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PostPosted: 03 May 2019, 06:59 
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There are at least two young defenders on the korean team, both are playing at the china open and the hong kong open. Kang Dongsoo and Choi Deokhwa, both could at least reach top 100 in the world I think, if they keep playing. Then there is Artur Abusev from Russia. I guess Tomas Mikutis plays in a lot of world tour events, but unlikely to break into the top 100 at this point.

A young defender won the swedish championships for 13 year olds this year. I think they are still being trained, but we need a defender who can consistently get good results in big tournaments again. I don't think it's necessarily because the style is weaker. I think it's more about coaches being a little afraid of training defenders, due to not being as good at coaching defenders. Which is probably the most important point. If you are going to be a top 100 player, you are probably going to have that goal from the start. You are going to train a lot with good coaches from a young age. These coaches are not going to train a player in a style they are not very familiar with, if they have a goal of being as good as possible.

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PostPosted: 03 May 2019, 14:22 
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You make it sound like this is a new thing... :lol: Defenders at the top level have ALWAYS been a "dying breed", ever since sponge was introduced. What brought a few choppers into the top levels was the introduction of the 40mm ball, which made defending against sponge-powered attack actually possible. Among the women, the defense game has been more viable, perhaps because the amount of power involved is a lot less.

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PostPosted: 04 May 2019, 01:23 
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Rawr wrote:
I don't think it's necessarily because the style is weaker. I think it's more about coaches being a little afraid of training defenders, due to not being as good at coaching defenders. Which is probably the most important point. If you are going to be a top 100 player, you are probably going to have that goal from the start. You are going to train a lot with good coaches from a young age. These coaches are not going to train a player in a style they are not very familiar with, if they have a goal of being as good as possible.


I actually feel the same way. I have taken lessons from a few high level "all out attacker" coaches (2500+, former national team members of their countries who recently moved to the U.S.) and they didn't quite know what to do with me. I am exaggerating a bit but you get my point. Sure we did drills and they suggested minor forehand improvements here and there. But would they try to convince parents of a 7 year old student to become a chopper? Of course not. It's not their style nor they know all the nuances involved.

I think the 3% number of defenders on the tour is spot on. For comparison, of 40 something kids here in Maryland who are part of the talent development team program (think best kids in the region, future competitive players) we only have TWO choppers (and one of them is leaving the program shortly). And this is given the fact that the head coach is a one of the highest ranked choppers in the U.S. Even he cannot persuade parents to have kids try chopping because attacking has higher top potential.


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PostPosted: 04 May 2019, 03:35 
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Top 100, yeah, there'd be 3-4 men (and maybe 6-10 women). Top 20? Maybe 1 or 2 men, 3-4 women. What is Gionis ranked these days?

The coaching thing might have something to do with it, but I don't see the ratios changing much (maybe an extra 1 or 2 in the top 100), even if there were a lot more people being coached to be choppers. There are a LOT more choppers among the middle ranks (say, the top 1000), and even more among, say, the 1700-2000 level, but they don't make it further because the game IS skewed towards topspin attack, due to choices we (or the ITTF, if you want to blame someone) made in the 1959 rules change. Even the "choppers" loop a lot these days, they have to. What would make defense more viable? Maybe reducing rubber thickness to, say, 3mm or increasing the ball size to 42mm... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: 04 May 2019, 05:17 
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I personally think the new larger/slower ABS ball, having less spin, actually FAVORS defenders. Over the past 4-5 years almost all top defenders -- Gionis, Joo, Yuto, Masato Shiono -- won pro tour titles, with Masato taking two.


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PostPosted: 05 May 2019, 11:05 
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notfound123 wrote:
I personally think the new larger/slower ABS ball, having less spin, actually FAVORS defenders. Over the past 4-5 years almost all top defenders -- Gionis, Joo, Yuto, Masato Shiono -- won pro tour titles, with Masato taking two.


Shiono won both of his opens in 2013, before the ABS ball.
Joo hasn't won a pro tour open since 2006 (his only one, incidentally); his two silvers were at the WTTC in 2003 and the Hungarian Open in 2012, unless I'm missing something. He has publicly complained that the ABS ball hinders him.
I don't think Muramatsu has ever won anything. He's been practically MIA the last few years; I think he had a child so maybe he's spending more time doing family things than TT?
Additionally, Filus hasn't won anything, though he's had a number of impressive showings (and a number of unimpressive showings).

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PostPosted: 05 May 2019, 12:26 
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ABS or no ABS, the slightly larger 40+ ball would be slower and should help defenders. The ABS ball is, if anything, closer to the old celluloid balls than the older 40+ balls were.

