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  1. Dominikk85 is offline
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    #1

    Is penhold still inferior despite RPB?

    This probably has been debated a lot but despite the advances in RPB technique there aren't many new penhold players.

    Obviously China went mostly shakehand since the mid to late 90s
    ​ because the one sided penhold attack got outplayed by the 2 winged topspin attack of the swedes and they needed to adjust to that (and obviously did so very successfully).

    However wouldn't RBP neutralize that advantage? is it still inferior to shakehand even with RBP? Or was RBP simply developed too late when the 3 major Asian table tennis countries already have decided for shakehand?

    Do you think the CNT would still play mostly penhold now if RPB was developed in the Early 90s? or is it just inferior at the top level anyway, even with RBP?
    Last edited by Dominikk85; 10-22-2021 at 11:26 PM.

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    #2
    Especially with the plastic ball, I think Penhold is weaker. Penhold usually relies on short, tactical points, especially on the serve. Shakehand has more consistency for longer rallies, like tennis. Plastic ball reduces quick points and serve advantage.Â

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    #3
    I think shakehand is more popular just because it's easier for most people to learn. I don't think RPB is at a disadvantage, in Europe look at Dang Qiu and Felix Lebrun, do you think those backhands are at a disadvantage?

    F.Lebrun is #1WR on U15 and is in the Top 10WR on U19.

    I just believe that penhold is harder to master in the beginning, especially the confusion between TPB and RPB.

    But like Dang and Felix, they were taught to use penhold like shakehanders, without the presence of TPB, I think it was a more natural process, same thing on the Chinese side, Xue Fei and Zhao Zihao. If you watch the most recent China tournaments, you will see several penholders.

    Even if RPB had been created before, I believe it's more a matter of comfort and a simpler grip to master.

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    #4
    I think shake hands and RPB are simila/equal. I am normally a shake hands player. Yet I can pick up a c-pen paddle and play a credible game of with RPB. What advantage does does one have over the other? I find that playing RPB is natural as playing shake hands. It is all you you mind. What I like about playing c-pen is there is no cross over point as a TPB block will do nicely. So who has articulated why shake hands is better than RPB?
    What facts have been presented? Opinions don't count.

  5. Dominikk85 is offline
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    #5
    Good answers. The interesting question is whether a player that focuses on RBP since he is small can get the same proficiency with backhand in all situations (banana flip, slow loop against backspin, power loop, counter loop close and away from table, straight counter drive..) as shakehand can.

    I also think an issue is that the modern straight arm chinese shakehand loop (like wang liqin, ma long, fan zhendong) isn't really much less powerful if at all than a penhold forehand (it looks pretty similar to the FH style of say ma lin, just with shakehand) so penhold has less advantages (probably still serve and short game a tiny bit and of course forehand flip over the table as you can use wrist more).

    But if a guy had a forehand like ma lin or xu xin and backhand like wang gap he might be able to reach a similar level as say fan zhendong or ma long but that is super hard to do.

    Lebrun has a super impressive backhand game but question is if his forehand and serve plus short game can be deadly enough.

    I feel some of the younger Chinese rpb guys rely too much on rpb and are not aggressive enough with the forehand.

    Regarding xu xin I think he reached peak skill only in the last two years but his body was already declining at that point.

    If xx had the same skill as now but with his 25 yo body and footwork he might have been olympic champion but when his body was at his peak his game wasn't a finished product yet
    ​​​​​
    Last edited by Dominikk85; 10-23-2021 at 09:44 PM.

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    #6

    I think that penhold is inferior now, but that's not to say they can't be successful and reach world #1. We could debate a lot about its weakness and strengths, but just look at the CNT.

    Xu Xin is already good but he still can't make it past Ma Long of FZD. Let's look at the younger players.
    Zhao Zihao just doesn't consistantly win games.
    Xu Haidong is doing relatively ok, so maybe he will be the next Xu Xin.
    Xue Fei has not been doing well from what I have seen.
    Zheng Peifeng I believe has already left the CNT, most likely because he couldn't win games.

    I didn't even talk about the CNT female players, but there are very few with little success. bottom line is there just aren't a lot of successful penholders at the highest level. I think the reason why penholds will always have a spot in table tennis is because it is another playing style that players need experience with, like choppers.


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    #7
    RPB is harder to master than shakehand BH. Not many can do that. Even the CNT players like Xu Xin, Zhao Zihao, Xue Fei, Xu Haidong… their BH is decent as best, they lack either power or consistency. Wang Hao is still the undisputed king of RPB, the only one RPB I could say is head and shoulder with the best shakehand BHs. Here and there, a couple of players can have good RPB, but it’s rare cases. It’s much harder to master for most people compared to shakehand BH.

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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Dominikk85
    This probably has been debated a lot but despite the advances in RPB technique there aren't many new penhold players.

    Obviously China went mostly shakehand since the mid to late 90s
    ​ because the one sided penhold attack got outplayed by the 2 winged topspin attack of the swedes and they needed to adjust to that (and obviously did so very successfully).

