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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 03:11 
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I've now injured my right shoulder, elbow, and wrist at various times over the past decade; all of which are lingering injuries that at my age are never going to fully heal. So, I'm considering training my non-dominant (left) arm to play table tennis.

Has anyone every done this successfully? Any advice out there on this topic??


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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 03:15 
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Sorry to hear about your injury! But everything's possible...



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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 03:18 
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*Shrug...*



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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 04:08 
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I believe Timo Boll is ambidextrous. I'm not.


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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 04:19 
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Have you never tried playing with your non-playing hand? just for fun?

When I was a kid and was playing with other kids at school, we used to do this sometimes, just messing around. It isn't easy and feels very awkward, but I believe it's possible.


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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 04:39 
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ziv wrote:
Have you never tried playing with your non-playing hand? just for fun?

When I was a kid and was playing with other kids at school, we used to do this sometimes, just messing around. It isn't easy and feels very awkward, but I believe it's possible.
Yes, I've tried. My left-handed coordination and power are pathetic. But I'm about to start robot training at my local club, beginning with simple blocking with FH and BH. I also plan on doing regular plyometric exercises with my left arm.


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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 04:48 
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nathanso wrote:
ziv wrote:
Have you never tried playing with your non-playing hand? just for fun?

When I was a kid and was playing with other kids at school, we used to do this sometimes, just messing around. It isn't easy and feels very awkward, but I believe it's possible.
Yes, I've tried. My left-handed coordination and power are pathetic. But I'm about to start robot training at my local club, beginning with simple blocking with FH and BH. I also plan on doing regular plyometric exercises with my left arm.

I think this should work out.

The upside is that this would be a chance to implement a perfect technique from the beginning. Just imagine how perfect your left-handed strokes could be, with all that experience and knowledge that have now and didn't have back in the day when you started as a right-handed player.


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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 06:37 
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Well, in tennis an outstanding Australian player, Ken Rosewall, was natural left-hander but was taught by his father to play right-handed.
But this was since his childhood.

If I remember well, a Swiss-Czech player, Jakob Hlasek, played right-handed until he had problems with his arm (or shoulder), then he switched to left hand, and turned back to right hand after having troubles on the opposite arm (or shoulder). I think he was ambidextrous, as a matter of fact.

It's tennis, not table tennis, but may be interesting anyway.


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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 07:32 
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There's a very good player named Tahl Leibovitz in New York who switches hands all the time. I switch to my left hand every so often when I can't reach the ball with my right, and I've noticed I've gotten a LOT better at being successful with these left-handed shots over time. As far as a player transition to his opposite hand completely, there's one older player (plays with long pips) at my club who did exactly that due to injury. He trained a lot on the robot, and he got significantly better than when he started out, but of course, he's significantly worse than he'd been with his right hand. But the progress he's made is still pretty impressive, so there's hope.

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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 14:26 
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I practiced left-handed for 30 minutes at my local tt club this afternoon using my regular SP/LP paddle.

The club's tt robot was sending me medium-fast topspin balls to deep center table every two seconds.

BH LP blocks were surprisingly easy. FH SP drives felt very awkward with zero feel or any of my usual proprioception from this stroke. Most missed wildly but a decent number went roughly where I was intending. Long way to go here..

BH chops were a non-starter.. zero percent returned.

BH LP drives were tenuous and lacking any control/feel. I made a few but it was obvious that I had none of the muscle development that had taken me so long, initially, to develop this stroke with on my right arm. Long way to go here, too.

And most surprising, my trademark Seemiller-grip BH SP blocks and drives were the most awkward of all, being almost impossible for me to execute left-handed. Not a big problem since I don't intend on importing my Seemiller grip to my left-handed game, but it was interesting nonetheless since I can do these in my sleep right-handed.

I purchased a 12-pack of robot sessions so more to come..


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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 18:25 
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A good start, I'd say.

I had some trouble with my playing arm a few years ago, and found that I could still play a decent game using the "wrong" arm (which in my case is the right arm :D ). Had to focus constantly on proper technique, forget about tactics and such for a while. Whenever I lost focus, balls would fly all over the place.

On a different level, at the time I was first introduced to table tennis, I recall that one of the top national players in Norway was in an accident, severely burned, and could no longer use his right arm (I think). A couple of years later he was back in the top division, using his "wrong hand".

So, yes, it is possible. It is probably going to be hard work, and I believe motivation is the most important factor. Does the pleasure (of improvement, or of just being in the game) outweigh the pain (physical pain, as well as the initial setback and embarassment when you make silly mistakes)? As long as you can find pleasure in the game, and count the mistakes as stepping stones to improvement, you will be fine.

As indicated by ziv, as an experienced player you know about technique and can, to a large extent, be your own coach. Having the coach around all the time is useful, but make sure he (you) is focused on the player's (your) performance all the time. If you notice that the coach in you is slacking off, take a break. When playing with the other hand it is easy to develop bad habits, and particularly in the situation you describe you don't want that.


Last edited by keme on 30 Jul 2019, 18:30, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 30 Jul 2019, 18:26 
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I did try this when tennis elbow set in my right arm.I write left handed so there is some dexterity there but still found it difficult to get the feeling of control needed.Good luck

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PostPosted: 31 Jul 2019, 00:31 
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dazzler wrote:
I did try this when tennis elbow set in my right arm.I write left handed so there is some dexterity there but still found it difficult to get the feeling of control needed.Good luck
How many hours of training did you put in trying to play left handed? Re tennis elbow, http://www.armaid.com fixed mine in short order when many other approaches failed.


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PostPosted: 31 Jul 2019, 01:24 
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Nowhere near enough about 8 one hour sessions over a couple of months ,I could serve safe enough,lp block was OK, topspin was fine when it hit the table but not consistent,injury had gone so no need any more.There is a top division local player who dropped down 1 division to play with his other hand due to injury and still finished top of the averages ;he is an lp chopblocker,I was watching him in a tournament and didn't realise it was his weaker arm till the game got close and he switched back to get over the line

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PostPosted: 31 Jul 2019, 03:18 
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I'm still wondering if it's legal to play with two bats, one in each hand... :lol: No one's showed me any rule that says otherwise, though I don't doubt Igor will, sooner or later...

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