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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2021, 04:39 
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I recently played a tournament and lost 2-3 in the quarter finals. It was a close and really good game and I thought I generally played well. I've been trying to make my backhand less arm dependent but as the match shows I'm clearly not bowing down low enough. In my mind I'm bowing more than I really am and feel that I have no time to bow deeper - and if I do it it feels like I'll be too late. Maybe because I need to start the movement much earlier? I'm also confused about the arm structure of the BH. I also don't know how to push off with my legs for the BH. On the BH blocks I hit out I also think I'm bowing but I'm clearly not.

It feels to me like my racket is rarely pointing towards my stomach on my BH compared to before when I'd whip my wrist back more. I know it should happen with the momentum from the body usage, but what should I aim for?

I also think I can get a bit lower for my FH open ups and could probably get more points there. But there I have the same issue as opening with the BH - I believe that I'm bending lower than I really am and don't feel like I have time to get lower than I am.

Maybe I'm at times too close to the table?

I was a bit nervous at the start of the match and I did get frustrated missing some shots, but I managed to regain my focus better than usual. I'm trying to improve the negative body language, it's a strong habit.

My FH feels more stable than ever, but I'm also using the same shot/backswing for every ball and don't have a very adaptable swing.. like for semi high balls.

Appreciate any thoughts :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpzwDOE5luw


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PostPosted: 07 Sep 2021, 11:06 
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Richfs wrote:
I recently played a tournament and lost 2-3 in the quarter finals. It was a close and really good game and I thought I generally played well. I've been trying to make my backhand less arm dependent but as the match shows I'm clearly not bowing down low enough. In my mind I'm bowing more than I really am and feel that I have no time to bow deeper - and if I do it it feels like I'll be too late. Maybe because I need to start the movement much earlier? I'm also confused about the arm structure of the BH. I also don't know how to push off with my legs for the BH. On the BH blocks I hit out I also think I'm bowing but I'm clearly not.

It feels to me like my racket is rarely pointing towards my stomach on my BH compared to before when I'd whip my wrist back more. I know it should happen with the momentum from the body usage, but what should I aim for?

I also think I can get a bit lower for my FH open ups and could probably get more points there. But there I have the same issue as opening with the BH - I believe that I'm bending lower than I really am and don't feel like I have time to get lower than I am.

Maybe I'm at times too close to the table?

I was a bit nervous at the start of the match and I did get frustrated missing some shots, but I managed to regain my focus better than usual. I'm trying to improve the negative body language, it's a strong habit.

My FH feels more stable than ever, but I'm also using the same shot/backswing for every ball and don't have a very adaptable swing.. like for semi high balls.

Appreciate any thoughts :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpzwDOE5luw


Hi Rich, i think you played a good match, especially in the second and fourth sets when you saved set and match points.

- your FH is consistent and you won many points with your FH topspin
- as you said you kept your negative body language to a minimum

i had the same problem with my BH (probably still have in a match situation), i.e. you're doing a vertical squat (i tried attaching a screenshot, but it was too big). at 0:23 you're hitting a BH topspin vs backspin and your back is almost perpendicular to the floor instead of leaning forward. one of Brett's suggestions that helped me was to try leaning forward while keeping my legs straight. when i do that it feels like i am sticking out my bum => these days i stick out my bum while bending my legs a little (see the GIF, my back forms an angle of around 45 degrees with the floor). imo, it's not a question of whether you have enough time to bow down/lean forward, it's more about how you do that.

when working on this it might be useful to record yourself from the side because it's easier to see how much you're leaning forward.


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PostPosted: 08 Sep 2021, 15:14 
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Richfs wrote:
I recently played a tournament and lost 2-3 in the quarter finals. It was a close and really good game and I thought I generally played well. I've been trying to make my backhand less arm dependent but as the match shows I'm clearly not bowing down low enough. In my mind I'm bowing more than I really am and feel that I have no time to bow deeper - and if I do it it feels like I'll be too late. Maybe because I need to start the movement much earlier? I'm also confused about the arm structure of the BH. I also don't know how to push off with my legs for the BH. On the BH blocks I hit out I also think I'm bowing but I'm clearly not.

