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PostPosted: 07 May 2019, 02:25 
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mickd wrote:
I've been really busy recently (0-2 times of table tennis per week instead of the usual 3-5 times per week last year). I feel like I'm stuck at the skills of a ~1800 player and may not be able to improve above that for a long time. Initially I was hoping to get to a ~2000 level by the end of last year, which was a goal I set myself a year to achieve. I was probably like 1800 then too, though thinking back, maybe I was more like 1600 to 1700. Last month I lost to a few people who have only been playing a little over a year too :(

...


I know the feeling of being stuck... It's probably even more challenging in your case, since you also don't have actual ratings (league or tournament), so it's all quite subjective.

You probably have to go down the path 'BRS' suggested and do a bit of win/loss analysis of your points to see where weak spots are. I think I should do the same, to be honest.

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PostPosted: 07 May 2019, 02:38 
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Along the lines of what BRS said, the main thing to work on is playing for the first attack and defending the first attack. The banana flick is not a bad idea but but I would only work on it with a coach and as part of developing a strong modern backhand topspin.

Being able to deny people the opportunity to attack first just changes the game. Good serving and receiving is the key here and since most players you play against don't serve short with quality, looping half long balls and attacking serves over the table with your forehand is key. Flicking is also good but looping is better as the serves with low quality which are short are usually loopable as well. Serving short with quality spin and variation is probably the best thing TTEDGE teaches and that is not a knock on the rest of it's great content.

The other thing to work on since you are athletic is your timing and spin orientation. In my opinion, for someone with your power base, you are taking the ball way too early and getting rushed into playing shots that deny you the opportunity to show your strength/power advantage. Your strokes are often counter hits when I watch matches. Learning to wait a bit longer for the ball by taking half a step back and to take the ball with spin, while not always 2800 level table tennis, will add more dimensions to your game and will stop you from being scared of falling balls. Some of this may require learning to hit the ball on the side to make good contact. Just learning to move to the ball, play a loop, move to the next ball, play another loop and so on and so forth will make you better. You are often taking balls early before they have slowed down and this reduces what you can bring to bear on the ball. Even with my limited movement, learning to take balls later helped my game a lot and stopped me from rushing. It also gave my game a different dimension and many opponents were not used to balls that came from the angles I was looping from and since they didn't always see the contact, they couldn't adjust properly for the amount of spin. Of course practice taking the ball early as well but also practice taking it later so you can give yourself time to play powerful shots and to see the table.

Finally learning to.defend and counterattack the first attack. If you can push heavy and fast and get a weak opener, you need to learn to put it away. And if someone opens you need to stay in the point to get to the rally. Blocking doesn't win the point against good players but you won't get into many points without it.

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PostPosted: 07 May 2019, 09:42 
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Thanks for the comments guys. Sometimes it just helps hearing various things from different players.

@BRS The forearm was one thing that stood out to me too. I was looking at it differently though, so thanks for bringing it up. What stood out to me was how my elbow lowers as I do the stroke. That looked off to me. Bringing the forearm higher should hopefully help with that too.

I think maybe here it's different to you guys (or maybe not). Even at ~1800, a good percentage of players server short. There are ~1500 or less people that exclusively serve short. I think the reason is that while not professionally coached, nearly all amateur players were coached in some way when they were young. It all depends on the person. But the consistent short serves probably start at the 2200+ level. The older people (like 40+) who are ~2000 usually serve long, though. This is all subjective as pgpg mentioned because we don't actually have ratings here. THAT ALL SAID, I do have a tendency to rely too much on the push, even when the ball is long and loopable... So that's definitely something I need to work on..

While not the best practice, and my usual practice doesn't include much over the table play, I feel there is good value in it!!

In terms of consistency in match play, my forehand opening is probably pretty high, say 70%. My backhand opening is much lower, probably like 50%. If the shot is there, against most players, I make the forehand 80%+ quite easily, and the backhand probably 65% of the time. So there is still a lot of work, especially on the backhand side. My backhand opening lacks quality still, I think. So I'm thinking of dedicating about 30 minutes a week to practicing the banana so I can eventually add it to my game, and the rest on just improving my foundations.

