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PostPosted: 11 Nov 2022, 00:26 
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Another nice 2 hours sparring session with a friend of mine. He's a two winged attacker so it was perfect for me to control my twiddling more and block from the BH side using the Anti. It's a very effective shot but not easy to execute - still I 'm glad that I can incorporate it sometimes. Combined with blocks with the regular rubber it's great.
Also the attacks with the TA are great (some fake-topspins or just plain slap shots - one can do both).
Will continue working on this - hope I'll be able to do it in non-friendly matches in the future.

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PostPosted: 22 Nov 2022, 20:46 
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So I'll be in Budapest for Christmas (17.12-26.12) and I'll try to find a place to play there a little. It would be best if someone from the forum is from there (and wants to play :) ) or if I found some local tournament (but I'm not sure the timing is great for this) but in the worst case scenario will probably pay for a coach lesson..
So.. if anyone is reading and knows something about the topic - I would be happy to get some info :Chop:

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PostPosted: 06 Dec 2022, 07:28 
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On 27.11 participated in the top 24 of our local tournament (the tournament is on monthly basis and it finishes with a top 24 tournament after which the top 8 of this last tournament get to go to the grand finals where the top players for this tournament from multiple locations will play). It's an amateur tournament and has an upper limit by Bulgaria's second league players as the highest allowed ones (currently I play in the third league).

So I had a very strong group in which I managed to finish second and after that a couple of easy (compared to my group) opponents and I was already in the semis. At this point it didn't really matter who loses or wins cause the important part was to get in the top 8 and it was done :) So in the semis I played a strong player, a friend of mine who I really rarely(like very) beat. I played half seriously, he played for the win cause the opponent that was waiting in the finals is somehow his rival and he wanted to get to the finals to beat him :) So more motivation on his side, more stiffness on his side too and not much pressure on me.
Here's the match - I think it came out nice to watch - some nice points and smiles here and there.



As a result this Saturday and Sunday I'll be traveling to Panagyurishte where the final tournament will be held (it will be split in two days and the accommodation in a hotel is paid by the organizers which is nice).
So that's that. Been playing quite good recently - moving well, attacking a lot. Today had a great session for 1.5 hours with much stronger boy and I played decently (although he beat me like 5 to 2 in matches with 4 points handicap). So overall feeling - nice, the racket seems nice, the Battle seems to never get old and doesn't show any sign of losing spin or speed..

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PostPosted: 12 Dec 2022, 20:11 
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Quick update on the Saturday-Sunday event.
Had some massive problems with the compatibility of my shoes and the wooden floor in the hall. As a result - couldn't attack well so went into full defensive mode.. Although fun this is not my main strength.. But yeah - when I feel slippery - I don't feel confident to attack. Probably some height/technique problems but I would've preferred them to lay a better floor there though (I wasn't the only one having such problems) :)
So in full defensive mode I managed to survive the groups and still have some fun. On the second day somehow didn't want to play defense but the attack just was not going in. I was absolutely positive that although my mind wanted to get in position - my body would not, it would try to stay safe and not spread the legs as they need to be or put strength in them in sideways motions.. Well, that's a problem that I need to figure out for such halls. So.. lost in the first elimination but it really didn't matter to me - there was no joy in the game so didn't care :)
So somehow a bummer (first day was alright, the mood for the defense was.. ok), but will have to keep this in mind and somehow be prepared for such situations (no - I won't be spitting on the floor under me - this advice I've heard a lot of times..)..

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PostPosted: 16 Jan 2023, 02:32 
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Today participated in the final tournament of a series of tournaments held in different regions of the country.
Because of my consistency I was able to get in the top 10 in our region and participate in todays top 40 (meaning there where 4 regions and top 10 of each region where competing today).
So finished third in the group (lost one 3:2, lost one 3:0 and won two 3:1s). After that lost against a guy 3:1, then won 3:1 in the losers bracket and then.. gave up and lost 3:0 :rofl: Basically I had no power left to continue and didn't try to win the last match. Main reason being: all the group matches, and the next two - all of them I had to play at my max - cause there where no easy opponents for me and that just took too much strength out of me.
Overall - great. I played against only two familiar players - the others I didn't know, I played well - quite the combination of aggression and defense, so I'm very happy with my current game.
Took some videos (a couple, I think) - when I edit them - will put them here :)
After the tournament removed the Battle 2 and replaced it with a fresh one (this one is Provincial version with another sponge) - it'll have the time to break before the club championships (on 18th of February).
I've been playing with the previous sheet of Battle 2 for 6 months now and it's still tacky and has a lot of spin left in it (and it's somehow softer now) - but I feel like it's time to change it - it's grabbing the ball a little worse then it was in the beginning.

