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Mashimai
01-07-2016, 03:19 PM
What are the key elements in executing a forehand stroke just like Ma Long's? I'm eager to learn his technique because it seems very powerful, fast and advantageous when Ma Long utilizes it in competitions. Is there anyone with expertise and knowledge who could explain his technique to me in great detail? Also, I'm more specifically looking for explanations on the mechanism of his forehand topspin and loop. Here are some video references of Ma Long's forehand in action.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-b-n4dHT5U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8JEwwA0Jl4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFEJ01dboBk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiARkUO6aEE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ_8tEhY_Ck

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=14&v=mom_UzM4-yg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5hszYsRUhA

kinocchio
01-07-2016, 10:45 PM
I wish you good luck...

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UpSideDownCarl
01-07-2016, 11:13 PM
I wish you good luck...

Well said.

If you can figure it all out, probably a lot of people will want to learn from you.

First important technical detail: start playing at age 4. Second important detail: get trained by the best coaches from CNT. Third important detail: train 6 hours a day, 6 days a week for 23 years straight with the best coaches in the history of the sport.

But...no...for real, Ma Long's FH stroke may not be the best one to emulate unless you are at a REALLY high level already, in which case you may not have asked for the details. The recovery from that FH would be hard if you didn't seriously train for several hours every day.


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kinocchio
01-07-2016, 11:28 PM
But if you still give it a shot. The first thing you do is not watch how ML execute his stroke. You need to look at his footwork. How he postion himself to attack the ball. The speed he generates comes from the transfer of bodyweight into the ball.

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ttmonster
01-07-2016, 11:45 PM
The forehand is a very natural stroke which flows when you have built the basics correctly. You will find that most players including Ma long execute strokes which look very different in actual match play when compared to what they execute in practice , depending on the ball in question and their position . However, all of them have a very good foundation. Focus on the foundation, optimal back swing, weight transfer , start and end position , core strength - relaxing and constricting your core , footwork, understanding of spin . There are a lot of aspects that you need to work on to build a stroke and like anything its better to focus on the foundation blocks instead of emulating the end product.

NextLevel
01-08-2016, 04:35 AM
The forehand is a very natural stroke which flows when you have built the basics correctly. You will find that most players including Ma long execute strokes which look very different in actual match play when compared to what they execute in practice , depending on the ball in question and their position . However, all of them have a very good foundation. Focus on the foundation, optimal back swing, weight transfer , start and end position , core strength - relaxing and constricting your core , footwork, understanding of spin . There are a lot of aspects that you need to work on to build a stroke and like anything its better to focus on the foundation blocks instead of emulating the end product.

Fantastic. A lot of people make the mistake of worrying about the small stuff, rather than learning the essentials and then trying to see what comes out. I mean, you may be surprised that you develop a beautiful stroke and then one day Ma Long sees you and says "That's a beautiful stroke!" and he won't be saying that because you copied him, he will be saying that because he thinks you have a good forehand. At the top level, even those guys are refining their technique. They just try to make it better. So it's better to develop your own stroke using the essentials and make it better. Because if you make it better, it will likely be by doing something that makes it more correct. As Werner Schlager said, what makes top players special, including their strokes, are things not found in textbooks. Copying someone's forehand isn't going to give you that.

ttmonster
01-08-2016, 04:40 AM
Thank you and I will remember the Werner Schlager Quote, it says so much !
Fantastic. A lot of people make the mistake of worrying about the small stuff, rather than learning the essentials and then trying to see what comes out. I mean, you may be surprised that you develop a beautiful stroke and then one day Ma Long sees you and says "That's a beautiful stroke!" and he won't be saying that because you copied him, he will be saying that because he thinks you have a good forehand. At the top level, even those guys are refining their technique. They just try to make it better. So it's better to develop your own stroke using the essentials and make it better. Because if you make it better, it will likely be by doing something that makes it more correct. As Werner Schlager said, what makes top players special, including their strokes, are things not found in textbooks. Copying someone's forehand isn't going to give you that.

Ilia Minkin
01-08-2016, 04:57 AM
Fantastic. A lot of people make the mistake of worrying about the small stuff, rather than learning the essentials and then trying to see what comes out.

I don't think that working on "small stuff" is a bad thing. What is bad is worrying only about minor details in stroke mechanics and not worrying about other aspects of the game. BTW, here is one of my favorite videos from WSA, called... "Stefan Fegerl works on small things"!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2sqEHAgtj0

NextLevel
01-08-2016, 05:08 AM
I don't think that working on "small stuff" is a bad thing. What is bad is worrying only about minor details in stroke mechanics and not worrying about other aspects of the game. BTW, here is one of my favorite videos from WSA, called... "Stefan Fegerl works on small things"!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2sqEHAgtj0You are saying what I meant, you just use different words to say it.

CroneOne
01-09-2016, 02:00 AM
Question about Chinese FH

I've notice that Ma and a bunch of other Chinese players keep their
elbow and arm tight to their body on the backswing then adjust to the
proper bat angle on the swing itself.

Anyone know of the benefits of keeping the elbow tight to the body
on the backswing? I've tried both away and close with my natural
pref to have the elbow away from the body.

karan705
01-09-2016, 02:11 AM
Have fun...cause it probably will take a long time and maybe even impossible. Try findind your own style of play.

Ilia Minkin
01-09-2016, 02:53 AM
Question about Chinese FH

I've notice that Ma and a bunch of other Chinese players keep their
elbow and arm tight to their body on the backswing then adjust to the
proper bat angle on the swing itself.

