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PostPosted: 24 Jul 2020, 11:51 
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Joined: 14 Jul 2012, 03:02
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Location: western NC
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Blade: Sanwei M8
FH: RITC 802
BH: RITC 802
So here I am at USATT rating of 1793, aged 70, and stuck at home with nowhere to play: the perfect time to totally change my game and set a goal to reach a rating of 2000! Wasn't it Machiavelli who said that we should be like the archer firing at a distant target, who aims higher than than the target in hopes of hitting his intended target? (or something to that effect!).
So, after playing full-time hardbat (LKT Toxic 3 with Dr. Evil) for the last 10+ years, I have bought a robot and switched to short pips with sponge. Now I am developing a two-winged short pips attacking game with only a robot for practice. What could go wrong? The only reason I am giving myself 1.5 years to reach my goal is that I don't know when club and tournament play will resume here. I'm betting it will be 2021 before play here gets back to some semblance of normality.
For those of you who are enthralled by my personal challenge, or really bored, here is my story:
I have never had a table tennis lesson in my life. I grew up in southern New Jersey, where my main interest was playing soccer (football for the rest of the world). We had a plywood table tennis table in the basement of our house, but it was seldom used, except as an extra dining table for large family gatherings. When I got to high school, I finally met some guys who played "ping pong," and I played quite a bit. I bought Dick Miles' book, pushed the ping pong table up against the wall, and tried to emulate Miles' chopping technique. Of course I played with a hardbat: I didn't know there was anything else!
When I got to college in Pennsylvania, I met my first actual club player. He had a Butterfly racquet with sponge rubber, and I was spellbound! I got a sponge racquet ( a Butterfly Kenny Style with Allround D13, as I recall) and soon spent more time playing table tennis than studying. I played at school and traveled to play at the club at Fairleigh Dickinson University about once a week. During the summers I played at a small club in Buena Vista, near my home in South Jersey. I went to my first big tournamet: the Eastern Open in Philadelphia, where I saw some of the top players in the country. During this time I saw Danny Seemiller come of age, and saw him beat Marty Theil for the first time. Marty was a hardbat chopper who, to me at least, had the most elegant game I had ever seen. It was during this time that I attended my first tournament in Raleigh and met Jim Mcqueen. Jim made me feel very welcome and even invited me to his house for a fried chicken dinner after the tournament. Years later Jim and I would go to the Bud Light Classic in Vegas together. What a crazy tournament that was! It was because of Jim and the Raleigh club that I decided to do graduate work at North Carolina State University and move to Raleigh. During the 70's and 80's I played in all the local tournaments, and a few out-of-state ones as well. My style was looping and hitting with inverted rubber on the forehand and blocking and pushing with short pips on the backhand, During my peak years, I maintained a USTTA rating of 1900-1950. I also wrote s few articles for Table Tennis Topics magazine during this time and got to know Tim Boggan, the editor.
Then life interrupted my illustrious career. I essentially stopped playing for 10-15 years. When I returned sporadically to table tennis play at the club, I was older, slower, and my timing was terrible! In frustration one day I picked up a hardbat and found that I could actually play again, albeit a very different game. I became a full-time hardbat player and used the hardbat in regular sponge events as well as the few hardbat events that were held. Over the next 10-15 years, hardbat tournaments and even hardbat matches became more and more scarce. In 2019 I faced reality: hardbat play, at least around here, was dead; and it was becoming increasingly difficult to compete against the sponge players with a hardbat (surely it isn't my age!). My rating bounced around between 1750 and 1850 over the last couple of hardbat years.
So back to 2020. When the COVID shutdown happened, I decided this was the time to do something different, and I decided on two-winged short pips attacking. My style with hardbat had been close-to-the-table attacking, so I figured "why not?"
I have thrown down the gauntlet, at my own feet. I will read everything I can find, watch every video, and practice every day to master short pips strokes. And yes, they are very different from hardbat strokes! I am learning new serves and have challenged myself to practice seriously every day, For anyone who has read this far, wish me luck. I will need all the help I can get!


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PostPosted: 25 Jul 2020, 03:35 
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New Member

Joined: 14 Jul 2012, 03:02
Posts: 27
Location: western NC
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Blade: Sanwei M8
FH: RITC 802
BH: RITC 802
The training routine has begun! Here is how I am starting out:
1. Morning routine: backhand and forehand pushing against backspin. Working on fast, long pushes and on short pushes, placed all over the table. Backhand flipping and driving against backspin. Forehand driving, looping/rolling, and hitting against backspin. Serve practice.
2. Afternoon session: Backhand blocking against medium topspin. Placement of blocks all over the table. Aggressive backhand blocking with some resulting topspin, chop blocking, and sidespin blocking to both corners/sidelines. Backhand drive against topspin to middle and both corners. Forehand drive against topspin to middle and both corners. Serve practice.
All suggestions will be welcomed! :P


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PostPosted: 25 Jul 2020, 09:22 
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Rambo Looper Spin First Ask Questions Later
Rambo Looper Spin First Ask Questions Later
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I can provide you with two things that at your level, will up your level.

- Learn to control serves with SP to invite low percentage or the next ball for you to counter

- Practice POUNDING the opponent's middle with your SP on either wing and finish at him/her or away. You will more often get more errors with your hard shots to the middle

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PostPosted: 25 Jul 2020, 11:35 
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New Member

Joined: 14 Jul 2012, 03:02
Posts: 27
Location: western NC
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Blade: Sanwei M8
FH: RITC 802
BH: RITC 802
Both good suggestions. Thanks!


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