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  1. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #1

    1 Game of Mine. Please give me advice

    Alot of people gave me helpful advice on my other thread and asked for some video, so I just took a quick video of 1 little game of me playing. It's not the best, and I'll try to take video of a better game next time. But its something to start with. I also felt that my FH rubber (Loki GTX) felt very flat, and it doesn't seem to be wrapping around/gripping the rubber. I thought I should boost it to improve the feeling.

    https://youtu.be/9rIBs8kmCiU

    I think my biggest issues are 1) I am horrible at handling the random, funky, unpredictable ball and 2) my play is slow in terms of attacking early in the rally and hitting early off the bounce.

    But I just don't know how to fix my problems. PS: I'm the one near the camera. The other guy is my usual practice friend. As you can see, where we play and everything, we are not that serious.

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    Last edited by Michael Zhuang; 05-28-2022 at 09:44 PM.

  2. NDH is offline
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    #2

    Hey Michael,

    As always, thank you for posting video.

    You’ve done so outside of the “video safe” thread, so you’ll get lots of opinions from people, and it’s up to you to work out what you take onboard.

    Some pointers from me……

    1. All of your serves are horribly illegal and a little sloppy.

    The ball needs to go straight up, not thrown massively backwards like you do (and yes, I know the pros aren’t great with this, but the rules are the rules!)

    You would benefit from keeping your serves a little tighter, although I expect that is partly down to your opponent not being very good.

    2. Your entire video could be edited down to one point…… Your serve and then a decent spinny forehand which your opponent can’t deal with.

    Your biggest issue here is that you won’t improve if you only play with people who can’t cope with your shots. It’s not a bad shot at all, but it’s impossible to judge or give advice when your opponent makes you look better than you are (not you specifically, but in general).

    In the situation where your playing partners are of a lesser level, you really want to work on your weaker shots.

    Focus on your serves, pretend you are playing Ma Long.

    Get your backhand into play immediately. Heck, play with your backhand as the dominant shot.

    3. You seem to really want to improve.

    if so, stop EJ’ing and stop worrying about the equipment.

    You’ll improve quicker and be more consistent if your equipment stays the same.

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  3. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #3
    Actually my partner was playing at our little club 3 years before me, and I just showed up 9 months ago. For the first 3 or 4 months, he was mostly beating me. My loops had trouble penetrating his defense initially. I don't think this was his best game or mine. A lot of our games look like me attacking with my FH, and him blocking 3 or 4 back until I eventually break through his defense, or I miss.

    But yes, as of late, I have been winning most of the games.

    Also one question: I often feel like I am far behind the table than my opponents. I'm never quite sure how I find myself there, but it just happens naturally in the point. I think because mentally I'm trying to wind up a bigger FH stroke, so I instinctively move back.

    Do you think I'm too far back?? why am I finding myself behind so much?
    Last edited by Michael Zhuang; 05-28-2022 at 10:15 PM.

  4. NDH is offline
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    #4

    Length of time at a club, or even experience, is not an indicator of ability.

    From that one video, he barely got a single block on….. Which isn’t useful for your development at all.

    You often find 2 players of a similar level can have some amazing rallies against each other, and in some cases, look really good…… But when they take a step up to a higher level, it all goes wrong.

    One of the best leagues I play in (MK) shows this regularly.

    I’ll be playing on one table (Premier match) and the rallies are shorter, lots of early attacks or quick finishes to the points, and perhaps onlookers might not think it’s great to watch.

    The table next to us might be a Division 3 match, where the rallies are EPIC, fun to watch, long, attacking rallies that are great for the spectator.

    But…. If those players played against us (in the highest division), the speed, spin, serves would all be far too much.

    As for dropping back - No, I don’t think you are too far back.

    But I’d need to see more side on footage against someone better (maybe that 2000 rated player you play with?)

    If they can move you from side to side easily, and you have no real answer being too far from the table…. then you are too far back 😃

    But if you can attack on both wings, that extra distance gives you the time to play good quality shots, and not the “patter patter” shots your opponent is playing.

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  5. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #5
    I don't know when I'll get to play the 2000 guy again, but I'll try to take a video.

    I hope some new guy comes to become my regular practice partner who is slightly better than me.

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    #6

    It's a pretty decent level for someone who plays for less than a year (right?): great spinny forehand loop against a spinny push. No problem with the timing of your attack, it's right on time. You're a bit stiff and the shape of the stroke is not optimal, but without coaching it's already an achievement.

