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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 10:26 
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Thanks again for the replies. Grateful as always.

NL - me and WF are good mates so not everything we discuss posted or on video. During our practice session I talked about lower stance, swing plane and not to hit the ball so hard. Once again though it can become overwhelming as pointed out when too much information is presented so in the end I we may have not focussed on anything or chopped and changed a bit much. I agree with you though and I'm please that you and others have confirmed mine and WF's thoughts he may be taking the ball too soon. :up: :up:

BRW - I also had a look at his grip however my thought on that one is that is just one more thing to worry about at this early stage so will address that later. I've got a similar grip to WF and although its improved, I've found it very difficult to change but still getting pretty decent improvement in my loop despite the grip so don't see it as one of the essential things to change at this stage. Good spot though and we'll get to it. :up:

My idea for next week is to work on taking the ball later with a really high arm action. To do this I'm going to get WF to take a forehand stance, but have the shoulders turned to 90 degrees to the table. I'm them going to get him to move his arm from low to high, nearly vertical to hit the ball and see if we can get some of the fine contact happening. Then progress to some shoulder turn.

New bat is on its way too. Another member of the Donic Appelgren Allplay club along with Galaxy Mars II 2.0mmm 33 degree. Decided on non-tacky as he's not a plastic protector sheet kind of guy.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 13:07 
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I know you already answered this, but I'll add my 2 cents all the same.

Grip and stance.
Yes they can be fixed later, but then you'll be rebuilding again, to some degree.

His finger up the rubber has given him a very FH dominant grip.
I used to change from FH to BH dominant grip as I played and decided that this was not advantageous.
It's not that hard to change and it's possible that waiting to change might make him less likely to change later.

Stance: not only is his stance not low or wide enough, he also stands up for each loop.
This is a bad habit that I struggle with.
Better sooner than later to fix this.

Now something I learned having Brian Pace analyse my FH and he gave me a practice video to develop my FH loop, was that you start with everything correct.
Grip, stance, back swing, ball contact, etc, but to keep from getting overwhelmed and not really building anything.
His training plan for me would have me do everything properly, but to Focus on one major aspect at a time.
Each set of drills was 1 minute long with 20 second break. Do 4 minute drill back to back.
Then take a one minute break and do a second set of drills following the same four by one minute sets.

Set 1.
Focus on bending the right leg to low angle.
And even though he's doing a loop, the main focus is on bending the leg and using it for power.
So you do 4 sets of that focus.

Set 2.
Hip rotation.
You still bend the leg, you still do a full loop, but the focus is on hip rotation.

Set 3.
Straightening the arm on the back swing.

Set 4. Where to contact the ball with your racket.

Set 5. Focus on friction over force.

Set 6. Contacting the ball at top of bounce.

Set 7. Placing the ball high over the net and deep on the table.
And so on.

I've coached a couple of people and have found this 'concentration' method very effective.

Good luck.

It's always nice to see someone who gets awakened to a table tennis journey.
We have so many guys at our club that should be outright dangerous in a year or two if they started the same kind of training that your friend is doing.
Congratulations to you both.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 14:39 
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Thanks Red Roar, thats a very interesting a approach and perhaps one we can put into practice. I can see how the 1 minute / 20 second interval could just allow you to reset and your brain adjust. I've seen Brett Clarke do something similar with BRW on video for his backhand loop. Also its similar to perhaps what Lordcope and BRW have discussed in relation to Lordcopes serving thread. Short bursts done frequently rather than longer sessions less frequent.

By the way, I hope you guys enjoy these videos and are happy for me to keep putting them up. I know I like seeing other peoples and I appreciate the feedback even if I don't put everything into practice, at least at first.

Keep the comments coming.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 17:28 
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Cobalt wrote:
Thanks Red Roar, thats a very interesting a approach and perhaps one we can put into practice. I can see how the 1 minute / 20 second interval could just allow you to reset and your brain adjust. I've seen Brett Clarke do something similar with BRW on video for his backhand loop. Also its similar to perhaps what Lordcope and BRW have discussed in relation to Lordcopes serving thread. Short bursts done frequently rather than longer sessions less frequent.

By the way, I hope you guys enjoy these videos and are happy for me to keep putting them up. I know I like seeing other peoples and I appreciate the feedback even if I don't put everything into practice, at least at first.

Keep the comments coming.


I love the vids.

Also regarding the 20 second breaks, if your Mate widens his stance and starts engaging the deeper leg bends on his loops, then he'll need the 20 seconds to reset his muscles.

About a year ago I've used this method with a very fit guy whom I had given a few basic lessons and told him that today was loop day and when I told him we would do 1 minute on and 20 second breaks...

