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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 09:52 
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ziv wrote:
I doubt USA can be called "an emerging table tennis powerhouse" :)


Don't look at the current situation, look down the road 5 years and you can see the USA has a real chance to be top 10 in the world. I suspect many coaches would love to be there for it.

Besides then Brett can coach us mericans :D


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 10:21 
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wilkinru wrote:
Brett Clarke wrote:

For the last 6 months I've been talking to a country about becoming their National Coach. The country is an emerging table tennis powerhouse and the work would have been fascinating. When they failed to deliver a contract after we had agreed on everything, I looked at my options.


Were you talking about the USA here? You don't have to answer.


I have my guess, but I'm not saying. Let's just say they have one or two women that are ranked pretty high and haven't been conspicuous in the past. Their women were also in the top group at the last WTTC.

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 11:00 
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fastmover wrote:
I was thinking about the backhand a little bit. Previously I was trying to play backhand using the logic of LL Beary's forehand: the body propels the body back on the back swing, and then forward on forward swing. If I apply the same thing to backhand, than it makes sense to push the shoulder back and down as it follows the body back and down. To create the "arm structure" and keep the elbow forward I have to actively resist the body movement with my shoulder, which is a bit unnatural.

It is easy to make a teddy bear play a very good forehand topspin. Now try to imagine it playing a backhand...


But the rotation of your torso on the bh is only a fraction as far as the fh. Unless you are doing some massive, full-arm bh stroke. If LL Beary only turned 10 degrees on the backswing instead of 90, maybe his little fluffy elbow would stay forward.


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 11:14 
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wilkinru wrote:
Brett Clarke wrote:

For the last 6 months I've been talking to a country about becoming their National Coach. The country is an emerging table tennis powerhouse and the work would have been fascinating. When they failed to deliver a contract after we had agreed on everything, I looked at my options.


Were you talking about the USA here? You don't have to answer.


I'll answer this question soon because, in a strange turn of events, the contract is still potentially coming in the next few days.

I do actually consider the USA emerging, but not in the same way.

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 11:33 
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fastmover wrote:
I was thinking about the backhand a little bit. Previously I was trying to play backhand using the logic of LL Beary's forehand: the body propels the body back on the back swing, and then forward on forward swing. If I apply the same thing to backhand, than it makes sense to push the shoulder back and down as it follows the body back and down. To create the "arm structure" and keep the elbow forward I have to actively resist the body movement with my shoulder, which is a bit unnatural.

It is easy to make a teddy bear play a very good forehand topspin. Now try to imagine it playing a backhand...


LL Beary does have a backhand topspin and I'm going to video it and post it here. The problem LL Beary faces is, he doesn't have an elbow or wrist joint. Also, "The Bear", as he goes by these days, doesn't like stopping his shoulder rotation so he finishes behind himself, a little like Federer in tennis. There is no twist or turn involved on his backhand topspin because he knows that most backhands in TT are hit from in front of the body, especially whilst he's close to the table. Having an elbow and wrist joint really matters in TT because they are crucial in the chain reaction sequence.

Below is Federer's backhand. The correct body movement in tennis is a twist/bow combo with the shoulder joint being everything. The twist/bow propels the arm from the shoulder joint and the arm/racket free swing. There is no pushing or pulling. See below. The ratio of twist to bow is a lot higher in tennis because the ball is outside the left hip and you hold a longer lever. The twist is noticeable and the bow is subtle.


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 12:43 
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Federer is amazing. But I always preferred Henin's backhand. I love Joostine more than any other team or athlete.

All the other women were baseliners, every one. And she was alone playing this beautiful all-court game, chip and charge, like they did before racquet technology ruined tennis.

https://youtu.be/6hxDfRvo-NA


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 13:11 
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BRS wrote:
Federer is amazing. But I always preferred Henin's backhand. I love Joostine more than any other team or athlete.

All the other women were baseliners, every one. And she was alone playing this beautiful all-court game, chip and charge, like they did before racquet technology ruined tennis.

https://youtu.be/6hxDfRvo-NA


She had the best mechanics ever, imo

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 17:56 
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BRS wrote:
fastmover wrote:
I was thinking about the backhand a little bit. Previously I was trying to play backhand using the logic of LL Beary's forehand: the body propels the body back on the back swing, and then forward on forward swing. If I apply the same thing to backhand, than it makes sense to push the shoulder back and down as it follows the body back and down. To create the "arm structure" and keep the elbow forward I have to actively resist the body movement with my shoulder, which is a bit unnatural.

It is easy to make a teddy bear play a very good forehand topspin. Now try to imagine it playing a backhand...