It feels to me like my racket is rarely pointing towards my stomach on my BH compared to before when I'd whip my wrist back more. I know it should happen with the momentum from the body usage, but what should I aim for?

I also think I can get a bit lower for my FH open ups and could probably get more points there. But there I have the same issue as opening with the BH - I believe that I'm bending lower than I really am and don't feel like I have time to get lower than I am.

Maybe I'm at times too close to the table?

I was a bit nervous at the start of the match and I did get frustrated missing some shots, but I managed to regain my focus better than usual. I'm trying to improve the negative body language, it's a strong habit.

My FH feels more stable than ever, but I'm also using the same shot/backswing for every ball and don't have a very adaptable swing.. like for semi high balls.

Appreciate any thoughts :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpzwDOE5luw


Great match! You had some epic rallies, and the receive at 13:33 was really vicious. I think you are right in your assessment of the BH open-ups. One possible reason why you might feel you have no time when playing BHs is that you were playing a tight match and you are very FH-oriented. So you probably play BHs if you don't have time to play your favorite forehand topspin -- which by definition means that you were playing BHs in time deficit situations. I don't know if it is correct for you, but it is definitely my case. I am also FH-oriented, and when playing a close match, do the best I can to get my FH in as early as possible. So if I play a BH open-up it is an emergency shot under pressure in 99% of the cases, and it rarely looks great on camera.

I try to mitigate it by playing a very BH-oriented game against lower-level players. I usually serve something that gets predictably returned to my BH, and try to get the full-body motion on the open-up. I have more time for this move because I originally planned to play my BH. And I don't care that much about missing because I can compensate for it anyway. At least I usually can, but it doesn't always go as planned :rofl:

So my suggestion is to play a lower-level player, play a BH-oriented game, and record it. Maybe you will see a larger body motion. At least you will have more opportunities to practice it, and it will eventually transfer to tight situations. At least that is what I am hoping for.

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PostPosted: 08 Sep 2021, 23:50 
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Thanks for the comments guys, really helpful.

chopblock wrote:

Hi Rich, i think you played a good match, especially in the second and fourth sets when you saved set and match points.

- your FH is consistent and you won many points with your FH topspin
- as you said you kept your negative body language to a minimum

i had the same problem with my BH (probably still have in a match situation), i.e. you're doing a vertical squat (i tried attaching a screenshot, but it was too big). at 0:23 you're hitting a BH topspin vs backspin and your back is almost perpendicular to the floor instead of leaning forward. one of Brett's suggestions that helped me was to try leaning forward while keeping my legs straight. when i do that it feels like i am sticking out my bum => these days i stick out my bum while bending my legs a little (see the GIF, my back forms an angle of around 45 degrees with the floor). imo, it's not a question of whether you have enough time to bow down/lean forward, it's more about how you do that.

when working on this it might be useful to record yourself from the side because it's easier to see how much you're leaning forward.


So I am pushing off with my legs correctly, but I'm not leaning forward enough? So I should lean more forward and then push my butt out/bow/bend my legs more? and then push off from my heels? And yeah you are right, I'm confused with how to do it and that makes me feel like I have no time to do it, maybe sometimes I've done it right by accident, like in training - but something is off still.

Dr.Pivot wrote:
Great match! You had some epic rallies, and the receive at 13:33 was really vicious. I think you are right in your assessment of the BH open-ups. One possible reason why you might feel you have no time when playing BHs is that you were playing a tight match and you are very FH-oriented. So you probably play BHs if you don't have time to play your favorite forehand topspin -- which by definition means that you were playing BHs in time deficit situations. I don't know if it is correct for you, but it is definitely my case. I am also FH-oriented, and when playing a close match, do the best I can to get my FH in as early as possible. So if I play a BH open-up it is an emergency shot under pressure in 99% of the cases, and it rarely looks great on camera.

