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TableTennisDaily
06-05-2015, 01:47 PM
This is an outstanding video!

Check this out! TableTennisDaily member William Henzell and Trevor Brown try to teach Todd Sampson how to improve his brain by playing Table Tennis in this spectacular video below!


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

fanTT
06-05-2015, 03:26 PM
great video!

raazzz
06-06-2015, 12:19 AM
Enjoyed it, very well made. Thanks for sharing.

Jay Turberville
06-06-2015, 01:50 AM
It's a nice piece to promote TT, but many of the facts are exaggerated and or shortcut for the sake of a bit of wow factor and to make a simpler presentation.

First 100kph is as they said, a near maximum speed. But it isn't typically seen so why use it? Wow is why. In the U.S. we usually round it up a bunch and claim 100mph. So I'll give the producers credit for having a more realistic top speed. But they took the 100 kph and and a distance of 3 meters (approximate table length) and suggest that these numbers result in a .25 second reaction time. That is misleading on two fronts. First 100 kph isn't a typical speed and second, a TT ball hit at 100kph will travel about 4.8 meters in .25 seconds - and that's accounting for air drag. It would travel 3 meters in about .135 seconds. Further, typical playing distances are more like 4 meters since few players stand right at the table edge.

The video discusses the brain and the processing of information. We know from many sports that players need about .4 to .5 seconds to make well controlled responses to fast activities - a bit more than is needed for a simple reaction like getting your hand up to deflect a ball or to duck. If you look at table tennis matches, players jockey for ball and body placement and position in an attempt to maintain a reaction time of about half a second. Part of the "game" is the attempt to take some of that time away from your opponent - to give him less than that half a second. If you can cut him down to .25 seconds, you've done well and have quite possibly gained an advantage.

In the faster looping/blocking rallies shown, the typical time interval is around .32 to .36 seconds. That's a bit less time than you'd look for in a match, but this is a cooperative rally, so you can get away with shorter intervals. But it is still substantially more than the .25 seconds put forth by the video.

So it should be no surprise that when we look at the Henzell block of the Brown loop that we find:

1) Henzell received clues that Brown was stepping around to make a forehand shot about .75 seconds before Brown even made contact with the ball.
2) The time between when Brown hit his loop and when Henzell made the nice forehand counter-block was .432 seconds. So Henzell has more than a full second from the first clue to when he'd have to make contact create his reaction.

While the bit about Brown's wrist cock is probably important, I think it is only one of many important factors in this scenario. After all, he only gets to see the wrist about .08 seconds before he has a confirmed ball trajectory because the ball has been hit. Surely Henzell begins to prepare a full second ahead of time. He sees Brown's body shift and infers that a strong forehand shot is coming. He then probably adjusts a half step or so backward as soon as he finishes his backhand return - probably as part of his motion to step to the right. I suspect his "down the line" guess is also based on player tendencies and hip and shoulder positions in addition to the cocked wrist. Given that he's guessed right, he then enjoys that nice, "long" .432 seconds to make his return. All he needs is a short counter stroke to the opposite corner since Brown is so far out of position. If Henzell had guessed wrong, he might still make the return, but it would have been a poorer quality one.

Maybe I'm just picking nits. But the reality is that the ball speeds in table tennis are typically closer to to 55-60kph and reaction times are typically .4 to .5 seconds. When the ball goes significantly faster and the intervals get shorter, we miss the return lots more often.

allencorn
06-07-2015, 05:07 AM
It's a nice piece to promote TT, but many of the facts are exaggerated and or shortcut for the sake of a bit of wow factor and to make a simpler presentation.

First 100kph is as they said, a near maximum speed. But it isn't typically seen so why use it? Wow is why. In the U.S. we usually round it up a bunch and claim 100mph. So I'll give the producers credit for having a more realistic top speed. But they took the 100 kph and and a distance of 3 meters (approximate table length) and suggest that these numbers result in a .25 second reaction time. That is misleading on two fronts. First 100 kph isn't a typical speed and second, a TT ball hit at 100kph will travel about 4.8 meters in .25 seconds - and that's accounting for air drag. It would travel 3 meters in about .135 seconds. Further, typical playing distances are more like 4 meters since few players stand right at the table edge.

