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PostPosted: 13 Sep 2021, 09:03 
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In relation to ttEDGE videos I have been accumulating a list of things to produce. There are 25 topics on the list.

There are so many videos on the site now that I don't just want to make content for the sake of adding to the numbers. I want to make sure that I'm comfortable that new knowledge is helpful and correct. I don't want to look back on it in 6 months and realize that it's just wrong.

People are still sending me short clips of their shots and I encourage all members to do the same.

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PostPosted: 13 Sep 2021, 22:28 
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Brett Clarke wrote:
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.


That sounds really exciting and fun for you. We may work out who it is when we see you sitting courtside, saying "Serve short to the forehand then open to his elbow."

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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2021, 13:59 
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Not fun for me. Lost my coach. :sweat:


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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2021, 17:48 
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A snapshot of my current BH technique. Comments are welcome.


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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2021, 18:43 
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Brett Clarke wrote:
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.


Thanks for the feedback and the nice comments! I know I put you in a tricky position when I asked about tactics against this guy. My tactic against him was to pin him on the BH because I knew he could just block there and the other guys told me to keep going to his BH, but maybe that was a mistake. If my technique were perfect I wouldn't even be asking for tactics :D. Isn't it imperfect technique that make tactics from either side possible? At the top level since there's so few technical imperfections it's no surprise it'd be hard to use anything other than generic tactics that would apply similarly to most of those players

So for the technical stuff that I should aim to improve in training, from what I understand is:
- Delay the backswing more on the FH and possibly more on the BH too.
- Bend from the hip more on the BH and more on the FH against backspin - the goal on the BH is to just do it a little bit in a match situation so I can find the feeling. My misconception made it almost impossible in match situations and in training I'd just sometimes do it right by accident.
- More aggressive leg push for both FH and BH
- Stomp more on the serve. When I fold my torso should that also be a bending of the hip? I feel like my serve is a bit of a mess and I don't know what I'm doing, I've tried to change my ball toss a lot and how I swing at the ball, but I don't really know what to aim for.

I was watching the first match I posted on here a few years ago and it's funny to see how many misconceptions I had then and that I kept having even when I knew better - and still, to some extent, have today. Thanks Brett for solving many of my misconceptions.


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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2021, 19:02 
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Dr.Pivot wrote:
A snapshot of my current BH technique. Comments are welcome.



I like it! On your open ups it looks to me like you can do it a bit more, it's a little bit like my straight squat version - though I could be mistaken. At the start it looks like the right amount for the fast ball you're getting. How does it feel when you back up more and have time to do a larger bow? You might also try to bow slightly earlier and start the backswing slightly later.

All of this also applies to me.. :D


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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2021, 20:08 
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Richfs wrote:
I like it! On your open ups it looks to me like you can do it a bit more, it's a little bit like my straight squat version - though I could be mistaken. At the start it looks like the right amount for the fast ball you're getting. How does it feel when you back up more and have time to do a larger bow? You might also try to bow slightly earlier and start the backswing slightly later.

All of this also applies to me.. :D


Thank you! Speaking about bowing more and how it feels: in a match, it often leads to overshoot and ball going long. I also have this problem on my forehand: I often feel like I must spin the hell out of the ball to make my opponent block off the end of the table. Unfortunately, I often misread the spin on the ball, and if it has less backspin than I thought, it goes long. So I recently started to play half-ass open-ups on both backhand and forehand to keep the first ball on the table and try to win the rally. This strategy is probably wrong, but I just can't read the spin in this game.

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PostPosted: 14 Sep 2021, 21:49 
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Dr.Pivot wrote:
Richfs wrote:
I like it! On your open ups it looks to me like you can do it a bit more, it's a little bit like my straight squat version - though I could be mistaken. At the start it looks like the right amount for the fast ball you're getting. How does it feel when you back up more and have time to do a larger bow? You might also try to bow slightly earlier and start the backswing slightly later.

All of this also applies to me.. :D


Thank you! Speaking about bowing more and how it feels: in a match, it often leads to overshoot and ball going long. I also have this problem on my forehand: I often feel like I must spin the hell out of the ball to make my opponent block off the end of the table. Unfortunately, I often misread the spin on the ball, and if it has less backspin than I thought, it goes long. So I recently started to play half-ass open-ups on both backhand and forehand to keep the first ball on the table and try to win the rally. This strategy is probably wrong, but I just can't read the spin in this game.


I know the feeling. Sometimes it makes me feel like I want less racket speed because if I go for more I'll miss the table then it leads to a lack of confidence and more lifting the ball with the arm to just get it on.

