Critique my game [Shakehand FH SP BH Inv]

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Basically in the title. Most of my training involves 1-1 sessions around 3-4 times a week with friends of similar levels and we'll attempt to do drills for about 1.5 hours before moving onto a practice match. I get matchplay practice with other players about twice a week at different clubs. Equipment profile has been updated and can be found underneath my profile picture.

The main reason for starting this thread is to received feedback about how I can improve my game (tactical suggestions, stroke modifications, types of drills to incorporate). I have a pretty good idea of my strengths and weaknesses (basically everything lol) but I won't elaborate much for now because I want an unfiltered view of people's first impressions at first glance. Feel free to be as nice or as harsh as you want lol I really just want to improve, but please don't suggest that I make complete playstyle overhauls (e.g. use inverted on the forehand) because that's simply not something that I'm interested in at the moment.

Here's a link to a practice match I had with one of my regular practice partners who's a reverse penholder. To eliminate any doubt I'm the one in grey. Planning to record more drills and upcoming tournament matches in the future!

 
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Wow this is some quality play. I liked the fast connectivity between shots (which Im working to achieve too) and really good recovery step footwork after every shot. The BH loop is a killer (especially down the line). I also really liked how you are always very aggressive in finding your spots to attack, you don't push that many long balls back. The FH smashes are on point and generally look good.

What I didn't like was the receive of short serves or ambiguous length serves in general. I think your arm movement is a bit detached from your body during the short serve receive which lowers your control. Ideally you would step in with your right foot with elbow relatively close to body, and then rotate into the ball when you receive (regardless whether it is a push or flick). If you turn off the arm backswing and focus on using the body to power the short receive it will be a lot more deceptive because you are not telegraphing where you are going and you can always make last min adjustments.

For eg this kinds of pushes

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Wow this is some quality play. I liked the fast connectivity between shots (which Im working to achieve too) and really good recovery step footwork after every shot. The BH loop is a killer (especially down the line). I also really liked how you are always very aggressive in finding your spots to attack, you don't push that many long balls back. The FH smashes are on point and generally look good.

What I didn't like was the receive of short serves or ambiguous length serves in general. I think your arm movement is a bit detached from your body during the short serve receive which lowers your control. Ideally you would step in with your right foot with elbow relatively close to body, and then rotate into the ball when you receive (regardless whether it is a push or flick). If you turn off the arm backswing and focus on using the body to power the short receive it will be a lot more deceptive because you are not telegraphing where you are going and you can always make last min adjustments.

For eg this kinds of pushes

View attachment 29645
Really appreciate the detailed feedback. BH loop is definitely one of my best shots but footwork doesn't allow me to pull it out as much as I would like. FH smash can win me some matches that I shouldn't but also lets me down in tight situations. I'll definitely work on syncing up body and arm movement.

It's something that I've been working hard on but from the video it seems that there's still a lot more work to do, and my mind definitely switches off body awareness and completely focuses on the wrist/forearm movement on short receives, especially on the forehand. I've got a practice session tonight so hopefully I'll find some time to work on that.
 
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Really appreciate the detailed feedback. BH loop is definitely one of my best shots but footwork doesn't allow me to pull it out as much as I would like. FH smash can win me some matches that I shouldn't but also lets me down in tight situations. I'll definitely work on syncing up body and arm movement.

It's something that I've been working hard on but from the video it seems that there's still a lot more work to do, and my mind definitely switches off body awareness and completely focuses on the wrist/forearm movement on short receives, especially on the forehand. I've got a practice session tonight so hopefully I'll find some time to work on that.
Tbh the FH smash and opening can be tightened up a bit too so that your elbow is closer to the body and also turn off the arm backswing a bit. This should improve consistency. If you watch some of the top FH pips player they barely have any arm backswing - Yuan Jia Nan for eg
 
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Hello! I am quite new to the sport, no expert, however, first things I notice which poke my eye:

1) Your profile is incredibly high, lean forward a little bit, bend your knees, get on the balls of your feet. Your speed and consistency will increase

2) Cannot spot any weight transfer at all, you are all over the place, 98% of your strokes are either from your whole arm, elbow or wrist. No body behind them. That way you sacrifice a ton of overall quality: technical elements of the strokes and, of course, speed as well as consistency...
 