Anyone know of the benefits of keeping the elbow tight to the body
on the backswing? I've tried both away and close with my natural
pref to have the elbow away from the body.

I think that all modern players with decent forehand technique keep elbow close to the body. The advantage is probably that with elbow "fixed" your arm backswing is limited, forcing you to generate power more frome core + legs. It keeps arm swing short and speeds up recovery.

BTW, look at this video, Ariel Hsing uses her "forehand fixing machine" exactly for that, see from 1:46. I recently made my own "fixing machine" because it is one of the big issues with my technique.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4S-yXGKSUI

NextLevel
01-09-2016, 01:42 PM
Question about Chinese FH

I've notice that Ma and a bunch of other Chinese players keep their
elbow and arm tight to their body on the backswing then adjust to the
proper bat angle on the swing itself.

Anyone know of the benefits of keeping the elbow tight to the body
on the backswing? I've tried both away and close with my natural
pref to have the elbow away from the body.

It's an advanced recovery technique that is easier to execute after a larger follow through as it keeps your center of gravity closer to your body.

NextLevel
01-09-2016, 01:52 PM
I think that all modern players with decent forehand technique keep elbow close to the body. The advantage is probably that with elbow "fixed" your arm backswing is limited, forcing you to generate power more frome core + legs. It keeps arm swing short and speeds up recovery.

BTW, look at this video, Ariel Hsing uses her "forehand fixing machine" exactly for that, see from 1:46. I recently made my own "fixing machine" because it is one of the big issues with my technique.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4S-yXGKSUI


I don't think you should generalize from Ariel Hsing and the close to the table women's game to looping generally. Close to the table, you can't take large strokes so speed is at a premium. In any case, there is a difference between keeping the elbow stable (which is really keeping the upper arm stable and not using the shoulder) and keeping the elbow close to the body. Keeping the elbow stable helps the stability of your strokes and improves transition and it can be done whether your elbow is close to or far from your body. Keeping the elbow close to the body reduces leverage while improving recovery and depending on your technique, can be a good or a bad thing. You can compare the techniques of say Jun Mizutani and Zhang Jike to see the difference. Mizutani keeps the elbow really close, but Zhang Jike moves it out. You are right that using the shoulder is not stable but some players use it for more power on some strokes. IT shouldn't be your main power source though.

vvk1
01-09-2016, 02:05 PM
It's an advanced recovery technique that is easier to execute after a larger follow through as it keeps your center of gravity closer to your body.

That. Conservation of angular momentum, et al. Larry Hodge's blog has an excellent explanation as always:

http://www.tabletenniscoaching.com/taxonomy/term/3656

Baal
01-09-2016, 04:31 PM
It's all in the complete and total commitment to weight transfer during the shot. That is the essence of it. Everything else is a detail.

But easier said than done. You had better be in perfect position at the start of the stroke in order to be able to transfer the weight that vigorously, and then manage to stay in balance after that to hit the next shot.

I don't know anything about the OP, his age, fitness, or level. He may or may not benefit by trying to hit the ball this way. My own opinion is that ML has possibly the best FH in history of TT, and among the forehands of top players it is the one that most adult amateur players should not attempt to emulate. Most amateur players have no change of pulling it off without actually causing more problems.

You might even get to the point where you can pull it off when someone is feeding balls right to your forehand. And then when you don't know where the ball is going or where you have to move to get to the ball, it will break down badly.

NextLevel
01-09-2016, 05:01 PM
You might even get to the point where you can pull it off when someone is feeding balls right to your forehand. And then when you don't know where the ball is going or where you have to move to get to the ball, it will break down badly.

I have a friend who spends his time trying to emulate the forehands of Ma Long and Wang Liqin but lacks their training and athleticism. This is the story of his life, though he thinks it is details of the technique being wrong.

UpSideDownCarl
01-09-2016, 10:44 PM
Can also hurt your shoulder trying to swing like them without the proper training.


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CroneOne
01-10-2016, 02:52 AM
What I like about Ma's FH is that he is able to keep it balanced by keeping his left
toe pointing forward and his hips not too far rotated. He gets a lot of twist
backwards with his upper body but after the stroke his feet are planted - you can see it in his looping backspin video.

I find it really tough to keep the lower half of the body facing forward and getting
that side twist. I end up facing my left toes more towards the FH side and putting most
of the weight on the right foot with the left foot on tip toe.

Ma distributes his weight perfectly.

Rajah*
01-10-2016, 05:35 PM
Even if you carbon copy ML you wont be as good as him, why?
Bcoz you will also be copying his mistakes..++ your own mistakes since we are not PRO.

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Rajah*
01-10-2016, 05:44 PM
Question about Chinese FH

I've notice that Ma and a bunch of other Chinese players keep their
elbow and arm tight to their body on the backswing then adjust to the
proper bat angle on the swing itself.

Anyone know of the benefits of keeping the elbow tight to the body
on the backswing? I've tried both away and close with my natural
pref to have the elbow away from the body.
Recoil / recovery after an explosive spin is faster. By doing so it help us in maintaining balance aswell bcoz chinese style use more of footwork, lower body strengths is not just use for stability when we try to hit the ball but also we use lower body to bring up or pull the weight transfer after hitting the ball.