I try to mitigate it by playing a very BH-oriented game against lower-level players. I usually serve something that gets predictably returned to my BH, and try to get the full-body motion on the open-up. I have more time for this move because I originally planned to play my BH. And I don't care that much about missing because I can compensate for it anyway. At least I usually can, but it doesn't always go as planned :rofl:

So my suggestion is to play a lower-level player, play a BH-oriented game, and record it. Maybe you will see a larger body motion. At least you will have more opportunities to practice it, and it will eventually transfer to tight situations. At least that is what I am hoping for.


Yeah I fully agree. I know I couldn't trust my backhand from the other matches this day and I just decided to use my FH as much as I could. I've been told by my teammates to play more FH, I think I've been prone to use a bit too much BH before just because I love killing balls with my BH, but it's so inconsistent so when it really matters I can't rely on it and it's losing me many matches.

I was really paying attention to my BH technique in practice matches yesterday.. but thinking about technique while playing a match doesn't work too well. A consistent BH that I can rely on - a spinnier type dive BH would be very useful for my game I think.


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PostPosted: 09 Sep 2021, 06:39 
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Richfs wrote:

So I am pushing off with my legs correctly, but I'm not leaning forward enough? So I should lean more forward and then push my butt out/bow/bend my legs more? and then push off from my heels? And yeah you are right, I'm confused with how to do it and that makes me feel like I have no time to do it, maybe sometimes I've done it right by accident, like in training - but something is off still.


i've seen you play BH topspin vs backspin correctly in training, e.g. in this clip https://youtu.be/FZ0SGaYBq3E you lean forward sufficiently and then straighten your back (screenshots 1 and 2 were taken at around 0:07/0:08). check screenshot 5 as a comparison from the match (taken around 0:22).

however, it takes a lot of purposeful practice until you can hit this shot consistently in a match. i read about the following in "Bounce" by Matthew Syed. i can't find the exact quote, so i'll paraphrase based on memory. you might need to practice (and master) this shot in the following situations until you can this shot consistently in a match under pressure:

(a) multiball or vs robot
(b) third-ball attack where you know the placement of the push
(c) third-ball attack where you do not know the placement of the push
(d) practice match
(e) match
(f) match under pressure

regarding your fifth ball, i think you could lean forward a little bit more on the backswing (screenshot 3, around 1:26) and then straighten the legs a little bit more (screenshot 4, around 1:27)


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PostPosted: 09 Sep 2021, 07:03 
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I am teaching my training buddy the backhand topspin.
I have broke it down to 2 easy instructions.

Spot the ball onto the bat as you squat.
Then rise out of the squat as you do the backswing.

The first instruction delays the backswing.
The second instruction makes you do a backswing as the body is rising.

Comments welcome.


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PostPosted: 09 Sep 2021, 07:39 
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chopblock wrote:
Richfs wrote:

So I am pushing off with my legs correctly, but I'm not leaning forward enough? So I should lean more forward and then push my butt out/bow/bend my legs more? and then push off from my heels? And yeah you are right, I'm confused with how to do it and that makes me feel like I have no time to do it, maybe sometimes I've done it right by accident, like in training - but something is off still.


i've seen you play BH topspin vs backspin correctly in training, e.g. in this clip https://youtu.be/FZ0SGaYBq3E you lean forward sufficiently and then straighten your back (screenshots 1 and 2 were taken at around 0:07/0:08). check screenshot 5 as a comparison from the match (taken around 0:22).

however, it takes a lot of purposeful practice until you can hit this shot consistently in a match. i read about the following in "Bounce" by Matthew Syed. i can't find the exact quote, so i'll paraphrase based on memory. you might need to practice (and master) this shot in the following situations until you can this shot consistently in a match under pressure:

(a) multiball or vs robot
(b) third-ball attack where you know the placement of the push
(c) third-ball attack where you do not know the placement of the push
(d) practice match
(e) match
(f) match under pressure

regarding your fifth ball, i think you could lean forward a little bit more on the backswing (screenshot 3, around 1:26) and then straighten the legs a little bit more (screenshot 4, around 1:27)


Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback. My focus today was to let my butt drop out/back a bit more which allows me to lean forward more - if that makes sense. My BH was more consistent and it did feel better. Though I need to record it.
The way I've approached it so far, before your feedback, is to just picture it like a squat - maybe too much so, so that I just go down, but often don't push my butt back enough which allows me to bow/bend at the hip more. I could just be mistaken about the form of a squat. I've thought the whole time that I shouldn't allow my butt to be pushed back much, so I've resisted that motion.


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PostPosted: 09 Sep 2021, 08:34 
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Richfs wrote:

Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback. My focus today was to let my butt drop out/back a bit more which allows me to lean forward more - if that makes sense. My BH was more consistent and it did feel better. Though I need to record it.
The way I've approached it so far, before your feedback, is to just picture it like a squat - maybe too much so, so that I just go down, but often don't push my butt back enough which allows me to bow/bend at the hip more. I could just be mistaken about the form of a squat. I've thought the whole time that I shouldn't allow my butt to be pushed back much, so I've resisted that motion.


you're welcome. actually, i had the same misconception as you. when i previously squatted i mostly went down, i.e. i did a vertical squat (the back is almost perpendicular to the floor).

when you push the butt back you bow/bend from the hips, which allows you to lean forward more. this is the way to go if i understand Brett correctly. i guess you can think of it as (a) pushing the butt back/out or (b) bending/bowing from the hips (they are supposed to mean the same thing).


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PostPosted: 09 Sep 2021, 12:40 
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Richfs I think you use your body well on both the forehand and backhand.
Well done.
However, I feel you could gain 20% more power by using more body in your shots.
For example in your forehand I feel your knee does not rotate enough to get more hip rotation.
Even try pointing the knee at the other leg in training. Bret talks about this in one of his latest videos.
Forehand ball, fast rotate the ground anti clockwise beneath your left shoe.
Then try a more explosive movement from the right leg to start the kinetic chain. The idea is to drive your body to rotate rather than an up movement. Rotate the ground clockwise under your right shoe.
This power from the ground is the key to a high level forehand.
I suggest to at least in training try to do more knee action. In a game you will many times have less time to do this

On your backhand try going down more in the squat.
You think you are squatting a lot but just do a lot more. Video to check.
For topspin against block rise forward fast without unbending from the hips.
Make this explosive too.
Against backspin you bend up from the hips.
Look at ma long backhand open up against backspin to see the dynamic body movement,
You do this but I feel you could be much more dynamic.
Explosive body move starts everything.

Delaying the backswing is another step. This adds another 20 percent power and spin. You are exploding your body as the bat is going in the opposite direction. The result is fast whip and racket speed.

When I see Brett training he uses a huge amount of body in his backhand.
The ball has the crack sound and it is very fast and still goes in.
He tells me the body action and backswing timing (delay) is the key to get the crack sound.

The idea is to delay backswing so you get a fast backswing against body movement.

The more you delay the shorter body motion needed. EG Timo forehand.

Hope these tips are helpful and comments or feedback are welcome.


