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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 01:06 
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ziv wrote:
Speaking of opponents that ruin the game.

I find it very frustrating when my opponent plays like he doesn't give a s***. Including, but not not limited to: not looking concentrated when I'm serving, playing those big swing shots like he doesn't care whether they land on the table, and/or staying upright all the time not even trying to look, let alone behave, like a serious TT player.
I find that I'm starting to kind of copy that annoying behavior, i.e. playing irresponsibly and loosely. It's really hard for me to concentrate and stay low etc. when my opponent makes it so clear that he isn't taking it seriously. In the end, the no-give-a-shit guy wins the match and I'm left downhearted and disappointed in myself as a TT player.

I would very much appreciate your advice on how to deal with this. Thanks!


When I trained with a Xen approach and also often played with one, , this became led of an issue. My game was designed to be at a certain level no matter who or when I played.

The real issue is then how to handle an opponent whose body language reflects disdain and rudeness. And unfortunately, the only way I know of is to tax it at a level where the disdain becomes too much effort to maintain. As long as you play at a quality where the opponent is not challenged, they have too much time and resources to fo nonsense. Unfortunate fact of TT. And I am sure there are some opponents you can play with a similar attitude If they turn you the wrong way but are ridiculously weak.

The other thing is to not confuse form or stance with quality of play. Don't let your view of appropriate technique make you miss good anticipation and skill but masked with inferior technique.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 01:28 
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ziv wrote:
Speaking of opponents that ruin the game.

I find it very frustrating when my opponent plays like he doesn't give a s***. Including, but not not limited to: not looking concentrated when I'm serving, playing those big swing shots like he doesn't care whether they land on the table, and/or staying upright all the time not even trying to look, let alone behave, like a serious TT player.
I find that I'm starting to kind of copy that annoying behavior, i.e. playing irresponsibly and loosely. It's really hard for me to concentrate and stay low etc. when my opponent makes it so clear that he isn't taking it seriously. In the end, the no-give-a-shit guy wins the match and I'm left downhearted and disappointed in myself as a TT player.

I would very much appreciate your advice on how to deal with this. Thanks!


NextLevel already shared his wisdom, which I agree with - I would simply add this to something you have to be prepared for. It really belongs to the mental side of the game, I think - if you let it bother you, well, advantage to your opponent. Ignoring it and maintaining your focus is a pretty important skill.

I found playing MORE matches is very helpful here: you run into a bunch of different opponents, some with weird quirks. You also will start to discount importance of each individual match to a degree, and whatever outcomes they cause, it works like inoculation of sorts. Finally, you also get to experience more rare scenarios: coming back from 2:10, losing match while being up 10:6 in 5th, being blown out 0:11, beating someone 11:0, your opponent getting 5-6 nets and edges in the game (or vice versa). After you experienced all this and more, it becomes easier to deal with it. Sometimes it's just random too...

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 02:27 
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iskandar taib wrote:
wilkinru wrote:
Brett Clarke wrote:

For the last 6 months I've been talking to a country about becoming their National Coach. The country is an emerging table tennis powerhouse and the work would have been fascinating. When they failed to deliver a contract after we had agreed on everything, I looked at my options.


Were you talking about the USA here? You don't have to answer.


I have my guess, but I'm not saying. Let's just say they have one or two women that are ranked pretty high and haven't been conspicuous in the past. Their women were also in the top group at the last WTTC.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 02:32 
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Richfs wrote:
I've been quite inspired by the posts about travelling for TT.


I also got inspired by these posts. I even started looking up air tickets to Asia. Then I realistically evaluated my current capabilities and settled for a trip to New Jersey.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 02:43 
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FruitLoop wrote:
India

Sep 26, 2018 India’s table tennis coach Massimo Costantini decides not to renew contract for personal reasons

https://scroll.in/field/895867/indias-t ... al-reasons

So likely is a spot open...you may be right! Now that's only 2-3 months since the article but it's possible the Indian administration knew of this beforehand.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 02:50 
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NextLevel wrote:
When I trained with a Xen approach and also often played with one, , this became led of an issue. My game was designed to be at a certain level no matter who or when I played.

The real issue is then how to handle an opponent whose body language reflects disdain and rudeness. And unfortunately, the only way I know of is to tax it at a level where the disdain becomes too much effort to maintain. As long as you play at a quality where the opponent is not challenged, they have too much time and resources to fo nonsense. Unfortunate fact of TT. And I am sure there are some opponents you can play with a similar attitude If they turn you the wrong way but are ridiculously weak.

It's not that the opponent is a better player than me. We may have a similar rating but I'd still lose because I just cannot play seriously and in full strength under these circumstances.
What freaks me out the most is when people ask to play and then start behaving like they don't care about the match.

NextLevel wrote:
The other thing is to not confuse form or stance with quality of play. Don't let your view of appropriate technique make you miss good anticipation and skill but masked with inferior technique.