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Rajah*
01-10-2016, 05:51 PM
Recoil / recovery after an explosive spin is faster. By doing so it help us in maintaining balance aswell bcoz chinese style use more of footwork, lower body strengths is not just use for stability when we try to hit the ball but also we use lower body to bring up or pull the weight transfer after hitting the ball. The secret is as you move towards the ball never extend your arm with paddle like in a hitting position, make that lateral mvnt towards the ball..make a small "pause" reposition yourself then graze the ball.

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CroneOne
01-10-2016, 09:44 PM
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Just wondering. Where did you send this from?


Anyway, there is nothing wrong with experimenting and trying out what the
pros do. They have worked out techniques over 1000's of hours and
with multiple coaches. If you can improve your game by breaking it down and mimicking a
technique - even if it's not as strong as the pros - why not? I trained myself
the banana flick by watching the pros in slow motion then repeating it.
Is it a FZD flick? No. But it's a shot I never had that works well sometimes.

ttmonster
01-11-2016, 12:30 AM
There is nothing wrong, as long as our goals remain to be recreational player. If somebody is seriously wanting to make progress and is serious about it there is a potential pitfall to this approach. The player starts getting partial to one shot and then neglects or is never forced to develop other areas of his game. I also learned the banana flip by looking at videos , but it haunts me sometimes when I choose to banana flip a long ball which I should rather do a straight BH loop or even run around loop with forehand , instead of being lazy and not moving to do so. There are pros and cons to everything and in this case the Cons outweigh the pros.



Just wondering. Where did you send this from?


Anyway, there is nothing wrong with experimenting and trying out what the
pros do. They have worked out techniques over 1000's of hours and
with multiple coaches. If you can improve your game by breaking it down and mimicking a
technique - even if it's not as strong as the pros - why not? I trained myself
the banana flick by watching the pros in slow motion then repeating it.
Is it a FZD flick? No. But it's a shot I never had that works well sometimes.

CroneOne
01-11-2016, 03:34 AM
I'd say the pro is that now you have yet another way to return a serve. Another weapon in your arsenal.
Now you just need to work on your shot selection and reading long balls quicker. Once that is done, the
pros outweigh the cons...


There is nothing wrong, as long as our goals remain to be recreational player. If somebody is seriously wanting to make progress and is serious about it there is a potential pitfall to this approach. The player starts getting partial to one shot and then neglects or is never forced to develop other areas of his game. I also learned the banana flip by looking at videos , but it haunts me sometimes when I choose to banana flip a long ball which I should rather do a straight BH loop or even run around loop with forehand , instead of being lazy and not moving to do so. There are pros and cons to everything and in this case the Cons outweigh the pros.

NextLevel
01-11-2016, 03:03 PM
I'd say the pro is that now you have yet another way to return a serve. Another weapon in your arsenal.
Now you just need to work on your shot selection and reading long balls quicker. Once that is done, the
pros outweigh the cons...

I guess it is a matter of context. Most people who ask these questions train in environments where it is hard to access the right kind of information to do it properly. If you can, by all means, go ahead. After all, something like this is what people were doing before information on proper TT technique began to proliferate on YouTube. That said, the players who were doing it were usually high level technicians.

The main point is that you won't get a forehand like Ma Long' by copying video of Ma Long. And if you do, it would take you twice or thrice the time it would take to get a good forehand with sound technique just by learning a good stroke from a professional coach. And unless you were an athletic freak of nature, it would be half a good as what building from sound principles would give you.

Baal
01-11-2016, 03:51 PM
Nothing wrong with using pros to model shots you need to make. Trick is to pick the right ones!

Personally I think a lot of amateur male players would be better off studying top women more than top men. They should also be looking at guys like Appelgren and Persson and Samsonov.

NextLevel
01-11-2016, 04:11 PM
Nothing wrong with using pros to model shots you need to make. Trick is to pick the right ones!

Personally I think a lot of amateur male players would be better off studying top women more than top men. They should also be looking at guys like Appelgren and Persson and Samsonov.

Or Karakasevic, who you often list as well. But the problem in part also is that people want to be like the current #1. And it is more exciting to loop like Ma Long or backhand loop like Kreanga than it is to loop like Perrson or backhand loop like Waldner. And Waldner is outdated mostly.

Okay, not quite - but you get my point.

I don't fully agree with studying top women unless you want to be a blocker. But it depends on how you play. The women's game is just different.

ttmonster
01-11-2016, 06:38 PM
Perfectly put ! The best way is to get a trusted coach to train you, there is no real alternative to that. Now the next best option is to video yourself , once you have got the fundamentals down and start correcting bits and pieces based on your video reviews. There is a reason why buildings are built from the ground up, starting from the foundation, and not from top down :) . Lets suppose I see somebody's building has a nice arch and I copy the arch and then try to build the rest of the building the chances of everything falling apart is larger than everything coming together . This is the point I was trying to make. Everything is possible , but you have to choose the most optimal path to your goal .

Or Karakasevic, who you often list as well. But the problem in part also is that people want to be like the current #1. And it is more exciting to loop like Ma Long or backhand loop like Kreanga than it is to loop like Perrson or backhand loop like Waldner. And Waldner is outdated mostly.

Okay, not quite - but you get my point.

I don't fully agree with studying top women unless you want to be a blocker. But it depends on how you play. The women's game is just different.

CroneOne
01-11-2016, 08:37 PM
I like this analogy. It's true. You first have to understand the foundations of being able to get into a FH position with good footwork, get the timing and contact down, transfer the weight and recover before you can attempt different FH techniques or understand why the pros do what they do.
I think footwork is key because if you aren't in position before the ball gets to you, you'll never get a normal FH off properly never mind a Ma Long FH.

