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PostPosted: 13 Feb 2018, 20:46 
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I've been playing pretty well in the last 6 weeks. I'm mostly managing to stay with my aim of not giving away much emotion, and taking my time.

Highlights:

- Got my first 2/3 in the top flight
- Had my best competitive win of my TT career so far
- Got 2/3 and POTM when playing up for the top team in my club

I went to a different club to train on Friday as I had a tournament coming up, and playing unknown players is a good way to sharpen up. It was instructive - one of the players was a very promising cadet - left handed, with very good serves into my FH, and very good attacks off my serves. Really highlighted where I needed to focus attention.

I'm finding I'm able to introduce more chopping into my game. Interestingly this isn't necessarily a function of the players I'm playing - it's a mindset thing. I trust my footwork more, and my shots are better. I'm finding I'm winning quite a lot of points by just defending / containing, and by aiming to play the ball on consistently, rather than going for a belter.

No equipment changes, and none planned, although I did have an interesting conversation with my Dad which got me thinking a bit. My Dad has a pretty good BH loop, and a pretty good fh chop. He doesn't have a developed FH topspin, but does have a pretty good FH hit. His rubbers need to be replaced, and I suggested that he might like to try a thin inverted on his FH, to chop, block, and drive, so he's going to give that a go. Then, on Sunday, the subject came up again when I was talking to one of the top players - this time for me! I use SP on my FH, in a similar way - I hit/drive, block, and chop. A thin inverted on my FH would give me more spin on serves, but I'd still be fine for flat hitting, and it might be even better for FH chopping. I might consider toying with that over the summer.

Then played in the Corby Smash Veterans Team event on Sunday, with by club mate. We were seeded 19/24 and came 20/24, which wasn't bad. I had some close matches against decently ranked players, and won a couple too. Enjoyable day out.

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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2018, 16:46 
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The end of the season was a bit quiet. I started a new job, so couldn't play in matches very easily, and training has been a bit more sporadic. Since I knew the season was over, I made the decision to drop LP from my BH for the summer, and improve my reading and handling of spin, and general FH and BH technique.

The first stage was to go back to playing hardbat, since this got me into the mindset of playing an allround game, with symmetrical shots, and it meant I could work with a full swing without worrying too much about overhitting. It also helped me with feeling the ball and control.

Having done that for a month or so, and without any competition on the horizon, yesterday I bit the bullet and procured a 2 x inverted setup: Donic Appelgren Allplay, 2 x Bluestorm Z2, 2.1. I played for a bit less than an hour with it yesterday, and after getting used to it being much faster than my hardbat, I started getting the hang of it. I also asked the person I was training with to do some serves into my BH, so I could get a feel for the adjustments needed.

I'm pretty excited about this - no competition pressure, just a chance to work on technique and spin and feel. Should be very interesting, I'll keep y'all posted,

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Read my blog: "LordCope's Latest Learnings Log": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=24452


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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2018, 18:33 
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LordCope wrote:
I'm pretty excited about this - no competition pressure, just a chance to work on technique and spin and feel. Should be very interesting, I'll keep y'all posted,

That is a very good place to be in mentally. Excited :)


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PostPosted: 17 May 2018, 17:22 
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Well, I've learned a few things.

I don't have much time to train at the moment, and the time I do get to train is mostly exercise-driven, which is enjoyable, but I get very little game play, and when I do, I'm just hopeless, because I haven't grooved the tactics or developed the feel. I find myself losing to 4th division players, and really not enjoying myself at all.

The realisation I've had is that although re-learning from scratch with inverted rubbers might be a worthy goal, because I no longer have the luxury of being able to train most days, probably only once or twice at best, it's going to take me a very very long time to get anywhere near a standard where I actually enjoy playing.

Last night, after having not played for a few weeks, I took my 'regular' bat (which I haven't played with since early Feb) to a club, and played a bit. I didn't lose a match all night. Beat a fellow I lost to last time (with 2 x inverted) 11-2 11-4 11-2, and later my friend came along, who is a ~band 4/5 level player, and I beat him 3-1, and then a bit later we tied at 1-1.

The thing is, I've spent years developing instinct and feel and tactics and movement, based around LP on my BH, and my natural FH attacking game is hit-based. Sure, there's a ceiling. With my current time commitments, I won't realsitically progress much beyond my current level, but my current level is decent, and I'm inclined to drop down a few divisions and play with friends/family, just to help them out, and give me time on the table.

