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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 17 Feb 2015, 08:19 
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pgpg wrote:
agenthex wrote:
There are some peculiarities specific to LP but otherwise the fundamentals of chopping really aren't that different than the game everyone else plays.

To get more spin against dead shots to the BH you need some grip in the rubber and slice into the ball. This can be at odds with high-reversal blocking at the table so choose the gear accordingly.

At average US club levels most players aren't great at reading spin so doing anything different than the norm with cause some confusion, but that's not something which can relied on as your game improves so try to focus on solid quality shots (consistently low, long).


I am not too keen on spin-reversal aspect of LP, so push-blocking close to the table is probably not for me right now. Still, have to figure out emergency block for the cases when I'm caught off-guard. Happens quite a bit :D , especially when someone smashes to my BH - should I just block it with LP as well as I can? Or is it an indication that I am actually in the wrong place, i.e. too close to the table.


You are right that you will get caught out closer to the table more often than defenders on TV. In order to avoid this you need a consistent long/low ball to give yourself a safe margin to move back. Before that happens you need the functional block. LPs won't be able to counter topspin back into topspin to help pull the ball down so your physical angle control will need to be better. OTOH LPs are less reactive to incoming spin so that helps. If you're having trouble with touchiness of the shot which is likely, go with thinner sponge (or even no sponge) or slower LPs. Continuing the point is contingent on getting the ball back on the table, so measures which increase its likelihood should take precedence over long-range fanciness.

Also, unless your goal is a very aggressive game, twiddling is a big time commitment for modest gains over a reasonable LP attack against loose balls which can be put away. For the maybe-attack-maybe-not balls a less than great BH will also open you up to counters which can place more demands on you than the opponent. At less than somewhat high levels, IMO twiddling is more useful to confusing opponents who become familiar with typical LP play; reading people who can drastically change up spin at will is very difficult, so they will basically have to alter how they watch a point just to play you.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 17 Feb 2015, 12:42 
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Twiddling is also useful for pushing with inverted and giving your unsuspecting opponent a much heavier ball.

Regarding chopping on the forehand side, I can chop better w my inverted than my pips.

edit-spelling (fixing my spell checker!)


Last edited by vanjr on 18 Feb 2015, 05:32, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2015, 05:20 
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pgpg wrote:
I am not too keen on spin-reversal aspect of LP, so push-blocking close to the table is probably not for me right now. Still, have to figure out emergency block for the cases when I'm caught off-guard. Happens quite a bit :D , especially when someone smashes to my BH - should I just block it with LP as well as I can? Or is it an indication that I am actually in the wrong place, i.e. too close to the table.


They shouldn't be able to smash in the first place. If that happens a lot when you push their push, then you need to work on your pushing.

agenthex wrote:
If you're having trouble with touchiness of the shot which is likely, go with thinner sponge (or even no sponge) or slower LPs. Continuing the point is contingent on getting the ball back on the table, so measures which increase its likelihood should take precedence over long-range fanciness.


I wonder what equipment you play, Hex, because advising a defender to go from sponge to no sponge is just not right. Those are two different animals all together. Most of the ball contacts made without sponge are firmer/fuller (less brush) then with sponge.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2015, 05:40 
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Lorre wrote:
I wonder what equipment you play, Hex, because advising a defender to go from sponge to no sponge is just not right. Those are two different animals all together. Most of the ball contacts made without sponge are firmer/fuller (less brush) then with sponge.


I had Globe 979 on very thin sponge and recently got D.tecs OX because a knee injury prevented me from moving well. Things are slowly gradually improving but I suspect I might stick with OX for a bit because of better playing properties at the table.

Unless a sponge is especially dead, OX will be slower. D.tecs is a pretty fast LP, but markedly slower than the 979 on chops and thus offers better control esp at mid distances. D.tecs 1.2mm is nearly unusable for amateurs until well back from the table.

Some sponge is somewhat better for variation but that's low on the list of stack ranked priorities for developing a solid def, well below consistently low and long placement. Opponents who can reliably loopkill that sort of safe chop don't arise until >>2k level.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2015, 07:00 
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Great blog! I have been using almost the same setup but Feint Long II 1.1 mm on BH instead. You need to be able to make an ordinary block with LP and to perform a loose drive with it. That is not very diffucult with P4 but takes som practice. Just make drills where you hit and block with it like with any inverted and adapt your stroke. You need a good partner for this.