The video discusses the brain and the processing of information. We know from many sports that players need about .4 to .5 seconds to make well controlled responses to fast activities - a bit more than is needed for a simple reaction like getting your hand up to deflect a ball or to duck. If you look at table tennis matches, players jockey for ball and body placement and position in an attempt to maintain a reaction time of about half a second. Part of the "game" is the attempt to take some of that time away from your opponent - to give him less than that half a second. If you can cut him down to .25 seconds, you've done well and have quite possibly gained an advantage.

In the faster looping/blocking rallies shown, the typical time interval is around .32 to .36 seconds. That's a bit less time than you'd look for in a match, but this is a cooperative rally, so you can get away with shorter intervals. But it is still substantially more than the .25 seconds put forth by the video.

So it should be no surprise that when we look at the Henzell block of the Brown loop that we find:

1) Henzell received clues that Brown was stepping around to make a forehand shot about .75 seconds before Brown even made contact with the ball.
2) The time between when Brown hit his loop and when Henzell made the nice forehand counter-block was .432 seconds. So Henzell has more than a full second from the first clue to when he'd have to make contact create his reaction.

While the bit about Brown's wrist cock is probably important, I think it is only one of many important factors in this scenario. After all, he only gets to see the wrist about .08 seconds before he has a confirmed ball trajectory because the ball has been hit. Surely Henzell begins to prepare a full second ahead of time. He sees Brown's body shift and infers that a strong forehand shot is coming. He then probably adjusts a half step or so backward as soon as he finishes his backhand return - probably as part of his motion to step to the right. I suspect his "down the line" guess is also based on player tendencies and hip and shoulder positions in addition to the cocked wrist. Given that he's guessed right, he then enjoys that nice, "long" .432 seconds to make his return. All he needs is a short counter stroke to the opposite corner since Brown is so far out of position. If Henzell had guessed wrong, he might still make the return, but it would have been a poorer quality one.

Maybe I'm just picking nits. But the reality is that the ball speeds in table tennis are typically closer to to 55-60kph and reaction times are typically .4 to .5 seconds. When the ball goes significantly faster and the intervals get shorter, we miss the return lots more often.

Jay - I agree I think they really overstated their case, but it is an intriguing idea - does table tennis training of visual processing and reaction time carry over to other tasks? I assume that is what the story was about. If it is, maybe we should be training athletes in other sports with table tennis multiball and robots. That'd be cool.

PS - good to hear from you. Been a while since the about.com site died.

Jay Turberville
06-08-2015, 05:52 AM
Jay - I agree I think they really overstated their case, but it is an intriguing idea - does table tennis training of visual processing and reaction time carry over to other tasks? I assume that is what the story was about. If it is, maybe we should be training athletes in other sports with table tennis multiball and robots. That'd be cool.

PS - good to hear from you. Been a while since the about.com site died.

If it is like most things, only a bit of it will carry over. In general, specificity rules. In other words, the training is generally best for the specific task involved and not so great for other tasks. In this case, the training primarily teaches you how to read and react to table tennis movements. There probably are benefits in other areas, but there would be greater benefits in those areas if you trained specifically for those areas.

Kobe02
06-08-2015, 10:23 AM
Matthew Sayed explains this aspect in his book "Bounce", he wondered if his table tennis skills ( fast reactions ) would enable him to return a tennis serve from a pro player.. In his short experiment it showed that he couldn't - the visual cues needed were totally different and he couldn't react quick enough to even get a racket on the ball let alone successfully return a shot.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Jay Turberville
06-09-2015, 01:09 AM
Matthew Sayed explains this aspect in his book "Bounce", he wondered if his table tennis skills ( fast reactions ) would enable him to return a tennis serve from a pro player.. In his short experiment it showed that he couldn't - the visual cues needed were totally different and he couldn't react quick enough to even get a racket on the ball let alone successfully return a shot.