That's what I'm failing to achieve, apparently. It's hard for me to take my opponent seriously if he doesn't looks like a proper player to me.
How do I address this issue? I play much better against stronger players (partially because I'm concentrated) but can lose to a player with a shitty technique.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 02:55 
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ziv wrote:
...

It's hard for me to take my opponent seriously if he doesn't looks like a proper player to me.
...



Oooh, I'd like you to play someone like Rich DeWitt or Mark Berg at some point :devil: . They don't really look like 'proper' players (Rich has plenty of videos online, look him up), and it's not exactly the use case you are describing (their attitude is NOT careless), but end result is the same, they can carve you up with ease...

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 03:10 
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ziv wrote:
That's what I'm failing to achieve, apparently. It's hard for me to take my opponent seriously if he doesn't looks like a proper player to me.
How do I address this issue? I play much better against stronger players (partially because I'm concentrated) but can lose to a player with a shitty technique.


Everyone feels like they play better against stronger opponents but it's an illusion.

I guess the long-term solution is you should have a way that you play, and who your opponent is, and how they behave, should have no effect on your way of playing. That's obviously hard sometimes, my last post was largely about that. The opponents are not going to fix themselves to your spec. Like Funkadelic says, the kingdom of heaven is within.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 03:13 
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pgpg wrote:
NextLevel already shared his wisdom, which I agree with - I would simply add this to something you have to be prepared for. It really belongs to the mental side of the game, I think - if you let it bother you, well, advantage to your opponent. Ignoring it and maintaining your focus is a pretty important skill.

Yeah, I guess that's exactly what I'm looking an advice on - how to improve my mental strength and maintain the focus no matter what.

pgpg wrote:
I found playing MORE matches is very helpful here: you run into a bunch of different opponents, some with weird quirks. You also will start to discount importance of each individual match to a degree, and whatever outcomes they cause, it works like inoculation of sorts. Finally, you also get to experience more rare scenarios: coming back from 2:10, losing match while being up 10:6 in 5th, being blown out 0:11, beating someone 11:0, your opponent getting 5-6 nets and edges in the game (or vice versa). After you experienced all this and more, it becomes easier to deal with it. Sometimes it's just random too...

I play for ~3 hours 3 times a week at the club, I'd love to play more but that's the most my wife would let me.
I lose a lot of matches since I mostly play with better players; I've learned to take defeats easily - maybe even too easily, I think sometimes. So losing to a better player does not concern me as much, although I do realize I could have played better sometimes. It's losing to a guy who didn't even give a s*** about our match that frustrates me a lot.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 03:53 
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ziv wrote:
Speaking of opponents that ruin the game.

I find it very frustrating when my opponent plays like he doesn't give a s***. Including, but not not limited to: not looking concentrated when I'm serving, playing those big swing shots like he doesn't care whether they land on the table, and/or staying upright all the time not even trying to look, let alone behave, like a serious TT player.
I find that I'm starting to kind of copy that annoying behavior, i.e. playing irresponsibly and loosely. It's really hard for me to concentrate and stay low etc. when my opponent makes it so clear that he isn't taking it seriously. In the end, the no-give-a-shit guy wins the match and I'm left downhearted and disappointed in myself as a TT player.

I would very much appreciate your advice on how to deal with this. Thanks!

Is that opponent like that with everyone or just you? Is that opponent a stronger player than you? I get that from club mates who are several levels in playing strength above me. I know I'm not going to win whether they play serious or not so I ignore it and focus on improving my technique and not so much on winning the match.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 04:17 
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ziv wrote:
NextLevel wrote:
When I trained with a Xen approach and also often played with one, , this became led of an issue. My game was designed to be at a certain level no matter who or when I played.

The real issue is then how to handle an opponent whose body language reflects disdain and rudeness. And unfortunately, the only way I know of is to tax it at a level where the disdain becomes too much effort to maintain. As long as you play at a quality where the opponent is not challenged, they have too much time and resources to fo nonsense. Unfortunate fact of TT. And I am sure there are some opponents you can play with a similar attitude If they turn you the wrong way but are ridiculously weak.

It's not that the opponent is a better player than me. We may have a similar rating but I'd still lose because I just cannot play seriously and in full strength under these circumstances.
What freaks me out the most is when people ask to play and then start behaving like they don't care about the match.

NextLevel wrote:
The other thing is to not confuse form or stance with quality of play. Don't let your view of appropriate technique make you miss good anticipation and skill but masked with inferior technique.

That's what I'm failing to achieve, apparently. It's hard for me to take my opponent seriously if he doesn't looks like a proper player to me.
How do I address this issue? I play much better against stronger players (partially because I'm concentrated) but can lose to a player with a shitty technique.