@pgpg Yeah, I really like the rating system the US has. Too bad it doesn't exist here. Video analysis is probably key. Now that you mention it, there are some opponents that push really heavy. Those shots, even if I'm in pretty good position, my consistency goes down a lot. I always underestimate the spin.

@NL I'm personally able to serve short on demand, and I start every match off serving short. Maybe it's my game that's still lacking, but as the game goes on, I generally start serving long more and more. The percentages feel higher when I do. That said, I know it's bad in the long run and it's probably only relying on my opponents not being that high level too. Quality of serve could always be improved, though!

As for timing, I've actually been trying really hard to do that, but I still take the ball way too early, which causes me to reach and play a half-arsed counter/block. My coach has been getting me to take the ball later so I can use more of my body in the shot. It hasn't seeped into my game yet, though!

Seeing so many people overtake me with less than half the play time is a big bummer though!

I'm also thinking my backhand needs some major rework. I think fundamentally I'm just doing it wrong (more than my forehand at least!).


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PostPosted: 07 May 2019, 11:24 
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mickd wrote:
Thanks for the comments guys. Sometimes it just helps hearing various things from different players.

...
Seeing so many people overtake me with less than half the play time is a big bummer though!

..


I definitely understand the feeling, but I think it's better to let it go. I remember having similar thoughts in high school or close to it, when I signed up for something athletic (track?) and was really upset once coach promoted one of my classmates to the next level before me. I was quite unhappy that someone got ahead despite practicing whatever we did less time than I did. Now it feels silly, since, well, he was better at that, and that's all it mattered in the end, not how much time he put in.

Long story short - perhaps these people had more training long time ago, or they have better skills etc. Could be equipment too :lol:

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PostPosted: 07 May 2019, 12:04 
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pgpg wrote:
mickd wrote:
Thanks for the comments guys. Sometimes it just helps hearing various things from different players.

...
Seeing so many people overtake me with less than half the play time is a big bummer though!

..


I definitely understand the feeling, but I think it's better to let it go. I remember having similar thoughts in high school or close to it, when I signed up for something athletic (track?) and was really upset once coach promoted one of my classmates to the next level before me. I was quite unhappy that someone got ahead despite practicing whatever we did less time than I did. Now it feels silly, since, well, he was better at that, and that's all it mattered in the end, not how much time he put in.

Long story short - perhaps these people had more training long time ago, or they have better skills etc. Could be equipment too :lol:


Does it actually matter?

There is this guy who lives in my street and he's made more money than me. Even worse, he made it in less time than me! What should I do?

mickd, thanks for posting the footage. I really like the conversation with BRS, NextLevel and pgpg as well.

Your backhand flick isn't quite "firing". Firing is a term I've found myself using quite a bit lately and it relates to the Kinetic Chain. If the body doesn't propel the arm, the kinetic chain is broken and the shot doesn't fire. It makes sense to a crazy coach like me. I want to make a video about your backhand flick because it's easy to explain and difficult to write about.

I'm currently watching an ITTF junior Camp and there are 24 of the world's best juniors here. It amazes me how well these kids play their shots now. I put it down to YouTube Mirror Neurons. It simply means the kids watch YouTube highlights and copy the pros. Almost of all their shots "fire" correctly and it's incredibly bad for business. YouTube Mirror Neurons seem to deplete as we get older, so I still have a place in the world.

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PostPosted: 07 May 2019, 13:52 
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@pgpg I wish it was the equipment ha. They only use like $20-30 rubbers. I actually know how much they've been practicing because they're my students (at school, not at table tennis, but I do play with them once a week). So I'm super happy at how much they've improved in such a short time, but sad that my skills are so lacking! They usually play about 15 hours a week in a structured way to improve their fundamentals, footwork, multiball, single ball drills, serve practice, etc. Total hours, I've definitely played more though! That said, I didn't have such a great start like they did! They also have on average about two tournaments a month. Just the last 10 days they had 5 tournaments!

@Brett Thanks for having a look, and of course you're welcome to use the footage (it would be my honour ha). I look forward to it!

I like the term "firing". I think it's easy to understand, and you're right. I definitely looked different in the video to what I thought I was doing. So I'm sure the next time I try it, it'll be a little better!! Getting the kinetic chain working in sync will be the real challenge. Most my strokes lack that. I'm definitely a victim of the depleted Mirror Neurons because I can see what they do on YouTube, but can't copy it!