    I would continue with working on proper technique. If coaching is not available, find Ma Long's educational video on YouTube and copy the shape of his drives and loops. There are other YouTube resources, for instance ti long channel is very good. But at this point, I'd focus on forehand drives with the correct technique, i.e. elbow attached to the body, hitting by rotating your body rather than with your arm — all that.

    EJing is bad at this level, that's for sure.

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  7. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #7
    Actually I just watched this game, there really wasn't much going on. I need to post a video from a better game.
    This entire video was basically just me serving and looping.

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    #8
    Good for you posting video. I agree that you play very well after such a short time. You have nice feeling and your forehands are spinny enough.

    This one game (small sample) has all the hallmarks of a usatt 14-1500 (you) playing against a 12-1300 opponent. All serves are long, and most points start with a few long pushes. After a while the better player forehand loops and weaker player blocks off. No backhand topspin is played. You made one nice backhand block, the only opportunity he gave you to block. And some good backhand hits too.

    You can certainly change equipment if you want to, but it isn't the best use of money. Even one lesson with a good coach would help a lot more than a new forehand rubber. Even a group lesson if those are available. If this opponent is your only partner, maybe you could do some dedicated training and not only play matches if you don't already do some exercises. He could clearly benefit from some practice at blocking your loops judging from this one game.

    So what could you work on? You could practice a short and/or half-long no-spin serve. It's a very easy serve to execute, and not so easy to receive well. And you could practice playing against balls hit to your middle/elbow/pocket (whatever you call it). A little randomness with middle-either side-middle-either side is very fun and challenging. Also train your sidestep with bh-fh, or bh-middle-bh-fh and its mirror image fh-middle-fh-bh. Basic side-to-side movement and stroke transition exercises in other words. You don't need to practice flicks, short pushes, or any in-and-out footwork. No need for counterlooping either. I'd want to see more of your backhand play than this, but my guess is you also don't need to work on backhand topspin right now. Probably push/block/hit with backhand combined with movement and transition from fh first. But that's only a guess, impossible to tell from this one easy game. And to do any of that you need some kind of training environment, whether that is lessons or a partner who will do exercises.

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    Last edited by Brs; 05-28-2022 at 11:32 PM.

  9. UpSideDownCarl is offline
    says I like to hit Heavy Topspin
     
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    #9
    Nice to see game footage. Thanks for posting. I think these guys gave some good feedback and I am not sure anything else needs to be said about the play in this game.
    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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  10. ricospin is offline
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    #10
    Glad to seem some footage of you playing!

    I think that there are times that you seem to neglect the fact there your opponent's underspin push has gone a little too high. I think you should attack this ball. One thing that I learned from playing 2k people who play offense is that if you aren't gonna open up the point, they surely will.

    Punish easy balls- unless you are playing for the win, this is a good quality to have. It raises your shot selection as a player, but it also makes your opponent play better because they will try harder to give you easy points.

  11. Kuba Hajto is offline
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    Alot of people gave me helpful advice on my other thread and asked for some video, so I just took a quick video of 1 little game of me playing. It's not the best, and I'll try to take video of a better game next time. But its something to start with. I also felt that my FH rubber (Loki GTX) felt very flat, and it doesn't seem to be wrapping around/gripping the rubber. I thought I should boost it to improve the feeling.https://youtu.be/9rIBs8kmCiUI think my biggest issues are 1) I am horrible at handling the random, funky, unpredictable ball and 2) my play is slow in terms of attacking early in the rally and hitting early off the bounce.But I just don't know how to fix my problems. PS: I'm the one near the camera. The other guy is my usual practice friend. As you can see, where we play and everything, we are not that serious.
    1. 0:00 - long, backspin serve FH, opponent unforced error
    2. 0:05 - long backspin serve FH, MZ serve too high, should have immediately retreated to defensive position
    3. 0:14 - Opponent, long BH backspin, FH spiny attack, opponent failed to contain spin, very slow ball
    4. 0:22 - Opponent net0:34 - Opponent long FH backspin, slow spiny opening, opponent dropped ball in the net
    5. 0:44 - Long backspin FH, slow opening to opponent BH, opponent failed to contain spin.
    6. 0:55 - Long backspin MID, unforced error failed push off the table
    7. 1:07 - Opponent Backspin serve in the net.
    8. 1:12 - Opponent failed opening.
    9. 1:20 - Long backspin MID, slow opening to opponent BH, opponent failed to contain spin.
    10. 1:30 - Long backspin FH, opponent messed up a push
    11. 1:40 - Opponent net1:50 - Opponent Long backspin (sidespin?) FH - MZ receive way too high, smashable, MZ won point by opponent botching returning the ball causing easy smash over the table over the net
    12. 2:06 - Opponent Long FH - slow spinny opening, opponent failed to contain spin
    13. 2:15 - Long Backspin FH (¾) - First backhand in the match, won by the elbow tactic

