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PostPosted: 24 Sep 2014, 14:02 
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Many young players write for advice about how to become a modern defender. The questions sometimes can be very specific like what long pips rubber should I use for my backhand or recommend a suitable blade. While worthy questions, this is really just a small part of being a modern defender. Some look at the topic from a very broad perspective and ask is this a style for me, or can this be a winning style? The answer to both questions is the elusive and unsatisfying, “it all depends.”

Formal guidance from the perspective of a modern defender is sadly lacking almost everywhere but China, whereas looping/offensive instruction abounds almost everywhere. This is a guide to becoming a modern defender from a guy who owes a lot of whatever success I had to this game. I have studied many modern defenders and watched their games and matches with great interest. This is my gift to you and the great game of table tennis.

Lets talk about you-the player

Even before I discuss philosophy, overview,or strategy of modern defense or a modern defense style, I think it is proper and wise to discuss the player or what makes a good modern defender and frankly what many modern defenders lack.

It has been my experience that many moderns defenders at least in table tennis terms are not quick fast twitch explosive type players. Those would be more at the table fast loopers and hitters/blockers. Most modern defenders are angular like Joo, Koji, Filus, Gionis, or short and stocky like Chen Weixing or Hou Yingchou. What ever their body type all of these players can move; they not only have great footwork but have good natural foot quickness. This would seem to indicate a willingness to spend some time running around a track and doing some footwork drills. Carrying around extra weight is not going to be helpful in this endeavor!

Many of these players have very fine touch and great strokes both attacking and defending, they are experts with under-spin starting with the push on the return of serve. Many choppers are natural choppers meaning they seem to react with under-spin counters. When a ball is topspined to them they naturally chop it. Having this instinct is a very helpful plus if you want to adopt this as your playing style.

So to sum up, a perspective modern defender should be light on their feet, have good quickness, excellent touch, and a willingness to spend some time running around the track and doing some footwork drills. Carrying around extra weight is going to be a hindrance (this writer cringes). Having excellent return of service and good short game is vital, to enable the defense game.


Overview of the Modern Defense Philosophy




The real forerunner of the modern defense game in my mind is the great Chinese player Liang Ko Liang. There is an excellent interview by Kees here : viewtopic.php?f=56&t=17666

This should be required reading for every perspective modern defense player. Here is a quote from the great Liang “ Defense is there in order to seek out opportunities for attack, and to prepare attack. This means that whenever I am forced away to defend, I have to ask myself: when will the chance to attack reappear, how do I get that chance? “

This is, for me, the main difference between the modern defender and the classic defender. The modern defender should be seeking to attack whenever possible, the classic defender attacks only when there is the unusual chance for an easy put away or a rare opportunity to play spin and kill.

So a big part of a modern defenders game should be attack and attacking strokes, plus an assortment of excellent serves-a point that truly can not be over emphasized!

The other main component of a modern defenders game is defense, under-spin defense. This defense is active, and is more than returning the ball time after time. There is the mixing of under-spin from extremely heavy chop to light chop to no spin. This game seeks to bury the opponent in the bottom of the net with heavy under-spin, or trick him (or her) into thinking there is heavy spin on the ball only to find that the ball has little to no spin. The opponent misreading the stroke and spin overcompensates and lifts the ball long (some times very long ) off the end of the table. This is also a major part of being a modern defender, clever deception. Finally as the great Liang stated, the defense is a way to set set up attack.

Finally, no discussion of modern defense would be complete without the examination of pips, probably long pips. Frankly, a small plastic ball hurtling through the air at tremendous velocity with tremendous spin does “interesting things”when it encounters a surface that gives and distorts. This is also part of modern defense much to the chagrin of some.

Anyone who peruses the OOAKforum.com knows there is a myriad of long pip selections, brands, and types, complete with different sponges. There are also medium and short pips also used for defense also extremely diverse. A new player finders a bewildering assorment of pip types, not to mention Anti Spin and classic hard bat pips (used by one of the best choppers I ever played, who was immensely successful).

