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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 19 Feb 2015, 20:24 
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I started to twiddle on a few occasions (in practice, not in game play yet, except for serving):

1) Serve;
2) Put away high balls to the BH;
3) Push;
4) Lob defense away from the table.

IMO twiddling is the most effective if you don't do it that often, but often enough to make the opponent cautious.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 26 Feb 2015, 00:09 
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Went to the club for the first time in ~10 days: weather, travel and life in general got in the way. It's a League night, so no practice whatsoever and very limited warmup time. I did not really have high expectations for my game, but was curious to see how it all would work in 'competition' - only league rating on the line, but still...

Went 2-2, it was a very busy night so did not get that many matches. More or less beat the ones I was supposed to and vice versa - a bit of detail below:

1. The very first match was against R who I played may be twice in the last 1.5 years as he does not show up too often. I always lost to him before, having trouble with his spinny serves and his 3rd ball attacks. This time it was more balanced (and for a bit I thought whether it's even the same guy), but I was way too 'cold' and just missed too many easy balls. 0:3

2. B is a 'fearless junior' who I played quite a bit both in practice and in tournaments, winning ~80% or so. He does not have a lot of formal training so his style is rather unorthodox, but he sure is not afraid to attack. I don't think I had to do anything special, played more off the table compared to other matches and his mistakes did him in. 3:0

3. I was previously 50:50 against D, especially having trouble with one of his serves, side-top/side-under to my BH. Not anymore :) - receiving with LP sure helps. He's also very afraid of the pips, so it probably helped too. After winning first set easily I told him not to serve heavy spin into my LP - he started sending it to my FH instead and won 2nd set easily. Damn. Not sure what happened later though, as he either stopped doing it altogether or I adapted to it. 3:1 for me.

4. Finally N, J-Pen player with LP/Inverted - plays a tough game for me, basically moving you around a lot, controlling speed and placement. He's rated ~400 points above me, so I don't think I ever won a set. I lost first set 1-11, but then it got more enjoyable and we had quite a few nice rallies. Still 0:3, but it did not feel bad.

Couple of things I noticed: still having trouble with my grip, it feels awkward to me and when I start thinking about finger positions my strokes immediately suffer. Also, some of my FH chops are actually more of a 'block' - sponge is engaged, blade mades a distinct sound and the ball goes back with very little spin. Compare this to more of a brush stroke which sends ball back with considerably more spin. Perhaps that's where my 'spin variation' comes from - but I'm sure it will be very easy for the opponent to recognize.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 26 Feb 2015, 08:38 
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Found this extensive video on twiddling from Greg Letts:



Technique demonstration starts around 50:20 mark.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 26 Feb 2015, 09:00 
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Just as sort of reminder, practicing solid basics implies underlying consistency of form. Think of performing the same stroke repeatedly with some control over the ball as a foundation for later progress.

What happens frequently with amateurs, even those with some ambition, is that they play too much and measure their progress only by score instead of sound application of technique. This often leads to bad habits (doing things just to win) and stalling out because there nothing's tangible to build on, so you sell a lot of club players stuck at well below their potential with decent game smarts but subpar quality of play.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2015, 13:40 
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Dr. Chop-Blogger
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After watching instructional video about twiddling realized a very simple thing: sliding fingers down the handle as Greg Letts tells you, so that thumb actually rests on the wood of the handle and not on the rubber helps with twiddling for obvious reasons, but also makes it easier for me to maintain the proper grip. Win-win.

Spent some time in the office practicing twiddling - not the most intuitive motion, but I think I'm starting to understand how it's supposed to work.

Went to the club in the evening and actually tried to twiddle during practice, with mixed success. Somehow doing it after backhand serve presents the biggest challenge. During the games, however, never twiddled (if you don't count BH serve - and it had ~70% success rate) - looping with LP instead when given a chance close to the table, and it worked reasonably well, much to my surprise. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Victas VS>401 is still pretty impressive as far as spin generation - but also noticed that hitting the ball hard will leave a dimple in it - I guess it means the sponge is quite slow/dead?