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PostPosted: 10 Sep 2021, 21:28 
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chopblock wrote:
Richfs wrote:

Thanks a lot for the detailed feedback. My focus today was to let my butt drop out/back a bit more which allows me to lean forward more - if that makes sense. My BH was more consistent and it did feel better. Though I need to record it.
The way I've approached it so far, before your feedback, is to just picture it like a squat - maybe too much so, so that I just go down, but often don't push my butt back enough which allows me to bow/bend at the hip more. I could just be mistaken about the form of a squat. I've thought the whole time that I shouldn't allow my butt to be pushed back much, so I've resisted that motion.


you're welcome. actually, i had the same misconception as you. when i previously squatted i mostly went down, i.e. i did a vertical squat (the back is almost perpendicular to the floor).

when you push the butt back you bow/bend from the hips, which allows you to lean forward more. this is the way to go if i understand Brett correctly. i guess you can think of it as (a) pushing the butt back/out or (b) bending/bowing from the hips (they are supposed to mean the same thing).


It definitely feels like this has been the key to me messing it up. I think I can bring this into my FH against backspin too, pushing my butt out allows me to bend from the hip more and I'll "get lower", I also feel it in my glute muscle more. Maybe I can delay my swing a bit more like Maurice said for added effect, but that feels more difficult to change.

Thanks guys!


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2021, 11:20 
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Yes I was confused at first about the squat motion.
My thoughts for anyone interested.
It is not a down squat that takes your weight to the heals of your shoes.
Its a bum comes back squat that allows the weight to still be more on the balls of your foot.
The rise motion is up and forward with no unbending from the waist against block.
This body motion fully supports the 45 degree whip movement of the bat
It helps that you have a low stance to do the motion.
Think of the backhand as a 6 inch punch supported by the body moving in the same direction going up 45 degrees. If you do a down squat your punch will have no power as the body is just going up.
Martial arts is very relevant here. Try shadow swinging some fist punches with the correct body motion and delay the back movement of the fist till the body is going forward.
Since you want the bat to go up 45 degrees you need to squat and rise rather than pure rotation for a forward fist punch.
If you get the body fully supporting the bat and add fast wrist action (from delay) you can do a very powerful backhand with a very short whip action.
Ma Long and others squat and add a little right rotation of the hips to the squat to add even more power in the punch like motion.
This is completely the opposite what some level 2 coaches teach in Australia.
No wonder Australia suck at table tennis at the highest level.
So I like to think of the backhand as a short powerful punch stroke with delayed wrist action for topspin. Delay the wrist action till the body is moving forward and up.
I find the short stroke in front of my body is much more reliable than a long backstroke of the older type of backhand topspin.
This stroke is devastating down the line off the bounce.
Most people I play do not even touch the ball if they go cross court to my backhand.
That is assuming I get it in!!
Even at the highest pro level this shot is effective.
Work on this shot for 6 months and you will find they will not attack your backhand.
Then they will focus on shots to your elbow. ;(


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PostPosted: 11 Sep 2021, 13:09 
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Following on from my last post. I have tried the martial 6 inch punch idea on my backhand and I can get the crack sound like Brett gets on every ball. :) Not everyone is in yet but a start to a pro like level backhand.
Before I had this idea I only got the crack sound randomly.


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PostPosted: 13 Sep 2021, 08:32 
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Richfs wrote:
I recently played a tournament and lost 2-3 in the quarter finals. It was a close and really good game and I thought I generally played well. I've been trying to make my backhand less arm dependent but as the match shows I'm clearly not bowing down low enough. In my mind I'm bowing more than I really am and feel that I have no time to bow deeper - and if I do it it feels like I'll be too late. Maybe because I need to start the movement much earlier? I'm also confused about the arm structure of the BH. I also don't know how to push off with my legs for the BH. On the BH blocks I hit out I also think I'm bowing but I'm clearly not.

It feels to me like my racket is rarely pointing towards my stomach on my BH compared to before when I'd whip my wrist back more. I know it should happen with the momentum from the body usage, but what should I aim for?

I also think I can get a bit lower for my FH open ups and could probably get more points there. But there I have the same issue as opening with the BH - I believe that I'm bending lower than I really am and don't feel like I have time to get lower than I am.

Maybe I'm at times too close to the table?

