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  1. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #1

    Advice how do I break through my current level ceiling?

    I feel like I'm stuck at my current level. I think I'm somewhere between 1500-1600 USATT currently. But I cannot break past this level. When I practice my little drills, I can hit most shots with a reasonably high degree of quality and confidence. Drive, topspin loop, opening loop, block, push, flick, etc.

    But in game, none of those practices seem to matter much. My games don't look anything like my practice drills. I tend to give away a lot of easy points. Some common errors I seem to have in game are:

    - whiffing the ball. For some reason, I will just swing and miss the ball a lot
    - often the opponent will slice a high ball to me. I freeze at the high backspin ball and am afraid to attack it. This results in me either slicing the ball into the net, or slicing the ball too high to the opponent
    - overestimating or underestimating spin on serve. I often will give a way a lot of points on receive. I can see the type of spin, but often times overestimate or underestimate the amount of spin. This will often result in me dumping the ball into the net or hitting the ball long over the table

    There are probably other little cheap points I often give away, but there are 3 that come to mind immediately. Any advice for how to break my current ceiling?

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    #2
    IMO, you're thinking too much when playing, so what if you miss an attack shot? You'll not get better if you're afraid to even try to strike it. Just have fun, your body already have the training, let your mind loose and let your body and instinct take over. Goku got stronger this way and so can you.

  3. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #3
    Yes, I think most of my errors are not mechanical errors for the most part.

    Most of my errors are errors of judgement. I slice when I should've looped, or I took a step backwards when I should've held my ground, etc.

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    #4
    When practicing both players do their best to ensure a smooth session with predictable shots and most of the time easy balls. In a match your opponent tries his hardest to give you the most difficult ball possible. And when practicing you don’t care much if you miss and you play with your best effort. In a match you don’t want to miss so you hold back…
    This is the same for everyone ( almost ).

    You win games by not giving away any easy points…

    Cheers
    L-zr
    Steal a little and they throw You in jail, Steal a lot and they make You King... (Dylan)

  5. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazer
    When practicing both players do their best to ensure a smooth session with predictable shots and most of the time easy balls. In a match your opponent tries his hardest to give you the most difficult ball possible. And when practicing you don’t care much if you miss and you play with your best effort. In a match you don’t want to miss so you hold back…
    This is the same for everyone ( almost ).

    You win games by not giving away any easy points…

    Cheers
    L-zr

    Yes, there's a guy in our club who has really terrible technique. His FH drive stroke looks bad, and he cannot loop a ball at all. But he has unusually good hands and he controls the ball really well. In a game, 95% of his shots are over the table slices, but he just has great control over this shot. While he cannot loop at all, his blocking of loop is also very well controlled. In a game, he will not ever give away a point for free.

    Another guy has an actual 2000 USATT rating, with powerful loops and aggressive flicks and counter drives. This 2000 guy often loses to the first guy, and the games are always really ugly to watch with the 2000 guy somehow led to make error after error.

    So, how do you break through this ceiling?


  6. Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang

    Yes, there's a guy in our club who has really terrible technique. His FH drive stroke looks bad, and he cannot loop a ball at all. But he has unusually good hands and he controls the ball really well. In a game, 95% of his shots are over the table slices, but he just has great control over this shot. While he cannot loop at all, his blocking of loop is also very well controlled. In a game, he will not ever give away a point for free.

    Another guy has an actual 2000 USATT rating, with powerful loops and aggressive flicks and counter drives. This 2000 guy often loses to the first guy, and the games are always really ugly to watch with the 2000 guy somehow led to make error after error.

    So, how do you break through this ceiling?

    Interestingly enough, this year a new guy joined our "school training group". They guy has like 20 year old paddle with rubbers oxydized so much that they are anti spin in effect. A lot of mine (and even my coaches) balls went to the net because the the spin was hard to predict. Whole theory goes through the window because sometimes similar balls returned topspin and underspin depending on how deeply ball penetrated the rubber. To make it worse those oxydized rubbers barely moved ball to my side of table so I was missing a lot of balls entirely.

    I think the things i did to overcome this might help you with your issues.

    First of all playing against those kinds of players keeping good timing AND playing simple no power game can help you. Consistency and spin variation is the name of the game. For me personally a lot of ditched balls were caused by timing. The fact that his paddle barely could deliver ball on my side (apart from smashes) made it hard to strike top of the bounce, and my particular cause bad timing and playing over the table caused a lot of errors. Not using too much power and focusing on placement and spin helped me to get a lot of points.

    One of the tactics that helped me a lot with this guy was using drive followed by heavy spin loop. Usually if I managed to execute the combo the balls was bouncing of his racket into the sealingsealing.

    When it comes to practice the open up... Find lp chopper and see how many you can return without mistake, if you can deliver 20 good balls then I would advice on trying following. Play a game with your friend with rules that you can only short backspin short, the response must be a long push and the response to that must be an open up. Whoever fails those rules loses a point. See how it goes than.

    The next order of business might beaking an actual notes of when you loose points and analysing that. When you loose points on your serve, what ball did you serve and where? What was reslonse? Etc...

    /devnull

  7. ricospin is offline
    says it's about technique
     
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    #7
    Something that I ask myself when I miss was if “my paddle was behind it”. It then keeps me thinking to adjust before swinging- instead of swinging blindly.