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Hello driversbeat
I would advise you to lower your body like in the picture, you are standing almost on straight legs. If you want to start playing serious, it should be one of your main priorities. Step by step you will see how much easier it is to play in right position rather than standing.
There were a lot of balls that were uncomfortable for you to play. That is, use your legs. If ball is too short make a step to the table and vice versa. Also when accidentally give your opponent high ball dont just stand. Look at the position from where he is hitting and step back. It will give you more time to react.
From the sound of your bat, I think you are flat hitting, which is not bad, but if all of your shots are flat, you have higher margin of error. Incorporating spin will secure your shots.
 

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Hello driversbeat
I would advise you to lower your body like in the picture, you are standing almost on straight legs. If you want to start playing serious, it should be one of your main priorities. Step by step you will see how much easier it is to play in right position rather than standing.
There were a lot of balls that were uncomfortable for you to play. That is, use your legs. If ball is too short make a step to the table and vice versa. Also when accidentally give your opponent high ball dont just stand. Look at the position from where he is hitting and step back. It will give you more time to react.
From the sound of your bat, I think you are flat hitting, which is not bad, but if all of your shots are flat, you have higher margin of error. Incorporating spin will secure your shots.
Yes! The flat hitting, I noticed that too, just was hesitant to mention as I lack experience
 
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Hi there! Thanks for sharing the footage. I will try to give some feedback to the best of my ability. However, I dont know your thinking process during the game. So I dont know what your exact strategies are and the thoughts behind it.

Like a few others already mentioned, I would mainly focus on getting lower and moving on your toes. This makes it easier to move. Especilally moving into the table seems to not be your strong point.

I would say your serve and 3rd ball game is pretty good. You serve with what it seems good quality, and instantly get ready for the ball that comes next.
1 thing I would like to mention here is that your forehand seems to be your strong side, but you dont play like it. I havent seen you pivot that much around the backhand corner. Instead you step in after your serve, and if it comes to your backhand you play backhand.

Now there wouldnt be anything wrong with this, but I see lots of rallies where you lose the point trying to put on preassure with your backhand. So try to get that forehand in more!

Here are a few ways (that I use myself) you can use to setup your forehand more.

1). Setup with pendulum serve.
If you serve your pendulum serve with more sidespin thowards the opponents backhand side (for right handers) and varry between long, side-top and side-back, 9 times out of 10 the ball will be somewhere in between the backhand side or middle of the table. You can get ready to pivot after the serve and start pressuring with your forehand right away.

2.) Setup with reverse sidespin serve (hook- backhand serve).
With these serves its the opposite. If you serve short to the forehand with enough sidespin its really difficult for them to play it anywhere else then to your forehand. So this time you step in the way you so now, and once again get ready for that ball with your forehand.

3.) Setup with backhand.
I have seen you make alot of mistakes trying to preassure the opponent with your backhand. I would try to make your backhand more spin oriented. This will make your loops safer and harder for your opponent.
I have seen you do slow spinny backhand loops a few times in this match. They often resulted in a direct point, and if they came back it was a slower block ball compared to the blacks you get with the flatter openups.
So after you do a slow spinny loop, get ready to get that forehand in. is the ball to difficult to loop?
Are the balls too difficult to backhand loop? Try pushing with more backspin, and if you can with more speed and depth as well. Most people freeze and just put the ball back to where it came from. This once again gives you the chance to do a slow backhand loop, or pivot and get your forehand in right away.

Of course if it was this easy as I describe, we would all be world champions. So try to remember what return you got on what serve and adjust accordingly. Did you pivot on a pendulum serve but you got a cheeky touch to the forehand? Next time you do that serve step in and get ready for a forehand flick.

So long story short;
1. get lower when playing.
2. play more forehand oriented, try to set it up more with your serves.
3. play with more spin and control with the backhand and once again try to get your forehand in on weak returns.