He told me after the 1 hour session that when I said that, he was going to tell me that he could easily do 5 minutes straight and several times before the hour was up, I had to stop before the 1 minute time was up and he successfully sweated out a shirt.

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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2017, 03:36 
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Cobalt wrote:
Thanks again for the replies. Grateful as always.

NL - me and WF are good mates so not everything we discuss posted or on video. During our practice session I talked about lower stance, swing plane and not to hit the ball so hard. Once again though it can become overwhelming as pointed out when too much information is presented so in the end I we may have not focussed on anything or chopped and changed a bit much. I agree with you though and I'm please that you and others have confirmed mine and WF's thoughts he may be taking the ball too soon. :up: :up:

BRW - I also had a look at his grip however my thought on that one is that is just one more thing to worry about at this early stage so will address that later. I've got a similar grip to WF and although its improved, I've found it very difficult to change but still getting pretty decent improvement in my loop despite the grip so don't see it as one of the essential things to change at this stage. Good spot though and we'll get to it. :up:

My idea for next week is to work on taking the ball later with a really high arm action. To do this I'm going to get WF to take a forehand stance, but have the shoulders turned to 90 degrees to the table. I'm them going to get him to move his arm from low to high, nearly vertical to hit the ball and see if we can get some of the fine contact happening. Then progress to some shoulder turn.

New bat is on its way too. Another member of the Donic Appelgren Allplay club along with Galaxy Mars II 2.0mmm 33 degree. Decided on non-tacky as he's not a plastic protector sheet kind of guy.



If WH is reading this, he should throw a roundhouse punch or uppercut and try to figure out where the punch was strongest if he doesn't go off balance to throw it. It has to be where his body was rotating and that is usually close to the body and at a point where the elbow is over the right foot/thigh. Anything further out in front is losing the power and is taking the ball too early. He can move that power point closer to the ball by stepping in closer, but he can't change it relative to his body by reaching out to hit the ball.

If WH can mimic this swing with a stick or something like that, it might help him a lot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_q1BmuQEGp0

Grip and bending the knees are important at a certain level, but I think there is a lot of room for progress without changing either. I know better players than myself who played with equally flawed grips and less knee bend.

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2017, 07:17 
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What I like about this thread isn't the information being given about how to play a forhand (although there is some confusion around whether your friend should / is playing a forhand drive or forhand loop - they are different shots with similar but not identical technique), what I like is reading how people suggest to explain the technique to your friend.

As someone who coaches, one of the hardest things to do is find a way to connect to the person you're trying to help, connect in a way that they can pick up, understand and benefit from the advice being given. Everyone has a preferred learning style and finding their preferred learning style is key to helping them develop. There is an occasion in the later video where your friend says "too much" information. Breaking down the technique in to small bite sized chunks is one good way of helping him, but you also need to consider does your friend learn best by
- actually doing the skill
- being given lots of information about the skill they can take away and think about
- having the skill demonstrated to them so they can actually see what needs to be done
- verbal description, having it described to them or
- a combination of all the above

You also need to consider the type of feedback you give. For example
- are you giving feedback there and then as it happens (which can confuse and overwhelm some people) or are you going to
- demonstrate over and over the skill til they get it right or
- wait until the routine is over and then give feedback

Lastly the structure of the sessions needs to be considered - which I can read you are doing. Type of things to consider include
- making it clear to your friend in advance of each session what you intend to do
- start and end on time
- keeping him busy the whole time so he doesn't get bored
- promote competition (competiton can be a good motivator and demotivator)
- include lot's of variety
- include the behaviours required in competition
- involve your friend in goal-setting
- generate constructive and appropriate feedback (which varies from person to person) - constructive focuses on what they are doing well and how they can do things even better, not over emphasing what they are doing wrong
- evaluate the training session as soon as possible afterwards (which is what you're doing here and hopefully with your friend too)
- encouraging other friends to make a positive contribution

This last section was taken fron an article called "Psychological considerations of effective coaching" by Richard Cox. The earlier parts are snippets from the UKCC level 1 coaching syllabus.

My point is simple, in my experience, helping someone develop isn't just about telling them the correct technique - anyone can read a book or article and regurgitate to a friend or team mate the correct technique. The key to helping your friend improve - which is what your title refers to - is finding a way to connect with him and provide him with the type of sessions and feedback which suits his learning style and needs. This point is not overkill, it isn't over analyis, it's basic good coaching practise. If you can do that with your friend, if you can connect with him, find how he learns best, then his improvement in technique will follow quickly. If you can't connect, you'll be banging your head against a brick wall and end up simply frustrating both your friend and yourself.

