does - your loops are not at that quality or level yet. They don't get there overnight either. The game is easier to read and moves more slowly for better players and they have had years blocking the spin level that you are juat getting comfortable with. Your placement is usually plain vanilla into their blocking zones since you developed the loop in pracrice drills.

But once you get better and adding spin, moving the ball around, looping the ball 3 -4 times with heavy spin and putting away the block, things begin to change. Sometimes you have to loop in a way that makes them block to set up your next loop. Getting in the first topspin doesn't mean that the first topspin must end the point.

If the person who is blocking you off the table has the same rating you do, then your strategy is clearly the issue. But if they are higher rated than you are, it is growing pains. There are many blockers in my club who I couldn't beat 4 years ago who absolutely do not want to play me any more, even as I have slowed down .

If your question is whether you have to always loop the first ball, of course not. But if your question is that you are losing to someone when you loop the first ball because he is a blocker, then you need to figure out how to loop so that the first loop doesn't put you out of position and cost you the point. It is a very valuable lesson to learn and has value even at the higher levels when people counterloop your openers close to the table.

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PostPosted: 29 Sep 2017, 02:36 
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NextLevel wrote:
fastmover wrote:
BRS wrote:

We are generalizing here, and it would be interesting to know if this conversation is prompted by one specific opponent or really is more general.


As I said, I meet blockers all the time, locally and around. I feel like I developed a knee-jerk reflex: see a long ball, try to loop, no thinking. When I play another aggressive looper, it is fine. Even if I lose, because I know that it was the right thing to do. When I play a blocker, it makes me suffer. So I wonder if I should recalibrate my reflexes to alleviate the pain.


Watching your videos you like to loop like King Kong. But you don't have the footwork, recovery or power to get the ball past most opponents unless you are getting consistently bad or easy returns. When you see a blocker, you should be thinking - I can loop as much as I want with control because he is going to block. When I get the easy one, then I go for it and put it past him.

I haven't seen your matches but I get the impression that you tried to develop more power to put the ball past people, rather than to get them to block your loops long or high to get easier balls.

And if the blocker is a rated 300 points above You, there is no point in pretending that makes no difference. It does - your loops are not at that quality or level yet. They don't get there overnight either. The game is easier to read and moves more slowly for better players and they have had years blocking the spin level that you are juat getting comfortable with. Your placement is usually plain vanilla into their blocking zones since you developed the loop in pracrice drills.

But once you get better and adding spin, moving the ball around, looping the ball 3 -4 times with heavy spin and putting away the block, things begin to change. Sometimes you have to loop in a way that makes them block to set up your next loop. Getting in the first topspin doesn't mean that the first topspin must end the point.

If the person who is blocking you off the table has the same rating you do, then your strategy is clearly the issue. But if they are higher rated than you are, it is growing pains. There are many blockers in my club who I couldn't beat 4 years ago who absolutely do not want to play me any more, even as I have slowed down .

If your question is whether you have to always loop the first ball, of course not. But if your question is that you are losing to someone when you loop the first ball because he is a blocker, then you need to figure out how to loop so that the first loop doesn't put you out of position and cost you the point. It is a very valuable lesson to learn and has value even at the higher levels when people counterloop your openers close to the table.


That makes sense, thanks. The reason I try to loop like King Kong in practice is because previously I could only spin the ball upwards, but I want to be able to do both to mix things up sometimes. So I try to develop power and variation. I will probably post a practice or a league match soon.


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PostPosted: 29 Sep 2017, 02:57 
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It would be cool to see you in match play. You would get more useful feedback too.

It just makes sense if the opponent is a hardcore blocker that you can give them back the chance to open without too much risk, because they don't want it. But my suggestion in preference to that is to serve them light backspin, no-spin or topspin to the middle, even long serves if they really aren't going to attack. That way you get a lousy push back, coming from far away so you have all day to get ready, and they don't have a wide angle on the receive. Even then you don't need to kill the first loop, just spin it to a place that makes them move. See how their block holds up once their feet are moving. Not long, is my guess.

Just don't serve heavy backspin to someone who can't/won't attack no-spin. That's making your own life harder.


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