Many bright young players look to the world class players and this is a great place to start. Failing a great coach in your area, they are a great place to look for guidance. Emulating the greats however does not grant you the knowledge of the “why” (or why does it work). It is one of the objectives of this treatise to answer some of the whys. I sincerely hope the treatise sparks some good debate, we are all better when we help each other.


The Blade

Before I launch into sponge and rubber, I wuld like to talk about the blade for modern defense. Everything in the world and in the table tennis world has trade offs, the blade is no different.Like rubber and sponge there is a dizzing number of TYPES of blades let alone blades themselves. Pick up a catalogue and start to read-it is a cure for insomnia!
There are all wood blades, composite blades (made of, gosh,just take a look).They are rated from OFF+ to Def this is fairly standard thank God! So lets begin the sorting, wouldn't it be great to have a table tennis version of Harry Potters Sorting Hat?

Lets start with the backhand and what I want as a modern defender-dwell time! On my backhand I want to be able to keep the ball on my blade to control and manipulate the spin. Firstly, I want to be able to keep the ball on the table, preferably low on the table with disguised spin. Most of the time probably with extremly heavy backspin, but able to change the spin to light or no spin when I wish (think of the old AC/DC song “Dirty Deeds and they're done Dirt Cheap”)! This type of dwell time, for me, requires a softer, slower, blade (and sponge, and maybe rubber). I may want to change the amount of under spin by adding side spin (by changing the axis of the spin-you effectively remove some under spin just as if you slowed the revolutions of the ball). This trickery makes the ball harder for my opponent to track but also hard for me to land on the table. The more control, the better!

For me soft slow wood is the way to go. I have a Giant Dragon Kris combination blade that is OFF/Def
a great combination on the back is Feint Long III (black-since some think the color affects the properties of the rubber) in 1.3 thickness. The offensive side has 729 Judo in 2.0 (red).So using this blade for an example (and I very much did buy it as a concept blade) lets examine it. The wood is slow and soft allowing for great control and copious dwell time, great. However, for lack of a better way of saying it, wow this “pig” is fat! The blade thickness makes it hard to loop! It is heavy (even being balsa wood), and the handle has a plastic clip that comes lose making it uncomfortable (By the way, even the handle can be a consideration, I want a handle that makes it easy to twiddle)!Finally, the blade shape makes it hard to twiddle! The slowness of the wood and the rubber mean that pick hitting and sideswiping are largely a waste of time-risks probably best not taken with this blade. This is part of the trade offs that a perseptive modern defender must make. If a defender uses a blade of the same type of playing characteristics, he or she will have to weigh very carefully what type of game he or she will play or start to make trade offs. This is not bad, every player has to do this,its part of the game. Maybe like me, some will opt to try a combo blade? If so look at the wood types and for the defense side, softness, feel, dwell time, are a very good place to start. Balsa wood is a good place to start if cost is a factor.

Many player frankly like the Joo Se Hyuk blade others prefer the Butterfly Defense 2-there are many to choose from. The most import idea is that the player can execute the 3 main goals of modern defense:

1) The ability to attack successfully on the forehand
2) The ability to defend with heavy under-spin on the backhand
3) Successful serve and receive

There are other goals a player might have-pick hit with the backhand with the long pips, twiddle and attack with inverted, playing the sideswipe stroke, chop block, and there are others I am sure, but the backbone of the game should be the main three goals. I probably should have them inreverse order or 3,1,2 in order of importance if I am to follow Liang's advice.

Rubber for the Forehand

I guess if I were a world class player the answer would be simple, I would cover my forehand with Butterfly Tenergy 05 -2.0 and that would probably be that. Joo, Filus, Gionis all use Tenergy in some iteration mostly 05 in 2.1 mm.

Chen Weinxing uses Joola Express, old Chetchtinine uses Triple Spin Chop but he is a classic defender.
Tenergy is great; it is also $70.00 usd (United States Dollars) per sheet. When I was a player in a good league-worth it, when I was playing for $$$ worth it! Now....looking for cheaper alternatives.