Let me tell you a secret that is not really a secret. I was a 1900 player already before I met Brett. My forehand was powerful even if ugly and my backhand was interesting. I was a blocking machine because my first coach couldn't teach me how to loop since he used me to practice his loops so I ended up blocking and hitting his loops in practice. It took my second coach to rebuild my game and make it more conventional and working with Brett to make my game even more conventional.

So I was one of those players that many people would say had no strokes or never bent their knees and yet beat far better players who supposedly had beautiful technique. Of course my technique is now more standard but my physical ability forces me to rely often on my old blocking game.

I also gained a lot of experience playing some of the players that pgpg talked about like Rich DeWitt and Mark Berg. Those guys had flat ball styles that they used to beat really good players (Rich as high as 2400, Mark as high as 2000/2100). In the end, your goal is to play the ball and not the player. My second coach placed a strong emphasis on this when working with the mental game of his students. It doesn't matter whether he is Timo Boll or Lala Land, if he hits the ball and you read the spin and the placement, you should be able to return it properly and if you know the structure of the game, good placement and shot quality will always give your opponents fits.

So when I hear people talking about struggling to play players who don't play "correctly", I get it. Especially if they don't have time to train as TT is as complex as any life endeavor , you need to put in ridiculous hours to attain mastery. But the bottom line is that your mental approach to the game needs to change. Sometimes it is acceptance. I can no longer move so I don't try to create the angles that force me to move against my opponents. Or I don't train 5 times a week so I should not be offended if that 2400 who plays or trained in China as a kid all summer is doing miracles with the ball and making me look stupid.

And finally, anyone who can beat you, no matter how lazy or careless they look while doing it, is really a problem to be solved. There were lots of kids who I played in tournaments whose coaches used to comfort them with the idea that in a year or two, they would be good enough to loop past my blocks and I couldn't beat them when that happened. I also slowed down but for those kids, it was a big relief to actually beat me. And to my credit not all of them did!

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Last edited by NextLevel on 08 Dec 2018, 05:36, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 04:25 
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NextLevel wrote:
anyone who can beat you, no matter how lazy or careless they look while doing it, is really a problem to be solved.


This is gold right here.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 04:49 
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pgpg wrote:
Oooh, I'd like you to play someone like Rich DeWitt or Mark Berg at some point :devil: . They don't really look like 'proper' players (Rich has plenty of videos online, look him up), and it's not exactly the use case you are describing (their attitude is NOT careless), but end result is the same, they can carve you up with ease...

I think I've actually seen Mark Berg at one of the tournaments held in BTTC - his look is really deceptive ;)

"their attitude is NOT careless" - that's the key! I don't mind playing and losing to a better player, even if their technique is unconventional or "weird". But playing a guy who I know is the same or worse than me, and losing to him while he's showing no effort - that is mentally tough for me.


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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 04:54 
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ziv wrote:

...
"their attitude is NOT careless" - that's the key! I don't mind playing and losing to a better player, even if their technique is unconventional or "weird". But playing a guy who I know is the same or worse than me, and losing to him while he's showing no effort - that is mentally tough for me.


One of the most successful mental hacks I've ever deployed was "play like it does not matter" mind trick - saved me a match where I was down 0:2 and something like 3:8 in the 3rd. Somehow I'm never smart enough to do it at the start of the match though, I guess it needs some pent up frustration to work.

Perhaps your opponent is doing the same :) .

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 05:18 
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BRS wrote:
Everyone feels like they play better against stronger opponents but it's an illusion.

I don't know if it's only an illusion, though.

First, I feel that I'm playing better - which might not be important for anyone else (they might not see any difference) but is definitely important for me. Feeling that I'm playing well in a match gives me more confidence which in turn actually helps me play better, I believe.
Second, that kind of makes sense that playing better players makes your own game better (I'm talking in that particular match, not as a general rule of improvement). Better players are not making that stupid shots - like a guy who I think is pushing with a decent amount of backspin but in fact he or his racket isn't able to produce a lot of spin so my ball pops up, or a guy who has no idea how to return a reverse pendulum serve so he sticks his racket and the ball accidentally hits my FH corner which I cannot reach.

I think I want to say that playing higher level opponents is more predictable in a way so it helps my game, and that creates a feeling of a higher quality match overall. Obviously, I don't know if they feel the same way about playing with me :)

BRS wrote:
I guess the long-term solution is you should have a way that you play, and who your opponent is, and how they behave, should have no effect on your way of playing. That's obviously hard sometimes, my last post was largely about that. The opponents are not going to fix themselves to your spec. Like Funkadelic says, the kingdom of heaven is within.

"have a way that you play, and who your opponent is, and how they behave, should have no effect on your way of playing" - that's a great wording! I agree, it should become my goal to have such a way. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to start approaching that: create a mantra and start repeating it to myself? try to focus on something different than the opponent's look and/or behavior? pay more attention to my own strokes/movements than the opponent's?


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