I hope people continue to share not just technique but good ways they've found of explaining things or connecting with people too.

Thanks for posting the vids and starting the topic Cobalt.

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2017, 08:02 
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When I coach, I tell people that the difference between adults and children is that adults, especially those who did well in school, have become so used to using language that they think a lot of learning is systematic and linguistic in nature. It's usually far more heuristic with trial and error.

IF WH is willing to just take a proper stroke and swing at the ball over and over again, he may miss a lot, but after doing it for a few minutes or a few hours or a few days, he will start putting more balls on the table and his stroke will be transformed for the better, the rest being how to adjust to hitting the ball for different spins (since he is an experienced player, this will not be as hard as it would be for a beginner).

What happens to most adults is that they get shown a proper stroke, then one of two things happens:

1. They focus on getting the ball on the table from the very beginning. Usually the best tool for doing this is ... the stroke they already know how to control. So they use that and then say they can't do the new stroke because they cannot put the ball on the table immediately with it.
2 They try the new stroke for a couple of minutes, get frustrated because they aren't hitting a lot of balls on the table with it, and just go back to what they always knew.

1 and 2 sound pretty similar because they are. People don't want to miss and don't want to trust the learning process. They want to get good at what they were learning today yesterday, want to master calculus without learning algebra, want to juggle 4 balls before they can juggle 1 and they get frustrated.

But what I usually promise my students is that if they learn to swing at the ball properly, the brain is already aware of the goal, it just needs to learn to complete the goal in a new way with a new stroke. If they just continue to swing at the ball with the new stroke, I can tell them minor changes in bat angle and contact point to make, and over time, their stroke will look really good.

The challenge is getting students to see that the misses are good for learning, and not everyone fully buys in, but when they do, good things happen really really fast. The fastest way to never improve in table tennis is to be always concerned with hitting the ball on the table. Far more important is to try different ways of swinging at the ball and understanding how the ball responds. You can learn a lot by trying to loop the ball into the net, you may just find out that what you thought would put the ball into the net creates a quality low arcing trajectory with spin!

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2017, 09:21 
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BRS wrote:
The slo-mo bit is more a swipe across the ball than a shallow swing. You are right that he is reaching out for the ball and needs to wait a little longer.

My candidate for one simple thing to fix is his grip. His index finger is way up the backhand rubber. I think that grip contributes to the funky swipe swing patterns.

totally agree with this - the first thing I noticed about his forehand in the video below. Index finger is too much up the middle of the bat - needs to be more relaxed towards the edge. This is tightening the wrist, instead of keeping it flexible, and forcing the "windscreen wiper" forehand shot, instead of a loop.


also, feet a bit too close together, and too parallel, as others have said.
Edit: read further on the comments from NL and Cobalt - and agree swing is more important - unless the grip is forcing him to compromise on swing. Swing finishes way across the body, it should finish as NL says


Last edited by PRW on 05 Jan 2017, 10:02, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2017, 10:00 
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It's not so much the index finger but how the handle sits in the fingers. I know good players with that index finger position.

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2017, 10:04 
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NextLevel wrote:
It's not so much the index finger but how the handle sits in the fingers. I know good players with that index finger position.

Hi NL, yes I agree - I just didn't like the windscreen swipe across the body. Also, his body bobs a bit - drops down just before the stroke, then up again - as my coach advises, "pretend you are balancing a bucket of water on your head..."


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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2017, 10:09 
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With a bit of luck the new bat arrives today and if so we will have bit of a hit tonight. Will only be short but might be able to post a video. If so I'll be working on swing plane and shoulder rotation.

Edit: Bat arrived, thanks OOAK shop. Haven't had a hit, thought that a bit rude to try before WF however i did do a quick plink/donk test and sounds higher pitched that my own Appelgren senso and Yasaka Extra. A quick ball bounce test though was the opposite with little bounce but that could just be the initial tack of new rubbers. Bring on tonight !!

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PostPosted: 05 Jan 2017, 21:40 
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WF came around tonight for a hit with the new bat. I had a hit with the new bat and its great. Appelgren Allplay with Mars II 2.0mm 33 degree. I would be happy to use it. Far better than the N11 with 868 that I used late last year. Nice feel, plenty of spin, enough speed, overall i was very impressed. The Mars is likely to be the rubber of choice for club bats in the future as opposed to the XP pro and 729 Super soft that I tend to get now.

We played a few games then did a couple of drills. I set up the camera but forgot to turn it on so no footage. Was a bit of a shame as was a really good session.