My lifestyle at the moment isn't going to support training for tournaments, and expecting more than 30% in my top local league, but I can play at a decent level, and enjoy myself, and be competitive.

So, I think the 2 x inverted experiment is over, and I'm happy to say I enjoyed returning to my faithful Dragonow/Hellfire combo!

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Read my blog: "LordCope's Latest Learnings Log": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=24452


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PostPosted: 17 May 2018, 18:49 
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I think it's a great move LC. I'm not really taken by this term 'capped'. Look at that Indian woman Bantra I think her name is. Flat hitter with either LP or anti on backhand. Until you reach her level or higher, are you really capped? I think there comes a point that we are naturally capped by our own makeup which encompasses reaction time, power, brain speed, decision making etc. Perhaps they can be trained, perhaps some are just born with these things. My guess is even if you played double inverted you might end up at the same level, give or take.

Just enjoy where you are at, appreciate the small improvement when they come and take some scalps along the way.

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PostPosted: 18 May 2018, 00:01 
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Cobalt wrote:
I think it's a great move LC. I'm not really taken by this term 'capped'. Look at that Indian woman Bantra I think her name is. Flat hitter with either LP or anti on backhand. Until you reach her level or higher, are you really capped? I think there comes a point that we are naturally capped by our own makeup which encompasses reaction time, power, brain speed, decision making etc. Perhaps they can be trained, perhaps some are just born with these things. My guess is even if you played double inverted you might end up at the same level, give or take.

Just enjoy where you are at, appreciate the small improvement when they come and take some scalps along the way.


I agree - in practical terms it is not really a cap and there will be players above you playing your style, whatever it is. So why not just use what you enjoy, or fits the time you have available?

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PostPosted: 18 May 2018, 00:05 
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Given that the number 20 ranked veteran in England (also about 100 ranked senior) plays with a hardbat, I wouldn't worry too much about being capped with your equipment.

I've swapped post season to BH Ox long pimples and FH short pimples to lighten the weight of my bat as I've been struggling with tendonitus all season. I've lost a lot of cheap points on serve and third ball but hopefully I make make those up by being more awkward to play against.


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PostPosted: 18 May 2018, 00:25 
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Everyone who starts playing table tennis as an adult has a ceiling. Imo, it is hardly ever related to equipment. I use double t05 and I am close to my ceiling.

TT equipment has nearly limitless capabilities. Sadly, our bodies do not.


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PostPosted: 18 May 2018, 00:27 
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mikea wrote:
Given that the number 20 ranked veteran in England (also about 100 ranked senior) plays with a hardbat, I wouldn't worry too much about being capped with your equipment.

I've swapped post season to BH Ox long pimples and FH short pimples to lighten the weight of my bat as I've been struggling with tendonitus all season. I've lost a lot of cheap points on serve and third ball but hopefully I make make those up by being more awkward to play against.


I almost mentioned MG in my post above! But that's exactly my point.

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PostPosted: 18 May 2018, 02:26 
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so_devo wrote:
mikea wrote:
Given that the number 20 ranked veteran in England (also about 100 ranked senior) plays with a hardbat, I wouldn't worry too much about being capped with your equipment.

I've swapped post season to BH Ox long pimples and FH short pimples to lighten the weight of my bat as I've been struggling with tendonitus all season. I've lost a lot of cheap points on serve and third ball but hopefully I make make those up by being more awkward to play against.


I almost mentioned MG in my post above! But that's exactly my point.


To be clear that's not really what I meant - I can see that what I wrote was unclear. I'm absolutely not saying that my equipment holds me back. I guess what I was trying to say was that there's a practical limit to the things you can do with this style and equipment, in terms of spin generation on serve, easy of attack on the BH, and other things. That's a function of both style and equipment, and there isn't such a ceiling in terms of spin generation etc with 2 x inverted, but there are other drawbacks. But I think what I'm trying to say is I don't really care, and I agree with you, I think that at my level it's really not a major consideration.

Mike - interesting to see you've adopted a LC setup :D

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Read my blog: "LordCope's Latest Learnings Log": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=24452


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PostPosted: 18 May 2018, 17:53 
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LordCope wrote:
Mike - interesting to see you've adopted a LC setup :D


Ha yes. The new set-up is 30g lighter than my last bat (or 25g, depending on which blade I end up with) which was the main reason for the change.