Hope this helps.
 
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Hey there, you're looking great! Definitely not a coach, but here are my 2 cents in addition to all the other great tips so far:

1) Tactics-wise, I noticed you didn't seem to move your opponent around as much as he was moving you. You're clearly capable of hitting crosscourt and down the line from both wings, but once a rally starts you tend to focus on either his BH or FH e.g. few points from 5:29. Ideas could be:
- Serve short FH then deep long push to BH (instead of pushing to long FH which you did a few times). Or vice versa if their FH loop is weaker than their BH loop
- Slow spinny opening loop to middle and then loopdrive/flat kill to his FH (his traditional penhold BH block won quite a few points against your loopdrive!)
- A drill could be practising X's and H's where your opponent hits everything cross court and you hit everything down the line. Helps you redirect the ball and practising aiming at the FH then at the BH

2) Serving-wise, you have great serves but like others have mentioned you are standing a bit tall during rallies. Try to continue staying low after serving and hopefully that will help with staying low during the rest of the point. Same goes for receiving, start low before the ball is even in play. In this match, your opponent didn't seem to have much trouble with your long serves to his BH.
- Maybe consider a fast long top spin variation to his BH (he did struggle blocking your slow spinnier loops)
- Consider serving more to his elbow. You caught him a couple times trying to transition to a reverse penhold backhand

3) Technique-wise, try focus on your short game like others have mentioned. Some drill ideas could include:
- You and your practise partner both practise short pushing rallies, focusing on footwork going in and out of the table. After a couple minutes, one of you can randomly starting pushing long for the other person to attack. If they don't attack (i.e. push the long ball back), they lose the point. The randomness really keeps you on your toes, and if you're the one pushing long it helps develop a fast long push off a short ball.
- Practise receiving a short serve to your FH which you push short back. Your practice partner then pushes long to your BH and you loop. Swap to receving short BH and then looping a long FH ball.

Hope it helps and good luck with your upcoming tournament matches!
 
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Hi there! Thanks for sharing the footage. I will try to give some feedback to the best of my ability. However, I dont know your thinking process during the game. So I dont know what your exact strategies are and the thoughts behind it.

Like a few others already mentioned, I would mainly focus on getting lower and moving on your toes. This makes it easier to move. Especilally moving into the table seems to not be your strong point.

I would say your serve and 3rd ball game is pretty good. You serve with what it seems good quality, and instantly get ready for the ball that comes next.
1 thing I would like to mention here is that your forehand seems to be your strong side, but you dont play like it. I havent seen you pivot that much around the backhand corner. Instead you step in after your serve, and if it comes to your backhand you play backhand.

Now there wouldnt be anything wrong with this, but I see lots of rallies where you lose the point trying to put on preassure with your backhand. So try to get that forehand in more!

Here are a few ways (that I use myself) you can use to setup your forehand more.

1). Setup with pendulum serve.
If you serve your pendulum serve with more sidespin thowards the opponents backhand side (for right handers) and varry between long, side-top and side-back, 9 times out of 10 the ball will be somewhere in between the backhand side or middle of the table. You can get ready to pivot after the serve and start pressuring with your forehand right away.

2.) Setup with reverse sidespin serve (hook- backhand serve).
With these serves its the opposite. If you serve short to the forehand with enough sidespin its really difficult for them to play it anywhere else then to your forehand. So this time you step in the way you so now, and once again get ready for that ball with your forehand.

3.) Setup with backhand.
I have seen you make alot of mistakes trying to preassure the opponent with your backhand. I would try to make your backhand more spin oriented. This will make your loops safer and harder for your opponent.
I have seen you do slow spinny backhand loops a few times in this match. They often resulted in a direct point, and if they came back it was a slower block ball compared to the blacks you get with the flatter openups.
So after you do a slow spinny loop, get ready to get that forehand in. is the ball to difficult to loop?
Are the balls too difficult to backhand loop? Try pushing with more backspin, and if you can with more speed and depth as well. Most people freeze and just put the ball back to where it came from. This once again gives you the chance to do a slow backhand loop, or pivot and get your forehand in right away.