Conversely I do see a lot of people getting decent FH's off with terrible technique which means you can build an ugly building that will have an arch that sticks together fine - you just won't take photos of it on your holiday ;)


Lets suppose I see somebody's building has a nice arch and I copy the arch and then try to build the rest of the building the chances of everything falling apart is larger than everything coming together . This is the point I was trying to make. Everything is possible , but you have to choose the most optimal path to your goal .

ttmonster
01-11-2016, 08:54 PM
Lol !


conversely i do see a lot of people getting decent fh's off with terrible technique which means you can build an ugly building that will have an arch that sticks together fine - you just won't take photos of it on your holiday ;)

Ilia Minkin
01-11-2016, 09:03 PM
Conversely I do see a lot of people getting decent FH's off with terrible technique which means you can build an ugly building that will have an arch that sticks together fine - you just won't take photos of it on your holiday ;)

This is literally true -- many players HATE watching videos of themselves.

NextLevel
01-11-2016, 10:41 PM
I like this analogy. It's true. You first have to understand the foundations of being able to get into a FH position with good footwork, get the timing and contact down, transfer the weight and recover before you can attempt different FH techniques or understand why the pros do what they do.
I think footwork is key because if you aren't in position before the ball gets to you, you'll never get a normal FH off properly never mind a Ma Long FH.

Conversely I do see a lot of people getting decent FH's off with terrible technique which means you can build an ugly building that will have an arch that sticks together fine - you just won't take photos of it on your holiday ;)

As my favorite TT video once said, do you win style points like in figure skating?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhO4K_yFhh8

There are some people who call Timo Boll or Mizutani or even Michael Maze's technique ugly and a chicken-wing forehand.

So for me, style is in the eye of the beholder - give me points!

CroneOne
01-11-2016, 11:15 PM
.

So for me, style is in the eye of the beholder - give me points!

Very true. I was reading somewhere that the Chinese coaches found Wang Liqin's FH ugly. I think it's graceful and amazing.

NextLevel
01-12-2016, 12:19 AM
Despite what I said earlier, she is worth learning from:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbEZMyYFTOA&feature=youtu.be

matzreenzi
01-12-2016, 12:39 AM
Some people who think exactly what Nextlevel said is definitely me being one of them...IMHO chicken-wing forehand is very ugly...even when ML counter from close to the table his forehand didn't look like chicken-wing at all from my observation...

Rajah*
01-12-2016, 07:06 AM
Bcoz the head of the blade is pointing up at 12 o clock :)

Chickenwing is both ugly in form, strains the wrist so much with out producing more power out of it.

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UpSideDownCarl
01-12-2016, 01:35 PM
Timo Boll, Jun Mizutani and Michael Maze have good forehands. It is a completely different technique than Ma Long's forehand but they are all good forehands even if they are not as powerful as Ma Long's. If it wasn't good technique how could each of them have gotten to be in the top 10 in the world.

I wouldn't copy any of them including Ma Long but you can learn elements of a good forehand from all of them. All of them have the forearm moving very fast for acceleration on contact. Ma Long's upper arm moves much more than the other three. Ma Long takes the ball farther away from his body. Ma Long has a bigger swing that takes more speed and strength to recover from and puts more pressure on his shoulder joint. To perform a forehand that is similar to Ma Long's would take a lot of training, A LOT OF TRAINING, even just to keep the shoulder joint healthy and strong enough for the repetitive stress of that stroke and the speed he needs to recover to the ready position.

From a biomechanical standpoint the forehands of the other three are not as powerful but much more efficient and much easier on the shoulder joint which means they will probably be able to play that way for longer. Michael Maze has had other injuries that shortened his career but that was not the result of his shoulder joint having that repetitive stress. This also may be why the great players from China seem to age in the sport earlier than players from other countries. Many European players stay in the top rankings in the world far longer than the top players from China.

And, in the end, as has already been said, NextLevel's point about working with a good coach, in person, to improve your forehand is the best and fastest way to improve technique. If you combine that with filming yourself and observing the footage of your technique, then you can really improve much faster. If it is about improving technique, you kind of need to do both and doing both is worth the time you put in to that endeavor.

Baal
01-12-2016, 05:04 PM
Despite what I said earlier, she is worth learning from:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbEZMyYFTOA&feature=youtu.be

She is possibly my favorite player of all time, man or woman. She was flawless.

NextLevel
01-12-2016, 05:22 PM
Here is another guy that a coach I like proposed as a model. This is going to be how I want my strokes to look like going forward (accounting for my bad knees and less physicality, of course). The level of relaxation is just oozing from his body:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX_nnx-654s

megaexception
01-12-2016, 05:30 PM
Here is another guy that a coach I like proposed as a model. This is going to be how I want my strokes to look like going forward (accounting for my bad knees and less physicality, of course). The level of relaxation is just oozing from his body:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX_nnx-654s

This is not "another guy", this is Petr Korbel himself! :)
As for technique, he is showing "classic topspin" (he calls it that way himself in video), and most trainers I know are trying to teach mostly same ideas.
And of course, I wish my forehand to be like his :)

UpSideDownCarl
01-12-2016, 06:29 PM
Here is another guy that a coach I like proposed as a model. This is going to be how I want my strokes to look like going forward (accounting for my bad knees and less physicality, of course). The level of relaxation is just oozing from his body:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX_nnx-654s

That looks like an excellent forehand to observe for the mechanical details of the fundamentals. It's all there. Fluid, relaxed, great whipping action, economical use of the hips with perfect timing, the upper arm is used but not over-used: from a technical standpoint, for developing good fundamentals, that is a perfect forehand to observe. From it you would also be able adapt and produce a stroke with almost all forearm snap and a very stable upper arm for circumstances where you need faster recovery like close to the table or you could adapt and employ a full arm swing when when you have extra time or need more power.