I actually changed at Christmas and it wrecked my average for the season, although there wasn't much to wreck as I had been playing with an injury all season anyway.

I'm now tinkering to see if I can get a short pimples that will give me more spin on serve than 802-40 but still benefit from being able to blast everything with a FH slap. :lol:


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PostPosted: 19 May 2018, 07:13 
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Quote:
I'm now tinkering to see if I can get a short pimples that will give me more spin on serve than 802-40 but still benefit from being able to blast everything with a FH slap. :lol:


I can definitely recommend Dragonow... and it's cheap (I think it's also on even cheaper special offer at TT11 atm)

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Read my blog: "LordCope's Latest Learnings Log": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=24452


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PostPosted: 21 May 2018, 19:45 
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Had a two hour session with my coach yesterday morning - first for a while, and, as indicated, only the second time I've used my regular bat since Feb. I played really well - good feel and control, particularly on the BH. The main area that needs improvement is using more leg when opening up against push/chop, rather than just arm.

My movement was a bit sluggish - just down to lack of practice and fitness - but I did a lot of intensive exercise over two hours, and wasn't too tired, and kept good energy throughout.

Finished with some chopping against strong loop - one fh and one bh, and consistently managed 5/6 chops a rally. My coach said it was the best workout v chop he'd had for a while, which was high praise!

In slightly related news, I need to think about what happens next season. I'm not playing summer league, because I'm working in London now, and don't have a lot of spare time. Whether I have time to play league in the winter is open for discussion. I've been asked if I'd like to play for a different club - the advantage of which is they play on thu rather than wed, which is a better night for me, and they start at 1900 rather than 1930. It's also a much much better venue for a modern defender - my current home venue is terrible. The courts are frequently not deep enough, and more importantly, not wide enough to allow me to get into position to play a strong fh from the BH side to the opposite corner, or wider. Both are good reasons to switch, but I also like my current club, and if I changed, that would be four clubs in four seasons... which would look a bit fickle.

Being straightforward, given work and personal commitments, I doubt I could commit to play much more than home matches anyway, and even then not all of them, so it might be worth taking a break from league for this year, and reconsidering next year. Alternatively, I've already been asked if I'd like to play for a team in the Central London league, so that's an option too.

If I can get my work times to be a bit more predictable (which should happen), I'll be able to get some training time in with so_devo, and at a couple of the London clubs, so a season in the Central London might not be a bad idea.

All food for thought.

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PostPosted: 13 Jul 2018, 08:01 
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About time for an update!

I'd been playing pretty well, with my regular SP/LP combo, and picked up some good wins in training, so I was feeling pretty confident when I entered a banded veterans tournament in June.

I did ok in the event - I beat the two players who were ranked below me, had winning chances, but lost in 5 to two players somewhat above me, lost 3-1 to another player ranked above me, lost 3-0 to the top seed, 3-0 to an awkward player, a little above me, and finished off with a max points win over someone ranked a fair bit above me.

However, looking at video footage of the matches (which I had to delete because I ran out of space), I was making a lot of mistakes with FH hits, and was also chickening out of using my fh when returning serve to my fh.

I continued to train, playing a lot with a friend of mine who is roughly band 5/4 level. On the whole my BH was pretty solid, and my defensive work, chopping in particular, with LP, on FH or BH, has been very reliable. However, FH has gone back to being rather agricultural and tense. I was also struggling to chop on the FH with the SP.

I spent a few weeks trying to focus more on placement and spin, but was struggling, so decided, just as a data point, to try the same BH rubber on a much slower blade, with a thin FH inverted. I set this up, with a Tibhar Defence Plus, Hellfire OX, and Nittaku Moristo Def, and played a few matches and trained for a few sessions.

Overall, on the BH, I had a little more control, and could generate a bit more spin, and could tolerate harder inbound shots better, so that was a net positive. However, the FH was a disaster. Mushy, hard to control, vibratey, and all round nasty.

Then last week I played in another tournament, and used my regular setup. I played ok, losing in the QF of the consolation. There were good moments, but again, my FH let me down, and lacked all subtlety.