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PostPosted: 05 May 2019, 13:45 
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iskandar taib wrote:
ABS or no ABS, the slightly larger 40+ ball would be slower and should help defenders. The ABS ball is, if anything, closer to the old celluloid balls than the older 40+ balls were.
Iskandar

Well, I lost 200 ranking point in the shift to new balls, because disturbance was reduced... :swear: :lol: Maybe effect is not similar in top levels. Old balls had often erratic bounces, which was more difficult for the attacker. And blocked or chopped balls were more squirrelly with old ball.


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PostPosted: 05 May 2019, 18:22 
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kaesees wrote:
Shiono won both of his opens in 2013, before the ABS ball.
Joo hasn't won a pro tour open since 2006 (his only one, incidentally); his two silvers were at the WTTC in 2003 and the Hungarian Open in 2012, unless I'm missing something. He has publicly complained that the ABS ball hinders him.
I don't think Muramatsu has ever won anything. He's been practically MIA the last few years; I think he had a child so maybe he's spending more time doing family things than TT?
Additionally, Filus hasn't won anything, though he's had a number of impressive showings (and a number of unimpressive showings).


Joo won the Croatia Open 2016 against no other than Jung Youngsik who beat him in the Korea Open 2015 final. But it takes more than one swallow to make the summer!

I think there are a couple of good defenders upcoming, but until then, we'll have to watch serve-return-boom-point over. If anything is dying it's TT as a spectator's sport.

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PostPosted: 05 May 2019, 19:45 
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Quote:
Shiono won both of his opens in 2013, before the ABS ball.
Joo hasn't won a pro tour open since 2006 (his only one, incidentally); his two silvers were at the WTTC in 2003 and the Hungarian Open in 2012, unless I'm missing something. He has publicly complained that the ABS ball hinders him.
I don't think Muramatsu has ever won anything. He's been practically MIA the last few years; I think he had a child so maybe he's spending more time doing family things than TT?
Additionally, Filus hasn't won anything, though he's had a number of impressive showings (and a number of unimpressive showings).

Muramatsu won the Czech Open in 2016 and also a couple of u21 tournaments

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PostPosted: 06 May 2019, 02:24 
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Yes, the ABS ball is making defense incredibly difficult, and making attack against backspin chops way easier. You can see it on every level, from the lowest leagues where chopping actually makes sense (it doesn't at the very bottom leagues where few people can play Topspins), to the professional level.
I think the only chopper who hasn't massively lost ranks is Filus, and if you watch him play, you'll notice that the reason is that he is so good with everything else he does. Rarely does he win points by playing a chopping game anymore.
I personally know a chopper who plays in the 5th German league (this is still very high level and includes former Top 20 players in the world) and he agrees with me that the ABS ball is a massive disadvantage for choppers. The older generation plastic balls, while still not as good as celluloid were not as bad as ABS balls are.

Just watch this match of of Chtchetinine vs Timo Boll from celluloid times:
https://youtu.be/YndaCyQn_ac?t=259
Look at how much trouble Boll has lifting Chtechinine's backspin, how often he nets the ball and at the technique required to get the ball over the net. You will not find anything even remotely similar in today's topspin vs chopper matches. And this was international top level. Also look at what happens to the ball at 6:04: https://youtu.be/YndaCyQn_ac?t=359

Now compare this to a more recent match of Chtchetinine, from the 4th German league and tell me you don't see a difference in what the attacker can do with Chtchetinine's chops.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2zSol5xdYY


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PostPosted: 06 May 2019, 02:41 
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Iguana wrote:
Yes, the ABS ball is making defense incredibly difficult, and making attack against backspin chops way easier. You can see it on every level, from the lowest leagues where chopping actually makes sense (it doesn't at the very bottom leagues where few people can play Topspins), to the professional level.
I think the only chopper who hasn't massively lost ranks is Filus, and if you watch him play, you'll notice that the reason is that he is so good with everything else he does. Rarely does he win points by playing a chopping game anymore.
I personally know a chopper who plays in the 5th German league (this is still very high level and includes former Top 20 players in the world) and he agrees with me that the ABS ball is a massive disadvantage for choppers. The older generation plastic balls, while still not as good as celluloid were not as bad as ABS balls are.

Just watch this match of of Chtchetinine vs Timo Boll from celluloid times:
https://youtu.be/YndaCyQn_ac?t=259
Look at how much trouble Boll has lifting Chtechinine's backspin, how often he nets the ball and at the technique required to get the ball over the net. You will not find anything even remotely similar in today's topspin vs chopper matches. And this was international top level. Also look at what happens to the ball at 6:04: https://youtu.be/YndaCyQn_ac?t=359

Now compare this to a more recent match of Chtchetinine, from the 4th German league and tell me you don't see a difference in what the attacker can do with Chtchetinine's chops.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2zSol5xdYY


Although I agree completely, isn't it the nature of a defender and defense in general that he/she/it can adapt to all kind of circumstances thrown at them?