    A few takeaways I would suggest based on this analysis that might help you improve.
    • Your serve variety is non existent. Unless I messed up counting, all of your serves where in the FH half. Some of them were in the middle. If you want to use long backspin serve I would focus on making the serve faster and more spiny. Based on the opponent I would say a short serve with decent spin would be devastating to him, all of his pushes were really high. Also try some top spin serves into the party.
    • It is hard to judge on the video, but when you are serving you should contact the ball below or at net height. Then your serves will be just above the net. Much harder to receive. You can also try to implement body momentum and loose wrist into to the serve. Your hand seems a bit tense while serving.
    • Your FH opening is spiny enough. My question would be, can you open up the 2k players long backspin balls the same way? I have a hypothesis, but I would like you to answer that question first.
    • If you know you messed up and playing against typically eager opponent, back off from table smash probably incoming. a single step back from the table in point one would save you the point
    • Get to the read position immediately after serve, it would have you the point 1. Opponent caught you before you recovered.
    • Try pushing with loose wrist and using your body similar way as you do with loop. Wrist loose, but keeping angle, allow the momentum of your hand to brush to ball. Typically when pushes are that high (more then one net height equivalent over the net) it is because I failed at brushing and ball went too deep.

    Following advise is based on the coaching I got and my own experience.

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    Last edited by Kuba Hajto; 05-29-2022 at 07:44 AM.
    /devnull

  12. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #12
    Yes, i can loop against 2k guy if i have a long push. But in game, I usually dont get too many chances. But even against 2k guy, its usually pretty effective.

  13. Lycanthrope is offline
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    #13
    Very good very good.

    IMO, the first thing you need to improve and you can improve in a very short period of time is actually your long serve. When you are serving long ball, your downward motion is too strong, which bounces the ball too high and makes it slow. If you'd like, you can check some online videos for how to serve long ball fast.

    My first impression is the same as others above: serves, serves, serves. I understand that we'd like to enjoy the topspin attack/rally when casual playing (me too), you may be not showing the best of your serves in this video. But if this is how you are serving in a serious competition, then the serves skill is the most urgent thing you need to pay attention to.
    Last edited by Lycanthrope; 05-30-2022 at 01:35 AM.

  14. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #14
    What should I do about my serves?

    I really just do a few serves, pendulum serve, underspin serve, and dead ball serve. Reverse pendulum seems too hard for me to do. I don't know many other serves that I can do.

  15. Lycanthrope is offline
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    #15
    No, I don't mean you need to learn other serve. I will suggestion you focus on normal pendulum serve first for the time being, but there are some points you need to improve your pendulum serve:
    1, make the long serve fast
    2, make the trajectory of ball low
    3, make the short serve short
    4, placement

    This the first stage of serves skill. It doesn't take long.

    After that, you focus on the spin of serves. Top spin/backspin/sidespin combines with fast long/short to different placements. It is still pendulum serve, but you have got very good serve variety.

    After that, you can try deceptive serves and other types of serv.

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  16. Michael Zhuang is offline
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Kuba Hajto
    1. 0:00 - long, backspin serve FH, opponent unforced error
    2. 0:05 - long backspin serve FH, MZ serve too high, should have immediately retreated to defensive position
    3. 0:14 - Opponent, long BH backspin, FH spiny attack, opponent failed to contain spin, very slow ball
    4. 0:22 - Opponent net0:34 - Opponent long FH backspin, slow spiny opening, opponent dropped ball in the net
    5. 0:44 - Long backspin FH, slow opening to opponent BH, opponent failed to contain spin.
    6. 0:55 - Long backspin MID, unforced error failed push off the table
    7. 1:07 - Opponent Backspin serve in the net.
    8. 1:12 - Opponent failed opening.
    9. 1:20 - Long backspin MID, slow opening to opponent BH, opponent failed to contain spin.
    10. 1:30 - Long backspin FH, opponent messed up a push
    11. 1:40 - Opponent net1:50 - Opponent Long backspin (sidespin?) FH - MZ receive way too high, smashable, MZ won point by opponent botching returning the ball causing easy smash over the table over the net
    12. 2:06 - Opponent Long FH - slow spinny opening, opponent failed to contain spin
    13. 2:15 - Long Backspin FH (¾) - First backhand in the match, won by the elbow tactic

