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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    Often habitual patterns of holding tension are not conscious because the person doing it is so used to the feeling that they don't even register it. Most of what I am actually doing is getting people to remove habitual patterns of holding tension and when the unwanted tension is removed, the movement pattern often just improves.

    I realised that too, that somebody else sometimes, a lot of the times, can see my tension better than myself. When Tom Maynard told me my shoulder was too stiff, I wasn’t aware or intentionally made it stiff. So my focus shifted a lot to look at table tennis as a practise of relaxing. Then people started pointing this part and that part.

    Only by relaxing, not by trying hard to use it, you start to feel how that part can go with the movements.

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    #22
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    BTW: even though it is convenient to say I teach yoga, I am not really sure that is what I do. I just am not sure there is a term for what I do. Some of it is movement analysis and neuromuscular repatterining. Some of it is a creative approach to helping people make certain movement patterns more efficient. Some of it is simply getting people to do some moving and breathing that causes them to feel good and relaxed. From my perspective, what I do seems very simple.

    USDC - "Do you feel that tension in your neck?"
    Client - "No, my neck feels good."
    USDC - holding out hand, "look at my hand."
    Cl - "Oh wow. That feels better."



    Often habitual patterns of holding tension are not conscious because the person doing it is so used to the feeling that they don't even register it. Most of what I am actually doing is getting people to remove habitual patterns of holding tension and when the unwanted tension is removed, the movement pattern often just improves.

    But the movements and actions I use to work with people are so much more simple than a TT stroke; there are so many fewer moving parts and it is easy to isolate different parts of the movement. But it is interesting that, if you remove neck stress, you often remove shoulder, upper back and lower back stress too, often the chain continues into the hips. When you remove shoulder stress you can also cause neck stress to go away, when you remove hip stress you can sometimes get the neck to relax. The kinetic chains can be adjusted from more than one direction.

    The specific movements and exercises don't matter as much as if they can be done with as little unwanted tension as possible. And the appearance of unwanted tension is usually a first line indication of something bigger building under the surface. So, in how I am using the term, I would distinguish between the work necessary to create a movement or action and the unwanted tension that indicates ineffective or inefficient work.

    If you watch a great dancer or gymnast, the powerful movements they do often SEEM to have an effortless quality. But that would not contradict the fact that, the dancer or gymnast is doing an awful lot of work to generate those graceful movements.

    If a camera followed me to all my clients, many people would wonder if what I was doing from one client to the next had anything to do with each other.
    Like many people that are now past our prime, injuries, years of bad posture, lifting stuff and just general everyday life catches up with us, visits to the physio can become a lot more regular!!

    I tend to have lower back and shoulder problems periodically, one physio I used to see called Maisie was a step ahead of most,
    The first time I saw her, with a right shoulder issue, she did the standard appraisal, checked my history notes from the practice records, turned around and said ‘right, let’s find out what’s wrong with your right leg!!!??? Once I’ve found that problem, along with the tension in your back that’s also there, we can do a full treatment - leg back & shoulder.
    5 minutes of examination of my leg, which pinpointed an issue I wasn’t even aware of (no pain issues) when she found the problem I almost jumped up vertically from a lying position!!
    She was loving it!!! Told you, you had a leg issue as well she exclaimed with a big
    So often there are other issues present, that can be a cause of the injury you get the pain from, or are a result of the injury you are aware of.
    Injuries can be transferred throughout the body, you pull a muscle in the shoulder, back then tensions up, this then affects your legs!!!

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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Tango K
    I realised that too, that somebody else sometimes, a lot of the times, can see my tension better than myself. When Tom Maynard told me my shoulder was too stiff, I wasn’t aware or intentionally made it stiff. So my focus shifted a lot to look at table tennis as a practise of relaxing. Then people started pointing this part and that part.

    Only by relaxing, not by trying hard to use it, you start to feel how that part can go with the movements.
    I could be wrong, but I think this is being ‘ in pai’ relax tense relax, so you are relaxed before contact, tense at contact and relaxed after contact, easier said than done!!

