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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2012, 18:03 
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Introduction and guiding principles.

Hi. I am a 43 y.o. new at TT. I have played for about 1.5 years mostly against Oskar (OOAK member) and his brother. I have sub'd at one club match but I start properly in a few weeks.

I do not have much time with work and family commitments, so I aim to develop the most match winning power in the least time possible.

I aim to train with maximum efficiency, with short but hard and frequent varied sessions with an optimal mix of robot sessions and with drills/games with humans.

I aim to maximise the opportunity to best use my strengths, whilst minimising the damage from my weaknesses. Where I can fix my weaknesses, I will, but not if the weaknesses are trivial and require supreme efforts to fix. Better to work on things with the best cost/benefit ratios.

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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2012, 19:18 
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It's good that you have the determination to put the work in - that is a great start. Remember, even with work it still takes a fair while before everything starts kicking in, so be patient.

If you can get a coach that would be advisable at this stage. There is no point training hard if you have dodgy technique. Also, a coach can tailor a program to suit where you are at. If you can't get a coach then look at plenty of youtube videos - especially those by pingskills. As you want to play the style of a modern defender check out guys like Chen Weixing.

Chances are your game is nowhere near fully developed so, in the beginning at least, work a lot on ball control and consistency. Set yourself targets like 200 FH's without a mistake - such exercises also help to hone your focus. Also, make sure you do lots of footwork training and lots of service practice. The robot is a great tool - especially for practicing loop against backspin and chopping against topspin.


Last edited by carbonman on 14 Jan 2012, 19:44, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2012, 19:43 
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To add to carbonman's great advice, spend at least 10% of you time on serves. Practicing your serves is likely the most efficient use of time, and they are fully under your control, and they can win you matches if only one of them troubles your opponent.

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PostPosted: 14 Jan 2012, 20:39 
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Thanks for the responses!

I have been meaning to write a blog for a while, and have had a lot of progress over the last year.

I want to use this as a diary of my thoughts and progress and to begin with I want to go back and start from when I started seriously training, which has been ever since I got my robot about 10 months ago. Partly for myself, for improved self analysis, partly for feedback and to keep a record.

The Robot.

I got a Supermaster Gen 5 robot, not the best, but affordable, with a recycling system, and with 2 wheels to allow for a wide range of shots.

The first thing that I began with was serving practice. As you said, it is vital, and it is the only part of the game where you have complete control. The collection system on the robot means less picking up of balls!

Initially I set myself a goal of serving 1000 balls a day.

Unfortunately this was only achieved once, however most days I managed to serve from 400 to 600 balls for about a month. I developed a number of serves, each day concentrating on one main serve, but adding some variation to play with it.

I have found in games with opponents that do not know me, even far better opponents, that I can decieve quite well and win quite a few free points.

Nowadays when I practice I set myself a rule that balls that are hit out of the collection system must be served back in. I no longer do quite as much serving practice, as the benefit for the cost has declined compared to working on other parts of my game, but I still make it a part of most training sessions.

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PostPosted: 15 Jan 2012, 10:01 
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Progress so far

When I started playing about 1.5 years ago, I found myself being thrashed soundly, even losing 11-0 against Oskar, and always losing to his brother as well, but by a lesser margin. Oskar had already been playing for a little while, and his brother is a natural sportsman.

I am not a natural sportsman and never went well in any sport previously. I have an interesting type of hand/eye co-ordination. In a new task, I am terrible. Much worse than most. However, I have excellent visual prediction abilities to visualise and predict trajectory and spin and I have the ability to improve dramatically at a given task with hours and hours of practise as my cerebellum learns how to do repeated actions.

Thus I knew that I must get a robot to improve in this game, and so I did, and commenced almost daily practise.

I also organised lengthy drill sessions with Oskar often going for up to 6 hours at a time. It was good for both of us, and both of us started to make great improvements.

About 9 months ago I started beating Oskars brother in occasional sets, and soon after beating Oskar too but much less frequently.

About a month ago I got a new bat matched to the new style I had worked out was going to be most successful for me for my current level of play including a change to LP on the BH. As I plan to be playing in a team with my drill partners this year and we are going up a grade into A3 I also did it for the team so they could get experience against LP which we will face more and more as we go up the grades.

The change in my game has been remarkable. Now I am soundly and consistently beating Oskar's brother and in a recent match-up against Oskar we played it out neck and neck and agreed to stop at 6 sets each. Certainly he will be spurred on to greater efforts and I look forward to giving him more experience against the dark side!