To me the the best part of watching is how you can see the perfect timing of the hips, forearm snap and wrist on contact to create that extra whip and that beautiful pull on the ball. That is music to my eyes.

I also liked watching how, on be BH backswing, he backswings enough, and then right before contact he finishes the backswing and the wrist whips back, and then whips right into the ball on the stroke. Those are truly great strokes to watch and analyze.


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NextLevel
01-12-2016, 09:22 PM
This is not "another guy", this is Petr Korbel himself! :)
As for technique, he is showing "classic topspin" (he calls it that way himself in video), and most trainers I know are trying to teach mostly same ideas.
And of course, I wish my forehand to be like his :)

Wow - I had no clue that was Korbel - the title just said so and I didn't read it. ;)

Give me a break...

NextLevel
01-12-2016, 09:24 PM
That looks like an excellent forehand to observe for the mechanical details of the fundamentals. It's all there. Fluid, relaxed, great whipping action, economical use of the hips with perfect timing, the upper arm is used but not over-used: from a technical standpoint, for developing good fundamentals, that is a perfect forehand to observe. From it you would also be able adapt and produce a stroke with almost all forearm snap and a very stable upper arm for circumstances where you need faster recovery like close to the table or you could adapt and employ a full arm swing when when you have extra time or need more power.

To me the the best part of watching is how you can see the perfect timing of the hips, forearm snap and wrist on contact to create that extra whip and that beautiful pull on the ball. That is music to my eyes.

I also liked watching how, on be BH backswing, he backswings enough, and then right before contact he finishes the backswing and the wrist whips back, and then whips right into the ball on the stroke. Those are truly great strokes to watch and analyze.


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The video is beautifully inspirational. I don't think I have gotten as excited watching someone loop before. When you see me practice looping going forward, you know my inspiration.

bobpuls
01-13-2016, 05:45 AM
Peter Korbel ... this one is for backhand only but in English language ....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI5ExxcLryQ

Archosaurus
02-13-2016, 01:52 AM
I am by no means a "Ma Long copy" nor can I "loop like him" but I don't believe in the magic of the stroke, and anyone can learn it as long as they can perform the mechanics with their body.

The easiest way to start is to first have Ma Long's body proportions to 98% or closer. The best coaches in the world showing you your faults also help.:rolleyes:

Joking aside, I am very, very, very close in proportions, but still not exact, obviously. So the first thing is to consider if the stroke is even smart to learn for your body mechanics! Bear in mind you also need to be in quite good shape and be able to control your muscle firing orders and amounts subconsciously to really get everything out of the stroke.

Assuming you're 190cm, weak and lanky and still want to learn it, good. Proper mechanics are always good. You will need to develop your own unique technique later, though. Hate to break it to you. The basic mechanics are still very sound.


I will go over my findings step by step and give my own reasoning for why something is done. I do not have footage and pictures, nor can I provide any in any good quality to be considered valid, so just go and film yourself and compare it to Ma Long with frame by frame analysis.

This is assumed for a right handed player. Switch leg and arm positions accordingly.

Assumed to be looping a block, drive or long push. You must perfect that first, and you will learn to do loop backspin and counterloop etc. naturally by comparing.

Backswing - Lower body - Feet

The stance is wide, with the left foot rotated anywhere from a bit "outwards" from the direction of the knee, to slightly inwards. Ideally it is exactly at 0 degrees forward. The right leg is far back, farther than you think, and the feet form a nearly 90 degree angle. It is slightly under 90 degrees usually. The angle between the left foot and right foot's facing is NOT 45 degrees. It is far more.

Backswing - Lower body - Legs

This is a hard one and it will probably be too physically demanding for most people until they get used to it. It's also difficult to consistently do right at first. This is where the power comes from.

The easiest way to do this, keeping in mind it's dynamic, is to place your feet in the right position, then bend your knees until you legs form 45 degree angles behind the knee. You MUST also place your weight on your soles, and lift your heels very slightly.

A common mistake is to have the right angle, but be standing on your heels. This will result in a straight back and no power due to it.

You know when your feet and legs are in the correct position when it feels quite physically demanding and maybe strange to be in this position at first. You should feel it in your thighs and ankles.

The best way is to really just do what I say, then take a picture from the same angle as a picture/video of Ma Long and copy the angles to make it correct. Obviously, longer or shorter legs or proportion of upper leg to lower leg WILL change the angles and it cannot be absolutely set in stone.

Backswing - Upper body - Trunk and hips

Your back should be bent until you feel considerable load on your right sole. Your chin will be approximately in the same line as your right knee. Then, curl your body to the right, so your upper body forms a roughly 45 degree angle viewed from the front. Your hips are also slightly curled to the right, but don't twist excessively.

Don't lean too much forward, don't keep your back straight and don't rest all your weight on the bones of your right leg.

Best way to get this right is picture comparison.