Of course if it was this easy as I describe, we would all be world champions. So try to remember what return you got on what serve and adjust accordingly. Did you pivot on a pendulum serve but you got a cheeky touch to the forehand? Next time you do that serve step in and get ready for a forehand flick.

So long story short;
1. get lower when playing.
2. play more forehand oriented, try to set it up more with your serves.
3. play with more spin and control with the backhand and once again try to get your forehand in on weak returns.

Hope this helps.
That's interesting. I've never really thought of my service game as strong. If anything I always feel like I'm telegraphing too much of where/what I want to serve, spins are too obvious and most serves drift long when I want them to be short. As for the forehand, there have been matches when I get nervous and it's my only reliable way to win points, so I can see that somewhat. It's a shot that my coach used to drill into me (x50 forehand smashes, no missing allowed). But that was a long time ago and the training frequency wasn't that frequent, either. If anything, I'm trying to incorporate more use of the forehand when shots come to my middle. Pivoting still feels very risky especially since I'm using pips and can't loop a ball that ends up going down the line.

I'll definitely work in the serve combinations and also loop + kill follow up on both sides though. The sidespin direction isn't something that I've thought too deeply about other than when trying to jam my opponent's elbow. In the rallies I do tend to play to a single side/just the middle and also miss opportunities by not following up with a stronger shot after making an opening loop. Even blocks after a forehand short pips lift can be attacked if the opponent is hesitant since the spin that comes off those loops tend to be a little weird.
 
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Hey there, you're looking great! Definitely not a coach, but here are my 2 cents in addition to all the other great tips so far:

1) Tactics-wise, I noticed you didn't seem to move your opponent around as much as he was moving you. You're clearly capable of hitting crosscourt and down the line from both wings, but once a rally starts you tend to focus on either his BH or FH e.g. few points from 5:29. Ideas could be:
- Serve short FH then deep long push to BH (instead of pushing to long FH which you did a few times). Or vice versa if their FH loop is weaker than their BH loop
- Slow spinny opening loop to middle and then loopdrive/flat kill to his FH (his traditional penhold BH block won quite a few points against your loopdrive!)
- A drill could be practising X's and H's where your opponent hits everything cross court and you hit everything down the line. Helps you redirect the ball and practising aiming at the FH then at the BH

2) Serving-wise, you have great serves but like others have mentioned you are standing a bit tall during rallies. Try to continue staying low after serving and hopefully that will help with staying low during the rest of the point. Same goes for receiving, start low before the ball is even in play. In this match, your opponent didn't seem to have much trouble with your long serves to his BH.
- Maybe consider a fast long top spin variation to his BH (he did struggle blocking your slow spinnier loops)
- Consider serving more to his elbow. You caught him a couple times trying to transition to a reverse penhold backhand

3) Technique-wise, try focus on your short game like others have mentioned. Some drill ideas could include:
- You and your practise partner both practise short pushing rallies, focusing on footwork going in and out of the table. After a couple minutes, one of you can randomly starting pushing long for the other person to attack. If they don't attack (i.e. push the long ball back), they lose the point. The randomness really keeps you on your toes, and if you're the one pushing long it helps develop a fast long push off a short ball.
- Practise receiving a short serve to your FH which you push short back. Your practice partner then pushes long to your BH and you loop. Swap to receving short BH and then looping a long FH ball.

Hope it helps and good luck with your upcoming tournament matches!
I did try to incorporate the X and H drills into my routine, but I realised that I still don't have good enough fundamentals yet and things end up being a mess - in the sense that while my partner and I can generally keep the rally going we're compromising on our fundamentals, so right now my focus is to really get the correct stroke + posture as everyone has pointed out.
 
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What's Wrong With My Backhand?

So I managed to get some training today, unfortunately the match footage ended up being really ugly because I didn't bother checking the camera between each game but one thing I did note is that my forehand accuracy increases significantly if I activate my hips (which I thought I had been doing but wasn't really). Hopefully I'll apply that in tomorrow's match and record the video down properly this time lol.

