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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 01:48 
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Welcome to the "5 Minutes Daily" Service Practice Challenge

I will run this challenge every month, and attempt to keep to it each month. The challenge is to spend (at least) 5 minutes every day, working on a focussed aspect of your serve, every day of the month. Here's how it works:

- Make a somewhat detailed post describing your practice every day during the month.
- No back-dating or pre-dating posts or practice sessions.
- On the last day of the month, if you completed the challenge, post about it, preferably in red text or something so I can notice it. I will be lobbying the mods for a special award / title that can be given to those who complete the challenge.

In your post, please:

- Detail what you did for at least five minutes of practice - with a table? on the floor? on the bed? at the club? with one ball or many? shadow swings?
- Video footage would be *awesome* - I'm hoping this will get me into the habit of recording myself again

Enjoy and practice hard!

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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 02:25 
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Jan 1st 2017

In my office, I rolled out a thin rug, maybe 1.5 metres long and 75 cm wide. I knelt at one end, and placed a box at the other end, to stop balls. I tried to serve the ball with pure underspin, with the objective of getting the ball to land and come back to me. Most serves had "some" spin on them, but without exception they all had side spin too, so instead of coming straight back, came back at an angle 45 degrees behind straight, and went off the rug. I was trying to catch the ball lightly and brush from say 5 o'clock through to 7 o'clock.

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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 06:26 
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I like it. This is a nice challenge.

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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 10:44 
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Do you think a few minutes daily is really beneficial compared to an equal amount of reps concentrated on two or three days? They say that is true of learning to play piano so maybe the same applies to TT.

I don't practice serves in isolation on days that I play matches or practice with a partner, but I could easily add five minutes of serves if it would make a difference.


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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 11:30 
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my two cents -

Kneeling on the floor type practice works to learn racket motions and wrist action and contact points, etc. Hard to do waist turn when kneeling, but maybe it can be done*
Most any hard flat table at home can work with an upright cardboard box placed at net distance away from one end, with a hole cut across above where net level would be. It doesn't have to be a full width table either. Good serves stay in the box.

*A big thing is missing with floor practice. Your routine immediately after you strike the serve is important.
It is very common to see a player practicing serving out of a box of balls with zero footwork, never moving their feet into point playing position. They just reach for another ball and serve away.

Watch any pro player and they have specific grooved footwork after every serve. It usually looks so natural, smooth and fast that you have to study it and try to see it in slow motion.

Good after serve footwork ought to be grooved and serving a whole box of balls by just reaching into the box unfortunately grooves a "no footwork" pattern. Of course, it's much more work to move your feet on every serve, but don't just tell yourself you'll move when it's game time, do at least a box or two with the full footwork where you move into the right playing position and depth for the most likely returns, e.g. a bit closer if you did a short serve, a little farther back if you did a long serve.

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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 15:55 
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Ok I did 5 minutes on long fast serves.
3 targets cross, center and down the line.
I am trying to increase the speed of the serve with less errors.
Working on the arm being more relaxed during the stroke.
Working on seeing the ball hit the end of the table.
Working on a bit of a brett wipp motion at the start.
Over the next few days, trying to incorporate starting the arm more behind the body and turning during the stroke.
I plan to video to see if I can be more deceptive.


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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 16:04 
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Did way more than 5 minutes. Anyways, here is my modest contribution for a serve I need to fix - coming round the back and not enough round the side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RTCxJYfyOo

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PostPosted: 02 Jan 2017, 22:04 
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NextLevel wrote:
Did way more than 5 minutes. Anyways, here is my modest contribution for a serve I need to fix - coming round the back and not enough round the side.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RTCxJYfyOo

NL, I'd suggest that you are contacting the ball a little high above the table in most cases, causing the serve to be a bit bouncy and also preventing you from really whipping your bat through to generate enough spin. The contact should be around net height and this will keep the ball lower as well as allowing you to really force the racket head through, spinning the ball INTO the table. That is a strange thought at first but give it a try.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 01:19 
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BRS wrote:
Do you think a few minutes daily is really beneficial compared to an equal amount of reps concentrated on two or three days? They say that is true of learning to play piano so maybe the same applies to TT.

I don't practice serves in isolation on days that I play matches or practice with a partner, but I could easily add five minutes of serves if it would make a difference.


I'm pretty sure that 5 mins is enough to work on a specific skill. I took the idea from golf, where I definitely found that as little as 5 mins a day made a big differnence. I think also committing to 5 mins is a good way to manage to do more. The idea of having to go somewhere, set up the table, etc etc seems overwhelming, but if one can do something meaningful for 5 mins, even at home, that helps one stay in a growth mindset.

Certainly I suspect that 5 mins 7 times a week is as effective or maybe more effective than 30 mins once a week. But I guess we'll find out!

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 01:22 
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NextLevel wrote:
here is my modest contribution for a serve I need to fix


Good stuff, NL. My observation is that the ball seems to land quite near your side of the table, which intrigues me. You're clearly getting plenty of spin. Height over the net seems a little much, and with the spin you're putting on the ball, I think these serves wouldn't be too difficult to flick.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 01:47 
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LordCope wrote:
NextLevel wrote:
here is my modest contribution for a serve I need to fix


Good stuff, NL. My observation is that the ball seems to land quite near your side of the table, which intrigues me. You're clearly getting plenty of spin. Height over the net seems a little much, and with the spin you're putting on the ball, I think these serves wouldn't be too difficult to flick.


I can see there is an issue even on my side - my other serves tend to have more spin and travel through the table faster and lower so I have pretty much retired the reverse serve from my rotation until I fix it.

That said, the serve has much more backspin than you think it does. Most people below a certain level put it into the net the first time and since it is too high, I can only use it once before being forced to retire it.

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PostPosted: 03 Jan 2017, 09:37 
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2nd January

I bought a new tripod and a long sheet of black cotton to put on the dining table to make a surface that would take some spin.

Didn't get around to charging the camera, so no video yet.

Did 5 mins serving on the table onto the cotton. Was aiming to get the ball to come back to me. I'd say about half span back and then to the right because of side spin, but certainly some came back.

The objective here is to get a feel for the contact on the ball and get feedback when I change things. So I'm not concentrating on how high the ball bounces, or if it would clear a net. Rather on verifying that I am putting spin on the ball, and how much, and which spin.

I must say that compared to a year or so ago when I was trying to do bed serves, I'm definitely generating much more spin, even with short pips.


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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2017, 03:28 
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Tried serving again yesterday. Got my reverse serve lower to the table per so_devo's recommendation. Was happier with the trajectory, but not as much with the spin. But as with all things, it is a process. Will likely have video later this week.

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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2017, 04:30 
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I had some down time at the local club last night and a table was free, so I did 5 minutes of reverse serves with a partner flicking them. A few had enough backspin for him to net them, but most were ducks.

It was useful because practicing alone I don't get good feedback about the spin, only reading the trajectory.

My favorite practice partner is coming over today, so I will be serving short straight backspin to work on my bh opening loop.


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PostPosted: 04 Jan 2017, 14:43 
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5 min of reverse serve floor serve testing to see if I could get heavy backspin. Could not focus but had an idea of what to try next time at the table.

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