Last edited by mickd on 07 May 2019, 14:50, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 07 May 2019, 14:21 
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@mickd,

A lot of stuff you think is short isn't really short. And if it is short, it usually lacks quality unless the opponent is a higher level player. You rarely see players serving short heavy backspin, which is usually the only serve most players can serve short. They may get lucky with short side backspin into the backhand (really crosscourt), which will be your short forehand. But I suspect anything else will come long and will either be loopable easily or loopable with proper half long technique. And some of it can actually be killed over the table but it all depends on your mental approach to such serves and the quality of the opposition.

It takes time to realize this but it is a very important thing to realize and it helps place you ahead of the game in terms of developing an advanced approach to getting into the point early.

Improving your serve is probably the best thing you can do. Look at the pendulum or backspin vs no spin series and Brett's videos on hownyouae the hips while serving. Send Brett Videos and get feedback. Learning to serve just improves your understanding of how to use your body to get spin. That is my experience at least.

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PostPosted: 07 May 2019, 16:23 
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@NL I agree that a lot of serves people do appear short but aren't really. Most people I know who started playing in middle school (most people that play table tennis here chose it as their school sport) are able to serve short. The quality really depends on the person, and most aren't able to do heavy under (it's usually always side under or no spin). This applies to people who have only been playing for a year as well. Their ratings probably range from 1400-1900. I'm probably overgeneralizing because by chance the schools I go to are some of the top in the prefecture I live in for table tennis, so other schools are probably different. At my schools they usually spend 20+ minutes a day doing serve practice with a bucket of balls. And while it's free for them to try whatever serve they want, during their first 6 or so months, they have to serve short for a portion of the time.

That said, they usually choose to serve long like 60%+ of the time because they're not at a level where they need to serve short (I don't agree that this is necessarily the correct mindset, but I do think the period of learning to serve long, attacking long serves is very important), and their counter game is usually pretty good. Their opponents also aren't as good at returning random fast long serves with varying spins, so they get easy points. Short serves are generally easier for them to return with a push.

Back to me though, I have a tendency to push balls that are half long to my backhand or elbow because I don't have the confidence to open consistently against the serves. So a lot of the time I know the serve may be long, but I lack the technique so I push. I watched a local tournament recently (you probably saw the video I posted at myTT with the two boys, but I also watched the girl's play). It's likely they're at least 2200, probably 2300, but they also pushed a lot and served mostly long. That's probably a stylistic preference, though. I've been thinking about posting the match as well, but it was happening at the same time as the boys, so I only recorded the last set and random points while the boys were inbetween sets.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I feel that when people say people can't serve short until a decently high rating (usually people say around 2000) is false, and that's taking into consideration that lower level players misjudge length. They definitely may not be high quality, so maybe when everyone says serve short, they mean a high quality short serve. BUT that said, I definitely need to take the approach of looping half-long and punishing weak short serves. I need to let go of missing so that I can build the confidence and technique to bring me up a level for sure.

I might spend more time on my serves (like actually record them to review more often) and post them for advice. As you know, I do take a lot of videos, but I know everyone is busy, so I've generally refrained from posting (I don't want to hijack all the great discussion here or take too much time from everyone's days to look at my subpar play ha).

Feel free to say MICK, you're crazy! because I respect all the experience you have, and I know you've played and seen infinitely more than me!


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PostPosted: 08 May 2019, 00:17 
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@mickd,

Yes, the reference is to a high quality short serve. Short Serves with heavy spin require good timing or they drift long because the swing required to create the spin will send the ball long if the timing isn't perfect. So to keep the ball short, people may take something off, but that make it easier to attack as the ball.is not as heavy or is too high. Quality short serves are easy to drop short just by touching the right point on the ball.

As for videos, you are allowed to post anything you want and to saturate the thread with your content no matter how trivial. I actually don't have good editing skills which is why I don't post as much.

Playing in a structured TT environment builds cultural norms that can be hard to see through. Your perception of TT is probably influenced by playing lots of looping juniors. I wouldn't be surprised if the people you are complaining are surpassing you with little training are also looping juniors. It is something you come to accept as how kids develop with the proper coaching and exposure.