The next day I chatted to a good friend of mine (a very highly ranked international player), and he had a go on my slow setup. He felt it was terrible, but suggested that if I put a hard rubber on the FH it might be a better bet. There was a new sheet of Bluefire M1 in 1.8 available in the club, so we glued it on, and gave it a go, and sure enough, it was a really good combination - great for blocking, topspin, and chopping.

In the last week I've trained quite hard, and the work from last year, with inverted on the FH came back to me, and together with some help from the same international player, I've been working on my FH technique, especially around keeping my elbow down, and my shoulders and neck relaxed.

Playeed a few good matches tonight against tough opposition. Lost 5-2 to a decent junior (band 5/6) but all the ones I lost were to deuce. Lost 4-0 to another decent band 5/6 player, but again, 11-9 13-11 14-12 14-12. Then beat a decent woman veteran 3-2.

Feeling like my BH is as reliable as ever - I'm chopping well, and moving well, and have started to incorporate some variation, by twiddling and pushing or blocking with inverted, and sometimes attacking with BH inverted. This is getting to be pretty natural, and is creeping into match play.

I'm spinning pretty well with my FH, and also able to hit, so I'm not currently feeling like I'm missing the SP, and my FH service return is getting more confident too. Overall, happy with how I'm playing.

Not sure what the new season holds for me. I've got numerous offers for league play, at a challenging level, or easier if I wish, and the opportunity to make my Senior British League Debut, which is pretty exciting too.

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Read my blog: "LordCope's Latest Learnings Log": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=24452


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PostPosted: 23 Jul 2018, 08:14 
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I've been in Minsk for a week now. My first adventure was to visit the national table tennis centre, contact with which was made via a mutual friend.

The centre is a dedicated building, with office facilities, gym, changing rooms, and a competition-grade hall with more than 20 tables out all the time. It is used on the open circuit, and will be used for the 2019 European Games.

I played with the friend of my friend for a while - a hobby-level player, but very keen, and loves the sport, and then a person who makes a living as a coach turned up. My new friend had suggested I might have a session with him, and I felt it would be worth a go, even if only for some sparring.

The language barrier was significant, and he didn't seem to have any interest in trying to "teach" me anything. We did some fh/bh warming up, and I chopped for him for a while, then we did some free play, and ended with some matches. He won all the matches, but I got to 9 or 10 a couple of times. He was obviously a pretty decent player in his time, but is unfit and doesn't compete any more, but his touch was good, and he had some very good shots.

Then on Saturday I met up with the former boss of a colleague of mine, who is very keen, and reputed to be pretty good. It turned out that this was actually going to be a 2 hr training session with a stand-in coach for the coach he usually has. This coach was a young lad, of good standard (in UK terms probably band 2/3), and very keen on coaching. Again, language was a challenge, but he was able to communicate, and gave me some useful advice.

We worked on flicking short serves, reading serves, generating more spin on fh reloop, and generating more spin on fh open-ups. Was worthwhile. This was in a small space with room for three tables, and some weights and machines.

I played a match against my fellow trainee, and won 4-0. I played the coach twice, losing 3-0 and 3-1. My serves were not tight enough, and my chops not deep enough or well-placed enough.

Then today I played in the weekly singles league, which was also held in the main hall of the national centre. This is divided into four bands. If you've never played in the competition before, you start in band 4. There were 21 players in band 4, five new, unranked players, including me. The format was 7 groups of 3, followed by 3 groups of 7 (ie all the winners in one group, all the 2nd place finishers in group 2, all the third place finishers in group 3).

I won my group, and proceeded to the top group of 7. In my first match, I played one of the other unranked players. He's not been playing for long, but has been well-coached, and was fast and had an excellent FH. Again, my serves we punished, and I generally played too passively, and my defending wasn't *pressing* enough, didn't cause enough trouble, I lost 3-1. He went on to win the event, only dropping one more set in the competition.

I won all the rest of my games, and finished 2nd, which is my best result in a competition. The standard wasn't massively high - the chap who won was a bit better than me, but the rest of the players were 2nd tier local league players - so decent, but not premier/div1 standard. All the same, I had to work, and think and adapt, so not a bad performance overall.

I'll probably try to train again a couple more times before I head back to England. Thanks to pgpg for the pointer to this tournament... I can now score in Russian. I jut need to learn how to swear ;)

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Read my blog: "LordCope's Latest Learnings Log": http://ooakforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=58&t=24452


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