    However wouldn't RBP neutralize that advantage? is it still inferior to shakehand even with RBP? Or was RBP simply developed too late when the 3 major Asian table tennis countries already have decided for shakehand?

    Do you think the CNT would still play mostly penhold now if RPB was developed in the Early 90s? or is it just inferior at the top level anyway, even with RBP?

    i think what contributes a lot to the decline of numbers of penholders is that there just arent really many PH coaches out there

    unless you're somewhere in asia of course, but that is going to change in a decade or so

    and since the numbers of penholders are getting lower and lower as years pass by, it turned into a cycle

    not that SH coaches cant teach people PH, but its better if you are coached by someone that actually knows and plays PH bc they know better about the nuances PH have.

    a good example of said nuance is the classical topic of grip variation in PH, and how fingers play a *huge* part in it. a PH coach would be able to explain it better to guide players under their tutelage, while SH coaches would only scrap the surface of it if they were to teach PH.


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    #9
    Do you think it would be better to use RPB for everything on the BH and not use TBP at all except for pushes and short touch? Mal lin would mostly use TBP and only occasionally RBP but the younger guys use mostly RPB not just for topspin but also for flat drives and blocks.

    Which do you think is better? Having both in the toolbox or just use one so you get more proficient in it and you don't have to make a split second decision on which side you use?

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    #10
    No one masters RPB like Wang Hao not only because it's difficult but also because Wang's hand is anatomically built for it. Wang is one of a kind.

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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dominikk85
    Do you think it would be better to use RPB for everything on the BH and not use TBP at all except for pushes and short touch? Mal lin would mostly use TBP and only occasionally RBP but the younger guys use mostly RPB not just for topspin but also for flat drives and blocks.

    Which do you think is better? Having both in the toolbox or just use one so you get more proficient in it and you don't have to make a split second decision on which side you use?
    mastering both TPB and RPB would be great, but that would be more of an idealistic view rather than a realistic one

    the more practical view would be to just train in RPB and RPB only. trying to be proficient in both would take too long to master and the current game favours the attacker anyway.

    however, i guess it all comes down to what you want your playstyle to be as a penholder.

    if you're a tactical player ala ma lin, it wouldnt hurt to adopt a bit of TPB as TPB can be pretty deceiving. compared to RPB, TPB is kinda easier to control the pace of the game as well. you'll be surprised how much you can slow the ball down to a crawl with a passive TPB block, and how fast you can launch the ball if you punch it like mike tyson. perfect for players who mix things up.

    if you want to be a conventional two-winged looper or love to rip killer backhands (or both lol), ditch TPB and go right ahead with RPB.

    this is just my perspective btw, i am far from a good player in any way but i do like to think about things.


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    #12
    Give a good reason, not an opinion, as to why c-pen is inferior when used with RPB. The ball doesn't care whether it is hit by a shake hands or c-pen paddle.

    Most of what I read above is just opinions because they aren't comfortable. Think it then do it. The basics are still the same between c-pen and shake hands.

  13. Dominikk85 is offline
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    #13
    Dima can play a pretty decent RPB too (go to 8:00 in the video)

    https://youtu.be/RnoNipHJQXo

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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by brokenball
    Give a good reason, not an opinion, as to why c-pen is inferior when used with RPB. The ball doesn't care whether it is hit by a shake hands or c-pen paddle.

    Most of what I read above is just opinions because they aren't comfortable. Think it then do it. The basics are still the same between c-pen and shake hands.

    Because of the way you hold the blade you dont get as much wrist rotation on Cpen. the RPB is very effective at brushing strokes but its hard to do that into heavy backspin again because you dont get the same usable wrist movement range.
    The payoff was always that the forehand is just dominant because the paddle is further down the arm making the lever longer.
    But in the modern game you stand much closer so backhand is more important as there is less time and space to set up a big forehand from the backhand corner.
    Because of this shake hand can both open up earlier, and harder with the backhand and this is very important.
    However once in the rally rpb is great as you no longer need that part of the rotation to open up and the naturally closed face is ok.


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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by brokenball
    Give a good reason, not an opinion, as to why c-pen is inferior when used with RPB. The ball doesn't care whether it is hit by a shake hands or c-pen paddle.

    Most of what I read above is just opinions because they aren't comfortable. Think it then do it. The basics are still the same between c-pen and shake hands.

    Finger slip. That's why most RPB players (except Xu Xin) choke up on their grip. More choking = less wrist snap, less forehand power.

    Also, the range of wrist motion is different depending on the direction you are trying to snap it, together with how the rest of your body moves, you can either optimize your grip/angle for RPB topspin or forehand. At least the way I am shaped, there is a trade-off.


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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by lasta

    Finger slip. That's why most RPB players (except Xu Xin) choke up on their grip. More choking = less wrist snap, less forehand power.


