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  1. TableTennisTom is offline
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    #21
    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?

    Let's say, for example, you want to get better at attacking backspin serves. You can start a drill in a very basic way. You partner serves short backspin to your backhand, you do a backhand flick and then play out the point. To advance this, get your partner to serve either short backspin to your BH (your flick) or long backspin to your BH (you topspin) and then play out the point. Now you have one significant element of randomness to deal with. Will the serve be short or long? You start to pay more attention to your partner's service action to work out the length. It's still in a controlled drill, in the sense you know it will be a backspin serve. But the random element of length makes it much more challenging and starts to replicate the randomness of match-play. You can advance this even more. Get your partner to serve backspin anywhere on the table BH, FH, middle, short, long, half-long - and you have to play an attacking shot every time (no pushes allowed). Now there is lot's more randomness to deal with, which makes it harder. Initially you'll make loads of mistakes. But the more you do this type of exercise, the better you get at dealing with all the different service placements you may face. So this is an example with you are still working on a specific skill (attacking backspin serves), but you are increasing the randomness by getting your partner to serve to different positions (replicating match-play).

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    #22
    There always comes a moment when you feel like you're standing still. For many, it stretches for months and years, this is normal. Short breaks helped me. So you give yourself a break and move on with renewed vigor.

  3. TableTennisTom is offline
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    #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    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.

    I'm don't visit too often - more of an occasional lurker - but your post caught my attention. The rubbish return to a sidespin serve is something I experience also. Actually, I was doing a coaching session with a player this evening, and we were working on this exact issue. Try to position your body right behind the ball (much like any backhand stroke) and attack it as though it was a light backspin ball. This means brushing up and forwards. You don't need to lift it too much, as the ball is already high. You can go forwards a bit more. But you do need to play an active topspin shot. And sure, you can practice this, Just get a training partner to give some high backspin returns to your serve. Just 15 minutes of practising this and you'll be doing much better.


  4. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte
    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)

    I don't have a coach, I just try to analyze my own weakness and figure out how to get better. But as you said in your 2012 post, I think many of my shots look high quality like a 2000 player in practice, but it doesn't translate into a game.

    You posted 50 common errors, and Maybe 35 of them are applicable to me at some point in a game. But 50 is too much to think about right now, I need to just figure out 2 or 3 major errors to fix at a time.


  5. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #25
    Quote Originally Posted by TableTennisTom

    I'm don't visit too often - more of an occasional lurker - but your post caught my attention. The rubbish return to a sidespin serve is something I experience also. Actually, I was doing a coaching session with a player this evening, and we were working on this exact issue. Try to position your body right behind the ball (much like any backhand stroke) and attack it as though it was a light backspin ball. This means brushing up and forwards. You don't need to lift it too much, as the ball is already high. You can go forwards a bit more. But you do need to play an active topspin shot. And sure, you can practice this, Just get a training partner to give some high backspin returns to your serve. Just 15 minutes of practising this and you'll be doing much better.

    Thanks I will try this.

    Are there any other major sequences/categories of junk balls or random balls that you might see in a game?


  6. Der_Echte is offline
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    #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang

    I don't have a coach, I just try to analyze my own weakness and figure out how to get better. But as you said in your 2012 post, I think many of my shots look high quality like a 2000 player in practice, but it doesn't translate into a game.

    You posted 50 common errors, and Maybe 35 of them are applicable to me at some point in a game. But 50 is too much to think about right now, I need to just figure out 2 or 3 major errors to fix at a time.

    If we could get NJ based Korean all time amateur legend Greg Bartz on this forum to talk, it would be huge. He started like you, 1500-1600 level in Korea with no coaching, and in 10 years playing in clubs, he got to 2200 level, then 2400 level after 2 yrs in NYC area. He is currently #10 ranked in USA veterans. He started at age 30 or so.

    I started at age 40+ at 1500 level, played some years as rec player never improved for a years, then got assigned to Korea with real clubs and real coaches and improved to 2000 level.

    Improving on your own without coach is tough. Even tougher if you have only a place where tables are setup and mostly matches played. You have to pretty much intentionally lose matches to practice something.

    Still, even me at 1800 levels (cali) improved to over 2000 level pretty much goofing off 2x a week with whovever was available, it can be done.

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  7. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #27
    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.

  8. Brs is offline
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    #28
    My vote for one change you could easily make is Watch the ball. Like really look at the ball during the point. Don't just see it in the context of the whole table and court, your opponent, your entire field of vision. Look directly at the ball from the moment it leaves your opponent's bat until you touch it with your rubber. See your contact with the ball happen. Then turn your attention back to your opponent's bat until he hits the ball. Repeat.