Then you need to twiddle. At least for BH serves and some pushes. Even better for some occasional attacks (pop ups). And also for chopping FH. Then, if you can learn to stay at the table and block their safe loop from BH corner straight down the line from your BH, you've got a real winner. I have a fellow defender in my club who is very gold at this (see my blog for some vids of him). He twiddles a lot....
Most important - practice and practice a lot. And bend your knees :)

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2015, 11:40 
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Thanks, everyone, for kind words and advice!

Couple of takeaways for me is to figure out and practice BH strokes and at least look into twiddling, I'm sure Google can unearth some advice/video.

One unexpected thing I realized once I switched to the new setup: my grip is wrong, and probably was that way for a bit. Basically as I look at pictures of correct shakehand grip, it has index finger on the BH rubber, thumb on the FH rubber border or close to it and remianing 3 fingers wrapped around the handle. Well, my middle finger lately wandered away from the handle and is now creeping into low left corner of the FH rubber, wrapping around the edge of the blade instead (if it makes any sense to you...). I started noticing it couple of months ago, while I still was playing with my double inverted combo: why do I suddenly have calluses on my middle finger's side? It got more noticeable with VKM blade, since it is a bit larger and I even noticed that it started separating lower corner of FH rubber from the blade. So now I have one more thing to worry about.

Finally, here is a list of my favorite chops :) :

* The one with a rising trajectory that lands right at the end of the table (but not an edge ball!) at the very last moment, while opponent is already convinced it is going long.
* Low and long, full of spin and going into opponent's body
* Short and reasonably high, but still going into the net if they try to smash it
* The one which hits the net and just drops on the other side - pure evil :)

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2015, 11:56 
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Lorre wrote:
They shouldn't be able to smash in the first place. If that happens a lot when you push their push, then you need to work on your pushing.


Yes, that was one of unpleasant surprises when I first tried pushing with LPs - it occasionally would pop up. Happens less lately, though.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 18 Feb 2015, 23:06 
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agenthex wrote:
I had Globe 979 on very thin sponge and recently got D.tecs OX because a knee injury prevented me from moving well. Things are slowly gradually improving but I suspect I might stick with OX for a bit because of better playing properties at the table.

Unless a sponge is especially dead, OX will be slower. D.tecs is a pretty fast LP, but markedly slower than the 979 on chops and thus offers better control esp at mid distances. D.tecs 1.2mm is nearly unusable for amateurs until well back from the table.

Some sponge is somewhat better for variation but that's low on the list of stack ranked priorities for developing a solid def, well below consistently low and long placement. Opponents who can reliably loopkill that sort of safe chop don't arise until >>2k level.


Or DTecs 1.2 might be unusable to you because you're used to using OX...

Sponge makes for a better defense, because it gives lenght to the ball and it offers more grip. Like I already stated: OX and sponge are two different animals. Why do you think people have difficulty going from one to the other?


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2015, 00:08 
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vanjr wrote:
Twiddling is also useful for pushing with inverted and giving your unsuspecting opponent a much heavier ball.

Regarding chopping on the forehand side, I can chop better w my inverted than my pips.

edit-spelling (fixing my spell checker!)


When you say 'better' - do you mean more consistent so that more balls land, or more spin and thus harder to return? For me right now FH (inverted) is more consistent, but BH(LP) has much more spin.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2015, 00:25 
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pgpg wrote:
vanjr wrote:
Twiddling is also useful for pushing with inverted and giving your unsuspecting opponent a much heavier ball.

Regarding chopping on the forehand side, I can chop better w my inverted than my pips.

edit-spelling (fixing my spell checker!)


When you say 'better' - do you mean more consistent so that more balls land, or more spin and thus harder to return? For me right now FH (inverted) is more consistent, but BH(LP) has much more spin.


