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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2020, 23:12 
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I suspect the Chinese will probably teach both backhands as different techniques for different situations and not shoves or shove alternatives. But more seriously, Ma Lon's backhand is how basically most top players hit a backhand. And again, the range of swing on the elbow is significant.

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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2020, 23:13 
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fastmover wrote:

A guy who was teaching members to play backhand topspin against backspin. It's still what I teach today too...squat and thrust.


I used to think that the basic mechanic is the same on both shots (against backspin/topspin).[/quote]

TTEdge is now about arcane body mechanics... no more intuitive adjustments to each swing methinks.

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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2020, 23:18 
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Let me show you how different they can be. Here is ML playing a squat and thrust (his standard backhand against backspin), followed by his version of the shove, which I'll be calling the "dive" from now on.


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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2020, 23:23 
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NextLevel wrote:
fastmover wrote:

A guy who was teaching members to play backhand topspin against backspin. It's still what I teach today too...squat and thrust.


I used to think that the basic mechanic is the same on both shots (against backspin/topspin).


TTEdge is now about arcane body mechanics... no more intuitive adjustments to each swing methinks.[/quote]

I have to learn...it's my job.

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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2020, 23:27 
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First of all, wow. Thank you everyone for looking at my video. I never expected my post to create this much discussion. But I'm really happy it did because I feel like I've learned so much reading what everyone has written. I've read it all at least 3 times. I get the feeling my understanding has suddenly jumped a level or two. Though in reality, I'm sure it's the opposite haha. I'm glad you decided to elaborate on my video, Brett. Thank you.

I want to comment a little about my backhand. I'm just going to say random things, so if something is off, or if you think you can address the issue, feel free to let me know :)

I've always considered my swing a little too short. I've been trying to make it longer like NL mentioned. I always felt like I could get it closer to my body on the backswing. But it didn't matter how I tried, I really struggled to do it. Maybe my swing is already big enough like Brett mentioned. Maybe I'm missing something. Or maybe I just need to suck it up and try to get it even closer to my body. Today I tried having my elbow further out than usual. The idea was that if I did that, I'd have more room to backswing. It kind of worked but I felt like I had to tighten my upper arm muscles too much to keep it that far forward, so I stopped after awhile. It was an interesting experiment for sure.

As for my momentum generator, it is definitely the knees and hips. My stroke feels like it starts with me storing energy into my legs as I bend my knees. My arm feels like it's swinging forward with the momentum of my legs as I spring up off the ground a little. I've always found it hard to 'unbow' from my torso against block or topspin. It felt really unnatural whenever I tried. I felt like my arm naturally wanted to go up whenever I did, which usually also meant my racket angle was too open on contact. I think that's why I've ended up with this style. When it comes to underspin though, it felt really natural to unbow since I needed the upwards momentum of an open racket to lift the ball. That's probably why in the video I linked awhile back of me opening against underspin, I usually had my back straight after the stroke.

That said, I'm always willing to try new things, and especially now I have the opportunity to practice with a robot. Something that I've always wanted to do because with actual practice partners, I could never take it slow and actually examine my stroke to try and change or fix things.

Today after I woke up in the morning, I read all that was posted at that time (about half of what has currently been posted) and spent a bunch of time thinking about it. I then went to school and tried a few things out. My initial goal was to add unbowing since a lot of people mentioned the torso and also to try and make my stroke bigger. After awhile I found it too difficult to fix both at once, so I just went with the unbowing. My setup was as follows:

1. Record 2 20 second sessions. 2 because after the first 20 seconds I could think about how it felt and change something based on the feeling of what I was doing.
2. Watch the 2 sessions and think about what I want to change based on what I saw.
3. Repeat 1 and 2.

I did this 14 times before I felt like I got it right on one of the balls. One of the balls just felt right. I felt like my unbowing came perfectly to explode my arm forward. A lot of the shots looked similar on video, but that one also had the feeling of everything working in unison. Once I got the feeling of that one ball, I was able to concentrate on replicating it, and within 1 or 2 more sets, I felt like I had it down pretty well. Maybe half the balls had that feeling. I still have my knees driving the momentum I feel, but I definitely think the upper body is now contributing. What do you guys think?

I'll link the videos in the order that I took them.

Side View (I put that very first time I felt like I got it kind of right at the start of the video):
https://youtu.be/PPAairjSO5k

Diagonal View (First one also felt like everyone worked together well):
https://youtu.be/eLbEA1sTC_o

Front View:
https://youtu.be/iILEMBK1W3c

I still feel like I need to work on the swing size. It feels a little small. I'll work on going more forward to make it bigger.

