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    1. Top | #1
      Tanstin12 is offline
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      General questions and Equipment Recomendations for a college player

      I may have mentioned this earlier in another thread some time ago, but I'm currently a college student who's been playing at my university's table tennis club for 2 years now. Our school is small and we do not have a coach or really adequate players/training equipment, but we make do and we're hopeful to get some funding this semester for a coach or at least practice space a few times a week. We're relatively small and our player quality is pretty bad, if I had to rate them by US scale, they'd around US 800-1100.

      Regarding my form, I'm a penholder and I currently use the yasaka sweden classic with tornado v5 FH and focus 3 BH. I feel like I practice more and my technique is better, but I still lose pretty often to a lot of people with worse off forms than me, which is likely because my game mentality is bad, or I have awful habits. When I practice, my form is good and I find myself able to execute almost all basic strokes but in game, the chance never arises to perform some strokes or my game gets so stiff and passive that I'm unable to do it. The worst example is my RPB, which I get complimented so much on during practice, completely goes away during games where a ball would come and I would just end up weakly holding my backhand in front of me like a soft block.

      Some bad habits and weaknesses I note off the top of my head:

      • I don't get low enough when I drop my legs and arm.
      • I can't return any of my opponents attacks when they open up the ball
      • My shots are always flat.
      • I'm too slow to loop fast balls
      • Serves too obvious
      • I don't have time to aim and my shots are always centered (Footwork is bad)
      • My loop does not have as much arc (possibly because of chinese, hard, tacky rubbers I use)


      Some of my strengths (or at least those that I think are decent).
      • My forehand flat hit is strong.
      • RPB is good when I practice my form.
      • The spin I generate on serves is good
      • I can RPB flick a lot of my opponent's serves.
      • I can attack well off of lob
      • I can loop underspin long on the table.


      Equipment wise, I've been having serious issues with finding the right equipment that will help me develop as a player and be moderately competitive with. The yasaka sweden classic and focus 3 BH are perfect for me as of now. The tornado v5 I currently have on the FH I don't like because I feel like I have to close my paddle way too much to keep balls on the table, and looping is stupidly hard with it compared to my tg3 neo. When I execute a loop, I can feel the elasticity of the rubber and the ball getting brushed by the sponge. For the v5 it bottoms out and just feels like a flat hit regardless of how well it was done.

      I'm currently looking for a decent quality tacky chinese forehand rubber for beginners that's under $20. One that's not too hard, but with excellent control and moderate speed. So far, I have used: Hurricane 3, Skyline 3 (I saw not recommended for beginners, too powerful). Reactor Corbor (don't like), Tornado v5 (Hard sponge is meh, but tackiness is good). Higher Transcend ( not bad, less elastic as tg3, but more than v5 or corbor

      Some tacky, control rubbers I'm looking at right now include:

      • Globe 999T
      • Sanwei T88 (What is I, II, III, Taiji??)
      • Battle 2 (Heard it's much too hard for beginners)
      • Big Dipper (Seen relatively good reviews so far.)
      Last edited by Tanstin12; 10-17-2019 at 06:28 AM.

    2. Top | #2
      lasta is offline
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      Hi, what's wrong with H3? Its a tried and true rubber and works for most people.

      I've tried the Globe and Dipper on your list, both are heavier than H3 so would make your brushing stroke even harder.

      As you said, you are working on your form. Changing rubbers will only hamper that area. Not the least to mention is that none of the rubbers will offer a significant difference to what you tried already.

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    4. Top | #3
      lasta is offline
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      Also, consider ripping off the backhand rubber. Play single sided, master the basic forehand and tpb before thinking about RPB.

      You will immediately notice how much easier flicks and over the table play are. As well as how much easier it is to get higher racket speeds.

      This will be a long term decision because incorporating rpb in the future will require philosophical changes. I went from single sided to rpb back to single sided. Tpb and rpb have fundamental conflicts, eventually you will have to decide which is more important.

    5. Top | #4
      thomas.pong is offline
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      Maybe European/Japanese-style rubbers would make it easier for you to develop.

      Xiom Vega Intro or Vega Europe for exemple. You can find them for not too much on TT11.

      Also, I hate to say this because I love penhold but RPB is really hard to pick up so if you feel you're not developing fast enough, you might want to consider switching to shakehand. Again, you could pick up a Yasaka Sweden Extra for relatively cheap on TT11.

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    7. Top | #5
      Tanstin12 is offline
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      I learned RPB very early into picking up table tennis so It's all I know. I dont think I could ever manage TPB because of lack of versatility in the backhand. I will still try to master my strokes, but I think the issue may be my inability to adapt to new situations and different types of balls so I hesitate to find the correct stroke

      Quote Originally Posted by thomas.pong View Post
      Maybe European/Japanese-style rubbers would make it easier for you to develop.