As described, that's a rather poor test since it involves skills as well as reaction times and because there was no baseline established other than a presumed fail. You'd want something where you could measure a non-zero reaction time and then check to see if table tennis training improves the baseline and if so, by how much.

Kobe02
06-09-2015, 04:14 AM
It was an ad hoc test - he happened to be playing tennis with a Wimbledon champion who was serving easily for him. Syed believed he had excellent reactions coming from his TT training - so asked the other player to serve at max speed, he basically didn't see the ball coming when that happened, The point being it was a very different set of visual information between the two sports and his TT training didn't help him.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

UpSideDownCarl
06-09-2015, 05:04 AM
It was an ad hoc test - he happened to be playing tennis with a Wimbledon champion who was serving easily for him. Syed believed he had excellent reactions coming from his TT training - so asked the other player to serve at max speed, he basically didn't see the ball coming when that happened, The point being it was a very different set of visual information between the two sports and his TT training didn't help him.

The interesting thing is, I have a friend who is a tennis pro, well, coach now, ex-pro. He is 50, same age as me. He can receive those fast serves in tennis. He plays table tennis and his rallying skills are at a pretty decent level. But he doesn't care about matches and just does training stuff so he isn't great at serve and receive. All the over the table stuff and reading spin on short serves, he is not so great at.

One day another friend who is a semi-pro TT player whose main serves are all fast, he served to me and I couldn't tell where any of his serves were going and I messed up over and over again. My friend the tennis coach, he tried to receive those fast serves, and he had absolutely no problem. It was like child's play. He was used to receiving serves in tennis that are 120-150 mph. He had no trouble moving to the "fast" table tennis serves and seeing the spin on them. He was not just getting the serves back, he was putting them where he wanted to and making this semi-pro TT player have to handle balls that were not easy for him.

The ones that went wide, he moved to and took around the net. When he wanted to, he would rip the ball back. When he wanted to his returns were placed so that the server had a hard time handling the return. He didn't mess up on 1 in 10 min (at least 60-70 serves). And it was not because he had been practicing receiving serves in table tennis. It was because, with the fast serves, 1) they weren't "too fast" for him to see, move to and take a good accurate swing at, and 2) with the faster balls he could see what spin was on them. Whereas, with short, slower serves, he generally has more trouble telling what spin is on them.

allencorn
06-09-2015, 05:12 AM
Yes, the tennis serve return would not test the interesting thing promoted in the video. It was processing speed that they alluded too; Syed might have increased speed, but the wrong attentional focus and motor skills. A friend of mine who is a neuropsychologist and table tennis player thinks playing table tennis for years, even at an average level, might enhance brain processing generally - he cites reaction time of being able to catch an object that was accidentally dropped - he things TT players would be able to catch this better than others. It would be fun to test table tennis players on things like reaction time and cognitive processing speed, but of course we woud not know if table tennis helped enhance these skills or people were born with them and these enhanced skills helped them become good.

allencorn
06-09-2015, 05:21 AM
The interesting thing is, I have a friend who is a tennis pro, well, coach now, ex-pro. He is 50, same age as me. He can receive those fast serves in tennis. He plays table tennis and his rallying skills are at a pretty decent level. But he doesn't care about matches and just does training stuff so he isn't great at serve and receive. All the over the table stuff and reading spin on short serves, he is not so great at.

One day another friend who is a semi-pro TT player whose main serves are all fast, he served to me and I couldn't tell where any of his serves were going and I messed up over and over again. My friend the tennis coach, he tried to receive those fast serves, and he had absolutely no problem. It was like child's play. He was used to receiving serves in tennis that are 120-150 mph. He had no trouble moving to the "fast" table tennis serves and seeing the spin on them. He was not just getting the serves back, he was putting them where he wanted to and making this semi-pro TT player have to handle balls that were not easy for him.