But the rotation of your torso on the bh is only a fraction as far as the fh. Unless you are doing some massive, full-arm bh stroke. If LL Beary only turned 10 degrees on the backswing instead of 90, maybe his little fluffy elbow would stay forward.


First of all, let's all agree that there's nothing wrong with a guy playing with a teddy bear.

Now you can see The Bear's backhand topspin with only a bow. I haven't put too much pressure on him so he keeps the shot short and realistic. He needs to be ready to recover for the block. This is the type of backhand I want the bear playing in a match.


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 18:04 
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When the Bear plays bigger (I force him out of the bow position faster) you can see the Federer like arm movement below. I have also put my out-of-control backhand below so you can see some similarities. I'm not recommending this backhand, but it's the natural extension of an unbridled swing from the shoulder. It's all powered by the bending and straightening of the torso.




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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 20:30 
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BRS wrote:
Interesting club night tonight. I got there early and invited a guy to play first match. He's a chopper, around my same level. He is also a guy who starts the warmup on tilt. He is cursing half under his breath about net balls that don't even count.

So it's a good test of mental toughness dealing with him. I failed it tonight, mirroring his tiltedness and getting frustrated with myself. But the interesting part was, at a critical moment, he said, nominally to himself but loud enough, "All he's got is his serves. Just return the goddamn serve. That's all he's got."

How should I feel about this?

It's clearly some gamesmanship on his part. But objectively it was also true, I was winning maybe five points a set off missed receives. And he could receive with LP all over the table, he's a chopper.

So maybe I should feel great? I have always considered my serve a weakness. It would be really good if the disguise and spin/depth variation has improved that much.

But I lost most of the rallies. I couldn't see the spin well enough to respond properly, and my first attacks didn't win enough. Also my bh wasn't a weapon, just passive blocking. He was right, I had nothing else working except serves. So maybe I should feel terrible?


These type of players ruin the game for me. Fortunately it happens very rarely, but they really leave a print in my mind. This type of behaviour just makes me want to stop playing, the game becomes boring, I don't feel like moving or playing properly. It's strange but winning against them doesn't do anything for me either because I just remember how crap I felt during the game. All enjoyment is stripped from me regardless when I play against these types of players.

I've been quite inspired by the posts about travelling for TT. I feel like I need a change in training scenery. I've been on a bit of a low the last few weeks and playing very poorly, so I've had to take a bit of a break (plus I'm moving in to my own apartment and have a few other things going on). I've started to question what I'm playing for. I played in England for 6 years, mostly in the local league and casual match play.
A year ago I moved back home (to Sweden) where I've been doing drills and training as much as I can. I've seen the most improvement this last year for sure but now I'm starting to miss the more casual play back in England, travelling to some old church or a barn and having tea and biscuits during the break, it was great. The matches I play now are much more competitive and I think I'm under more pressure because I'm now "supposed" to be a better player. I love playing to improve but I'm really not enjoying the competitive side as much as I thought I would.

On a brighter note: I really enjoy the positive vibe this thread has and how everyone is just out to improve themselves and their game.
Also really enjoying your training vids Brett, great to see you play.

Hoping to get back to training soon and I want to record myself more so I can really understand what it is I'm doing wrong on certain shots. I also haven't forgotten about LTT100, I need to give it another go.


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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 22:02 
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Richfs wrote:
BRS wrote:
Interesting club night tonight. I got there early and invited a guy to play first match. He's a chopper, around my same level. He is also a guy who starts the warmup on tilt. He is cursing half under his breath about net balls that don't even count.

So it's a good test of mental toughness dealing with him. I failed it tonight, mirroring his tiltedness and getting frustrated with myself. But the interesting part was, at a critical moment, he said, nominally to himself but loud enough, "All he's got is his serves. Just return the goddamn serve. That's all he's got."

How should I feel about this?

It's clearly some gamesmanship on his part. But objectively it was also true, I was winning maybe five points a set off missed receives. And he could receive with LP all over the table, he's a chopper.

So maybe I should feel great? I have always considered my serve a weakness. It would be really good if the disguise and spin/depth variation has improved that much.

But I lost most of the rallies. I couldn't see the spin well enough to respond properly, and my first attacks didn't win enough. Also my bh wasn't a weapon, just passive blocking. He was right, I had nothing else working except serves. So maybe I should feel terrible?


These type of players ruin the game for me. Fortunately it happens very rarely, but they really leave a print in my mind. This type of behaviour just makes me want to stop playing, the game becomes boring, I don't feel like moving or playing properly. It's strange but winning against them doesn't do anything for me either because I just remember how crap I felt during the game. All enjoyment is stripped from me regardless when I play against these types of players.