Once again, any advice greatly appreciated.

P.S. Sorry about the long post.


Last edited by mickd on 28 Mar 2020, 23:55, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2020, 23:28 
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PostPosted: 28 Mar 2020, 23:53 
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mickd wrote:
First of all, wow. Thank you everyone for looking at my video. I never expected my post to create this much discussion. But I'm really happy it did because I feel like I've learned so much reading what everyone has written. I've read it all at least 3 times. I get the feeling my understanding has suddenly jumped a level or two. Though in reality, I'm sure it's the opposite haha. I'm glad you decided to elaborate on my video, Brett. Thank you.

I want to comment a little about my backhand. I'm just going to say random things, so if something is off, or if you think you can address the issue, feel free to let me know :)

I've always considered my swing a little too short. I've been trying to make it longer like NL mentioned. I always felt like I could get it closer to my body on the backswing. But it didn't matter how I tried, I really struggled to do it. Maybe my swing is already big enough like Brett mentioned. Maybe I'm missing something. Or maybe I just need to suck it up and try to get it even closer to my body. Today I tried having my elbow further out than usual. The idea was that if I did that, I'd have more room to backswing. It kind of worked but I felt like I had to tighten my upper arm muscles too much to keep it that far forward, so I stopped after awhile. It was an interesting experiment for sure.

As for my momentum generator, it is definitely the knees and hips. My stroke feels like it starts with me storing energy into my legs as I bend my knees. My arm feels like it's swinging forward with the momentum of my legs as I spring up off the ground a little. I've always found it hard to 'unbow' from my torso against block or topspin. It felt really unnatural whenever I tried. I felt like my arm naturally wanted to go up whenever I did, which usually also meant my racket angle was too open on contact. I think that's why I've ended up with this style. When it comes to underspin though, it felt really natural to unbow since I needed the upwards momentum of an open racket to lift the ball. That's probably why in the video I linked awhile back of me opening against underspin, I usually had my back straight after the stroke.

That said, I'm always willing to try new things, and especially now I have the opportunity to practice with a robot. Something that I've always wanted to do because with actual practice partners, I could never take it slow and actually examine my stroke to try and change or fix things.

Today after I woke up in the morning, I read all that was posted at that time (about half of what has currently been posted) and spent a bunch of time thinking about it. I then went to school and tried a few things out. My initial goal was to add unbowing since a lot of people mentioned the torso and also to try and make my stroke bigger. After awhile I found it too difficult to fix both at once, so I just went with the unbowing. My setup was as follows:

1. Record 2 20 second sessions. 2 because after the first 20 seconds I could think about how it felt and change something based on the feeling of what I was doing.
2. Watch the 2 sessions and think about what I want to change based on what I saw.
3. Repeat 1 and 2.

I did this 14 times because I felt like I got it right on one of the balls. One of the balls just felt right. I felt like my unbowing came perfectly to explode my arm forward. A lot of the shots looked similar on video, but that one also had the feeling of everything working in unison. Once I got the feeling of that one ball, I was able to concentrate on replicating it, and within 1 or 2 more sets, I felt like I had it down pretty well. Maybe half the balls had that feeling. I still have my knees driving the momentum I feel, but I definitely think the upper body is now contributing. What do you guys think?

I'll link the videos in the order that I took them.

Side View (I put that very first time I felt like I got it kind of right at the start of the video):
https://youtu.be/PPAairjSO5k

Diagonal View:
https://youtu.be/eLbEA1sTC_o

Front View:
https://youtu.be/iILEMBK1W3c

I still feel like I need to work on the swing size. It feels a little small. I'll work on going more forward to make it bigger.

Once again, any advice greatly appreciated.

P.S. Sorry about the long post.


Hey, mickd, thanks for being a good sport about all this. Not easy being the center of attention.

I think the FV is a massive improvement over what I saw before, so maybe it is just a camera angle thing.

To improve your backhand arm swing, I would recommend you take a step back (not literally - I mean go back to basics and not be so advanced with your spin stroke) and try to stop using the wrist and just swing more from the elbow. MAke sure the forearm and racket starts almost pointing towards your body with the elbow pointing towards where you want to hit the ball. This is an exaggeration of what you are looking for and will feel extremely uncomfortable at first. Later you can return the elbow to the side and line up the swing more comfortably. Then the wrist is just icing on the cake.