The ones that went wide, he moved to and took around the net. When he wanted to, he would rip the ball back. When he wanted to his returns were placed so that the server had a hard time handling the return. He didn't mess up on 1 in 10 min (at least 60-70 serves). And it was not because he had been practicing receiving serves in table tennis. It was because, with the fast serves, 1) they weren't "too fast" for him to see, move to and take a good accurate swing at, and 2) with the faster balls he could see what spin was on them. Whereas, with short, slower serves, he generally has more trouble telling what spin is on them.

That is fascinating, as I have seen studies that tennis pros use lots of visual cues from the toss and the shoulder rotation of the server to read where the serve is going, and those cues would not be there in a table tennis serve. Maybe a fast table tennis serve, by comparison, is moving much slower than a tennis serve. Must be nice to have that kind of vision.

UpSideDownCarl
06-09-2015, 05:25 AM
That is fascinating, as I have seen studies that tennis pros use lots of visual cues from the toss and the shoulder rotation of the server to read where the serve is going, and those cues would not be there in a table tennis serve. Maybe a fast table tennis serve, by comparison, is moving much slower than a tennis serve. Must be nice to have that kind of vision.

I was thoroughly amazed as I could barely get my racket on half of them and maybe got 3 or 4 back. But the semi-pro TT player had much more fun serving to my tennis friend because they all came back and he got to practice dealing with the returns. And my tennis friend did a lot of stuff he was not expecting.

NextLevel
06-09-2015, 03:16 PM
That is fascinating, as I have seen studies that tennis pros use lots of visual cues from the toss and the shoulder rotation of the server to read where the serve is going, and those cues would not be there in a table tennis serve. Maybe a fast table tennis serve, by comparison, is moving much slower than a tennis serve. Must be nice to have that kind of vision.

Those clues are likely there in a long table tennis serve. But in any case, the main point is that it is possible to carry specificity too far.

Jay Turberville
06-09-2015, 05:57 PM
It was an ad hoc test - he happened to be playing tennis with a Wimbledon champion who was serving easily for him. Syed believed he had excellent reactions coming from his TT training - so asked the other player to serve at max speed, he basically didn't see the ball coming when that happened, The point being it was a very different set of visual information between the two sports and his TT training didn't help him.


Sure. I get it. It was anecdotal. But you have to be careful what you infer from such "tests." For instance, he may have been even more inept without any table tennis experience. Who knows?

Jay Turberville
06-09-2015, 06:05 PM
Yes, the tennis serve return would not test the interesting thing promoted in the video. It was processing speed that they alluded too; Syed might have increased speed, but the wrong attentional focus and motor skills. A friend of mine who is a neuropsychologist and table tennis player thinks playing table tennis for years, even at an average level, might enhance brain processing generally - he cites reaction time of being able to catch an object that was accidentally dropped - he things TT players would be able to catch this better than others. It would be fun to test table tennis players on things like reaction time and cognitive processing speed, but of course we woud not know if table tennis helped enhance these skills or people were born with them and these enhanced skills helped them become good.

I think there may be something to that. But I'm going by personal acecdotal events and my recollection of them. And I suspect my recollection is significantly skewed to favor the events were I had a successful reaction.
My bet is that if you took a large sampling of table tennis players and compared them to an otherwise similar group of non-players that the table tennis players would only have marginally faster reactions or not be faster at all. But I think that's the kind of test you'd want to perform. Of course, that would just be a good start. It may be that people with faster reflexes tend to gravitate toward sports like table tennis and all we are seeing is some kind of selection bias.

Jay Turberville
06-09-2015, 06:10 PM
Those clues are likely there in a long table tennis serve. But in any case, the main point is that it is possible to carry specificity too far.

Yeah. Tons of unknowns. It could be something as simple as the tennis player staying relaxed mentally or being a bit further from the table. You really need to observe the events to draw much in the way of conclusions. My personal impression/experience is that skills in racket sports do tend to cross over some.