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PostPosted: 11 May 2022, 16:19 
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Let me tell you some stuff.

I go to international tournaments and get to see something that most don't. In the training halls, the coaches hit balls with their students. These coaches are often former international stars who have retired and moved onto coaching. These coaches played in the 80s and 90s mostly and they were fantastic in their time. Some were World and Olympic Champions. There are like 20+ of these retired stars all coaching at major events.

Anyway, here's what's interesting. These coaches have old style backhands. Because they learned to play in a different era with different equipment and knowledge, they have different backhands than today's players. It's actually quite interesting to watch. That said, it's my opinion that these coaches should update their backhands. Why don't they?

Timo Boll played in the 90s and he has updated his backhand. I've seen him in the training hall trying lots of different backhands and experimenting with some extremely new stuff like Fan Zhendong's "duck". "Duck" is a term I made up for FZD's backhand when he makes the ball shoot, rather than kick. Ask yourself if this topic is of interest to you?

What's my point? One point is that the game is constantly changing and it's very difficult to understand and follow new stuff. There are players coming along and changing the game all the time. I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about and analysing all of this. I also try to implement new things into my own game for the sake of knowledge and ownership. It's also just a lot of fun, at least for me.

If you ignore these trends for long enough, decades pass and you have old stuff...sort of like keeping a Nokia and one day asking your grandchild to explain an iPhone.

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PostPosted: 11 May 2022, 16:49 
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maurice101 wrote:
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"2-step process" theory.


What does than mean???.

On another note I am using split screen videos of myself and a pro and sending them to Brett. Its really reveling and its easy to see where you need improvements.

Now just get down LOWER.........

Mind says I am low. Videos never lie.


Below is a video which hopefully demonstrates the 2 step process.

Step 1: Lean forward
Step 2: Straighten your back


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PostPosted: 11 May 2022, 16:57 
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Dr.Pivot wrote:
Brett Clarke wrote:
Dr.Pivot wrote:
Looks like there are as many backhands as there are players.


Maybe. I personally try to see it differently.

I see 2 main backhands that the very best players use.


What are they?

I am personally a fan of the "2-step process" theory. It is simple, it makes perfect sense, and it obviously works to some extent. At least it is infinitely better than the purely arm-driven swing that some people believe in. However, after the introduction of the "2-step process," I got a bit lost in subsequent and branching theories.


The 2 backhands that top players generally use are a pumping/diving motion that Harimoto and Ma Long use (I know they look a bit different) and then Lin Yun Ju / everyone else's elbow out to the side approach.

The legs can either remain bent and the body comes up and down (2 step process in post above) or the legs can bend and straighten whilst the torso angles forward for the entire time (which I'd also call a 2 step approach).

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PostPosted: 12 May 2022, 02:32 
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Brett Clarke wrote:
Timo Boll played in the 90s and he has updated his backhand. I've seen him in the training hall trying lots of different backhands and experimenting with some extremely new stuff like Fan Zhendong's "duck". "Duck" is a term I made up for FZD's backhand when he makes the ball shoot, rather than kick. Ask yourself if this topic is of interest to you?


My biggest interest with regards to the BH is how to not miss, especially opening shots against backspin and serve returns. Shoot or kick, that is probably relevant only to a very high level.

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PostPosted: 12 May 2022, 03:01 
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Dr.Pivot wrote:
to not miss, especially opening shots against backspin and serve returns


This is exactly what forced me to try short pips on the backhand.

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PostPosted: 12 May 2022, 03:06 
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BRS wrote:
Dr.Pivot wrote:
to not miss, especially opening shots against backspin and serve returns


This is exactly what forced me to try short pips on the backhand.


Did it help?

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PostPosted: 12 May 2022, 11:42 
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Dr.Pivot wrote:
BRS wrote:
Dr.Pivot wrote:
to not miss, especially opening shots against backspin and serve returns


This is exactly what forced me to try short pips on the backhand.


Did it help?


It helped a lot with those two things, yes. It's much easier to bh open vs backspin and also to flick. I don't get the same quality that good inverted players can make, but I couldn't do it with inverted either. And if you give me a short serve that bounces above the net watch out.

Of course there are downsides. It took quite a while to learn to hit with the pips vs topspin or block instead of playing inverted strokes. And I had to make some changes to my forehand and playing distance to get them to work together.

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PostPosted: 12 May 2022, 12:08 
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BRS wrote:

It helped a lot with those two things, yes. It's much easier to bh open vs backspin and also to flick. I don't get the same quality that good inverted players can make, but I couldn't do it with inverted either. And if you give me a short serve that bounces above the net watch out.