    Explain. I understand that choking up reduces the speed at the tip of the paddle. Is there more?

    Also, the range of wrist motion is different depending on the direction you are trying to snap it,
    I agree, I have seen posts where people complain about more strain on their wrists. I agree with that too. Playing c-pen provides an opportunity to use the wrist more which is an advantage if you have stronger wrists.

    together with how the rest of your body moves, you can either optimize your grip/angle for RPB topspin or forehand. At least the way I am shaped, there is a trade-off.

    I roll the paddle between my finger and thumb and use the rest of my fingers for support.

    What do you mean by "finger slip". I do change my finger positions depending whether I am hitting FH , TPB or RPB. It isn't that hard to do. Basically I roll the paddle between my fingers. Again, I want to emphasis that I don't play c-pen often. It isn't like l have any real muscle memory. I see plenty of awkward errors, bad strokes, that I made but overall the results aren't that bad. I must think what to do every stroke. Again, it is in your mind

    I first played TPB back in 1971-72 at college against very fast and nimble Chinese ( Taiwanese ) players. I wasn't then and am not now fast and nimble but I have a reach. TPB worked for me playing closer to He Zhi Wen style only with inverted rubber. At that time I was a poor pathetic student with a modified hardbat paddle with blue sriver on the FH and the back part of the blade was wood but no one cared back then. Now I wonder if I had enough money to put rubber on the back hand side if I would have tried playing RPB back then.

    Yes, that is 50 years ago. I doubt sriver cost more than $10 back then at the college student body store. I know I was so poor, I couldn't afford more.

  17. lasta is offline
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by brokenball
    Explain. I understand that choking up reduces the speed at the tip of the paddle. Is there more?


    I agree, I have seen posts where people complain about more strain on their wrists. I agree with that too. Playing c-pen provides an opportunity to use the wrist more which is an advantage if you have stronger wrists.


    I roll the paddle between my finger and thumb and use the rest of my fingers for support.

    What do you mean by "finger slip". I do change my finger positions depending whether I am hitting FH , TPB or RPB. It isn't that hard to do. Basically I roll the paddle between my fingers. Again, I want to emphasis that I don't play c-pen often. It isn't like l have any real muscle memory. I see plenty of awkward errors, bad strokes, that I made but overall the results aren't that bad. I must think what to do every stroke. Again, it is in your mind

    I first played TPB back in 1971-72 at college against very fast and nimble Chinese ( Taiwanese ) players. I wasn't then and am not now fast and nimble but I have a reach. TPB worked for me playing closer to He Zhi Wen style only with inverted rubber. At that time I was a poor pathetic student with a modified hardbat paddle with blue sriver on the FH and the back part of the blade was wood but no one cared back then. Now I wonder if I had enough money to put rubber on the back hand side if I would have tried playing RPB back then.

    Yes, that is 50 years ago. I doubt sriver cost more than $10 back then at the college student body store. I know I was so poor, I couldn't afford more.

    1. Finger slip when sweaty, especially on the back 3 fingers contacting the rubber.

    2. If you use a wide pincer and loose grip ala traditional penholders, bat momentum will cause a shift in the grip especially during RPB. The problem is amplified when the bat is heavy. That's why I see a lot of younger players (Wang Hao included) "choking" the neck with a narrow grip (index and thumb almost/touching). I can't speak for anyone else, but pinching the fingers while having a loose wrist is not easy to do.

    3. A resulting shift in bat angle when switching from rpb to forehand/tpb because of the need to pinch the backside fingers for RPB. This is more personal/individual, but I prefer not to move my middle/ring support finger positions between strokes.

    Even though you don't "grab" by the handle, it does act as a lever in shakehand, with penhold that doesn't work, so anything that amplify grip shift is a bad thing.

    Don't worry, I've been poor too. Back in high school days I played with smooth rubber, and it didn't have pimples underneath.


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    #18
    1. Finger slip when sweaty, especially on the back 3 fingers contacting the rubber.
    I hadn't heard that term before. My fingers don't seem to slip. This has never been a problem for me. That is why I asked.

    but pinching the fingers while having a loose wrist is not easy to do.
    Yes, again I roll the handle to change blade angle between my pointer finger and thumb.
    I think in this respect, playing shake hands is easier.
    What I find really hard is twiddling playing c-pen. This is MUCH easier to do playing shake hands.

    Don't worry, I've been poor too. Back in high school days I played with smooth rubber, and it didn't have pimples underneath.
    The lucky ones are those that are rich and young at the same time.
    That was 50 years ago. I can afford to buy what I want now. I simply realize that equipment isn't the answer. It become more apparent as I get older.
    At one time I was willing to buy rubbers just to test them but the TT forums have p!$$ed me off too much and it seems like I would be putting a lot of effort into something that would be ignored.
    Pathfinderpro put a lot of effort into his videos but it seems that only I remember.
    Tieffenbacher put a lot of effort into is document but it seems that only I remember.





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