If you are going for more bow or more torso bend on the FH, you could try to wait for the ball to drop a tiny bit more so that you can spin it up. You could try practicing that against half long serves or half long pushes first as they leave you with less of a choice.
If you're taking the ball too early and you're doing too much of a fold/bow I think it's more likely that you'll hit it out - especially against less backspin or no spin as too much of an unfold will make your arm go more up, therefore lifting it out. So perhaps experiment with the timing and how much of a fold/bow you can get away with on different balls.


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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2021, 02:58 
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Brett Clarke wrote:
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.

Hey Brett, goof to hear from you!

Are you coming to Houston?


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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2021, 03:18 
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BTW, guys, I am going to Houston in November for the WTTC. Will be there for the whole week - always been a dream of mine to attend a WTTC/WTTTC so I seized the opportunity when it came to the US. Have to go with the wife and kids, but they will likely be busy with things not table tennis since my wife lived in Houston before we got married.

If you are making it, let me know and we can hang out etc.

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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2021, 03:21 
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Dr.Pivot wrote:
A snapshot of my current BH technique. Comments are welcome.




Extremely impressive. Well done.

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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2021, 04:04 
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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


A lot of people have said great things already. The biggest thing that stood out for me is that you didn't lose any points to the short serve double bouncing and I suspect that some of them would have come long. Don't injure yourself but you probably should practice against the racket-breaking half long balls on both forehand backhand but especially on forehand, because you did a great job when you hit the forehand opener. One of the benefits of this is that while you don't get that lovely short push, you do get to see whether an opponent really serves backspin and some of those topspin serves you popped up would have come long into your strike zone.

For your backhand, I think you tried to contact the ball too squarely on the openers vs backspin. Even with all the issues you had with mechanics, you could have just added some off center contact and made some of those shots with sidespin into the forehand. You should probably practice some chiquita or the over-the-table backhand loop if you can, it isn't entirely necessary but it will give you a different understanding of the backhand for sure.

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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2021, 10:25 
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Dr Pivot, a very nice backhand.
I looked at your swing with very slow motion.
If you really want to change it to incorporate Bretts delayed swing concept I suggest the following.
You could try delaying the backswing till you are rising up.
Squat and do not bring the bat back. Just spot the ball with the bat.
Rise and backswing.
This would allow a much better, shorter and faster whip action and you would gain a lot more power from the body. Better body mechanics, more power and spin and MUCH less effort.
You could try this concept and I would love if you report back to the forum your results.

I got a theory about Bretts concept.
I think in the next 10 years this concept will become more evident in male pro table tennis.
I feel that Brett's latest thinking, in my opinion, is ahead of what most current pros do.

The reason I think is that if you do the delay the power and swing speed goes up will a shorter swing.
In the modern game many times you do not have enough time to do a longer stroke.
I predict more pros will add more of the delayed backswing to all strokes and stay closer to the table.

I would be interested in Brett's views on this topic.


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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2021, 12:32 
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Richfs wrote:
Dr.Pivot wrote:
Thank you! Speaking about bowing more and how it feels: in a match, it often leads to overshoot and ball going long. I also have this problem on my forehand: I often feel like I must spin the hell out of the ball to make my opponent block off the end of the table. Unfortunately, I often misread the spin on the ball, and if it has less backspin than I thought, it goes long. So I recently started to play half-ass open-ups on both backhand and forehand to keep the first ball on the table and try to win the rally. This strategy is probably wrong, but I just can't read the spin in this game.


I know the feeling. Sometimes it makes me feel like I want less racket speed because if I go for more I'll miss the table then it leads to a lack of confidence and more lifting the ball with the arm to just get it on.

If you are going for more bow or more torso bend on the FH, you could try to wait for the ball to drop a tiny bit more so that you can spin it up. You could try practicing that against half long serves or half long pushes first as they leave you with less of a choice.
If you're taking the ball too early and you're doing too much of a fold/bow I think it's more likely that you'll hit it out - especially against less backspin or no spin as too much of an unfold will make your arm go more up, therefore lifting it out. So perhaps experiment with the timing and how much of a fold/bow you can get away with on different balls.


Yeah, I think it makes a lot of sense. I have a tendency to rush my shots even if I do have time, which probably contributes to them going long under pressure.

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PostPosted: 15 Sep 2021, 22:53 
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Taking the ball later in general helps a lot in reading spin, but it also makes you play slower. It is a good strategy for players you are definitely better than (i.e. players you usually read and play the game faster than) so that you take less risk but remain more consistent, especially when you are missing shots against such players using your regular game.

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