I was very successful with Tackiness Chop-great serves, killer slow loop, great heavy chops, but even “Gozilla” (my forehand loop) was reduced to pretty easily handled speed-it was still loaded with topspin but could be caught up to-not so good. This was off the Pro Alfa I still use today, a fast African Mahogany blade reminiscent of the old Stiga Kjell Johansen model (only much sturdier).

For modern defense attack is important, so a rubber like Tachiness Chop or Wallie is probably not the way to go. I liked 729 Judo but that rubber had production problems and seems to have been removed from the market. A good economical choice seems to be 729 Super FX-EL Supersoft (enough adjectives???), and that is what I am going to try next, why?

Let me address the why. In the advertisement 729 goes to great lengths about the rubbers ability to create mechancial spin. To someone new they might not even know the difference between mechancial spin and any other type of spin or what the other type of spin even is. The other type of spin is chemical spin.

Let me start with mechancial spin. Mechancial spin is created when the rubber sheet creates maximum contact or surface area with the ball. This rubber can “wrap around” the ball and the sponge is probably soft and springy. This create tremendous friction-exactly ehat a table tennis player wants!

Chemical spin is cuase by the chemicals in the rubber being reactive to a celluiod surface, and the rubber literally “snaps” at the ball. There is some mechancial component to the spin but not as much or maximized. Tackiness and Frienship were the first makers on the market with tacky rubber. Originally the sponge was hard with the Chinese rubbers but then Butterfly developed the softer sponge for the chopping game.

Part of the modern defense game is fishing with your forehand just as a looper would-fishing is a kind of topspin defense. Chen Weixing and Panagiotis Gionis use it exclusively instead of chopping on their forehand, Joo and Ruwen Filus can do either (and in Filus's case he may have even twiddled his paddle)! Creating heavy spin with good control with either chop or loop can be obtained and that is what you want as a modern defender! The switch can be instantly made to attack-again folliwing the advice of Liang Ko Liang. Also make sure what ever forehand rubber is chosen that it has enough “gears.” This is table tennis jargon for being able to vary the spin and speed from low to high. remembering that clever deception is also an important tool for a modern defender.


The Modern Defender Backhand


With all due respect to the great Ding Song and Hou Yingchou who play with short pips on their backhand, most modern defenders today play with long pips. There are a number of reasons why this is so:

1) the rip chop-the most important defensive chop in all of table tennis is easier to execute with long pips.
2) Long pips can add spin to the ball (already heavily spun)
3) Long pips make it easier to control heavily spun loops and serves than other surfaces
4) Long pips allow the defender to take the ball higher than short pips or inverted.
5) Long pips can more easily add or subtract spin than other rubbers
6) Long pips can produce strange knuckle balling type shots or unique shots really only effective with long pips.


That is quite a list and I did not even mention how some players can create tremendous serves with long pips, or chop blocks (not really the province of a modern defense game), and I am sure there are others effective tools that I am leavinf out. So what is the best long pips rubber in the world for MODERN DEFENSE? It all comes down to personal prefenence but looking at the world class players both men and women, I would probably have to say it is probably Curl PR-1. Yes, I know that the Butterfly Feint series Feint Soft, Feint Long 2, Feint Long 3 are well liked., and I know the great Koji Matsushita was on the design team for Curl P-4, but aas I look over the vast majority of modern(and classic) defenders its Curl PR-1. (In fact, If I ever get the $$ I am going to cover my other Pro Alfa BH in Curl PR-1 in black 1.1mm-LOL).

For a NEW pespective modern defender, however; I would choose either Curl P-4 or Feint Long 3. Curl PR-1 is notoriously not for new players and the softer sponge of the others would be much more forgiving. If I was going to choose, it makes sense to stay with a TSP product if I was going to transition down the line although the P-4 certainly is a world class rubber.

If cost is an overriding concern, I am a big fan of DHS Cloud and Fog 3. Its is $14.00 usd a sheet and most places give you a choice of OX or 1.0 only. I know of no world class player who use this rubber, but many players seem to prefer it. It is on my number 1 rig. Hopefully the OOAK Community will be able to give some good suggestions.