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PostPosted: 17 Jan 2023, 05:41 
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Today was the first day playing with the new Battle 2 Provincial..
So, there's quite the difference between this version with red sponge (I use a red rubber) and the version with orange sponge that I typically use.
This one is less tacky - that's obvious. It still grabs the ball pretty well, but the orange sponged version is a monster in the department of tackiness..
But this version's sponge is more dynamic! It's faster and somehow livelier. And that's only after the first day of playing with it! Overall the results are the same - just need some adjustments to this liveliness - but the blocks and counters became easier, producing spin is the same - there's a ton of spin on the ball. The only difference are the serves - need adjustment (need to give the ball more contact time on serves).
Well, wasn't expecting such a difference in performance but I welcome it cause I always wanted a little bit more speed in the Battle 2 (I know that I could boost it but I never did) :)

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PostPosted: 20 Jan 2023, 16:28 
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Well, after second day of playing with the Prov version with this reddish sponge I returned my old Battle (normal - orange sponge).
The difference between the two is simply too big - the Prov version is much faster, the sponge has more catapult, but also it seems like the topsheet is more tensioned. While playing the topsheet feels harder and grabs the ball worse than the regular version's one. Basically the Prov version needs more sponge action to get more spin. It has a lot from the topsheet but to get the same amount of spin that I get with the regular version on any element here I need to add more compression to the sponge. For me it seems more like a hybrid rubber that suits more european-like shots.. and this is not my strong side.
Overall it's a great rubber and it's just I don't want to make so much adjustments for the questionable benefits. Yes - it's easier to block, serves can have more kick, passive returns have more kick too, has more speed, but it just feels significantly different and I have the club champs coming in three weeks.. so nop - will return to the regular super tacky and slowish Battle 2 with orange sponge :)

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PostPosted: 22 Jan 2023, 00:05 
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So here are the matches from the last tournament (top-40).
The first one is from the groups stage and it's not interesting to watch, I think. The problem was that the humidity was so high that the floor was slippery and both of us were obviously limiting our footwork because it's pretty scary to play in such conditions. You prefer heavy steps to subtle little steps because these steps tend to slip. So adjustments where hard to do and also defense was a questionable option.

The second one was after the group stage - no humidity problems. Main problem for me was - no concentration - lots of errors on the FH side because of that - and the opponent played well, really. But not my best performance (I think because of the fact that I had to give all my 100% in the groups (finished 3rd out of 5) I could not maintain concentration after them.). The guy's a leftie and rather big so not the best view when he's on the side of the camera. Well, this match is not very interesting too but nice to have :)

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PostPosted: 22 Jan 2023, 21:02 
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Had a great 2hr session today with my friend. Feeling tired but game-wise everything seems fine. Started exploring some combinations that start with a BH serve (mostly short with strong under and some side, but experimenting with long ones sometimes). Definitely when I'm getting tired I'm starting to play more defense and less attack.. So this is a clear indicator of my condition and I need to be aware of this..
Yep, everything looks good for now :)

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PostPosted: 23 Jan 2023, 03:01 
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v100ev wrote:
... Had some massive problems with the compatibility of my shoes and the wooden floor in the hall. As a result - couldn't attack well so went into full defensive mode.. Although fun this is not my main strength.. But yeah - when I feel slippery - I don't feel confident to attack...


Hi v100ev,

We have this everywhere we go - some hall with a slippery floor.

I do something that helps one cope better.