    I’m sure you’ve thought about getting coached- I don’t know if you are taking lessons, but they know how to take your game up to the next level

  8. Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
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    #8
    M8, Can you show some footage?
    /devnull

  9. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kuba Hajto
    M8, Can you show some footage?
    Footage of who? I don't think those other 2 guys would like me taking video of them.

    But maybe I can take some video of my own game sometime.

  10. Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    Footage of who? I don't think those other 2 guys would like me taking video of them.

    But maybe I can take some video of my own game sometime.

    I was refering to the Original Post

    Last edited by Kuba Hajto; 04-27-2022 at 07:45 PM.
    /devnull

  11. UpSideDownCarl is offline
    says I like to hit Heavy Topspin
     
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Kuba Hajto
    M8, Can you show some footage?
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    Footage of who? I don't think those other 2 guys would like me taking video of them.

    But maybe I can take some video of my own game sometime.
    And Kuba has a point....people seeing video footage of you during match play would make it so people had a better understanding of what is going on for you. Not necessary. But it really would help.

    That being said, you are describing the kinds of things that it is very common people below 1800-2000 really need to work on. So....you are not alone. Nothing wrong with needing to handle those weird random balls that you did not expect to come back.
    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
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  12. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #12
    But I mostly know what my game looks like. When I get on the attack with my FH loop, I am usually winning the points. When I am giving away cheap points as I described, I am falling behind.

    And I generally have reasonable strategic control when I am serving.

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    #13
    It’s basically a mental thing, you have to teach yourself how to temporarily stop “caring” too much so that you can really play out. If I really want really want to win you can be sure I give away a lot of easy points…

    Cheers
    L-zr

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  14. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazer
    It’s basically a mental thing, you have to teach yourself how to temporarily stop “caring” too much so that you can really play out. If I really want really want to win you can be sure I give away a lot of easy points…

    Cheers
    L-zr

    Yes, I will try to think positively and focus on having quality rallies rather than caring too much about the points.


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    #15
    Good luck,
    I think it will but it won’t be easy.

    Cheers
    L-zr
    Steal a little and they throw You in jail, Steal a lot and they make You King... (Dylan)

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    #16
    I suggest you change the way you train. It sounds like you have developed a range of technically sound strokes, I'm guessing by doing a lot of regular or semi-regular drills where you know where the ball is going and what the spin is going to be. To break through to the next level, you should do more exercises which replicates match-play. Lots of serve + receive drills. Lots of randomness. Lots of training matches. Seek out the most awkward players at your club and train with them. Get ugly and get messy. With this approach you will have much more exposure to those uncomfortable balls you currently struggle with. You can still do some of your usual exercises to groove your technique. But embrace the randomness of match-play exercises a lot more. Here's an article I wrote on this topic a couple of years ago... https://www.tabletenniscoach.me.uk/h...eague-matches/

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  17. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by TableTennisTom
    I suggest you change the way you train. It sounds like you have developed a range of technically sound strokes, I'm guessing by doing a lot of regular or semi-regular drills where you know where the ball is going and what the spin is going to be. To break through to the next level, you should do more exercises which replicates match-play. Lots of serve + receive drills. Lots of randomness. Lots of training matches. Seek out the most awkward players at your club and train with them. Get ugly and get messy. With this approach you will have much more exposure to those uncomfortable balls you currently struggle with. You can still do some of your usual exercises to groove your technique. But embrace the randomness of match-play exercises a lot more. Here's an article I wrote on this topic a couple of years ago... https://www.tabletenniscoach.me.uk/h...eague-matches/

    Yes, I think this is very spot on. I struggle more with random shots (ie opponent slicing a ball too high) rather than purposeful shots. Maybe it's a good idea to play more games.

    But what's the difference between serve+receive drill and an actual game? Isn't it basically the same thing in regards to training?


  18. Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang

    Yes, I think this is very spot on. I struggle more with random shots (ie opponent slicing a ball too high) rather than purposeful shots. Maybe it's a good idea to play more games.

    But what's the difference between serve+receive drill and an actual game? Isn't it basically the same thing in regards to training?

    The stakes are thw difference practice does not force yourself into the nervous state. I addressed this in my post as well.

    /devnull

  19. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #19
    One other shot that I encounter against a specific player is the sidespin "loop". There is a guy in our club who has horrific FH technique. He doesn't/cant brush over the ball, but he brushes the side of the ball. It's very ugly, and he himself makes a lot of errors of his own from hitting the ball like this.

    But when the ball lands on the table, it literally jumps a good 5-10 inches to the left (he is left handed). The ball typically comes to my backhand, and often time I will miss the ball completely because it jumps so much. Even when I can connect with the ball, its moving too much and I dont' have confidence to counter attack the ball.

    Any advice dealing with this junk ball?
    Last edited by Michael Zhuang; 04-27-2022 at 09:51 PM.

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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    One other shot that I encounter against a specific player is the sidespin "loop". There is a guy in our club who has horrific FH technique. He doesn't/cant brush over the ball, but he brushes the side of the ball. It's very ugly, and he himself makes a lot of errors of his own from hitting the ball like this.

    But when the ball lands on the table, it literally jumps a good 5-10 inches to the left (he is left handed). The ball typically comes to my backhand, and often time I will miss the ball completely because it jumps so much. Even when I can connect with the ball, its moving too much and I dont' have confidence to counter attack the ball.

    Any advice dealing with this junk ball?

    All left hand players have side spin on looping. I am lefty and my partners always tell me about side spin come from me


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