Finally, I am sure there are other worthy rubbers, but these above seem best for the modern defense game. This not the same as a close to the table pushing and blocking game which would have different requirements,strategies, and goals. There are no frictionless pips here as grip is required to manipulate the spin. Also, I realize modern defense can be played wirh short and medium pips as well, I have no rebuttal and I gladly concede the point. This ends phase one. Phase 2 will deal with strategy, shot making, serving, twiddling, and more. Once again, I hope this is a start for a great discussion not just one guy writing, modern defenders unite!!!LOL...

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PostPosted: 24 Sep 2014, 15:39 
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Not sure about short but a great post for this forum Ian ;)


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PostPosted: 24 Sep 2014, 16:44 
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An excellent start! I greatly enjoyed reading this, thanks!

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PostPosted: 24 Sep 2014, 22:00 
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Outstanding writeup ian demagim! Very informative and a must-read for anyone considering this style! :clap: :clap: :clap:

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PostPosted: 25 Sep 2014, 02:19 
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Thanks so much for the fascinating post. I certainly learned a lot.

I watched LIang play many times in the 1970s. When reading your post, I seemed to recall the Liang's play was different from modern defenders nowadays, since he would attack when serving and defend when receiving. But, I thought perhaps my memory was flawed until I read the following in Kees interview

"When the opponent served, I defended; when I served myself, I looked for opportunities to attack."

Thanks again for your great post.

Steven

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PostPosted: 25 Sep 2014, 07:20 
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Great post, can't wait for part 2.

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PostPosted: 26 Sep 2014, 07:42 
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Way to go, ian. :up: I wonder what discussion we can make out of this post... You better write some worse posts, because this one explains it all and there's no need to discuss.


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PostPosted: 07 Oct 2014, 07:55 
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The tool box:

Before we can talk about starategy or tactics, we have to possess or develop enough tools in the tool chest of the modern defender in order to successfully carry out our game. The forehand is going to be like anyone elses forehand, spinny loop, fast loop, smash, but there are a couple of addititions: The forehand chop and the mostly sidespin loop. Like an attackers game the most important shot is going to be the loop. The backhand will be vastly different with the long pips.

The most important stroke by far is the rip chop the basic stroke of all modern defense games. Combined with the long pips this is the stroke that will effectively handle the opponents loop drive. The long pips provide some significant advantageous the long pips actually increase the spin of the ball, the ball can be taken high producing a deep driving ball that is very hard to attack. The long pips also make it possible to vary the amount of rotation on the ball an important consideration for the modern defnders opponent.

Here is an example of the rip chop by 2 top defenders playing each other Panagiotis Gionis and Chen Wiexing:

Notice about 2:06 a beautiful rip chop rip executed bu Gionis! Watch all of game 2-you will see other shots in the tool box like the side swipe.
Here is masterful instruction by Chen Wiexing:


Here are some other strokes by 19fabelicious89 :


This gentlemen has even gone so far to use 3 different rubbers and is excellent instruction!

Here is Ruwen Filus giving an absolute clinic on disguising his strokes:

and by the way isnt Chuang one hell of a looper!

The mostly side spin loopfor when the rally is slipping away:

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PostPosted: 30 Oct 2014, 23:26 
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Short or Medium pips out defender

The short or medium pips out defender has many of the same aspects that the long pips out defender does with some differences. The short or medium pips out is not going to add to the spin like a sticky long pips out rubber-this is a differnce in the physics of the rubber. The short pips out player has couple of advantages in that he or she can manipulate the spin very well and can counter attack much better!

Ding Song was a master of attacking pushes or drops shots that were left too high with his short pips out. Also 2 world class attackers Tang Peng world # 21 and Tan Ruiwu wrold #51 both can be found chopping effectively with their short pips on occassion-both use ver offensive rubber TSP Spectol short pips out on their backhands (and inverted forehands). The trade off really is the rip chop for more counter attack.