      Xiom Vega Intro or Vega Europe for exemple. You can find them for not too much on TT11.

      Also, I hate to say this because I love penhold but RPB is really hard to pick up so if you feel you're not developing fast enough, you might want to consider switching to shakehand. Again, you could pick up a Yasaka Sweden Extra for relatively cheap on TT11.
      Thats interesting. Almost all penholders favor hard, tacky FH rubbers. I myself have been curious about using a euro rubber on my FH, because I like the softness and grip of the rubber, even if it compromises tack. I'll look into vega intro, and other things like Mark V, but im unsure if just changing gear will tackle my weaknesses
      Last edited by Tanstin12; 10-17-2019 at 11:52 AM.

    8. Top | #6
      thomas.pong is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tanstin12 View Post
      I learned RPB very early into picking up table tennis so It's all I know. I dont think I could ever manage TPB because of lack of versatility in the backhand. I will still try to master my strokes, but I think the issue may be my inability to adapt to new situations and different types of balls so I hesitate to find the correct stroke

      Thats interesting. Almost all penholders favor hard, tacky FH rubbers. I myself have been curious about using a euro rubber on my FH, because I like the softness and grip of the rubber, even if it compromises tack. I'll look into vega intro, and other things like Mark V, but im unsure if just changing gear will tackle my weaknesses
      Many penholders, especially Japanese, Korean, European etc. use euro rubbers on both wings. They're also lighter and easier to swing.

      Your weaknesses can only be tackled by practicing often and with focus, but a change in equipment might make it easier to adapt and improve. I suggest you find a dedicated practice partner or two and run practice drills and multiball together, several times a week on a schedule. Start with simple ones: push-forehand-backhand, backhand-pivot-forehand, serves and serve returns...

      What blade are you using btw? Something too hard might also make it hard for you to execute basic strokes during gameplay.
      Last edited by thomas.pong; 10-17-2019 at 01:00 PM.

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    10. Top | #7
      Tanstin12 is offline
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      I used to use the Ma Lin Extra Offensive and ive tried the Gambler Fire Dragon touch and infinity vps but I recently switched to the Yasaka sweden classic because its slower. I really like it, so I think ill stick with it until my form improves.

      I actually like the feeling of euro rubbers. As it stands, Im picking between xiom vega intro and mark V, what do you guys think?

    11. Top | #8
      thomas.pong is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tanstin12 View Post
      I used to use the Ma Lin Extra Offensive and ive tried the Gambler Fire Dragon touch and infinity vps but I recently switched to the Yasaka sweden classic because its slower. I really like it, so I think ill stick with it until my form improves.

      I actually like the feeling of euro rubbers. As it stands, Im picking between xiom vega intro and mark V, what do you guys think?
      The Yasaka Sweden Classic is a great blade for a developing player so definitely stick to it! The other 2 were too fast.

      I'd recommend Vega Intro as it is a modern rubber with tension effect, it is quite grippy for good spin, yet is more controllable than Mark V so it'll help you with serves, serve returns and the short game as well as on top spin to top spin... Get it in 2,0mm for a good combination of control and speed with enough spin for the plastic ball. Try it on both wings, and if you like it, buy a second sheet for your other side. I think it should help you develop more easily and faster and will feel better in training and even more noticeably in matches. PS: It might feel weird at first changing from Chinese to Euro rubbers but after a week or two or training, maybe even less, you will be used to it.

      Remember to map out and stick to a focused training schedule with dedicated partners and exercises at least 2-3 times a week, also work on the mental aspect and a routine to go with it so you can play your best during matches.

      Good luck!
      Last edited by thomas.pong; 10-18-2019 at 09:15 AM.

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    13. Top | #9
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      i'm no TT expert but heres my two cents

      regarding your form, i think your many losses in matchplay with other players could be due to your mental strength

      yeah, i feel you (maybe). you can rip a brutal shot with big fat topspin consistently in practice, but when it comes to matches your entire game just crumbles apart, even against opponents whose level is a notch below you.

      the key is to have a calm and relaxed mind. it does wonders.

      if you get too cautious of your opponents it will stiffen you up a lot and make you too passive (playing too safe). you can't really win most matches without taking risks, and you will find that risky shots will make up for most of your scored points.

      be free and let loose in matches just like when you're practicing your strokes.

      things and thoughts you should try or instill in yourself to make yourself calm;

      i) don't be afraid of losing
      ii) focus on having fun instead of winning (though that doesn't mean you shouldn't strive to win)
      iii) don't think of the points
      iv) hum a tune to yourself
      v) talk to yourself/ recite a mantra to yourself
      vi) have a moment to breath and compose yourself when its your time to serve
      vii) just try to not think so much of things at all
      viii) scream every point lol

      you can also play more matches with other people to get used to performing while being under pressure of being in a match