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PostPosted: 06 May 2019, 02:46 
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Lorre wrote:
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Although I agree completely, isn't it the nature of a defender and defense in general that he/she/it can adapt to all kind of circumstances thrown at them?


In theory yes, but if the other side does not have to deal with the same amount of challenges, then balance will be tipped. Will be interesting to see how game evolves: is there an example from another sport where one specific style is becoming too dominant?

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PostPosted: 06 May 2019, 05:32 
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Lorre wrote:
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Although I agree completely, isn't it the nature of a defender and defense in general that he/she/it can adapt to all kind of circumstances thrown at them?

A chopper cannot undo the laws of physics. The only way to adapt is to play more aggressively, at least at the better levels. But that is not adapting, it's changing the style of play. And it doesn't make any sense "You can still be a defender, all you have to do is you must also attack". But then why defend in the first place? That's what I often think when I watch Filus. He goes into a long chopping rally and in the end wins the point by attacking. I always think "wouldn't it have been more energy efficient to start with the attack in the first place?". That's the conclusion most players come to.
The change to ABS Balls is probably the greatest change to Table Tennis since the introduction of sponged rubbers. And the ABS ball will do to choppers what sponged rubbers did to hardbat players.

pgpg wrote:
In theory yes, but if the other side does not have to deal with the same amount of challenges, then balance will be tipped. Will be interesting to see how game evolves: is there an example from another sport where one specific style is becoming too dominant?

Very few sports have ever had the variety of styles Table Tennis has had (note how j-pen is also dying out).
But it did happen, e.g. in Tennis, where serve and volley has all but disappeared. There is a nice video on youtube on the reasons why this happened: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3SmrwGg1gE

Of course, there are also sports where styles died out because of a new style appearing that was clearly superior, e.g. the Fosbury Flop in High Jump.


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PostPosted: 06 May 2019, 09:04 
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Iguana wrote:
Lorre wrote:
...
Although I agree completely, isn't it the nature of a defender and defense in general that he/she/it can adapt to all kind of circumstances thrown at them?

A chopper cannot undo the laws of physics. The only way to adapt is to play more aggressively, at least at the better levels. But that is not adapting, it's changing the style of play. And it doesn't make any sense "You can still be a defender, all you have to do is you must also attack". But then why defend in the first place? That's what I often think when I watch Filus. He goes into a long chopping rally and in the end wins the point by attacking. I always think "wouldn't it have been more energy efficient to start with the attack in the first place?". That's the conclusion most players come to.
The change to ABS Balls is probably the greatest change to Table Tennis since the introduction of sponged rubbers. And the ABS ball will do to choppers what sponged rubbers did to hardbat players.

pgpg wrote:
In theory yes, but if the other side does not have to deal with the same amount of challenges, then balance will be tipped. Will be interesting to see how game evolves: is there an example from another sport where one specific style is becoming too dominant?

Very few sports have ever had the variety of styles Table Tennis has had (note how j-pen is also dying out).
But it did happen, e.g. in Tennis, where serve and volley has all but disappeared. There is a nice video on youtube on the reasons why this happened: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3SmrwGg1gE

Of course, there are also sports where styles died out because of a new style appearing that was clearly superior, e.g. the Fosbury Flop in High Jump.


I think Filus isn't the greatest example out there of a defender TBH. In his earliest career he wasn't a real defender, but more of an allrounder using LPs. Ma Te is a much better example. He's still what we'd call a defender. Tha basis of his game is defense.

I also think it's a fairytale there was a time a defender didn't have to have the ability to attack. It's true he must use it's attack more often these days, but it wasn't the case a defender hadn't to use it's attack.

If anything defense makes the attacker vulnerable positionwise to a counterattack he can't deal with. That's the true treat of defense. And because of that the attacker must take risks against the defender's defense. Therefore defense works at such high levels of play. This is something that will never disappear, unless we'll all be playing something different than TT.

Nowadays quick attacking with less spin is the way to go in TT. Guess what: we've seen this already and the ITTF will take measures again to counter this style, once it is mastered by the Chinese. Spin will become more dominant again to counter these types of play. Result: smaller plastic ball. Reasoning: rallies are too short. Real reasoning: the Chinese are too dominant, so we must counter this dominance to make the sport more attractive so it'll bring us more money. Short term thinking. If the ITTF would think long term, they'd embrace as much styles as they can and make rules so every style of play becomes an equal contender to be the style of the best. That and only that will make TT a more attractive sport to watch.

If Joo was born in a more defender friendly era, he could have been the best.

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