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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2014, 01:18 
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Ok, let’s discuss a few things ;-). Certainly not meant as ‘counter-attacks’, but just some personal opinions to feed the discussion!

ian demagi wrote:
Many choppers are natural choppers meaning they seem to react with under-spin counters. When a ball is topspinned to them they naturally chop it. Having this instinct is a very helpful plus if you want to adopt this as your playing style

The words “natural” and “instinct” indicate a biological stance towards the chopping style. It also implies a ‘fit-idea’: some people are made for chopping, others aren’t. I certainly believe there is a connection between personality and the choice or preference to adopt a defensive style, but I am convinced anything can be learned. The reaction of doing under-spin counters is primarily learned-by-doing. My own situation is that I started playing table tennis offensively as a kid. I even played the penholder style for one year. In my late twenties, I changed to long pimples and I developed an allround style: combination of blocking, chopping, cutting, attacking with long pips (OX or 0.5mm) and a strong forehand loop. It is only since last year that I made a switch to the chopping / modern defender style. By watching famous choppers, by choosing the right equipment, and (mostly) by persevering and practicing a lot I learned how to successfully chop and cut the attacks of the opponent, to extend the point, to be patient, to launch a FH attack at the right time. Am I a natural chopper? Was I made to become a chopper? Is it inborn? I don’t think so, a combination of factors lead to this direction. Of course some personality characteristics are in line with being attracted towards that style. But it could have turned out differently as well.

ian demagi wrote:
Here is a quote from the great Liang ‘Defense is there in order to seek out opportunities for attack, and to prepare attack. This means that whenever I am forced away to defend, I have to ask myself: when will the chance to attack reappear, how do I get that chance?’ This is, for me, the main difference between the modern defender and the classic defender. The modern defender should be seeking to attack whenever possible, the classic defender attacks only when there is the unusual chance for an easy put away or a rare opportunity to play spin and kill.

I think this is a very interesting distinction. And a good definition of ‘modern defence’. I would immediately add the dimension of ‘chopping away from the table’ because people who play a deception ‘wobble’ game or a blocking game close by the table in order to prepare attack can hardly be called modern defenders (you added this underspin dimension in the next paragraph). Another thing is that somebody like Joo Se Hyuk or Shiono, for me, are more tending to classic defence while Chen Wei Xing, Gionis, Filus are more tending to modern defence.

ian demagi wrote:
Finally, no discussion of modern defense would be complete without the examination of pips, probably long pips. Frankly, a small plastic ball hurtling through the air at tremendous velocity with tremendous spin does “interesting things”when it encounters a surface that gives and distorts. This is also part of modern defense much to the chagrin of some.

It is perfectly possible to be a modern defender with inverted rubbers on both sides. And “Probably long pips" doesn’t apply anymore as there are currently a lot of short pips choppers at higher levels.

ian demagi wrote:
This type of dwell time, for me, requires a softer, slower, blade (and sponge, and maybe rubber). I may want to change the amount of under spin by adding side spin (by changing the axis of the spin-you effectively remove some under spin just as if you slowed the revolutions of the ball). This trickery makes the ball harder for my opponent to track but also hard for me to land on the table. The more control, the better! For me soft slow wood is the way to go. I have a Giant Dragon Kris combination blade that is OFF/Def.

This (and your recommendations of rubbers) is a very subjective matter and doesn’t automatically apply to anyone. I would f.e. never chose a balsa blade. I have also never seen a top defender using a balsa blade. Many defenders (certainly modern defenders) chose heavier full wooden blades with hard wood outer plies that isn’t necessarily slow. I think the ability to keep chops low, to gain in speed on chops, and to not lose the ability of powerlooping with forehand is important here.

ian demagi wrote:
For a NEW pespective modern defender, however; I would choose either Curl P-4 or Feint Long 3. Curl PR-1 is notoriously not for new players and the softer sponge of the others would be much more forgiving. If I was going to choose, it makes sense to stay with a TSP product if I was going to transition down the line although the P-4 certainly is a world class rubber.