I've been quite inspired by the posts about travelling for TT. I feel like I need a change in training scenery. I've been on a bit of a low the last few weeks and playing very poorly, so I've had to take a bit of a break (plus I'm moving in to my own apartment and have a few other things going on). I've started to question what I'm playing for. I played in England for 6 years, mostly in the local league and casual match play.
A year ago I moved back home (to Sweden) where I've been doing drills and training as much as I can. I've seen the most improvement this last year for sure but now I'm starting to miss the more casual play back in England, travelling to some old church or a barn and having tea and biscuits during the break, it was great. The matches I play now are much more competitive and I think I'm under more pressure because I'm now "supposed" to be a better player. I love playing to improve but I'm really not enjoying the competitive side as much as I thought I would.

On a brighter note: I really enjoy the positive vibe this thread has and how everyone is just out to improve themselves and their game.
Also really enjoying your training vids Brett, great to see you play.

Hoping to get back to training soon and I want to record myself more so I can really understand what it is I'm doing wrong on certain shots. I also haven't forgotten about LTT100, I need to give it another go.


Great post Rich!

Not everyone enjoys a highly competitive environment. William Henzell, for example, really enjoyed training and often hated competition. The anticipation of playing usually made him physically ill. He'd develop a cold or something every time he had a big event on the horizon. It eventually led to his retirement.

You have to find the table tennis that suits you. I totally understand your Sweden and England thing. When I was young, I'd go around to those bad clubs in the UK and have a good time. Sometimes the club condition were the worst in the world. They halls were old, cold and wet, so you actually couldn't loop etc. I had some horrific losses in friendly matches and these random club players were thrilled to beat a world ranked player. But it was somehow fun and everyone would do something after playing such as eating together or going to a pub. No one really cared who won or lost by the end of the night.

When you have changes in your life, it's pretty normal to go on a downswing. Just take some time off and the sport will still be there when you are ready. I look for any excuse to advise a player to take a break. You are feeling a bit sore? Take a week off! You are busy at work? Take a week off. You are sick of losing? Take two weeks off! You hate TT? Take a month off! People incorrectly assume that they are going to get worse if they take some time away from the sport. And who really cares anyway?

I'm glad I inspired at least one person with travel talk. Imagine flying to Asia and avoiding the Swedish winter. Living off 150 Kronor per day and playing some random guys in warm places. Travelling from island to island in the Philippines and never playing the same guy twice. Swimming with Whale Sharks and snorkeling in your free time.

Go back occasionally and look at how you played a few years ago. Imagine how happy you would have been to get to your current level.

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 22:03 
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BRS wrote:
Brett Clarke wrote:
It's truly amazing that a grown man can say something like that in a match. Even if a serve really is all you have, why would somebody say such a thing? It's clearly frustration.


Oh, he says a lot worse stuff than that. He gets so angry over nets and edges it feels borderline physically threatening. This is independent of how many lucky balls he got himself. Anger management issues.

That doesn't bother me. Like I said, I asked him to play. What upset me was my failing to convert enough opportunities to completely send him over the edge to where he would lose it and not be able to play any more. That's always my goal when an opponent gets upset. So getting upset at myself was a major fail on my part.

I made some in-game and between match adjustments (we played twice and he won 3-1 both times). Very quickly I flipped my short-long serve ratio from 80:20 to 20:80. He's a defender, so why expose myself to funky lp returns over the table. Then between matches I decided I should play mostly down the middle. He is tall with good reach, and playing wide wasn't helping me. But I couldn't solve the problem of not seeing the spin.

I rarely make playing conditions an excuse. But there are three choppers in this area at my level, whom I have played multiple times in different venues. At a Saturday daytime club in Virginia that seems well-lit to me my combined record vs them is 6 - 0. At two other clubs with darker conditions (and weeknights), my match record is 1 - 9. So either I suck vs chop at night after work, or I need blazingly bright lighting to have a chance. Either way choppers have long been my favorite style to play against. They are so rare now. And I like the challenge they apply to my movement, spin awareness, and decision-making. After losing twice to Mr. Anger Management I played the next four matches really well.

My new favorite style to play against is one-sided jpen. If choppers are rare, fh-only jpen is non-existent. I played one lots of times in Portugal (Miguel, a great guy), and then an older asian guy last night. What I love about jpen players is they absolutely punish any lousy softballs. If I put back a low-quality ball anywhere on the table I might as well turn around now and start walking to the barriers. Excellent discipline for trying to win every point, and not just hoping he will miss.


Hopefully this may help but it is often a mistake to serve long to defenders if it gives them a chance to dig into the ball as that is what causes you to be unable to see the spin. Serves to the short forehand which put the out of position are often better. Yes you may get a pip shot but that is where your backspin should limit the options and give you a topspin or no spin ball to attack. And most pips players can't push short if you keep the serve low enough.