Inverted pushing against underspin is better in that you can get heavier underspin and it is more consistent (or easier to play more consistent). So when I receive serve on my BH I can push with the pips, but occasionally I twiddle right before I receive and my opponent has to deal with a heavier push and often they expect the lower spin pip push and put it in the net.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2015, 00:39 
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vanjr wrote:
pgpg wrote:
vanjr wrote:
Twiddling is also useful for pushing with inverted and giving your unsuspecting opponent a much heavier ball.

Regarding chopping on the forehand side, I can chop better w my inverted than my pips.

edit-spelling (fixing my spell checker!)


When you say 'better' - do you mean more consistent so that more balls land, or more spin and thus harder to return? For me right now FH (inverted) is more consistent, but BH(LP) has much more spin.


Inverted pushing against underspin is better in that you can get heavier underspin and it is more consistent (or easier to play more consistent). So when I receive serve on my BH I can push with the pips, but occasionally I twiddle right before I receive and my opponent has to deal with a heavier push and often they expect the lower spin pip push and put it in the net.


Sorry, I meant chopping - I understand your point about pushes.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2015, 00:56 
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I actually chop better with inverted on my FH, meaning I get the ball back on the table more consistently than with pips. In my case its primarily a matter of practice since I twiddle only occasionally so I usually chop with inverted on my FH. I do think I would get more spin with LP if I practiced more. I see most professional choppers using their inverted to chop on the FH. Indeed many of them rarely twiddle though a few do (Filus? speling)


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2015, 01:37 
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pgpg wrote:

That's fair - so I guess if someone gives me a reasonably attackable ball on BH, I should twiddle to inverted and make them pay? I mentioned the whole twiddling aspect because I saw that my BH chops are much more dangerous, so the plan was, let me occasionally chop with LP on FH to spice it up. Great plan, except as I discovered, I don't know yet how to chop with LP on forehand. Weird - have to try it again, once the club reopens after all this snow we had lately. :headbang:


Yes, as I see it, the relatively easy ball to attack is part of what you are chopping for, not just chopping forever until you get an outright miss. You could twiddle and attack or twiddle and do a very aggressive chop with inverted.

But to use any technique you have to have practiced it, not just do it once or twice and think you've got it. So devise a drill to do the twiddle and backhand attack so that you really are comfortable with what balls are favorable to do the attack.
Dietmar Palmi is an example of a high level (world class when he was younger) chopper who usually prefers to attack by backhand loop.
He still plays.You can see him using the backhand shot as a finishing stroke in this video.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2015, 01:53 
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vanjr wrote:
(Filus? speling)

He twiddles primarily to attack with inverted on his backhand, and only chops with pips on the FH if no time to twiddle back.

Viktoria Pavlovich twiddles to chop on the FH on purpose and often. She's amazing at it and I didn't even notice it until Leatherback pointed it out in her video thread!

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2015, 05:21 
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Lorre wrote:
agenthex wrote:
I had Globe 979 on very thin sponge and recently got D.tecs OX because a knee injury prevented me from moving well. Things are slowly gradually improving but I suspect I might stick with OX for a bit because of better playing properties at the table.

Unless a sponge is especially dead, OX will be slower. D.tecs is a pretty fast LP, but markedly slower than the 979 on chops and thus offers better control esp at mid distances. D.tecs 1.2mm is nearly unusable for amateurs until well back from the table.

Some sponge is somewhat better for variation but that's low on the list of stack ranked priorities for developing a solid def, well below consistently low and long placement. Opponents who can reliably loopkill that sort of safe chop don't arise until >>2k level.


Or DTecs 1.2 might be unusable to you because you're used to using OX...

Sponge makes for a better defense, because it gives lenght to the ball and it offers more grip. Like I already stated: OX and sponge are two different animals. Why do you think people have difficulty going from one to the other?


I've only started using OX recently due to mentioned injury so the exact opposite is true. It's much easier to adjust to than I would expect the other way around. The fwd thrown chop is harder but the reversal chop easier so a mixed bag depending on what you want to do.

The 1.2 Dtecs and such are alright well away from the table. The problem is as mentioned above most amateurs esp when they start will not have the quick and well anticipated in-out movements plus consistency of setup shot necessary to make this work well for modern def. IOW it's much better to start with rubber what works well everywhere instead of one with more limited range.


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