Backswing - Upper body - Racket arm

Once you're in the backswing position, place your right arm so that your shoulder is slightly lowered, your elbow is tucked into your body but without touching your side, and your forearm is at the same angle and "hovering" over your right thigh in the same axis. The wrist is naturally bent so that you get a whipping motion on the swing. Look at pictures.

This varies greatly, but that's the generic backswing that I've seen. The arm is quite bent, definitely not 180deg. Of course, it depends. That is why you must compare pictures and find it out yourself via experience. The generic starting position with the same angles is a good start.

People tend to extend the arm too much, opposed to not enough. The elbow is usually also not tucked in. The arm needs to be bent just right for timing and speed, and the elbow needs to be tucked in for faster movement and a more economic stroke.

Nail the basics, then adjust based on the ball you're hitting.

Backswing - Upper body - Supporting arm

You might have noticed Ma Long doesn't just keep the arm idle. The arm is brought along the body so that the angle is roughly 45 degrees or so and the elbow is over the crotch, and the wrist is over the right knee. Roughly. Your racket arm, supporting hand and shoulders should form closer to a triangle shape from above, opposed to a box.

You want to keep the arm close to your body, and not reach out with it. It's also not at all set in stone exactly how the arm is positioned. Generally, make sure you're bringing the arm across your body and your hand isn't hovering at your stomach like in a drive.

Backswing - Head and shoulders

The head is looking quite to the side. You want to be looking more to your side than where your torso is pointing, for the right timing. Your shoulders should be relaxed and at a 45 degree angle or so from the playing direction.

Swing geometry and mechanics up to contact

Here is where it gets hard, of course. Seriously, just take a slowmotion video and pause it at spots and place yourself in them to see how it feels. Then remember that feeling and try to stroke the stroke, and keep being super anal and analytical with it until it's your default stroke. It'll take very long to really get it right.

For me to explain the exact angles at the exact timings is completely useless. It changes as soon as the spin and placement on the ball changes.

So let me just try to explain the feeling.

After backswing, the racket arm raises a bit, closes the angle automatically and starts swinging forward like a whip. The arm is kept relatively straight compared to where it was on the backswing, you're NOT bending from your elbow to stroke, you're whipping with your shoulder and the forearm follows. The wrist will do the whipping itself if you're not tense.

The geometry is slightly concave and the angle is generally the same when viewed from the side. It's whipping, NOT throwing a ball underhand. Also, don't raise your shoulders. It's a bad habit, and Ma Long doesn't do it because it doesn't add anything except neck injuries. I know from experience.

Your left shoulder does not go up on the stroke, it goes to the left and you must actively pull with the left side of your body while pushing. The elbow is close to the body and pulls to the left.

This will come with time and comparing videos until you get the feel. Make your hand into an aerodynamic shape and tense it very slightly on contact so that the blood doesn't pile up into your fingertips when you pull to avoid tingling and numbness and you have less resistance from the air when pulling it back. (I can pull very hard and the blood piling and drag is a real issue.)

Your fingers should point to the side on swing, and up on the follow through, then go back to the starting position in an oval motion.

With your legs, you transfer load forward and your legs naturally bend around the axis. Your feet shouldn't shuffle around, changing angles too much in the basic relaxed stroke. Your feet do point more to the left when swinging and revert back more to the right after the stroke.

You rotate on your soles, you don't keep your feet completely glued to the floor. Load transfers forward and from the right leg to the left, and your leg angles change.

Again, use videos. It changes on every variation of stroke and to compensate for being slightly out of position.

The trunk is rotated, and follows with the legs. I don't have this as good as I like, myself, so I can only instruct you to refer to Ma Long himself to see what's too much and what's not enough. It's very easy to extend too much and actually risk hurting your lower back.

Just as your start swinging, tense your abs fully, then relax them exactly as you make contact. Snap your elbow rapidly at contact, this brings the power.

Directly after contact

Your body will be higher, but you will still be leaning forward with legs bent. Your torso will be facing more forward.

The balance arm is pointing up and tucked to your side, and the racket arm is bent 90 degrees or so and roughly vertical. It is extremely important for stroke mechanics and to avoid neck and shoulder injury to NOT raise your shoulders.

I can't say much about contact and follow through because it's such a subconscious thing that you really just need to learn the correct starting position first, then tie it all in from there, comparing videos and pictures from videos with you performing the stroke slowly and at full speed.

Don't expect your stroke to look anything like his in even a week, but you should see and feel a little bit improvement every day. The key is to be very analytical and a good physics understanding also helps.

If your stroke is not any good before, then this will feel quite weird at first, but it's actually quite relaxing once your form is better.

Whatever you do, don't just film yourself and go on feel based on how it looks. Actually make reasonably accurate comparison pictures of you and him both doing drills and playing and really look at the details. Things like how much you raise your shoulders, the geometry of your swing, angles of your legs, angle of your back etc.

You can't fully copy his technique unless you have the exact same composition down to the last muscle fiber, but many aspects should be common between your good stroke and his good stroke.


Also know that you're not going to be looping like Ma Long even if your form is like his, so don't try to copy everything down to the last radian and expect to hit through professionals immediately. It's a very subconscious stroke based on exquisite timing and muscle firing in the right sequence and amount.





You may now proceed to discredit everything I just typed. :rolleyes: I did my best to include everything I know that isn't too advanced and redundant for it's own good. You'll figure everything out if you have a good physics knowledge and can perform a reasonable stroke.