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    #24
    This has been a great thread and thank you guys for allowing me to be a part of it. Really thoughtful and experienced. I'm glad that I decided to join. Hope to learn a lot from you guys.
    I approach TT from an athletic background. I am very serious about tennis and play 10 hours a week, (am 4.5 adult league player) and my wife was a Division 2 college player. Am super serious about road riding as posted above. I can tell that I will approach and become obsessed with TT as well and my wife and stepson are doing the same. We have a table in the garage and although have made mistakes with equipment early on...(too fast, without corresponding skill level, I am now using Stiga All Around Classic with slightly slower and more control oriented Rozena rubbers. Am going to play this for at least a year and really work hard on technique and skill which is how I have approached all sports for my entire life. I am also highly competitive and hope to some day play some club TT.
    My wish would be that TT was looked at as more of a "sport" with fitness playing a bigger role, but I can't have everything I want!
    I look forward to asking lots of questions and getting good info from you guys.
    To the OP........wish you much success in your cycling. Keep at it and participate in fast strategy-oriented group rides if you have them in your area. Nothing makes you stronger.

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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by IB66
    I could be wrong, but I think this is being ‘ in pai’ relax tense relax, so you are relaxed before contact, tense at contact and relaxed after contact, easier said than done!!
    It’s another part of it. If you can swing without any firming, then you can add the firming in. But how far you’ve actually been relaxing before the swing matters. It also strongly correlates with your flex. Then I started to realise why the coaches tend to train the kids moving around (for flex) first before telling them to start pushing (firming) the legs for power just before you hit.

    I only understood what Tom meant when he said “just try relaxing and hitting as many shots as you can first, then power will eventually come, don’t try to power the ball” a few months later. (He meant doing it for a few months. Not like “first” 15mins ). I was glad that I listened.

    Even when I do shadow swings these days, I focus on finding out what muscles are a little too intense even before I hit. Harder not having somebody to see you from afar.


    Coming back to original Baal’s post (as I’ve been away from it a little far), cardio (like running for me) is amazing at this. It softened the whole body a hell lot. Gym and weights unfortunately do the opposite.

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    Last edited by Tango K; 02-02-2021 at 10:46 PM.

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    #26
    It is possible to get the EJ virus for cycling and it costs a lot more. Also more little bits to upgrade. The things that actually made me better were things that let me accurately monitor what I was doing. Some of the other expensive stuff probably causes a barely measured effect (at my low level) but definitely makes the bikes look more badass. No regrets.

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    #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Tango K
    Even when I do shadow swings these days, I focus on finding out what muscles are a little too intense even before I hit. Harder not having somebody to see you from afar.
    Something useful with shadow strokes, if you do them in front of a mirror where you can see your whole body, without thinking about it too much, you can correct certain aspects of the stroke because they will stand out and not look right. I think shadow strokes can be very useful for people at a certain level.

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    #28
    Relaxed vs tightening on impact. I could be wrong. But I think too much is made of this and I think it is emphasized too frequently. Or maybe, a better way of saying what I mean is, I think this gives people the wrong idea.

    Say you are shadow boxing. And then you start to hit a heavy bag. I guarantee, without thinking about it, on contact you will engage a whole bunch of muscles that you need to engage. The key phrase there is, WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT.

    If you watch a pro baseball player hit the ball, you can see a whole host of muscles engage on contact and you can also see clearly the baseball player is not thinking about that at all. It happens because of the impact. Same with Tennis.

    With TT too, this should occur as part of making contact with the ball and digging into the contact. You should not have to think about it. And if you do, it will likely cause muscles that shouldn't kick in to kick in and muscles that should, to not kick in how they should. It is well intentioned. It is what should happen. But I am not so sure it should be consciously attempted.

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    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 02-03-2021 at 01:22 AM.
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    #29
    Table tennis is best when you are liberated from mechanics. I'm reminded of something one of the grests said about jazz improvisation (I've forgotten who), "study hard, lesrn everything, then work to forget it". Or something like that. The idea is if you're actually thinking about your mechanics in free play, you will suck. If you're thinking about where your left foot is, your right foot will mess you up.

    Liberation comes from really hard drilling. You need to be strong g enough, fit enough, and flexible enough to withstand it.

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    #30
    Getting back to my original theme, it is hard to compare road cycling to table tennis at a competitive level. For one thing, road cycling at least at higher levels is actually a TEAM sport, whereas TT is individual. A lot of people don't know that. And there are tons of tactical intricacies (and I can't say much about it because I entered exactly one bike race in my life at the lowest level in the US, and a lot of what I saw was carnage all around me, Weelbuilder will know what I mean about Cat 5 races).

    But an essential part of being good at cycling is learning how to suffer and tolerate it for longer than you want. Other parts are knowing exactly what you are capable of, taking maximum advantage of people around you, and being able to tell when they hurt more than you do (easy in my case, sincecanswer was mostly never).