Still enjoying chopping - although get to do it more in practice compared to matches :)

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2015, 14:38 
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pgpg wrote:
Victas VS>401 is still pretty impressive as far as spin generation - but also noticed that hitting the ball hard will leave a dimple in it - I guess it means the sponge is quite slow/dead?

I've never had that, and I've gone through a few sheets already.

What glue did you use?

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2015, 15:02 
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Whatever tt-japan used - they assembled it.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2015, 04:53 
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pgpg wrote:
Victas VS>401 is still pretty impressive as far as spin generation - but also noticed that hitting the ball hard will leave a dimple in it - I guess it means the sponge is quite slow/dead?


I think it alsow as the case with my Victas 401. It disappears on it's own.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 04 Mar 2015, 23:25 
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Frustrating league night yesterday - not so much because of win/loss record, 2:3 is more or less normal for me. But - I did not get as much practice as I wanted since the last one (stupid cold...), so I felt rusty and 'not there'. No time to warm up, but that's par for the course.

Most importantly, though - I just did not play right. The best way to describe it would be: playing aggressive game close to the table with a defensive bat. It just felt wrong. I think it started in the first match where I got quite a few pop ups to my forehand which I put away quite nicely, but then I proceeded to hit/loop pretty much anything. So, instead of my opponent making mistakes, it was me.

Would like to try more patient approach in the next practice matches - takes a bit of time to sink in, as I discovered.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 05 Mar 2015, 00:07 
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pgpg wrote:
Frustrating league night yesterday - not so much because of win/loss record, 2:3 is more or less normal for me. But - I did not get as much practice as I wanted since the last one (stupid cold...), so I felt rusty and 'not there'. No time to warm up, but that's par for the course.

Most importantly, though - I just did not play right. The best way to describe it would be: playing aggressive game close to the table with a defensive bat. It just felt wrong. I think it started in the first match where I got quite a few pop ups to my forehand which I put away quite nicely, but then I proceeded to hit/loop pretty much anything. So, instead of my opponent making mistakes, it was me.

Would like to try more patient approach in the next practice matches - takes a bit of time to sink in, as I discovered.

Yeah, I've resigned myself to being somewhat all-around in these cases, where I attack more as a rule. Because, I often find that the opponent will not give me the game I want. I wan't them to loop to my backhand. That doesn't happen as often as I like, so I have worked on my attacking as a result. Still, I prefer to play classic defense...but I have to remind myself: "don't get too fixated on being a CHOPPER!"

Before working on my offense more, I used to stick to my guns, and stay defensive against those soft, consistent, defensive opponents. In this case one has to be patient and continue to chop, push, and place balls in uncomfortable ways. The problem is, you have to outlast them and it can be mentally exhausting. Not easy to do, and makes for long matches. One thing Chetininine does in lieu of attacking is alternating between pushes with LP and inverted by twiddling in between pushes. If you go to youtube, there are some very clear examples of this, he will simply push, twiddle, push, twiddle, push. Inevitably the opponent gets confused and pops one up or nets it. I'll do this vs. other defenders and soft players when I feel like the rallies are slow and annoyingly long, and my forehand confidence is lacking.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 09 Mar 2015, 03:48 
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I agree that playing defensively is an exercise in patience - during that league night there was a match between two defenders (both 2100+) which went to 5 sets and the last few points were decided by VERY long push rallies. I could not watch it, not because it was unpleasant, but rather I was getting dizzy just following the ball.

Yesterday's club visit was a bit more satisfying - ended up practicing/playing matches for almost 2.5 hours non-stop against offensive minded folks. Got a lot of chopping practice (80+% of it on FH, so good workout there) and went 4:0 in matches. Interestingly enough, one of the guys was really killing me during practice, I could barely string together two chops in a row, his loops were just too powerful. During the match, however, it was a really easy 3:0 win for me - his loops suddenly went long and it turned out he did not really have a good serve...

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 09 Mar 2015, 07:29 
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pgpg wrote:
Yesterday's club visit was a bit more satisfying - ended up practicing/playing matches for almost 2.5 hours non-stop against offensive minded folks. Got a lot of chopping practice (80+% of it on FH, so good workout there) and went 4:0 in matches. Interestingly enough, one of the guys was really killing me during practice, I could barely string together two chops in a row, his loops were just too powerful. During the match, however, it was a really easy 3:0 win for me - his loops suddenly went long and it turned out he did not really have a good serve...