Once a week I will wear SANDLES (German Birkenstock Sandles) to a TT hall where there is already a slippery floor.

What happens is this forces you to make stance wide enough and place weight on front part of foot and toes. This allows you to get a first step on the ball. This also makes you be very aware of stance and balance, which helps overall footwork. You slide footwork is easy in these where you might use two step footwork.

Something to think about. it is real fun to goof off wearing sandles, but it is actually footwork training.

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PostPosted: 23 Jan 2023, 03:25 
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Der_Echte wrote:
Hi v100ev,

We have this everywhere we go - some hall with a slippery floor.

I do something that helps one cope better.

Once a week I will wear SANDLES (German Birkenstock Sandles) to a TT hall where there is already a slippery floor.

What happens is this forces you to make stance wide enough and place weight on front part of foot and toes. This allows you to get a first step on the ball. This also makes you be very aware of stance and balance, which helps overall footwork. You slide footwork is easy in these where you might use two step footwork.

Something to think about. it is real fun to goof off wearing sandles, but it is actually footwork training.

Wow, this is an interesting idea, never seen/though/heard of something like this :up:
The problem is that in both clubs that are present in my city the floor is not slippery at all so it's hard to prepare for slippery conditions, but it seems very interesting to try and explore this option with the somehow different/unstable type of shoes as a footwork exercise. Drills only.. probably? As there's seems to be a risk when playing in such footwear..

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PostPosted: 24 Jan 2023, 17:47 
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Hi v100ev,

It is not as difficult as one would imagine... one can cover a LOT of ground in sandels if the stance is right knees bent weight distributed well front... the sandels kinda force that or you cant move. At worst, you look silly. At best, you figure out how to move when footwear does not have much friction coefficient. I personally feel it is worth trying out, just do not go for too much too early and learn how to get and keep a good stance wide enough balanced enough and it will be easier that you would think.

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PostPosted: 26 Jan 2023, 14:56 
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Der_Echte wrote:
Hi v100ev,

It is not as difficult as one would imagine... one can cover a LOT of ground in sandels if the stance is right knees bent weight distributed well front... the sandels kinda force that or you cant move. At worst, you look silly. At best, you figure out how to move when footwear does not have much friction coefficient. I personally feel it is worth trying out, just do not go for too much too early and learn how to get and keep a good stance wide enough balanced enough and it will be easier that you would think.


This is funny! I recently forgot my TT shoes twice, and twice had to play with my crocs sandals! The floor in that hall was concrete and a little dusty so very slippery. Yet I played amazing, moving (sliding) just enough as necessary, with a quite relaxed overall stature. Almost like Tai Chi of some sort :D
I think we normally take a lot for granted. That also reminds me when I started playing some 30 years ago as a kid we couldn't afford new rubbers and we had to blow on our rubbers between every point to "humidify" them to get some grip. I'm sure that has taught me something too!

Vasko,
just saw your blog and you have improved a lot in the past 4 years! Keep it up!

Vesko


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PostPosted: 27 Jan 2023, 06:11 
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A little about glues..
So today I hit my blade and rubber a little so it needed to be reglued. It was done in the club with their glue and there was a big difference after that. The rubber felt harder and faster.
Before that I glued it at home with Rev. #3 rubber with normal viscosity and in the club they use the strong one. Seems like this viscosity also means elasticity cause the rubber really feels harder and faster.. The feeling is similar to when I was constantly using the Yasaka Norisuke san glue - which is stronger than the Rev #3 Normal.. I prefer the harder feeling so .. noted :)

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PostPosted: 31 Jan 2023, 17:00 
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So yesterday (and the previous Wednesday really) had a 2 hour session with a relatively new guy in our club - he's a ex-pro from Ukraine and now he's here (not the best place for TT professionals really). Anyway - this was our second sparring session and it was intense and nice. He does some exercises (no multiball - I block/do what's needed where's needed) and then I do some and he comments on some things that I need to focus on. I've really forgotten this feeling of concentrating on doing proper things continuously. So, yep, a great session and I need to somehow not turn off the feelings and movements that I re-activate in such sessions and use them in much lower level games (this is not easy :().

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