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  1. Michael Zhuang is offline
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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?

  2. DukeGaGa is online now
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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 offline
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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. ricospin is offline
    says it's about technique
     
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    #5
    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

  6. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #6
    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?


  7. Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
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    #7
    M8, Can you show some footage?
    /devnull

  8. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #8
    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.

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    #9
    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.

  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

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    #11
    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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  12. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #12
    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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    #13
    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)

  14. TableTennisTom is offline
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    #14
    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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  15. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #15
    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?


  16. Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
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    #16
    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

  17. Der_Echte is offline
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    #17
    Please tell us a little more about your circumstances for TT.

    Where do you play? What kind of place is it? Is it a place where tables are setup for a few hrs and people play? It is a real club where you have open play and training or whatever you want? How many hrs a week are you hitting? What have you learned in TT so far? How many hrs with what kind of coach?

    1500 is an average club player in USATT who never learned from coaching and has some years playing.

    Without even knowing your TT circumstances, I would bet a container ship of cheeze-its that you have no real coach or real club and play a few hrs at a time where everyone does matches or gets off the table. I would have a 80%+ chance of being right.

    If I was wrong, and the OP actually had a real coach in a real club and was still 1500 and not improving... than that is a surefire indication of a player not wanting to really listen to coach and do all the things to improve level and also an indicator of a coach taking easy money without really improving the player. I see this every damn place and it is shameful.

    A real coach in a real club with a player who is willing and wants to improve will 100% of the time SIGNIFICANTLY improve the player's level... like 200-500 points in the first 3 years.

    Advise would be to get a real coach in a real club, but chances are that if you are not near one of the few metro areas with real clubs and real coaches, you are pretty much screwed.

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  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. Der_Echte is offline
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    #19
    Read post 8 and 9 I made 10 years ago on OOAK forum about this 1500 level and beyond.

    How to move up to a 1500 US level asap? - OOAK Table Tennis Forum (ooakforum.com)

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  20. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #20
    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/
    BTW Tom, I didn't realize it was you on this forum, but I watch your youtube videos all the time. Thanks for those, those are great videos.

    One unique situation that I often fall victim to, is that I become video to my own spin. For example, I do a heavy sidespin pendulum serve, and my opponent gives a poor return, maybe by slicing a little high. It seems that the ball still has my own sidespin on it, but I'm not sure which direction the ball is spinning at this point. The ball also has the effect of the opponent's own slice. This type of "random" ball is not something you train for during drills. So I don't know how to handle this ball.

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