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  1. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang

    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.

    Take all that stuff as a learning experience. Don't worry about not handling them now. If you face those with an open mind and the idea that those scenarios are ones you need to face because you need the practice against them, at a certain point you will start reading them better and responding to them better.

    For now, don't worry if you lose those points. When those kinds of balls come at you, use it as an opportunity to try different ways of responding to them.

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  2. Kuba Hajto is offline
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    #42
    • Move first
    • Don't try to kill every weird ball, try focusing on getting it to the other side of the table. If you have issues spinning it, try just driving it first
    • If the ball is short (for the oddballs it it usually is short or half-long) there is a good chance you need to step into the table
    • Focus on timing, if you want to attack weird ball that has unkown spin, usually the easiest way is to choke (short punch) it on the top of the bounce

    Excercices you can do in multi ball to help you get better against those balls:
    • Whole table random alternating Short, Half long, long
    • The same as above but the distance is also random
    • The game of reliability mentioned in my post earlier
    • Introduce stakes to your training. Do a wager with whoever you training with, f.e. whoever looses this excercice buys beer or does pushups. You get the idea.

    That is the only advice I can suggest without seeing you in match play. I saw your other videos on the safe thread but If I remember correctly you were mostly stationary.

    From my experience it is 1/3 in your head, 1/3 in your legs and only 1/3 in your strokes. Those 3 elements must be working together so the "modern textbook approach" to table tennis can work. I.e. even if you can lift backspin when multi-ball, you will fail if you don't get into the position first. In order to get into the position you must have legs and predict where the ball will go.

    I can totally understand you might think of me as person who has no idea what he is talking about, but I have been there and done that.

    I do not know how far away from table you are when doing certain strokes, but you might want to consider that as well. The earlier you hit the ball the less time oponent has. Usually the pushblockers like rythm and consistency. They adapt to you spin. That is why you have to vary both tempo and spin.

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  3. IB66 is offline
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    #43
    Hi Michael,

    If you can, get a coach, preferably for some 1 to 1 coaching, if not, then some group coaching.
    improving technique and combining with the random drills is the way to go.

    So some info about myself.
    I am a part qualified level one coach!!! part qualified because I got COVID and had to isolate when the final day of the course was being held!! I’m doing the last day this September!!
    I assist with coaching at an academy 2 times a week, with 2 qualified coaches, one has level 2, one has level 1 accreditation.

    I am also being coached, usually a 2 hr session once every 2 weeks (until a recent knee injury caused by a back issue has sidelined me for a month or so.) Hoping to be back in action in a week or so!!
    My 1 to 1 coach is Tom Lodziak aka Table Tennis Tom.

    I started to have coaching with Tom because I needed to improve my match standard and results, I also wanted to keep my private coaching separate from the academy.

    Patience is required, as it will take months of training, playing matches etc to actually see the improvement in things like win averages.
    Because initial improvements will mean that you can win more points against an opponent than previously but still lose. The stats are brutal and don’t necessarily relate to how you are improving.
    In fact they can seem that you just JUMP a level during 1 season, when in effect that JUMP in level occurred over 2 or 3 seasons!!
    Of course, you can improve faster, it depends on your dedication, talent, ability to learn and implementation of what you have learnt etc.

    Take on board the use of random training as part of your training, it’s very important that at some point in each training / coaching session it is included.

    Tom makes sure that there is a good blend of regular routines, irregular/random routines and some sort of game / match play in each session I have had with him, along with tactical advice.

    One thing Tom likes to do at the end of the session is to set the scenario that it’s the final of the world champs, 3 - 3 , 7th game score is 9 - 9, you have the serve, What are you going to do to win those 2 service points?? It’s a great fun way of ending the session!!

    During the 1st session I had with Tom this is what happened, for me it was the highlight of my year!!!

    1st serve was a punch/hook no spin serve to Tom’s FH, Tom pushed his return long off the table, as soon as he contacted the ball he said ‘oh no it’s no spin’ happy days 10 - 9 !!
    2nd serve was again a punch/hook serve, this time with heavy backspin again to Tom’s FH. Toms push return hit the net!! 11 - 9 sweet!! Tom’s response was ‘that was NOT how I had planned things going!!!
    We we’re both laughing loads!!
    The scenario was replayed, this time Tom was world champ!!!

    To put things in perspective, I had asked to play matches v Tom, no coaching per say for the 1st session, because I wanted Tom to evaluate my match play, Tom won all the games pretty easily, he then played 3 different ‘styles’ against me, passive, attacking, and somewhere in between a mixture of tactics. Tom won these easily as well !!