As you said yourself in one of your first sentences: it depends of so many factors... I don’t think it is useful to favour one particular rubber! But from experience, I believe it could be true that people who first used OX can easier make the transition to harder sponged long pips (like P1r, Octopus) than to soft sponged pips (like FLIII, P4). People who previously used double inverted can easier make the transition to soft sponged long pips like FLIII & P4 that are a bit more inverted-like.

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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2014, 05:49 
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This forum likes to divide between double inverted topspin and LP defender but a notable observation is that all choppers are still fundamentally rally players. Their mindset rather back off to play safe until opponents provide opportunities is much closer to "loopers" who'd fish and lob when behind in a point instead of risk counterloop at the table. Whereas in contrast "defending" at the table is often stylistically closer to fast-attack, mounting pressure with spin variation and timing even if the LP aren't used to "attack" a la hit/drive per se. This is esp true at less than pro level where even slow OX blocks positioned well is a challenge to amateurs with less than perfect footwork.


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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2014, 09:02 
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Pipsy wrote:
Ok, let’s discuss a few things ;-). Certainly not meant as ‘counter-attacks’, but just some personal opinions to feed the discussion!

ian demagi wrote:
Many choppers are natural choppers meaning they seem to react with under-spin counters. When a ball is topspinned to them they naturally chop it. Having this instinct is a very helpful plus if you want to adopt this as your playing style

The words “natural” and “instinct” indicate a biological stance towards the chopping style. It also implies a ‘fit-idea’: some people are made for chopping, others aren’t. I certainly believe there is a connection between personality and the choice or preference to adopt a defensive style, but I am convinced anything can be learned. The reaction of doing under-spin counters is primarily learned-by-doing. My own situation is that I started playing table tennis offensively as a kid. I even played the penholder style for one year. In my late twenties, I changed to long pimples and I developed an allround style: combination of blocking, chopping, cutting, attacking with long pips (OX or 0.5mm) and a strong forehand loop. It is only since last year that I made a switch to the chopping / modern defender style. By watching famous choppers, by choosing the right equipment, and (mostly) by persevering and practicing a lot I learned how to successfully chop and cut the attacks of the opponent, to extend the point, to be patient, to launch a FH attack at the right time. Am I a natural chopper? Was I made to become a chopper? Is it inborn? I don’t think so, a combination of factors lead to this direction. Of course some personality characteristics are in line with being attracted towards that style. But it could have turned out differently as well.


"I certainly believe there is a connection between personality and the choice or preference to adopt a defensive style, but I am convinced anything can be learned."

This phrase is contradictory, except when personality is something that can be learned. I'm more in line with Ian here. I'm also convinced all strokes can be learned, but a weakness will stay a weakness in your game (relative to the strenght in your game) and this defines a style. If your weakness becomes a real strenght, then you might have discovered something about yourself, be it (a part of) your style and in extension your personality.

The experience you mention is maybe you discovering yourself. I don't think it could have turned out differently. It might change in the future, though, because you haven't found your own style yet. Life is about discovering yourself. I understand your belief everything can be learned (and in extension life is "completely open" and learnable?), but this puts a whole lot of responsability on the shoulders of those who failed in society or smaller, failed in table tennis.


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PostPosted: 31 Oct 2014, 13:45 
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Attacking vs defending mentality is definitely different. There are different tools for each but the mindset remains, and as mentioned I think a lobber is much closer to a defensive chopper than a classic chopper is to a modern defender like Rowen Filus or Gionis who are more like allround players.

Natural tendency to step back or go forward can be overcome, but when pressed inherent nature sometimes surface. Like some euro loopers always go backwards under pressure, or even in chinese TT-system where players are trained to stay put a few players withdraw and play safe when their peers keep pressing back to turn the point around.

You see these tendencies in club players as well. Play a high quality shot and some will always want to match it while others just try to get it back.