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    15. Top | #10
      Tanstin12 is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by netdriver View Post
      i'm no TT expert but heres my two cents

      regarding your form, i think your many losses in matchplay with other players could be due to your mental strength

      yeah, i feel you (maybe). you can rip a brutal shot with big fat topspin consistently in practice, but when it comes to matches your entire game just crumbles apart, even against opponents whose level is a notch below you.

      the key is to have a calm and relaxed mind. it does wonders.

      if you get too cautious of your opponents it will stiffen you up a lot and make you too passive (playing too safe). you can't really win most matches without taking risks, and you will find that risky shots will make up for most of your scored points.

      be free and let loose in matches just like when you're practicing your strokes.

      things and thoughts you should try or instill in yourself to make yourself calm;

      i) don't be afraid of losing
      ii) focus on having fun instead of winning (though that doesn't mean you shouldn't strive to win)
      iii) don't think of the points
      iv) hum a tune to yourself
      v) talk to yourself/ recite a mantra to yourself
      vi) have a moment to breath and compose yourself when its your time to serve
      vii) just try to not think so much of things at all
      viii) scream every point lol

      you can also play more matches with other people to get used to performing while being under pressure of being in a match
      Hum a tune to myself eh? Judging by your profile pic, I know where you got that idea

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    17. Top | #11
      thomas.pong is offline
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      My mantra before a match is to go to war but to stay calm and concentrated, not get excited, and breathe out especially after every point to keep the pressure down and reset.

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    19. Top | #12
      thomas.pong is offline
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tanstin12 View Post
      Hum a tune to myself eh? Judging by your profile pic, I know where you got that idea
      Haha, I thought the same thing! Use to have a similar profile pic as is, great show and books!

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    21. Top | #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by thomas.pong View Post
      My mantra before a match is to go to war but to stay calm and concentrated, not get excited, and breathe out especially after every point to keep the pressure down and reset.
      This is GREAT advice. I notice my matches are better when I focus on staying calm and focus on the POINT being played in moment. In retrospect, when I think about winning or losing during the match, or anything else besides the above mentioned. I make alot of stupid mistakes and forced errors.

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    23. Top | #14
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      Vega Intro as what others have been saying.

    24. Top | #15
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      Hi Tanstin, I know this thread was woken up by a bot, but can you give us an update on how you're playing and whether you've been able to adopt the advice you've been given? A whole lotta people struggle with the same things (yours truly is the poster boy for it). Lately I've had better luck just doing my best to have fun. I know it's a cliche and simplistic, but remind yourself there's no physical pain or other trauma involved if you miss a point or lose a match. But you are wasting your time if you're not having fun

      Regarding equipment, if you want a forehand rubber that may be a little firmer than your current rubber you should look at Gambler Burst Thor's Hammer. To me, it's a better H3 that plays well without boosting. It's pretty cheap and I've had a sheet on my FH for a year without really any performance drop.

    25. Top | #16
      UpSideDownCarl is online now
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      Quote Originally Posted by thekleifheit13 View Post
      Hi Tanstin, I know this thread was woken up by a bot, but can you give us an update on how you're playing and whether you've been able to adopt the advice you've been given? A whole lotta people struggle with the same things (yours truly is the poster boy for it). Lately I've had better luck just doing my best to have fun. I know it's a cliche and simplistic, but remind yourself there's no physical pain or other trauma involved if you miss a point or lose a match. But you are wasting your time if you're not having fun

      Regarding equipment, if you want a forehand rubber that may be a little firmer than your current rubber you should look at Gambler Burst Thor's Hammer. To me, it's a better H3 that plays well without boosting. It's pretty cheap and I've had a sheet on my FH for a year without really any performance drop.
      Thanks for realizing this was woken up by a bot and isn't current. Also thanks for reporting the spambot.
      Spin Everything.

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    27. Top | #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl View Post
      Thanks for realizing this was woken up by a bot and isn't current. Also thanks for reporting the spambot.
      No problem, hope all's well with you, USDCarl!

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    29. Top | #18
      Der_Echte is offline
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      A player asking for what the OP wanted - an inexpensive reliable tacky rubber...

      Look no further than 999 on a sponge Cole glues it to.

      Done like a dog's dinner.
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    31. Top | #19
      thekleifheit13 is online now
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      Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte View Post
      A player asking for what the OP wanted - an inexpensive reliable tacky rubber...

      Look no further than 999 on a sponge Cole glues it to.

      Done like a dog's dinner.
      I know you're pretty set on the 999 and I'll admit it's a sweet rubber, but have you ever tried the Gambler rubbers? I think they're a step up from most other Chinese rubbers and QC is phenomenal. Wouldn't try and hawk them without sponsorship otherwise

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