That said, you do have good swing and body mechanics. My concern is may be misguided but when I see people swing the way you did at the ball in the first video I suspect things will fall apart in matches. The elbow and lower arm just have to do more work to guide the direction of stroke or there is nothing to put the ball where you want it when you get surprised by where the ball is placed and then people get stuck just waving at the ball in matches.

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Last edited by NextLevel on 29 Mar 2020, 11:32, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2020, 00:11 
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mickd wrote:
First of all, wow. Thank you everyone for looking at my video. I never expected my post to create this much discussion. But I'm really happy it did because I feel like I've learned so much reading what everyone has written. I've read it all at least 3 times. I get the feeling my understanding has suddenly jumped a level or two. Though in reality, I'm sure it's the opposite haha. I'm glad you decided to elaborate on my video, Brett. Thank you.

I want to comment a little about my backhand. I'm just going to say random things, so if something is off, or if you think you can address the issue, feel free to let me know :)

I've always considered my swing a little too short. I've been trying to make it longer like NL mentioned. I always felt like I could get it closer to my body on the backswing. But it didn't matter how I tried, I really struggled to do it. Maybe my swing is already big enough like Brett mentioned. Maybe I'm missing something. Or maybe I just need to suck it up and try to get it even closer to my body. Today I tried having my elbow further out than usual. The idea was that if I did that, I'd have more room to backswing. It kind of worked but I felt like I had to tighten my upper arm muscles too much to keep it that far forward, so I stopped after awhile. It was an interesting experiment for sure.

As for my momentum generator, it is definitely the knees and hips. My stroke feels like it starts with me storing energy into my legs as I bend my knees. My arm feels like it's swinging forward with the momentum of my legs as I spring up off the ground a little. I've always found it hard to 'unbow' from my torso against block or topspin. It felt really unnatural whenever I tried. I felt like my arm naturally wanted to go up whenever I did, which usually also meant my racket angle was too open on contact. I think that's why I've ended up with this style. When it comes to underspin though, it felt really natural to unbow since I needed the upwards momentum of an open racket to lift the ball. That's probably why in the video I linked awhile back of me opening against underspin, I usually had my back straight after the stroke.

That said, I'm always willing to try new things, and especially now I have the opportunity to practice with a robot. Something that I've always wanted to do because with actual practice partners, I could never take it slow and actually examine my stroke to try and change or fix things.

Today after I woke up in the morning, I read all that was posted at that time (about half of what has currently been posted) and spent a bunch of time thinking about it. I then went to school and tried a few things out. My initial goal was to add unbowing since a lot of people mentioned the torso and also to try and make my stroke bigger. After awhile I found it too difficult to fix both at once, so I just went with the unbowing. My setup was as follows:

1. Record 2 20 second sessions. 2 because after the first 20 seconds I could think about how it felt and change something based on the feeling of what I was doing.
2. Watch the 2 sessions and think about what I want to change based on what I saw.
3. Repeat 1 and 2.

I did this 14 times because I felt like I got it right on one of the balls. One of the balls just felt right. I felt like my unbowing came perfectly to explode my arm forward. A lot of the shots looked similar on video, but that one also had the feeling of everything working in unison. Once I got the feeling of that one ball, I was able to concentrate on replicating it, and within 1 or 2 more sets, I felt like I had it down pretty well. Maybe half the balls had that feeling. I still have my knees driving the momentum I feel, but I definitely think the upper body is now contributing. What do you guys think?

I'll link the videos in the order that I took them.

Side View (I put that very first time I felt like I got it kind of right at the start of the video):
https://youtu.be/PPAairjSO5k

Diagonal View (First one also felt like everyone worked together well):
https://youtu.be/eLbEA1sTC_o

Front View:
https://youtu.be/iILEMBK1W3c

I still feel like I need to work on the swing size. It feels a little small. I'll work on going more forward to make it bigger.

Once again, any advice greatly appreciated.

P.S. Sorry about the long post.


Mick, you are a seriously good sport for showing up today after reading all those posts.

I watched the front view a few times and that is a fine shot. There is a little more bowing/folding-unfolding going on. Again, I don't think it's completely essential that you unfold because I've what I've been trying to convey. It's completely legitimate to stay over the ball and straighten your knees. Do what you are most comfortable doing. I think the arm is doing the right thing.