    This is definitely something you could do without needing months of training. And you say you often completely whiff the ball, which is always a lost point. If you see your contact with the ball you will not whiff.

    I believe an extra benefit to watching the ball would be a much easier time judging spin, pace, and depth, which you say also cause problems for you sometimes.

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  9. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #29
    I just had a practice session and tried to take the advice from here. I played games against a 65 year old 1200 guy i normally wouldnt bother playing games against.

    It was really really ugly. I had so many misses, whiffs, and all over the place mistakes. I managed to win 3-1 and 3-1 again, but it was only because he also made a ton of errors. If he were just slightly more consistent, i wouldve lost.

    I did try to play into my game with proactive open ups and such. But this session was pretty discouraging. How can i beat anybody if im barely hanging on against such players.

  10. Lycanthrope is offline
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    #30
    There are some videos online about Chop Smash, would you like to see if those have some help with dealing high balls with backspin?

  11. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #31
    Sorry. I have a feeling this is stuff that may have been covered. But, I am not going to read through all of it.

    2 things:

    1) If you are working towards improving your level, you may want to choose 1 setup and not mess around with anything else for a couple of months.

    2) Watch this video. Try to figure out what they are talking about. It is important information: Also, it is worth knowing that, when they use the word "retention" in this video, they are talking about taking skills worked on in training and being able to apply them in a match situation....so, actual match play and results improvement:

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  12. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #32

    Basically, the studies from that video show, training the random element, training skills that either move you towards game skill acquisition, or flat out training game skill simulations, helps you actually improve your game skills faster.

    In Block Training, you look better, results during block training seem to improve faster. But then, when playing matches, the acquired skills do not transfer into improved game skills. With training the random element, the skills acquired don't look as good in practice; it is harder to see the skills acquired, but the game skill level improves more quickly.

    However, TT is complex enough that you do need to do a certain amount of Block training for your stroke and footwork skills to improve. But still, the game skills, handling weird and random balls, sorting out quickly how to read and respond to unexpected and random balls, these things happen in random training and you begin to handle them better.

    Seeing a guy with great strokes, really nice footwork who looks amazing in training and then, a dead ball floats high and slow at him and lands near the edge, on the table and he has no idea what to do, that is pretty common and training the random element helps you handle those kinds of things much better. So does playing a lot of matches in sanctioned tournaments where you get to face many more styles of play than if you just play and train with guys who you play with all the time.

    And to improve your return of serve, you really have to do a lot of work practicing returning serves and the best way to do that is match play because you will get serves you need to work on during match play.

    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 04-28-2022 at 02:28 AM.
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  13. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #33
    How do you train the random elements?

  14. Lycanthrope is offline
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    #34
    Multi-ball training aims at it.

  15. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    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.
    But these scenarios are actually the kind you should be training for.....the ones you need to learn how to read and respond to.
    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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  16. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #36
    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.
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  17. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #37
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    But these scenarios are actually the kind you should be training for.....the ones you need to learn how to read and respond to.

    Yes, I lost a lot of points today where I did a heavy sidespin serve, the opponent chopped it back, and when the ball landed on my side of the table it jumped to the side and caused me to whiff completely. There are just unlimited ways to lose silly points like this.


  18. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    How do you train the random elements?
    I am talking about the same thing that Tom is talking about (I have read through this now). There is an unlimited way of adding random wrinkles to any training drill. But if you are trying to train game skills, a way to do that is to play a lot of matches. And another way to do that is to get some guys you play and train with and serve 2 serves each and both of you try to win the points just like in a match without counting points so you don't have to worry about the score.

    The above is one kind of serve and receive drill.

    But look at the drills Tom is describing in post #21. Those are serve and receive drills that add random elements to the training drills. And, if, after you open against backspin in those drills, you and your training partner treat the rest as though it is a game and try to win the point, that will also be adding more of the random element to the training drill.
    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 04-28-2022 at 03:01 AM.
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  19. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #39
    See, the thing is my regular partner I can usually play quite well against. He has a more "normal" style, where a topspin is clearly a topspin and a push is clearly a push.

    I struggle against the more random players, where the border between a push and a loop is less clearly defined.

  20. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    See, the thing is my regular partner I can usually play quite well against. He has a more "normal" style, where a topspin is clearly a topspin and a push is clearly a push.

    I struggle against the more random players, where the border between a push and a loop is less clearly defined.
    You play well against your regular partner because you are used to what he does. That is why you have to do this against a lot of different players. You get good at what you face. But not what you don't face.

    Watch that video I posted. Watch it three or four times. See if you can figure out what they are talking about. There is a ton of information you can pull from that even though they are ONLY talking in theory. Read what Tom posted again too.
    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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