You also don't need a pro grade tuned Chinese rubber to do this stroke, you can do it with pretty much anything standard inverted, even rubbish premades. So if the ball slams into the net, please don't change your rubber. Change your mechanics. Practice with a slower wooden bat.


EDIT: Oh, I forgot to mention, but you need to really be in good shape. Shoulder injuries and neck injuries are very common, especially when you're starting out and you're trying to muscle it too much. Take it slow first and go to the gym regularly.

NextLevel
02-13-2016, 05:09 AM
As is often the case, the people who post these things never share video of their own loops. I have watched a lot of tennis and I can't play like Federer. I have served a lot and I can't serve like Ma Long. Why should it be easy to loop like him?

I mean you have written something that I think makes it clear that finding a good coach to give you your own loop is much easier.

Archosaurus
02-13-2016, 03:24 PM
As is often the case, the people who post these things never share video of their own loops.

I mean you have written something that I think makes it clear that finding a good coach to give you your own loop is much easier.

1: This was a post about Ma Long's loop, not mine. The coaches in the CNT can't loop like Ma Long or -insert great looper here- so I guess they're full of shit, too. :rolleyes:

2: We're hobbyists trying to learn one particular looping method. We're not trying to develop our own method here.

3: Yes, it is easier to get a coach and find out your best stroke in 1/4 the time. That's what Ma Long did.

NextLevel
02-14-2016, 01:39 AM
1: This was a post about Ma Long's loop, not mine. The coaches in the CNT can't loop like Ma Long or -insert great looper here- so I guess they're full of shit, too. :rolleyes:

2: We're hobbyists trying to learn one particular looping method. We're not trying to develop our own method here.

3: Yes, it is easier to get a coach and find out your best stroke in 1/4 the time. That's what Ma Long did.Here we go. I think you would be hard pressed to find a coach on the CNT who wasn't a high level player, penholder or shakehand, in his younger days, so at one time, they were all state of the art players. But that was not what I said or meant and you know it too.

I said that anyone professing to claim that he doesn't believe that some key aspects of Ma Long's loop are beyond hobbyists should show either their own loop or the loop of someone they taught. Such pretentious claims to expertise without substantiation are borderline ridiculous.

Ma Long actually plays far more TT than any of us so no, he didn't get his loop in 1/4 the time of any of us. Anyone asking a hobbyist to use Ma Long as a primary role model bears the burden of proof here.

The amateurs I know who try to loop like Ma Long in great detail usually can't play more than two matches in a row. They are largely unconcerned by it and think that one day, they will be able to acquire the physical fitness to support their technique. They then proceed to criticize the looping of motions of higher rated players with supposedly inferior but more personal technique. Thankfully, reality keeps everyone honest. Sadly, people on the internet write all kinds of stuff without ever feeling a need to provide any evidence for it.

Archosaurus
02-14-2016, 02:00 AM
Here we go. I think you would be hard pressed to find a coach on the CNT who wasn't a high level player, penholder or shakehand, in his younger days, so at one time, they were all state of the art players. But that was not what I said or meant and you know it too.

I said that anyone professing to claim that he doesn't believe that some key aspects of Ma Long's loop are beyond hobbyists should show either their own loop or the loop of someone they taught. Such pretentious claims to expertise without substantiation are borderline ridiculous.

Ma Long actually plays far more TT than any of us so no, he didn't get his loop in 1/4 the time of any of us. Anyone asking a hobbyist to use Ma Long as a primary role model bears the burden of proof here.

The amateurs I know who try to loop like Ma Long in great detail usually can't play more than two matches in a row. They are largely unconcerned by it and think that one day, they will be able to acquire the physical fitness to support their technique. They then proceed to criticize the looping of motions of higher rated players with supposedly inferior but more personal technique. Thankfully, reality keeps everyone honest. Sadly, people on the internet write all kinds of stuff without ever feeling a need to provide any evidence for it.

I don't understand what you're trying to prove. No one is arguing with you here, and you're the only person criticizing anyone's behavior, like you're somehow entitled to it. Do you really think Ma Long would get as upset about my post as you did? He would probably say "Keep it up!".

I also never talked bad about Ma Long's loop nor did I claim that it's somehow at the same level as hobbyist's shots. I just said that it's not some magical shot: anyone with a working body can perform it.

Now, integrating it into your game, that requires the physical ability that you are talking about. I think it's quite obvious that not everyone can play the same shots in the same way that Ma Long can, otherwise we'd all be number 1. :rolleyes:

However, it is possible for a hobbyist to be in tremendous shape. Perhaps not as good shape as the world champion (Have we understood that we're literally talking about the best player in the world right now?) but in good shape to be able to reasonably perform these shots.

Also, I must still stress the fact that we're not all elite players who compete at an olympian level and knows everything there is to know about table tennis, like yourself. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: Perhaps we are just interested in the mechanics, for the pure fun of it.

NextLevel
02-14-2016, 02:28 AM
I don't understand what you're trying to prove. No one is arguing with you here, and you're the only person criticizing anyone's behavior, like you're somehow entitled to it. Do you really think Ma Long would get as upset about my post as you did? He would probably say "Keep it up!".

I also never talked bad about Ma Long's loop nor did I claim that it's somehow at the same level as hobbyist's shots. I just said that it's not some magical shot: anyone with a working body can perform it.

Now, integrating it into your game, that requires the physical ability that you are talking about. I think it's quite obvious that not everyone can play the same shots in the same way that Ma Long can, otherwise we'd all be number 1. :rolleyes:

However, it is possible for a hobbyist to be in tremendous shape. Perhaps not as good shape as the world champion (Have we understood that we're literally talking about the best player in the world right now?) but in good shape to be able to reasonably perform these shots.