The funny thing is that it would be interesting to see what would happen if you started serving quality short sidespin and topspin in the setting you currently play. When I trained my serves a lot, I could do this repeatedly against players up to 2100 with bad over the table strokes (no flicks) and just make them look like amateurs.

In any case post your serve training. There will probably be a lot in there to improve. And like I said, it is one of the very best things in TTEDGE.

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PostPosted: 08 May 2019, 12:31 
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I'm overweight and almost 40, not looking to kill my knees but would like to work up to having bad footwork.

What do we think of these types of exercises?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aAWajWnx1w

No-Jump Plyometric Workout. While I suppose it would be best to go to a more active exercise group later on I was thinking this would be reasonable for those of us with simply terrible footwork.


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PostPosted: 09 May 2019, 05:02 
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You'd be better doing footwork table tennis drills. No jump plyometrics makes no physical sense, there needs to be an explosive release. Plyometrics are not really useful for non elite athletes anyway.

For footwork I don't think you can do better than table specific stuff. Strengthening the legs and improving endurance can help maintain the positions though.


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PostPosted: 09 May 2019, 12:56 
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wilkinru wrote:
I'm overweight and almost 40, not looking to kill my knees but would like to work up to having bad footwork.

What do we think of these types of exercises?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aAWajWnx1w

No-Jump Plyometric Workout. While I suppose it would be best to go to a more active exercise group later on I was thinking this would be reasonable for those of us with simply terrible footwork.


Go to the gym to get stronger and then just play more tt to improve your footwork. Basically what fruitloop said.

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PostPosted: 09 May 2019, 13:48 
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Brett Clarke wrote:
Go to the gym to get stronger and then just play more tt to improve your footwork. Basically what fruitloop said.


These are gym exercises...


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PostPosted: 09 May 2019, 14:11 
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NextLevel wrote:
@mickd,

Yes, the reference is to a high quality short serve. Short Serves with heavy spin require good timing or they drift long because the swing required to create the spin will send the ball long if the timing isn't perfect. So to keep the ball short, people may take something off, but that make it easier to attack as the ball.is not as heavy or is too high. Quality short serves are easy to drop short just by touching the right point on the ball.

As for videos, you are allowed to post anything you want and to saturate the thread with your content no matter how trivial. I actually don't have good editing skills which is why I don't post as much.

Playing in a structured TT environment builds cultural norms that can be hard to see through. Your perception of TT is probably influenced by playing lots of looping juniors. I wouldn't be surprised if the people you are complaining are surpassing you with little training are also looping juniors. It is something you come to accept as how kids develop with the proper coaching and exposure.

The funny thing is that it would be interesting to see what would happen if you started serving quality short sidespin and topspin in the setting you currently play. When I trained my serves a lot, I could do this repeatedly against players up to 2100 with bad over the table strokes (no flicks) and just make them look like amateurs.

In any case post your serve training. There will probably be a lot in there to improve. And like I said, it is one of the very best things in TTEDGE.


Thanks NL. I think this was a quality post. The ones I struggle the most with all play with short pimples on the backhand. They play extremely close to the table and generally have spinny openings on the forehand, but play a very flat countering game after. I have a tendency to return balls too short with my counters/opening loops, which gives them an easy ball to counter over the table. Their blocks are also very flat, which causes me to reach for the ball. They struggle more with balls that land near the end line. The loopers generally take a step back, so they get disturbed by the short length of my counters and loop. I can also block their opening loop relatively well, and their consistency on the 5th ball isn't quite there yet. Still a hard game, but I can generally pull up on top. They are all super fast with their footwork, that's for sure!!

The short side/top serve works wonders against them. They spend time every day doing flicks and 2nd ball attacks, too. So if I overuse it, they adjust enough to attack it. But it always works the first few times if spread out well enough. It's actually becoming one of my staples for easy points recently. A short, side/top hook? (the same type that Hirano Miu often uses) serve.

I'll definitely post a few more videos in the coming weeks :) I have some short videos from my practice last week that I've been thinking about posting. When I record my next serve training, I'll post that too.


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PostPosted: 09 May 2019, 14:16 
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I also agree. I think the best way to improve footwork is by doing footwork drills. If you want to gain power, going to the gym will probably help, but nothing beats footwork drills to improve footwork. If you're struggling because of the weight, going to the gym or exercising to get into a better shape may be a necessary foundation to start improving your footwork.


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