    TT just seems a lot more complex. It's the element of extreme spin. But fortunately it's not about how much pain you can tolerate.

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    Last edited by Baal; 02-03-2021 at 12:27 AM.

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    #31
    Quote Originally Posted by wheelbuilder
    This has been a great thread and thank you guys for allowing me to be a part of it. Really thoughtful and experienced. I'm glad that I decided to join. Hope to learn a lot from you guys.
    I approach TT from an athletic background. I am very serious about tennis and play 10 hours a week, (am 4.5 adult league player) and my wife was a Division 2 college player. Am super serious about road riding as posted above. I can tell that I will approach and become obsessed with TT as well and my wife and stepson are doing the same. We have a table in the garage and although have made mistakes with equipment early on...(too fast, without corresponding skill level, I am now using Stiga All Around Classic with slightly slower and more control oriented Rozena rubbers. Am going to play this for at least a year and really work hard on technique and skill which is how I have approached all sports for my entire life. I am also highly competitive and hope to some day play some club TT.
    My wish would be that TT was looked at as more of a "sport" with fitness playing a bigger role, but I can't have everything I want!
    I look forward to asking lots of questions and getting good info from you guys.
    To the OP........wish you much success in your cycling. Keep at it and participate in fast strategy-oriented group rides if you have them in your area. Nothing makes you stronger.

    Sent from my BBB100-1 using Tapatalk
    Where do you live?

    Also you have made an excellent choice of equipment.

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    #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    Where do you live?

    Also you have made an excellent choice of equipment.
    Pacifica Ca. And yes, you are completely right about Cat 5. That is a dangerous peloton to be in. Hindsight is of course 20/20 and am certain I was part of the problem.
    Thanks for the bat comment. All wood is better than carbon for me at this level of ability. My EJ status is strong from Tennis and Cycling. Want to approach TT from a much different mindset.

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    #33
    Pacifica is in arguably the single best area for TT in the US.

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    #34
    I feel that comparisons among endurance sports would be more appropriate, like cycling, long distance running, marathon, triathlon, cross country skiing etc.

    Table tennis is a reaction sport, contact-less, delicate and precise, requiring intense mental concentration and short burst of energy. It is unique even among racket sports where players essentially play on 2 surfaces. Because of this extra dimension/obstacle/variable, table tennis is perhaps one of the most politically-correct sports, in that a fat-ass could beat a 6-pack, a punk could cream an adult, an old fart could outsmart a young gun, a female could subdue a male, but I digress.

    I just wanted to add that the actual dwell time and the perceptual dwell time are connected and the former determines the vibrations of the racket(blade+rubbers) that get transmitted to the fingers and hand through the handle and blade head.

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    #35
    I agree with zeio on all this (including his comment on dwell time, which is a bit speculative but what I've always hypothesized). My main point really was how little we actually KNOW compared to in cycling.

    Comparing cycling to marathon, triathlon, Nordic skiing, etc. Is interesting. Just as TT differs from all other racket sports due to elements of extreme spin and a very light ball, cycling differs from the other endurance sports because very high speeds mean drafting and using other riders to shelter from aerodynamic drag is central to road cycling (it's not allowed in triathlon). Also, riding in such close proximity to others means positioning is crucial (to get the best line around curves, or to set yourself up for a sprint at the finish, etc,). Getting forced into bad positions means you waste crucial energy, or maybe you crash at a fairly high speed. This fundamental concept is true at all levels of road cycling, just like even a 1000 level TT player has to account for spin.

    Also, cycling at high levels (pro, high level amateur) is a team sport. The goal of the team is to get their designated leader over the line first. The others are there to shelter him from wind, protect his position in the peleton and other less glamorous duties (go get water bottles during the race, trade bikes if he has a mechanical problem, etc.). There are more complexities too. Some guys are specialists. Some win in the mountains (usually little guys). Some win flat races (usually big strong guys with huge sprinting skills).

    And of course there are big stage races (like Tour de France) which are really a series of brutal one-day races nearly every day over from one to three weeks (essentially a daily marathon for three weeks with only two rest days). There are also classic one-day races (my favorite is Paris-Roubaix, sometimes called The Hell of the North) which are monstrous in their difficulty. Paris-Roubaix for example is raced in part on roads made of slick but large cobblestones (about the size of your head) literally covered in cow shit, in France from ~ Paris to near the Belgian border, in April, when it rains a lot. And they do this at 30 mph on carbon road bikes in tight groups of people, so always the risk of chain reaction crashes. Also cold.