    One of the great things Tom does is he always reflects on the positive aspects of the session, I always leave with more confidence and focussed on the positive, and believe me I have performed pretty poorly during a couple of the sessions, and feeling disappointed with myself, but during the reflection part at the end of the session Tom is able to highlight what was good and I leave with a better mental perspective, the sessions are always fun and enjoyable as well!!

    Play without inhibition or fear of losing, this is what I have been trying to do, implement what you are learning and focusing on during coaching into matches.
    if this means opening up with a BH topspin to any serves that come long / half long, with back spin to your BH then try and open up as much as possible with a BH topspin, if the 1st try fails, ignore and try again!!

    I hope this helps!! But please try and get a coach, that’s the best advice I can give.





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    #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    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.

    You are making a mental category error here. In any match you are either playing to win, or playing for practice. Always know which one it is going into the match.

    If you are playing to win, don't try new strokes or tactics you have been working on. Use your best shots and play patterns you are already comfortable with. And use whatever ugly technique will put the ball on the table, because you want to win. You don't learn a lot of new stuff this way, obviously. It's still worth doing some, because what you are really practicing is How to win. Measure success that way, if you won good, that was the goal. How you got there doesn't matter.

    This match you described was different. It's a guy you know you can beat, whom you wouldn't even play normally. So playing him to win is a waste of time. This was a practice match. "I did try to play into my game with proactive open ups and such." says you were trying new stuff and not playing to win. That's usually the most productive thing to do against weaker players. You can play into their strength if they have one. Or you can play with your weakness. Work on a new serve or a new stroke. You were working on opening vs backspin. Perfect thing to do with a 1200 player because he will definitely push long to you a lot.

    But afterwards you measured your success by the score. That's just wrong. Nobody cares how many practice matches you win. You shouldn't care either. The goal was not to win, it was to work on your openings. How many of those did you make? Was the quality high enough for him to block them off, or low enough that a 1200 could handle. This is how you evaluate that skill and see where you need to go with it. Probably it sucks, because we don't practice the things we are already good at, we practice the bad stuff. So you should expect practice matches to feel bad, you should welcome that bad feeling. If you feel too good playing this guy you are wasting your time.

    If you play him twenty more times and at the end you are making 90% of your opens vs his push, and he blocks most of them off the end, you will know your openings have improved a lot. And that is the goal.

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    #45
    I have not read the whole thread but from the OP you give us almost nothing about how you practice and how much. Providing that would help you get helpful answers.

    I would say play a lot of games, notice what you win at and lose at. Then try to practice what you use in a real game, the other stuff is a waste of time.
    Serve and return always happen and happen first so focus on that. So start a lot of exercises with that and make the exercises somewhat irregular and practice on what you will use in a real game. I think serve training will get you the fastest and biggest improvement in results.

    And need to practice a lot to develop. With quality.

    Good luck.

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  6. matt243385 is offline
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    #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    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 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?

    1. Whiffing the ball means you are swinging too early. Practice your timing with slow loops, being consistent instead of power. In the end, consistency beats power.
    2.You are probably afraid of the high backspin ball because you smash it, and sometimes that will go into the net. Instead, loop over the ball and it will be a easy attack.
    3. higher level people vary amount of spin on serves just for this reason. Its not always about the most backspin possible to put on your serve. To fix, you should practice light flicks, varying power depending on the amount of spin. Tip: when people serve with the middle of their paddle, its usually heavy, and if they serve using the side of the blade, its usually not spinny and better to flick these.


  7. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #47
    Ok, i will stop thinking about points and just concentrate on being able to handle those random balls.

    The frustrating thing is that I know I can play better. I see myself playing better in practice drills, and I played some really competitive games against players in the club. I beat a guy who is 1600-1700 twice, so I feel at ease against his style. Another guy is ranked over 2000 in the city, and I almost had him on the ropes. Despite losing to him 1-3, the actual rallies felt even. But these type of players dont offer that randomness that I struggle against.

  8. matt243385 is offline
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    #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    Ok, i will stop thinking about points and just concentrate on being able to handle those random balls.

    The frustrating thing is that I know I can play better. I see myself playing better in practice drills, and I played some really competitive games against players in the club. I beat a guy who is 1600-1700 twice, so I feel at ease against his style. Another guy is ranked over 2000 in the city, and I almost had him on the ropes. Despite losing to him 1-3, the actual rallies felt even. But these type of players dont offer that randomness that I struggle against.