Also, I must still stress the fact that we're not all elite players who compete at an olympian level and knows everything there is to know about table tennis, like yourself. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: Perhaps we are just interested in the mechanics, for the pure fun of it.
Sure, we can all analyze mechanics and enjoy the mechanics. Does that prove anything about amateurs being able to loop like Ma Long? Why is this kind of thinking limited to looping? As I pointed out, why not serving or pushing etc.?

I think what you don't realize from a practical point of view is that there is a lot of misinformation about table tennis out there. And when you give the impression that amateurs are better off copying or are able to copy the form of a World Class athlete, you are feeding some of that misinformation. I will simply assume that you are doing so with good intentions and let it be. But in making claims about mechanics, it helps to be able to demonstrate what you are talking about. What I don't get is why it is so hard for you to substantiate your claims with an actual example of someone, you or a friend, who is looping like Ma Long.

Archosaurus
02-14-2016, 02:45 AM
Sure, we can all analyze mechanics and enjoy the mechanics. Does that prove anything about amateurs being able to loop like Ma Long? Why is this kind of thinking limited to looping? As I pointed out, why not serving or pushing etc.?

I think what you don't realize from a practical point of view is that there is a lot of misinformation about table tennis out there. And when you give the impression that amateurs are better off copying or are able to copy the form of a World Class athlete, you are feeding some of that misinformation. I will simply assume that you are doing so with good intentions and let it be. But in making claims about mechanics, it helps to be able to demonstrate what you are talking about. What I don't get is why it is so hard for you to substantiate your claims with an actual example of someone, you or a friend, who is looping like Ma Long.

Hobbyists are best off learning good mechanics. A coach and close observation of people who are doing it right is best, in my opinion. Am I not advocating exactly that?

I think you're making up context for this thread and my posts. The purpose of this thread, what it is for, is to learn about performing one specific stroke in Ma Long's arsenal, because we find it mechanically good/it looks cool/he's world champion/looping is all the craze now etc.

I myself focus on all good aspects of his game. Ma Long's use of the balance arm is interesting, especially in his backhand loops, and he has many different shots up his sleeve which proves that even at pro level you can play a "tricky" game even if you're a two wing looper. His pushing is great and sets up his forehand very well and I think we should all aspire to push like Ma Long. Let's not even talk about footwork and his method of lowering the body accordingly when playing strokes, namely counterlooping.

The reason we focus on looping is because it's "the" shot right now.

I'd also like to add that while we can very closely emulate a world champion's form in specific situations, don't expect to be able to do it as a hobbyist when under pressure. That's why I think hobbyists should really stop doing a "Ma Long forehand" on every forehand, not noticing that Ma Long himself is varying the elbow bend and body mechanics on every stroke.

I believe you're trying to avoid hobbyists copying one advanced stroke badly, injuring themselves due to lack of conditioning and overall not as proper form and losing matches due to trying to play that one shot all the time. We'd agree, then.


I'd also like to give you directions to the first line in my long post here, where I claimed that I can't loop like Ma Long, to make you understand that no one here is claiming they can loop like Ma Long.

NextLevel
02-14-2016, 03:16 AM
I'd also like to give you directions to the first line in my long post here, where I claimed that I can't loop like Ma Long, to make you understand that no one here is claiming they can loop like Ma Long.

Which is precisely the problem. You can't do it, yet in your words, "anyone can learn it as long as they perform the mechanics with their body."

Archosaurus
02-14-2016, 03:47 AM
Which is precisely the problem. You can't do it, yet in your words, "anyone can learn it as long as they perform the mechanics with their body."

You don't understand the basic difference between an individualized stroke that depends solely on body proportions and muscle structure among other things, and a technique. Anyone can have "Ma Long technique" but no one except Ma Long or a clone of his will do the exact same stroke.

NextLevel
02-14-2016, 03:52 AM
You don't understand the basic difference between an individualized stroke that depends solely on body proportions and muscle structure among other things, and a technique. Anyone can have "Ma Long technique" but no one except Ma Long or a clone of his will do the exact same stroke.

Maybe a video of your stroke or someone you have taught will help me understand this difference that I supposedly do not understand?

The other unsaid reason why I don't encourage hobbyists who are adult to learn to loop like CNT players is that table tennis is not solely about who has the best technique. There are other at least equally important things that go into good table tennis play.

Archosaurus
02-14-2016, 04:06 AM
It wouldn't. You can understand it by asking yourself if all people have the exact same body.

UpSideDownCarl
02-14-2016, 05:24 AM
Ma Long's FH technique uses a stroke that is gigantic. It is too big a stroke for a player under 2700 USATT to realistically use in match play and recover to be ready for the next shot after.

Learning a good stroke that is right for your particular body would be a much better idea for most players. As your level gets higher and higher you begin to know when to use a more compact stroke or a larger stroke so you can recover fast and be ready for the next shot.

But here is a guy who said his forehand was Ma Long's technique. You can see him playing starting at about 1:45 on the video.


http://youtu.be/5XbpAyKdqzw

This might be why NextLevel says that it is worth showing your play. NextLevel has more video of himself out for all of us to watch than most people. His technique isn't perfect but he never said it was. And he is definitely focused on improving. And he is definitely 2000+ level. So fairly decent.


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