But seeing the ball is mostly about making sure that the first ball is what you think it should be. And if you serve too long, it is harder to see whether he puts no spin or backspin.

May not mean much to you but I find as I played choppers it got more important as many of them were no spin choppers.

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 23:08 
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NextLevel wrote:
BRS wrote:
Brett Clarke wrote:
It's truly amazing that a grown man can say something like that in a match. Even if a serve really is all you have, why would somebody say such a thing? It's clearly frustration.


Oh, he says a lot worse stuff than that. He gets so angry over nets and edges it feels borderline physically threatening. This is independent of how many lucky balls he got himself. Anger management issues.

That doesn't bother me. Like I said, I asked him to play. What upset me was my failing to convert enough opportunities to completely send him over the edge to where he would lose it and not be able to play any more. That's always my goal when an opponent gets upset. So getting upset at myself was a major fail on my part.

I made some in-game and between match adjustments (we played twice and he won 3-1 both times). Very quickly I flipped my short-long serve ratio from 80:20 to 20:80. He's a defender, so why expose myself to funky lp returns over the table. Then between matches I decided I should play mostly down the middle. He is tall with good reach, and playing wide wasn't helping me. But I couldn't solve the problem of not seeing the spin.

I rarely make playing conditions an excuse. But there are three choppers in this area at my level, whom I have played multiple times in different venues. At a Saturday daytime club in Virginia that seems well-lit to me my combined record vs them is 6 - 0. At two other clubs with darker conditions (and weeknights), my match record is 1 - 9. So either I suck vs chop at night after work, or I need blazingly bright lighting to have a chance. Either way choppers have long been my favorite style to play against. They are so rare now. And I like the challenge they apply to my movement, spin awareness, and decision-making. After losing twice to Mr. Anger Management I played the next four matches really well.

My new favorite style to play against is one-sided jpen. If choppers are rare, fh-only jpen is non-existent. I played one lots of times in Portugal (Miguel, a great guy), and then an older asian guy last night. What I love about jpen players is they absolutely punish any lousy softballs. If I put back a low-quality ball anywhere on the table I might as well turn around now and start walking to the barriers. Excellent discipline for trying to win every point, and not just hoping he will miss.


Hopefully this may help but it is often a mistake to serve long to defenders if it gives them a chance to dig into the ball as that is what causes you to be unable to see the spin. Serves to the short forehand which put the out of position are often better. Yes you may get a pip shot but that is where your backspin should limit the options and give you a topspin or no spin ball to attack. And most pips players can't push short if you keep the serve low enough.

But seeing the ball is mostly about making sure that the first ball is what you think it should be. And if you serve too long, it is harder to see whether he puts no spin or backspin.

May not mean much to you but I find as I played choppers it got more important as many of them were no spin choppers.


I considered saying the same thing. It depends on a few things, but serving long to a chopper is generally not the best idea.

BRS said that he didn't want the pimple return and that makes sense. Maybe the guy was returning with the pimples from short forehand too. There are always variables.

Generally speaking, serve shot and attack. The chopper will find it hard to get back fast enough and you'll pick up some relatively easy points.

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PostPosted: 07 Dec 2018, 23:23 
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I agree that avoiding the pips return can be the goal but it is too limiting. Better to just see all the returns the opponent can do and a short heavy backspin serve limits what the opponent can do to the ball . It can be frustrating dealing with the returns but the key is to give yourself a chance to adjust to them as they will never have the variation of a long serve return. It is much harder to change the spin of the ball over the table.

Your main point was that he needs practice and that stands. I found as an adult learner that my biggest struggle was seeing the spin. It was like people who started playing seriously in their teens could just really as if the ball was normal but I just couldn't adjust unless the ball was consistently the same from the stroke in a rally. But if I could listen, something I suspect younger players get extra neurons working on as they continue to grow, it became a bit easier.

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PostPosted: 08 Dec 2018, 00:24 
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Speaking of opponents that ruin the game.

I find it very frustrating when my opponent plays like he doesn't give a s***. Including, but not not limited to: not looking concentrated when I'm serving, playing those big swing shots like he doesn't care whether they land on the table, and/or staying upright all the time not even trying to look, let alone behave, like a serious TT player.
I find that I'm starting to kind of copy that annoying behavior, i.e. playing irresponsibly and loosely. It's really hard for me to concentrate and stay low etc. when my opponent makes it so clear that he isn't taking it seriously. In the end, the no-give-a-shit guy wins the match and I'm left downhearted and disappointed in myself as a TT player.

I would very much appreciate your advice on how to deal with this. Thanks!


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