After a month long wait, yesterday I received my new bat - Butterfly Timo Boll Spirit FL with Tenergy 05 FX 2.1 as fh and Sriver FX 2.1 as bh. Few things beat the excitement of a new TT bat for me.
My play style - My strengths are blocking and close to the table play (1700 level) but I am developing into a two winged looper . Trying to translate the training/technique into games. With 8 years of mostly regular but uncoached play, my technique is not air tight but table control is a strength in my game.
Previous Setup - Donic Epox Offensiv, Mark V fh 2.1, Stiga Mendo MP bh 2.1. Before that I played with Stiga Allround classic with Mark VsAppearance
- The paddle has a very compact head compared to other blades. The handle is much narrower at the top than the Donic I am used to which means more wrist leeway. Instant looping inspiration! I like thin blades and I like TBS as well in this department.
Tenergy looks soft and grippy and I have heard so much about it (played only a few shots) that I was just dying to see if it was IT for me.
Balance - Point blank the most balanced blade I have held along with the Primorac Carbon. I have always wanted to own a Butterfly blade as I just love those handle shapes and blade dimensions since the days of Jonyer!
Couterhitting - Coming from my Mark V setup, the 05 FX is significantly faster - especially on the faster blade. I was expecting having to make considerable changes to my hit style for the new rubber but nothing doing. All hits on the table. I started hitting with my coach and after the first fh rally itself, he was whooo! Thats how easy I found it to be.
Backhand counterhit was too slow with Sriver. The stroke had to be more pronounced which for me is definitely not an improvement. Loop Drills
Lets start with some background here. I have been facing a lot of issues with my fh loop against backspin and my accuracy was lower than what I expect out of myself. I dont think there is something thats way too off with my technique and used to believe that its a combination of the Donic Epox Offensiv with Mark V which for some reason was not going all to well with it.FH Loop drive
Even as I tried to get to the best grip possible, everything would land on the table! I know this sounds crazy but I had much longer drills without the ball going out of play. I felt as if tenergy has a significant dip with the Magnus effect even on minimal spins (like fast drives). Slow drives are hard to miss. Period. I had never really got going on my fast drive (horizontal swing with wrist snap) with the older setup. With tenergy, I was doing much better though still not there.
Trying to get used to the distinct click sound this rubber makes Bh loops -
My coach and I were working on the drills and I did close to 150 bh loops (slow and fast) against backspin that he would feed and had an accuracy slightly better than my previous setup. Even on a pronounced swing/brush, I felt I am having to make too much of a motion. If the blade is fast enough on the fh, it should be more than enough on my bh which means the rubber is too slow. Next time I am going to try using the tenergy and see if its good or too much to handle for me.In game
With the new setup, I missed very few fh loops I attempted in games. For someone trying to move from blocker to looper, this is very exciting. Overall, from the first game itself, I had more confidence in my strokes and could play more aggressively. I need some adjustments in my close to net shots - flicks, shot pushes - but nothing earth shattering. I didnt get to play strong opponents so everything is still under consideration.Blocking
Looping is all good but blocks are my pride in the game
. I tried to ensure they are not sacrificed in the new setup. Had to be softer on forehand (alright) but harder on bh which is again not good. Serving
Serves for me are very important. With tenergy serves had slightly more spin than the Mark V I am used to but serving short needed adjustments as expected with a bouncy rubber. Sriver was a dud in this department but then I expected that along with the Mendo I have.
In game adjustments
Tenergy seems to demand and facilitate active play. Kind of exactly what I needed.
Next - League play - I have been getting beaten by lesser players on account of inability to translate training into the game and playing passive. I dont think bh side is affected but with a much stronger fh loop, I hope to do slightly better. Will be looking to pivot a lot more and will update after Tuesday league.
For someone trying very hard to reach the next level of play, these are exciting times!