    Yes the ralllies were even, but in the end he wins the point because he was more consistent


  9. ricospin is offline
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    #49
    Winning and losing in terms of rating is all relative. I have beaten a fairly high ranked junior because I exploited their bh. I’m around 1000~ he was about 1700-2000. He didn’t notice that I was playing his bh either.

    my point being, you either will either match up evenly or it could go your way or your opponents. Take playstyle into consideration. I lost to a 700 level player because he had such a junky playstyle. All relative.

  10. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Brs

    You are making a mental category error here. In any match you are either playing to win, or playing for practice. Always know which one it is going into the match.

    If you are playing to win, don't try new strokes or tactics you have been working on. Use your best shots and play patterns you are already comfortable with. And use whatever ugly technique will put the ball on the table, because you want to win. You don't learn a lot of new stuff this way, obviously. It's still worth doing some, because what you are really practicing is How to win. Measure success that way, if you won good, that was the goal. How you got there doesn't matter.

    This match you described was different. It's a guy you know you can beat, whom you wouldn't even play normally. So playing him to win is a waste of time. This was a practice match. "I did try to play into my game with proactive open ups and such." says you were trying new stuff and not playing to win. That's usually the most productive thing to do against weaker players. You can play into their strength if they have one. Or you can play with your weakness. Work on a new serve or a new stroke. You were working on opening vs backspin. Perfect thing to do with a 1200 player because he will definitely push long to you a lot.

    But afterwards you measured your success by the score. That's just wrong. Nobody cares how many practice matches you win. You shouldn't care either. The goal was not to win, it was to work on your openings. How many of those did you make? Was the quality high enough for him to block them off, or low enough that a 1200 could handle. This is how you evaluate that skill and see where you need to go with it. Probably it sucks, because we don't practice the things we are already good at, we practice the bad stuff. So you should expect practice matches to feel bad, you should welcome that bad feeling. If you feel too good playing this guy you are wasting your time.

    If you play him twenty more times and at the end you are making 90% of your opens vs his push, and he blocks most of them off the end, you will know your openings have improved a lot. And that is the goal.

    More people should really be pounding the like button on this post. It is true gold.
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  11. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    Ok, i will stop thinking about points and just concentrate on being able to handle those random balls.

    The frustrating thing is that I know I can play better. I see myself playing better in practice drills, and I played some really competitive games against players in the club. I beat a guy who is 1600-1700 twice, so I feel at ease against his style. Another guy is ranked over 2000 in the city, and I almost had him on the ropes. Despite losing to him 1-3, the actual rallies felt even. But these type of players dont offer that randomness that I struggle against.
    Info on USATT Rating stuff: if you beat one 1600-1700 level player whose style meshes well with what you are good at facing, it likely means your level is somewhere between 1200-1400. However, if you win MORE THAN 50% of the time when you play ANY PLAYER who is about 1600-1700, especially the weird players you are not good at playing against, then you are probably about 1600-1700 level.

    It is always worth adjusting what you think your level is down 200-300 points because then you will likely be more accurate and nobody will ever be able to say you were overestimating your rating. The only way to get a real rating that means something is to play enough tournaments (30-60) to earn a real rating that actually reflects your level. One or two tournaments won't give you an accurate rating. And rating does not matter. But most people who have not done the tournament thing and estimate their rating based on a few guys who they can beat that are a specific rating, they are overestimating by a few hundred points.

    Besides, rating does not matter: play, have fun, improve. And playing tournaments will force you to play a lot more players you are not used to playing which will help you to improve. Facing more variations on spin is something that is really helpful to your improvement. And that happens when you play in sanctioned tournaments.

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  12. Michael Zhuang is online now
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    #52
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    Info on USATT Rating stuff: if you beat one 1600-1700 level player whose style meshes well with what you are good at facing, it likely means your level is somewhere between 1200-1400. However, if you win MORE THAN 50% of the time when you play ANY PLAYER who is about 1600-1700, especially the weird players you are not good at playing against, then you are probably about 1600-1700 level.

    It is always worth adjusting what you think your level is down 200-300 points because then you will likely be more accurate and nobody will ever be able to say you were overestimating your rating. The only way to get a real rating that means something is to play enough tournaments (30-60) to earn a real rating that actually reflects your level. One or two tournaments won't give you an accurate rating. And rating does not matter. But most people who have not done the tournament thing and estimate their rating based on a few guys who they can beat that are a specific rating, they are overestimating by a few hundred points.