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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2020, 11:30 
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Is this a backhand block or a backhand topspin shove?

https://youtu.be/4YeAlvs2T4w?t=18

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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2020, 12:10 
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This is my "natural" backhand.

https://youtu.be/B6bpbVVGPZk?t=771

I always feel jealous when I see complete forehands with full knee, hip and body usage etc. I basically feel like I have to backhands, one on the forehand side and one on the backhand side.

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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2020, 12:28 
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NextLevel wrote:
Is this a backhand block or a backhand topspin shove?

https://youtu.be/4YeAlvs2T4w?t=18


It's what he sometimes did in the warm-up a few years ago. He is folding/unfolding which he mostly only does against backspin these days. It's not his current match shove, that's for sure. Call it whatever you want.

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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2020, 17:22 
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NextLevel wrote:
Hey, mickd, thanks for being a good sport about all this. Not easy being the center of attention.

I think the FV is a massive improvement over what I saw before, so maybe it is just a camera angle thing.

To improve your backhand arm swing, I would recommend you take a step back (not literally - I mean go back to basics and not be so advanced with your spin stroke) and try to stop using the wrist and just swing more from the elbow. MAke sure the forearm and racket starts almost pointing towards your body with the elbow pointing towards where you want to hit the ball. This is an exaggeration of what you are looking for and will feel extremely uncomfortable at first. Later you can return the elbow to the side and line up the swing more comfortably. Then the wrist is just icing on the cake.

That said, you do have good swing and body mechanics. My concern is may be misguided but when I see people swing the way you did at the ball in the first video I suspect things will fall apart in matches. The elbow and lower arm just have to do more work to guide the direction of stroke or there is nothing to put the ball where you want it when you get surprised by where the ball is placed and then people get stuck just waving at the ball in matches.


Thanks NL. I started to take them from various angles because one day when I decided to do it from another, my stroke just looked off in every way. It made me think that I might have been putting too much emphasis on making it look right from one angle, but that may have been hiding flaws that you can only see from another. From the front the stroke always looked better because you can't easily see the legs and how far back the swing is going. I'll keep working on the swing. The side view is definitely where I can get the most visual feedback on that.

As for the wrist, I had no intention of adding wrist into the above videos. I was actually really surprised when I saw the video and the wrist was just doing its thing. As long as I was just thinking about exploding forward with the body to unfold and straighten the knees, there was wrist. If I slow it down, there won't be any wrist because there won't be enough momentum for my wrist to "delay" during the forward swing. I'll keep trying it on video and see where it goes. I'll try having my elbow further in front of my body again!

In match play, I can never do anything like this so it doesn't have the opportunity to fall apart... ;( I'm hoping that the more I practice it and perfect it during practice, the more likely it'll be that during a match my body will just do it. And if that happens, over time it'll probably happen more and more. In the interim, I'll try to do it with my practice partners during set drills. Your concern isn't misguided because I do lack the ability to adjust well against various balls still. That's a big thing holding me back. But I also rarely do match play (most my time is just blocking for my students).


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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2020, 17:28 
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Brett Clarke wrote:
Mick, you are a seriously good sport for showing up today after reading all those posts.

I watched the front view a few times and that is a fine shot. There is a little more bowing/folding-unfolding going on. Again, I don't think it's completely essential that you unfold because I've what I've been trying to convey. It's completely legitimate to stay over the ball and straighten your knees. Do what you are most comfortable doing. I think the arm is doing the right thing.


Thanks Brett. If you asked me yesterday, I would have 100% agreed that using the knees was the most comfortable thing to do. I couldn't figure out how to unfold against topspin/block. But after yesterday's session, I'm thinking the unfold really helps generate arm speed as long as I consciously remember that I want to direct the force forward.

I'll keep playing around with it to see which I end up doing. It was interesting seeing the pros use both in various situations, and maybe that'll be what I end up doing too.

Cheers :)

NextLevel wrote:
This is my "natural" backhand.

https://youtu.be/B6bpbVVGPZk?t=771

I always feel jealous when I see complete forehands with full knee, hip and body usage etc. I basically feel like I have to backhands, one on the forehand side and one on the backhand side.


Would love to see this NL, but the video is set to private!!


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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2020, 19:46 
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PostPosted: 29 Mar 2020, 22:08 
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Thanks NL. What I like about the stroke is that you look stable and have good timing. I have a question if you don't mind. Since you have bad knees, when you play your backhand, where does the power feel like it's being generated from? Do you feel like it's mostly from the elbow? Or do you get the feeling of it being generated from your legs or torso? Also what are you thinking about to take your backhand to the next level?


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