Got Wf to stand in forehand position but shoulders 90 degrees to the table ie side on. I then fed some gentle balls and got him to wait for them and swing pretty much vertical by straightening the arm the snapping upward. This was designed to keep his wrist straight and he had no choice but to swing high. He did really well. The contact was really fine with plenty of spin. Of course the ball went quite high with plenty shots missing the table but this was the idea. Not worry where the ball went and just concentrate on contact, or lack of ie friction not force.

We then progressed to doing the same starting position but this time rotating the shoulders back to square. Again did very well. A few lapses and by no means perfect but overall played a high stroke ending head high and I could see that we've turned the corner.

Lastly we tried some 3rd ball. Wf served, I pushed, he looped. First one was just like his old ways but adjusted for the next one and played a good shot. 3rd was old style, 4th was new. Stopped after those few as I could see that it was becoming too many things to concentrate on and risked going backwards so we called it a night pretty happy with the gains made.

Not sure if we'll post video for a while as we feel we have enough suggestions for now and fear it could become a bit overwhelming with too many things to think about. We've picked a few things out of all the suggestions, the most common ones ie knee bend, rotation, take ball later and swing plane and will just work on those for a while and hopefully can post a video in the next couple of weeks with some obvious gains.



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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2017, 08:00 
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Cobalt,

One thing I will recommend is that if the ball is going long, there are adjustments that the student can make when you are confident that the right swing is being consistently tried.

When looping slower balls, I like to think of my stroke as slinging around the ball - in Nigerian, some coaches call looping "shaping the ball". So I always recommend that the student come round the side of the ball and forward, not to hook the ball, but to play a straight topspin. You do this fairly well, and you explained it in one of your videos so I won't belabor the point.

The second thing is to play around with the plane of the swing and/or the contact point on the ball. I try to avoid speaking about racket angles and focus on swing planes and contact points. If the ball is going long or high, then the contact point on the ball is currently too low and needs to be higher on the ball. If the ball is going into the net, the contact point is too high and needs to be lower on the ball. I usually tell people who are looping blocks to topspin balls to come round the side of the balll more while closing their angles so that they avoid finishing across their bodies. But this is rarely an issue when looping backspin.

But all these adjustments begin when you are sure that the basic stroke is in place. Over time, the student needs to learn to take a guess of how much spin is on the ball and adjust their stroke accordingly. Brushing with good spin gives them more margin for error, but they still have to continue to read how much margin for error they have and make adjustments. As long as the students are not bothered too much with missing, the subconscious mind eventually starts adjusting the stroke to the spin if the goals are clear. But if they are bothered too much by missing, the frustration tends to make it harder for the mind to even try.

If the student goes through this process against all kinds of spins (Backspin, topspin, no spin, sidespin), the student over time sees that the loop as one stroke with adjustments made to the swing plane and contact depth to adjust to the specific spin and speed of the incoming ball and how the student intends to play it. I am not a believer in the "I need a loop for this, a loop for this" approach to TT. Brett convinced me that was unnecessary a long time ago. Generally, if you have a good loop, and tend to struggle to loop a particular kind of spin, you usually simply haven't practiced looping that spin.

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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2017, 10:12 
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Swing plane is something we will work on and adjust once I'm confident that the higher swing is more or less ingrained and feeling comfortable. Hopefully next session or two would nearly see this out. The balls were going long as we were playing an unrealistic stroke. Playing a near vertical stroke with no shoulder turn against a light topspin ball was never going to land, at least not without going way into the air.

The result was achieved though with WF getting a good feel for how it should feel off the bat when doing a slow spinny loop.

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PostPosted: 06 Jan 2017, 13:27 
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Cobalt wrote:
Swing plane is something we will work on and adjust once I'm confident that the higher swing is more or less ingrained and feeling comfortable. Hopefully next session or two would nearly see this out. The balls were going long as we were playing an unrealistic stroke. Playing a near vertical stroke with no shoulder turn against a light topspin ball was never going to land, at least not without going way into the air.

The result was achieved though with WF getting a good feel for how it should feel off the bat when doing a slow spinny loop.



I've also noticed that when people are learning to loop. That when they start to get the mechanics correct, then they tend to loop the ball a bit long and a tad high, as when the proper whip starts and the other elements start to come together they get a lot more power with the same effort.

Fortunately the adjustment for this happens quite fast usually.
The main thing that I've found is to just make sure that the learner keeps the major components that they've learned the same and just let the brain make the micro adjustments to eventually get the ball on the table.

It sounds like things are going well.
Can't wait to see the videos when you're ready.

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