    Cycling does these strange things because they've been doing it that way since the late 1800s so tradition rules nearly everything. Other endurance sports are a lot simpler to get your head around and I've barely scratched the surface of weird stuff in road cycling (or even just stage races). And then there's cyclocross.....

    But here is an interesting thing. Cycling is also about genetics, and there are GREAT riders who took up the sport relatively late, even in early 20s. (Emma Pooley and Primoz Roglic come to mind).

    In TT, the skills needed are so refined that if you don't start as a child, early teens at absolute latest, you have ZERO chance of ever becoming a pro player.

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    #36
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    Relaxed vs tightening on impact. I could be wrong. But I think too much is made of this and I think it is emphasized too frequently. Or maybe, a better way of saying what I mean is, I think this gives people the wrong idea.

    Say you are shadow boxing. And then you start to hit a heavy bag. I guarantee, without thinking about it, on contact you will engage a whole bunch of muscles that you need to engage. The key phrase there is, WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT IT.

    If you watch a pro baseball player hit the ball, you can see a whole host of muscles engage on contact and you can also see clearly the baseball player is not thinking about that at all. It happens because of the impact. Same with Tennis.

    With TT too, this should occur as part of making contact with the ball and digging into the contact. You should not have to think about it. And if you do, it will likely cause muscles that shouldn't kick in to kick in and muscles that should, to not kick in how they should. It is well intentioned. It is what should happen. But I am not so sure it should be consciously attempted.
    Couldn’t find a better explanation than this. “Power will naturally come”, “Power in the timing”. They all come down here. It should be consciously attempted but not too direct.


    ”Relaxing”, “Liberating”, or “Being Flexible”, or “Soft”. Whatever words we come up with. They seem obvious but to some, like me, take time to get. I only realise how hard it is when I look back at lower level players and see how they can’t even get it after much more years of playing than me.

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    #37
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    Something useful with shadow strokes, if you do them in front of a mirror where you can see your whole body, without thinking about it too much, you can correct certain aspects of the stroke because they will stand out and not look right. I think shadow strokes can be very useful for people at a certain level.
    I do it all the time. Not exactly in front of a mirror but the window does reflect. I rotate around to see the swing from various angles. Previously it was more about mechanics yes (like arm backswing, leg right leaning etc.) but now it gets more subtle. It does show some parts of the body are stiff (they don’t look fluid in the mirror, I don’t know how to explain scientifically but I get the feel).

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    #38
    This really is an interesting thread!

    Pre:COVID rules and having to work from home, I cycle everyday to work and while than isn't the same ballpark as what Baal is talking cycling wise (as its commuting – but still a good distance) there is always data to look at and easily accessable, with the apps available on phones like Strava you can monitor all kinds of things and see progress. This just isn't the same with TT – theres so many variables and is really hard to see progress and development in a binary way.

    Watching and filming play, though sometimes painful to watch back is the only way to help see progress. I find it really hard to understand technical changes that are only explained or shown to me without seeing myself doing it. In my head I'm often thinking "well I'm doing what they are telling me" but when you see it your not.

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    #39
    Next world nr. 1 in road-cycling? I bet on FZD...

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    #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    One thing I'm convinced of, ive seen coaches who can get a young kid to 2300 in a couple of years are TERRIBLE for adult learners and may actually be dangerous. You can't coach adults exactly the same way, and sometimes you have to teach people how to make better use of what they have.
    Amen! I am currently watching a player, who was formerly ranked top 5 in the world, coach their young child. They mainly feed multi-ball and say very, very little. Kids don't have a lot of control over their bodies and just naturally find the best ways to do things for their body type. The instructions are very vague. For adults this is a recipe for disaster. Also many former top players think coaching adults is an absolute waste of time, so they aren't going to be too concerned with fixing your technique anyway.

    I think the best coaches for adults are the OCD types. They have thought about every aspect of a technique and can tell the adult where the player is making the most mistakes in their form. They can fix one area then later work on more refined mistakes. Watching videos of the CNT coaches, it is clear these people were excellent players who have thought a lot about how to play. I think the German coach Richard Prause is also like this. He has really thought about technique. While training in China I got to ask a CNT coach one question and the answer helped me more than anything I was told in my 2 years there.

    Some of the other coaches who were good players could not explain why 1+1 = 2 if their life depended on it. They might know what drills to do and this type of thing will work with kids. And kids will naturally get good if they put in the time. However adults need details. They also need someone to care enough to tell them the details.

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