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Blade: Andro Kinetic Supreme Zylon/Kiso Hinoki OFF-
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BH: CTT National Pogo OX
Style: FH counterhitter, BH disruptor


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PostPosted: 15 Jan 2012, 11:10 
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Do you have any specific goals Malleus? Do you plan to play Vets tourneys?


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PostPosted: 15 Jan 2012, 11:21 
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One day vets tourneys would be great! My goal is to be as good as I can be, by training with maximum thoughtfulness to maximise efficiency, and this year I will be entering the Ballarat club competition in A3.

I never thought I could be any good at a sport; I have surprised myself with how far I have come and it makes me so excited feeling I have a lot more improvement in me to come!

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Blade: Andro Kinetic Supreme Zylon/Kiso Hinoki OFF-
FH: Hexer HD 1.7 mm sponge
BH: CTT National Pogo OX
Style: FH counterhitter, BH disruptor


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PostPosted: 15 Jan 2012, 17:44 
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Coaching

I did go to some coaching sessions when I started getting serious. I made sure my basic strokes were OK and practiced consistency with them against the robot.

The coach tried to get me to change the way I held the bat but it didn't work for me and after finding that I held the bat in the same way as Wang Liquin I decided to stay with that.

I felt though that I got more out of my regular drill sessions with Oskar so I didn't go back to being coached and developed through self analysis and analysis of a wide range of players on youtube and just sheer practice.

It was interesting that one player who was at the same level as me when I started continued with the same coach on a weekly basis through the year. I had not played him for many months but when we played again after he had lots of coaching I thrashed him. Perhaps he isn't the right coach for me, or perhaps I just needed to drill what I knew at the time and get some coaching later. Anyway, I am still of the mind not to pursue coaching at this stage.

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Blade: Andro Kinetic Supreme Zylon/Kiso Hinoki OFF-
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Style: FH counterhitter, BH disruptor


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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2012, 08:21 
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The evolution of my game style and my bat.

My first proper bat was an all round bat with air Illumina double inverted just to get the hang of the basic strokes. I didn't really know what sort of game I wanted to play and was simply open to the "game that was within me" to express itself over time. I certainly didn't want to endlessly experiment with equipment, rather I wanted to endlessly experiment with my game.

As time went on, I became somewhat entranced and fascinated by the dynamics of chopping a heavy topspin, but I also found I am forehand dominant and Oskar always encouraged me never to neglect it in my phase of fascination for chopping. I grew to love both, and cannot choose between my two lovers!

Problem was, my forehand chop AND loop were stronger than my BH, despite trying to drill strength into my BH. However, my BH chop developed more easily than my BH loop. Also, I ran into trouble with having moments of indecision when it came to FH chop or loop that made my game suffer. I went for about a year with my initial setup.

So, on to what now seems to me the obvious choice: go to the Dark Side and put long pips on my BH to make the chop easier on that side, and give me a BH weapon. On the other side, go with a much more offensive setup on the FH. This also became clear as I started being frustrated with the lack of power I could generate on my FH, I felt I really had to hit really hard to get a good offensive loop.

So Oskar and I went off to Rob's in Sunbury last month to choose our new weapons. Oskar had a lot of research into rubbers and bats; I've never been up with everything equipment oriented, Rob also kindly set up a LP bat for me to have a try. After many hits and discussion back and forth between the three of us I got my current setup, Oskar also got a new bat.

All I can say is...Wow! I never thought equipment could make so much difference, if it is thoughtfully chosen with a view to a particular game style. Now it seems effortless to hit an offensive FH loop with power and spin! It seems like my bat provides the power and I can focus on technique and placement. Moving to a more offensive setup has actually increased my control, as I no longer have to put so much effort into generating power!

On the Other Side, the LP have been a challenge to get the hang of, but I'm finding the chop-block to be much easier now, and I love the ability to simply block back a wicked serve of uncertain spin that I would previously fluff badly. The LP just chews up spin!

Even though my setup is now "Modern Defender", I feel that my game has become much more offensive. My new FH Hexer HD rubber makes it much easier to loop backspin, even from over the table! In my new game I aim to almost eliminate boring pushing rallies and open up as soon as possible into offense.

I am a Windmill now, topspinning from my forehand and chopping from my backhand in general, it means there is much less indecision.

Immediately I have found my game has made a quantum leap and now am very close or even up to Oskar's level of play and easily beating his brother in law.

What excites me most is....what will happen once I fully get used to this new bat and fully extract it's full potential?

Tournament starts in 3 weeks....I feel I am only beginning my TT journey.