    A few takeaways I would suggest based on this analysis that might help you improve.
    • Your serve variety is non existent. Unless I messed up counting, all of your serves where in the FH half. Some of them were in the middle. If you want to use long backspin serve I would focus on making the serve faster and more spiny. Based on the opponent I would say a short serve with decent spin would be devastating to him, all of his pushes were really high. Also try some top spin serves into the party.
    • It is hard to judge on the video, but when you are serving you should contact the ball below or at net height. Then your serves will be just above the net. Much harder to receive. You can also try to implement body momentum and loose wrist into to the serve. Your hand seems a bit tense while serving.
    • Your FH opening is spiny enough. My question would be, can you open up the 2k players long backspin balls the same way? I have a hypothesis, but I would like you to answer that question first.
    • If you know you messed up and playing against typically eager opponent, back off from table smash probably incoming. a single step back from the table in point one would save you the point
    • Get to the read position immediately after serve, it would have you the point 1. Opponent caught you before you recovered.
    • Try pushing with loose wrist and using your body similar way as you do with loop. Wrist loose, but keeping angle, allow the momentum of your hand to brush to ball. Typically when pushes are that high (more then one net height equivalent over the net) it is because I failed at brushing and ball went too deep.

    Following advise is based on the coaching I got and my own experience.
    Went back to look over your timestamped notes again. Really appreciate your detailed analysis. Hopefully i can put up a better game for you.

  17. bzing is offline
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    #17

    Here at 0:26 is what you should practice which is a no-spin blunt flick because you seem to be only doing spinny top spins and that is not enough if you want to become a better player.

    At 0:26 the blue t-shirt player serves a short backspin serve, the red t-shirt returns and the blue one does a very soft but blunt flick with a dead like spin. And if the opponent returns your dead-blunt flick, then continue to hit the ball head on, straight through (so basically attack the ball point-blank without trying to spinning it up like you do in your video).
    Last edited by bzing; 05-30-2022 at 09:19 AM.

  18. Der_Echte is offline
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    #18
    I am with NDH and BRS on this. They concisely articulated that crappy long underspin serves and a spinny 1st loop will give you success to the USATT1400 or 1500 level, but that is it. You will not progress much or at all playing this way with this opponent or ones like him.

    I started out as a rec player in Army camps when I was deployed. All the people who played were rec players, the best of them anywhere from your friend's level to your level. I grew maybe 100 points in level playing this way vs that crowd, but that was it. Before my next deployment, I learned from a 2000 player how to serve short and spent 3-5 min a day practicing serves. No one could play TT at that camp, so no matches, no practice. I improved 100 points again with decent varied serves and the same attack... but that was it.

    I finally got assigned to Korea and joined a real club and got real pro help (even if it was only 20 minutes 2x a week). Learning footwork and many other nuances got me another 350 points of rating.

    TT is like what NDH and BRS are describing, doing such and such gets you to such and such. In your case, some professional training and better players to play against are essential for you. The points and matches go just like they describe in the divisions they talked about.

    You are at a level of the average club player in USA or Korea. (You would be Div 5 or 4 city in Korea and 80% of club players are at this level or below.)

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  19. Der_Echte is offline
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    #19
    You could be very satisfied to be at this level and not worry about stuff much, but you seem to want to get better.

    As you get better, you will realize at each level you improve how deficient you are. it is a reality and tough to swallow for many players.

    Still, if you get in a good situation to improve, AND you take advantage and try hard, you can exceed expectations.

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  20. Kuba Hajto is offline
    says Equipment matters a lot to scrubs who can't make minor adjustments to their stroke.
     
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Zhuang
    Yes, i can loop against 2k guy if i have a long push. But in game, I usually dont get too many chances. But even against 2k guy, its usually pretty effective.

    Mkay, can you counter his counter?

    Also can you point which balls in the video you would consider oddballs?

    /devnull

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