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PostPosted: 01 Nov 2014, 08:52 
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Lorre wrote:
Pipsy wrote:
Ok, let’s discuss a few things ;-). Certainly not meant as ‘counter-attacks’, but just some personal opinions to feed the discussion!

ian demagi wrote:
Many choppers are natural choppers meaning they seem to react with under-spin counters. When a ball is topspinned to them they naturally chop it. Having this instinct is a very helpful plus if you want to adopt this as your playing style

The words “natural” and “instinct” indicate a biological stance towards the chopping style. It also implies a ‘fit-idea’: some people are made for chopping, others aren’t. I certainly believe there is a connection between personality and the choice or preference to adopt a defensive style, but I am convinced anything can be learned. The reaction of doing under-spin counters is primarily learned-by-doing. My own situation is that I started playing table tennis offensively as a kid. I even played the penholder style for one year. In my late twenties, I changed to long pimples and I developed an allround style: combination of blocking, chopping, cutting, attacking with long pips (OX or 0.5mm) and a strong forehand loop. It is only since last year that I made a switch to the chopping / modern defender style. By watching famous choppers, by choosing the right equipment, and (mostly) by persevering and practicing a lot I learned how to successfully chop and cut the attacks of the opponent, to extend the point, to be patient, to launch a FH attack at the right time. Am I a natural chopper? Was I made to become a chopper? Is it inborn? I don’t think so, a combination of factors lead to this direction. Of course some personality characteristics are in line with being attracted towards that style. But it could have turned out differently as well.


"I certainly believe there is a connection between personality and the choice or preference to adopt a defensive style, but I am convinced anything can be learned."

This phrase is contradictory, except when personality is something that can be learned. I'm more in line with Ian here. I'm also convinced all strokes can be learned, but a weakness will stay a weakness in your game (relative to the strenght in your game) and this defines a style. If your weakness becomes a real strenght, then you might have discovered something about yourself, be it (a part of) your style and in extension your personality.

The experience you mention is maybe you discovering yourself. I don't think it could have turned out differently. It might change in the future, though, because you haven't found your own style yet. Life is about discovering yourself. I understand your belief everything can be learned (and in extension life is "completely open" and learnable?), but this puts a whole lot of responsability on the shoulders of those who failed in society or smaller, failed in table tennis.


It's the old nature vs. nurture debate. I think both are contributing to becoming a defender. I don't see the contradiction in my statement. Ok, replace 'anything' by 'so many things' :-). And why not, even personality characteristics might develop, refine, change in the course of life? I certainly didn't mean to polarize the discussion. But the premise that nurture is at least equally important than nature also gives a lot of hope and creates a lot of opportunities. The real danger is that you blame it (or contribute it to) on your personality, 'just the way you are', your genes. Now, that's what I would call a weight on your shoulders...

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PostPosted: 01 Nov 2014, 21:38 
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Pipsy wrote:
It's the old nature vs. nurture debate. I think both are contributing to becoming a defender. I don't see the contradiction in my statement. Ok, replace 'anything' by 'so many things' :-). And why not, even personality characteristics might develop, refine, change in the course of life? I certainly didn't mean to polarize the discussion. But the premise that nurture is at least equally important than nature also gives a lot of hope and creates a lot of opportunities. The real danger is that you blame it (or contribute it to) on your personality, 'just the way you are', your genes. Now, that's what I would call a weight on your shoulders...


I think you're right. Both factors contribute to it. But still there's a core and that core tends to go defense/offense. I'm convinced you cannot fully turn a defender into an attacker and vice versa. You can teach a defender to be an attacker and until a certain level that will be successful. But after that level he'll be more successful being a defender than being an attacker. The question lies: where do you put that threshold? And even below that threshold: isn't it easier to follow your natural personality instead of learning things that are opposite form it?

I think the weight you put on nature vs. nurture and the hope that follows from it, depends on the situation you're in. E.g. more depressed people might call their condition nature and psycholigcally more fortunate people might call their condition nurture. The former might become better by believing there's a big factor called nurture. The latter eventually will hit a certain ceiling by their nature. It might even be that the former becomes the latter and vice versa.


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