Of course there are downsides. It took quite a while to learn to hit with the pips vs topspin or block instead of playing inverted strokes. And I had to make some changes to my forehand and playing distance to get them to work together.


That is very cool! Maybe I will give it a try on my spare blade. What pips do you use?

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PostPosted: 12 May 2022, 13:52 
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Brett Clarke wrote:

The 2 backhands that top players generally use are a pumping/diving motion that Harimoto and Ma Long use (I know they look a bit different) and then Lin Yun Ju / everyone else's elbow out to the side approach.

The legs can either remain bent and the body comes up and down (2 step process in post above) or the legs can bend and straighten whilst the torso angles forward for the entire time (which I'd also call a 2 step approach).


Honestly, it is hard for me to discern the differences between Harimoto/ML and LYJ backhand shots. They look very similar to me. Except for that ML swings with his shoulder a lot more than the other top players who keep their elbow position more or less still.

BTW, I am currently in the process of improving my BH. I play a very BH-oriented game in almost all my practice matches, and I mostly practice BHs when I train. The result is that I lose more than a half matches I could have won using my regular all FH-game. But I hope that it will improve my touch on the BH side.

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PostPosted: 12 May 2022, 21:04 
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Dr.Pivot wrote:
BRS wrote:

It helped a lot with those two things, yes. It's much easier to bh open vs backspin and also to flick. I don't get the same quality that good inverted players can make, but I couldn't do it with inverted either. And if you give me a short serve that bounces above the net watch out.

Of course there are downsides. It took quite a while to learn to hit with the pips vs topspin or block instead of playing inverted strokes. And I had to make some changes to my forehand and playing distance to get them to work together.


That is very cool! Maybe I will give it a try on my spare blade. What pips do you use?


Nittaku Moristo SP in 1.8. The 2.0 was crazy fast.

They also make a Moristo SP AX version. That one is even easier to open with, but not as nice to hit with and slightly less nasty on blocks. It has the pips horizontally aligned instead of vertically.

Personally I prefer the normal moristo, and it's on sale this week at TT11.

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PostPosted: 13 May 2022, 06:33 
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ML and Harimoto play with their elbow close to thier body on many backhand shots so this doesn't give them leverage and if it starts out a bit to the side, it often ends up closer to the body. It does give them countering speed especially in fast topspin rallies. Really powerful looping is easier if the elbow is further out and is used as a fulcrum/pivot for the shot. This is what many great backhands do especially when countering slower/less powerful balls and even ML does this when much further back.

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PostPosted: 13 May 2022, 07:12 
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Nextlevel, as you mentioned, I do see Harimoto does start with the elbow close to the body. But as he starts the shot the elbow does moves out to create leverage.The elbow close to the body and more back does allows a more forward elbow movement as it goes out and in. This increases the force on the ball. It is more like a martial arts punch that can apply lots of force on the fist. You would not punch someone starting with your elbow out wide to your side. I used to think that the elbow starting close to the body would have less spin. However, I have experimented with both starting elbow positions and for me, the level of spin is similar. Maybe for Pros, it does differ. However, for of the bounce backhand shots Harimoto and ma longs shot seems faster to set up and more devastating.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPexGu6mj7k


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PostPosted: 18 May 2022, 06:11 
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I see the Chinese pros drop down their body as they rotate for the forehand. You can see their head go closer to the floor. As they start the stroke they rise up and rotate forward. I was wondering what is the advantage of this movement and would you recommend this to students?


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PostPosted: 20 May 2022, 04:33 
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Apart from power, what are your thoughts on developing touch on the BH loop, i.e. the ability to adapt to different heights/lengths/speed/spin? I guess it is impossible to train, just play a ton of practice matches and make sure you use your BH. But maybe I am missing something.

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PostPosted: 20 May 2022, 10:06 
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Dr.Pivot wrote:
Apart from power, what are your thoughts on developing touch on the BH loop, i.e. the ability to adapt to different heights/lengths/speed/spin? I guess it is impossible to train, just play a ton of practice matches and make sure you use your BH. But maybe I am missing something.


i guess you could train it with the following drill to some extent. you serve short (backspin, no-spin, sidespin, topspin, back-side, etc.), your partner plays to your BH (mostly a long push, but could also be a flick or a chiquita), you play a BH topspin and then you play out the point (it could be completely free or you could ask your partner to hit only to your BH). this way your partner could practice reading spin and receiving and you are likely to face different heights/length/speed/spin.

how is your BH project going? i plan to do something similar (probably next year).


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