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  1. wheelbuilder is offline
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    #1

    Tips for transition strokes

    Hey. I know the long answer and the correct one is multi-ball with a willing partner or coach, but wondering if any of you guys have some helpful hints or mental ways to think about approaching this stroke and implementing it without hesitation. My forehand is my preferred wing either drives or loops close or mid distance. Pushes not so much but I am working on it. I am competent and confident in backhand topspin drives and flick type shots but not proficient in loops yet. These can be improved like anything else.
    My real problem is belly button or center of body shots. I freeze and freeze often. More often than not I try to side step or lean way down to my left to hit a close to body forehand instead of just using backhand. It's right there. Small movement with arm and virtually no footwork required to execute this shot but more times than not I just can't get my brain to signal my body to do this.
    Any helpful instruction? I am 54 and started playing this game late in life so I am probably at a disadvantage. That said I am very fit and athletic and am serious and good at several individual sports, so suggesting grueling drills won't faze me.
    Thanks so much in advance.

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  2. Dr Evil is offline
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    #2
    Post some video and you'll get specific advice from the coaches on this forum. In general, if you want to take an elbow shot with your forehand by leaning out of the way, it helps to have a wider stance.

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  3. Gozo is offline
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    #3
    A shakehand grip will inherently have a weakness at the cross-over point. There is no way to escape it, you are doomed! You opponent will always exploit this inherent weakness and target this spot wherever you are, there is no escape from it, unless....

    You move your legs!

    The above or just play penhold and be done with it.

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    #4
    I probably didn't make my OP clear, but thank you guys for the responses.
    It's not a matter of moving my legs. I find myself freezing or wrongly choosing a forehand instead of backhand on belly button hit opponent shots. My footwork is fast enough to move to the left and execute the forehand, but I want to use my backhand. It's not a matter of not knowing how to perform the stroke, its a matter of not being able to choose the correct stroke in time.

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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by wheelbuilder
    My real problem is belly button or center of body shots. I freeze and freeze often. More often than not I try to side step or lean way down to my left to hit a close to body forehand instead of just using backhand. It's right there. Small movement with arm and virtually no footwork required to execute this shot but more times than not I just can't get my brain to signal my body to do this.
    Is it possible that you freeze because there is simply not enough time to react, because you are too near the table? Or would you say you think there was enough time and you still freeze?

    Also, when you say you side-step and try to do FH - this is not freezing. Can you confirm these are two separate issues? If not, how are they connected?

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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by wheelbuilder
    I find myself freezing or wrongly choosing a forehand instead of backhand on belly button hit opponent shots.

    Have your partner block to your belly button and practice hitting backhands. Then alternate 2 belly button backhands, 2 forehands from the middle. Then random 1 or 2 belly button backhands, 1 or 2 forehands from the middle.

    Video review. Pay attention to what you do between shots. For example, look at your hand and elbow position before forehands compared to backhands. Big differences can make it harder to solve the problem you describe.


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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by latej
    Is it possible that you freeze because there is simply not enough time to react, because you are too near the table? Or would you say you think there was enough time and you still freeze?

    Also, when you say you side-step and try to do FH - this is not freezing. Can you confirm these are two separate issues? If not, how are they connected?
    Good point! It is both I think. Sometimes it's a matter of reaction time and I think your suggestion of maybe taking a step back would give me more time to "decide". I think I probably play too close to the table in general. There are other times when there is enough time and I want to hit a backhand but my body naturally starts to move to the left to try to use forehand against the commands in my head? I don't know. It's a mess. Sometimes I can do it and execute it fine. It's just not a natural thing to implement even though it is the simpler, faster, and more physically economical shot? More focus is needed I think.

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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Evil

    Have your partner block to your belly button and practice hitting backhands. Then alternate 2 belly button backhands, 2 forehands from the middle. Then random 1 or 2 belly button backhands, 1 or 2 forehands from the middle.

    Video review. Pay attention to what you do between shots. For example, look at your hand and elbow position before forehands compared to backhands. Big differences can make it harder to solve the problem you describe.

    Thanks man, and that is a helpful sounding drill. I guess I was childishly thinking there were "mental" exercises I could do or "a way to think about it" that would help.
    I get that it needs to become muscle memory. I just need to put more time in.
    It really is driving me crazy when I just can't implement the backhand fast enough. Even when I am thinking about it. If a shot comes to my middle I freeze and lose the point. Or move to my left hit forehand and leave whole table open and lose point that way.

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Evil
    For example, look at your hand and elbow position before forehands compared to backhands. Big differences can make it harder to solve the problem you describe.
    Yes, I agree. I try to keep the elbow close to body, or the upper arm vertical - if not, the shoulder muscles can't be relaxed. Both your suggestions, the wide stance and the elbow position, are close to the top of the list of things I try to think/remember/keep during practise.

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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by latej
    Yes, I agree. I try to keep the elbow close to body, or the upper arm vertical - if not, the shoulder muscles can't be relaxed. Both your suggestions, the wide stance and the elbow position, are close to the top of the list of things I try to think/remember/keep during practise.
    Nice! This I can visualize and will be helpful. Exactly what I was hoping to get from my post. All of you posted super helpful stuff but the elbow close to body description helps me conceptualize it. Thank you all!

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    #11
    Try looking against the opponent more so you can anticipate where the ball comes faster.

    Maybe you also could try to read the game more in general as well, like if you play fast or hard in the corner of their backhand it is more likely that they play towards your backhand corner.

    Maybe you also could try to get the racket more in the middle between the strokes so you are ready for both backhand and forehand.

    If the ball comes very fast and you need to move you can just move one leg to the side and do the stroke.

    I also think you could try to have the racket more in front of the body to change faster between backhand and forehand and have the elbow at the same position on backhand and forehand stroke for the same reason.

    or just practice!

  12. UpSideDownCarl is online now
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    #12

    Tips for transition strokes

    Shadow strokes practicing variations on switching FH to BH and back could help some.

    But nothing can replace training the various versions of switching. Find a way to get the practice in where you are responding to the ball.

    And Yeah; watching the opponent is how you get better at seeing where the next ball is going.
    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:39 PM.
    Setup 1: Blade by Nate: Vortex Spin Machine, FH Evolution MX-K, BH Evolution FX-P
    Setup 2: OSP Virtuoso Plus, FH Rasanter R 48, BH Rasanter R 48
    Spin is Everything

  13. wheelbuilder is offline
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    #13
    So many helpful tips. Thank you everyone who contributed! Truly friendly and easy to understand instruction.

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    #14
    Maybe try holding your bat in a slightly backhand-biased ready position.

    Another thing you could try is doing a two-point backhand drill, as in a bh from the bh and a bh in the middle. When that gets easy have your partner block to your bh 60% of the table and play all backhands. When that gets easy you could do a third ball drill where you serve backspin and partner pushes long at your middle, you must play backhand.




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