I was a bit nervous at the start of the match and I did get frustrated missing some shots, but I managed to regain my focus better than usual. I'm trying to improve the negative body language, it's a strong habit.

My FH feels more stable than ever, but I'm also using the same shot/backswing for every ball and don't have a very adaptable swing.. like for semi high balls.

Appreciate any thoughts :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpzwDOE5luw


Hey Rich,

Thanks for posting the match. Thanks to everyone for their comments.

I'm going to start by answering the question that most players really want to know - how could I have won the match?

Let's assume for now that you have no interest in improving your tt mechanics and you just want "the tactics". In other words, if you were to play this match again right now, how could you win. Or if I was sitting on your bench, what would I say between games. The answer is, you should often topspin the first ball to your opponent's middle and forehand side. This alone would probably have been enough to win the match against this opponent. Watch this point https://youtu.be/jpzwDOE5luw?t=1099 That first forehand topspin should be down the middle or into the forehand. Your opponent hopes you topspin to his backhand every time so he can make his favourite backhand block. As it stands today, your forehand naturally goes to the backhand most of time.

The above is the simple type of advice that I give to professional players in matches. Just serve more to this position and start attacking more to that position. Or do this return more and attack more to this position. It's rarely more complex than this. I have almost never given technical advice in a match.

It's a funny thing when someone posts a match and asks for broad advice. It's a little bit like posting a video of one's entire life and asking how they should have lived. I find it incredibly complex to watch a match and summarize everything I'm seeing to give effective advice. Sure, I could have said just topspin more to the forehand and left it there.

People send me matches and I just watch the points and get worried about how I'm going to respond to the 10+ years of training that I'm seeing. Surely just saying the you swing back too early on your forehand or you don't twist your legs/hips doesn't really change the story, or does it?

I see all of the stuff that Maurice posted. The kinetic chain principles he is getting at aren't well understood in tt and they are something I'm deeply interest in. In most sports these principals are a fair bit clearer and more broadly understood. When doing a free throw in basketball, you should bend your knees and then straighten them. As the knees are straightening, the hand comes back down over the eyes somewhere (against the force of your upward leg push) and you then you flick the ball out towards the ring. On a tennis serve, you lean your body back and then snap your body forward. As you snap your body forward, your racket goes backwards, and then forward to strike the ball https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-Hcgjz1uow . As Federer turns his right hip forward, the racket goes backwards against the hip turn, before snapping forward at uncontrollably fast speeds https://youtu.be/EFY460oquXw?t=67 All of this stuff is a lot less clear in tt, so it's not commonly discussed. Because it's so much tighter in tt, the differences this stuff makes can't possibly be as significant as a correct tennis serve.

Let's get back to Rich. He's a good tt player who can improve on absolutely everything he is does, imo. I believe I see ways he can improve every single shot he plays. If you are reading this post, Rich would almost certainly beat you at a game of table tennis. We can all improve.

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PostPosted: 13 Sep 2021, 08:41 
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maurice101 wrote:
I am teaching my training buddy the backhand topspin.
I have broke it down to 2 easy instructions.

Spot the ball onto the bat as you squat.
Then rise out of the squat as you do the backswing.

The first instruction delays the backswing.
The second instruction makes you do a backswing as the body is rising.

Comments welcome.


I'm stealing this!

I know I'm just stealing my own knowledge but I like the way you've curated it.

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Whilst I'm here I'll tell you what I'm doing with my life.

I've taken a position as the full time coach of a professional table tennis player. This job involves moving countries to train the player in their homeland and then travelling to every WTT tournament and international opens etc. I'll be starting in the next few weeks though we've been working online for the 6 months or so.

I'm not going to write much about this situation here. The player is a very private person who has no online presence by choice. I don't want to create a situation where there is ongoing discuss about their performances etc when they choose to fly under the radar and just focus on improving and performance.

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Get your 3 wishes here today!
ttEDGE.com Professional online coaching


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