    Besides, rating does not matter: play, have fun, improve. And playing tournaments will force you to play a lot more players you are not used to playing which will help you to improve. Facing more variations on spin is something that is really helpful to your improvement. And that happens when you play in sanctioned tournaments.

    Sure, I did some version of that. The guy I mentioned that I beat is probably around 1600-1700. Last two times we played I beat him, but I still call myself 1500-1600 because maybe I just matchup well against his style. But I don't think 1400-1500 or 1200-1400 is crazy either.

    When I play those 1200 guys, I think I typically find a way to win, but I just hate how my own game looks like against them. Most of the points are from each others' errors rather than your own activity.

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    #53
    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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    #54
    Quote Originally Posted by piligrim

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

    I think not like this guy. Truly atrocious looking forehand. Its just a pure hook shot.


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    #55
    This is my favorite article from Larry Hodges, "How to move up a level":
    http://www.tabletenniscoaching.com/node/19

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  16. Lycanthrope is offline
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    #56
    When you are attending a formal competition, opponent's rating is important. When you are playing for fun, opponent's rating means something but not so much. If the player with rating 2000 plays a casual game against the guy at rating 1200, he won't smash the 1200 guy and embarrass him.

    Then the 1200 guy may come here and start a new thread: Why I can attack or counterattack when against a 2000 player, but unable to do the same attack to a 1500 player?

    You have known your level, then the result of a game doesn't mean any more. Even if you lose to the 1200 guy but you learn something new from the game, we will cheer for you. You can do the same thing to the 1700 player and see how he deals with it.

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  17. Gozo is offline
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    #57
    I want to do a quick post about game-play versus muti-ball training: Why I can stroke it well in MB but suxs in actual matchIn MB, you expect the ball to come to you and you have loads of time to anticipate and get into ready position. Hence it is very likely you get good stroke production.However in match play there is massive amount of randomness and also your opponent is purposely making it difficult for you to return the ball. Very common is when your opponent sees you in BH ready position and he will send the ball to your FH position and vice-versa because he wants to win the point just as much as you.That is why having a mental separation between what you can do in MB and match-play and also treating game-play as a separate skill-set is good for your mental well-being.Hope this helps those who feel the growing pains of getting better in TT.

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    Last edited by Gozo; 04-29-2022 at 03:12 AM.

  18. ricospin is offline
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    #58
    Quote Originally Posted by jfolsen
    This is my favorite article from Larry Hodges, "How to move up a level":
    http://www.tabletenniscoaching.com/node/19

    i've visited this site here and there... pure gold.


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    #59
    NextLevel said it best: "Ratings don't play matches."

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    #60
    I find that as I grow older, a more all round style suits my game. I should be offensive when I need to be. This is good point to consider. If you watch Jeremy Hazin, is one amazing player but so well placed and such a balanced style. Whether we accept it or not, but until our pushes and blocks are good we won't get a chance to create a situation where we can be offensive against a better opponent.
    I remember few quotes from very high rated players -
    1. Push serves as a oxygen for your topspins. Without good push you are basically starving your attacking potential.
    2. I asked one player whom I used to admire for his playing style, how do play so well and how can I copy this in my game. He answered that by playing lot of matches, he understands the fundamentals of spin like topspin and underspin this helps him in racket angles especially while receiving. But he mentioned that his serve receive is not that great. Then, I asked how do you stay in a point, for that he answered, 'My block is good' and I know that I can send the ball back where I want. That takes away lots of pressure from me.
    Having more than one option to handle an incoming ball is always beneficial. I remember that when I was working too hard to learn backhand, my coach use to tell me this, don't blindly use your backhand on everything. Try to see the ball, and if you feel that you are not low enough or are out of position then play a push and then be ready. In short, to get good at it practice a style where you can play one ball push and another a topspin.
    I was watching Coach Daniel on YouTube and in one of his videos he mentioned that to reach 2000 rating, you don't need topspin. Your push, blocks and counters can make to reach that level. I believe this statement and I get the message that I need to work more on these fundamentals so that they can support my offensive game when needed.
    I want to give a BIG shout out to Der_Echte: Thank you, I copied your 51 points and made them my practice and self observation Bible.

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    Der_Echte, Wrighty67

    Last edited by KM1976; 04-29-2022 at 04:31 PM.
    Most of the times practice, patience and an observant mind answers all your questions

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