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Style: FH counterhitter, BH disruptor


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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2012, 07:02 
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The Foundation

My legs are the foundation. They are the starting point for my training. The foundation for my legs is strength, after that speed and agility.

I want to be able to effortlessly hold a squat position for the entile match.

So my first training resolution is to set up the robot to serve down the middle, starting at frequency 3, then doing side to side hops alternating FH and BH. I will randomly change the settings from no spin to varying topspin and backspin to drill a variety of strokes each session so I do not get stale in this drill and it gives me hitting practise as well, although at first the priority is fitness, not the accuracy of shot.

Interval training is the fastest, most efficient way to fitness with recovery times. Rest is as important as work.

3 times a week training to exhaustion is my goal.

I count each hop and record how much I am able to do at frequency 3, then a short rest, then set to frequency 4, rest again and then a final session at frequency 5 until collapse. I record the numbers and each time attempt to increase at least one of the sets.

Today I did 100 on frequency 3, and 70 on 4 and 5.

I want to be able to mostly cover the court with either FH or BH. Then I can adjust my game according to my opponent simply by standing a little more to one side or the other, depending on whether they hate my FH or my BH more.

What my opponent hates will be what I love.

This method will lead to less need for conscious thought in this area, leaving more brain free for other tactics and strategies.

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BH: CTT National Pogo OX
Style: FH counterhitter, BH disruptor


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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2012, 09:38 
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i really like your dedicated approach to training - its the only way to improve markedly and it will continue to pay dividends for you.

if you are in the game for the long term i would be wary of taking too many short-cuts as they will catch up with you eventually. for eg learning to read and control spin serves is a skill which still has to be learnt...even if you use LP.


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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2012, 10:00 
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Thank you Carbonman, good advice. Serve and service recieve are the foundational shots of the game. I do love looping a deep backspinny serve but I know I have to practice dealing with sidespin serves to my forehand, as an example. Based on trials with my robot there is great potential for playing an offensive shot from this, but in real life it is harder! Of course drills against my sparring partner Oskar will aim to refine and translate robot practice into the real world. Later on I will post some videos for critique.

In the long run I plan to be on a team with Oskar and we have vowed to take notes on eachothers games especially to pick up on points that we should have won, but didn't. Hopefully even take videos of games to analyse afterwards, as long as other club members don't look at us too funny! It is my belief that improvement may be much more rapid if training is focused and flexible according to the most obvious areas of improvement. As those aspects become solid, further, more advanced areas will present themselves.

Ideally I would like to analyse mostly games where I lose, and then work on the improvements required that will ensure that at the next battle, I win!

Right now I want to work on a solid straightforward game to take with me into my first pennant competition that starts in 3 weeks time.

The best thing of all is I have a TT friend in Oskar who is as dedicated and thoughtful as I am, and we aim to help eachother progress as far as we can.

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Blade: Andro Kinetic Supreme Zylon/Kiso Hinoki OFF-
FH: Hexer HD 1.7 mm sponge
BH: CTT National Pogo OX
Style: FH counterhitter, BH disruptor


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PostPosted: 18 Jan 2012, 13:00 
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Malleus,

Your dedication is commendable. I won't be surprised if you will become a champion in your bracket.

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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2012, 11:30 
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Hei Malleus,

Great to see you have a blog! I think this forum is going to be that little bit richer because of your presence. Keep up the good work.

It has been quite amazing seeing the progress you've made in such a short time. There are few players in our little group with your level of determination. I know you'll do very well at the Ballarat club this summer.

Just to get it off my chest, I have been nervously watching you approach my 'winning ability' (not easy having to share the throne ;) ), but it's going to be healthy for my game now that I have to start watching my back. Yes, I very much dislike playing against your LPs, but that which does not kill me ... 8)

Looking forward to the next comp. season. Even though we're playing on different nights (thank the gods!), I'm sure we'll be watching each other's progress.

See you next Monday night for another session. Hmmm, now where's my razor blade so I can trim your pips! :devil:

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PostPosted: 19 Jan 2012, 13:55 
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Thank you for the positive feedback! Without our many TT discussions I would not be doing this blog, Oskar, and I hope it is of interest to others. I have found the camera and it has a tripod attachment, perhaps we can do some video on Monday. You are my teammate more than my competitor, Oskar, and I look forward to drilling with you on the pips so you get the hang of defeating them. In the interests of "Maximum efficiency training" I need you to continue getting better so I can continue to get better!

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Blade: Andro Kinetic Supreme Zylon/Kiso Hinoki OFF-
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BH: CTT National Pogo OX
Style: FH counterhitter, BH disruptor


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