I know a lot of people who are strong in practice drills, but once they have to play a game, their game falls apart. Mostly their footwork isn't good enough or they are too tense during the game.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 09 Mar 2015, 09:52 
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Lorre wrote:
pgpg wrote:
Yesterday's club visit was a bit more satisfying - ended up practicing/playing matches for almost 2.5 hours non-stop against offensive minded folks. Got a lot of chopping practice (80+% of it on FH, so good workout there) and went 4:0 in matches. Interestingly enough, one of the guys was really killing me during practice, I could barely string together two chops in a row, his loops were just too powerful. During the match, however, it was a really easy 3:0 win for me - his loops suddenly went long and it turned out he did not really have a good serve...


I know a lot of people who are strong in practice drills, but once they have to play a game, their game falls apart. Mostly their footwork isn't good enough or they are too tense during the game.


I know - had seen quite a bit of that too. I understand being tense in a tournament, when there is something on the line, but a simple club game where outcome only influences who stays on the table - don't know...

Managed to sneak out to the club again today for ~3 hours - and made an interesting discovery :). One of my frequent playing partners had absolutely no problem looping my BH chops back - with his BH. FH was another story, but he won ~75% of loop-chop BH rallies, even when I managed to get to 4th or so chop.

I'm not complaining (or may be I should, since my BH chops are obviously not as devastating as I thought) - it was a great exercise. Have to figure out how to load them more - he should not be able to do that :)

Edit:

Learned one more thing - adding a bit of side spin while chopping on FH prevents your opponent from simply pushing it back. At least for one specific opponent it almost always resulted in a nice popup.

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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2015, 02:36 
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pgpg wrote:
Lorre wrote:
pgpg wrote:
Yesterday's club visit was a bit more satisfying - ended up practicing/playing matches for almost 2.5 hours non-stop against offensive minded folks. Got a lot of chopping practice (80+% of it on FH, so good workout there) and went 4:0 in matches. Interestingly enough, one of the guys was really killing me during practice, I could barely string together two chops in a row, his loops were just too powerful. During the match, however, it was a really easy 3:0 win for me - his loops suddenly went long and it turned out he did not really have a good serve...


I know a lot of people who are strong in practice drills, but once they have to play a game, their game falls apart. Mostly their footwork isn't good enough or they are too tense during the game.


I know - had seen quite a bit of that too. I understand being tense in a tournament, when there is something on the line, but a simple club game where outcome only influences who stays on the table - don't know...

Managed to sneak out to the club again today for ~3 hours - and made an interesting discovery :). One of my frequent playing partners had absolutely no problem looping my BH chops back - with his BH. FH was another story, but he won ~75% of loop-chop BH rallies, even when I managed to get to 4th or so chop.

I'm not complaining (or may be I should, since my BH chops are obviously not as devastating as I thought) - it was a great exercise. Have to figure out how to load them more - he should not be able to do that :)

Edit:

Learned one more thing - adding a bit of side spin while chopping on FH prevents your opponent from simply pushing it back. At least for one specific opponent it almost always resulted in a nice popup.


The BH has one natural limitation: looping with the BH is almost impossible to do on a high ball. So load up the backspin and place it high and deep to his BH. You wanna bet he will not be able to loop three chops?

Adding sidespin to whatever stroke is quite useful. It'll give fits to the exact placement for the opponent.


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 Post subject: Re: Zen of chopping
PostPosted: 10 Mar 2015, 03:02 
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Lorre wrote:

The BH has one natural limitation: looping with the BH is almost impossible to do on a high ball. So load up the backspin and place it high and deep to his BH. You wanna bet he will not be able to loop three chops?

Adding sidespin to whatever stroke is quite useful. It'll give fits to the exact placement for the opponent.


Good point about BH - and I should keep it in mind during the match. This was more of a drill though, and we were both focused on keeping the rally going :)

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