What I did manage to capture were some backhand practice videos. Basically I've been receiving feedback that my backhand is too wristy + comes with a bit of sidespin and that I'm completely incapable of the most basic block which influences the rest of my strokes. Essentially all my blocks are a bit like 快压 (fast press) or 快带 (over the table counterdrive) which is fine in a match context if I'm able to get the timing right but obviously that isn't always the case and I'll need to develop a more reliable stroke that 1. Can stay on the table even on an 'off' day 2. Allows me to safely turn on the aggression without forcing the issue.

In any case, here's the video. Starts with basic backhand warmup, blocking starts at 1:47. I also did some pathetic loops at 3:55, although that wasn't really practice but more for my partner to demonstrate the proper block technique which I still haven't gotten the hang of. Any tip will be greatly appreciated as I've been working on this technique transition for a month or two now!


P.S. I created a shorter version on my table tennis instagram page. The account is as new as this thread but if anyone would like to connect and maybe have a game when you're in Singapore/when I come to your city do say hi!

1715017696650.png
 
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Look at your playing elbow and shoulder, and compare with those of your partner.
 
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Really appreciate the detailed feedback. BH loop is definitely one of my best shots but footwork doesn't allow me to pull it out as much as I would like. FH smash can win me some matches that I shouldn't but also lets me down in tight situations. I'll definitely work on syncing up body and arm movement.

It's something that I've been working hard on but from the video it seems that there's still a lot more work to do, and my mind definitely switches off body awareness and completely focuses on the wrist/forearm movement on short receives, especially on the forehand. I've got a practice session tonight so hopefully I'll find some time to work on that.
I would highly recommend watching the short push tutorials by Fang Bo and doing the exercises with a partner. You would fix all the bad habits (for eg arm backswing, not putting right foot sufficiently into the table, reaching etc) real fast in the process. Because you can't short push reliably with arm backswing.

Then for long fast pushes you simply start your movement with the short push movement and suddenly send the ball forward with the body - the difference is almost undetectable and it can win you a lot of free points this way.
 
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That's a decent level: there are great BH loops, a couple of awesome FH flicks, a couple of great smashes.

I've noted a couple of things, and albeit I don't think they differ very much from what was pointed out above, let me approach this exercise.

1. The footwork. For consistency you have to hit the ball within your sweet spot, but you gotta carry your sweet spot towards the ball with your feet. In the very beginning of the video (around the 4th point) you reach when the ball moves to your wide FH. You're not caught moving in the opposite direction or something like this, it's very bad. Do either a side step or a cross step, when you can't get to the ball with the former.

When the ball moves into your elbow or body you lean left (and miss at 0:18), which is less bad, but you'd be much more consistent doing a sidestep and hitting within the sweet spot, if the pace allows.

I think you'd benefit a lot from pushing on the lateral footwork.

2. FH. I don't know much about short pips, but if you're hitting standard FH drives, then they should be shorter. On 0:39 you do a series of those and the racket head does weird follow-throughs all the time. You should direct the hit with your body and feet and the end point of the stroke should be right in front of the body. Same on 1:48. Again maybe you're trying to spin the ball and I'm missing everything entirely.

Shorter strokes (minimal backswing and follow-through) allow faster recovery and more time to anticipate the next move of the opponent.

3. FH loops on 3:38 and 5:25. You do them with your hand only: no feet, no body involved. They will be weak.
 
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Very mediocre practice match today with few rallies, I suspect mainly because I was too focused on winning after being on a losing streak recently + being overall poorer than my opponent on service and receive. Told myself to lower my COG and release shoulder tension throughout the entire two hours which lead to a good practice session but all my bad habits came back again the moment games started. I also made sure to bend all the way down so that the net was nearly at eye level before receiving but once the ball comes over I immediately stand back up again.


I've got a couple more sessions this week, hope to put aside match outcomes and focus on executing the correct technique even during tight situations.
 
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That's a decent level: there are great BH loops, a couple of awesome FH flicks, a couple of great smashes.

I've noted a couple of things, and albeit I don't think they differ very much from what was pointed out above, let me approach this exercise.

1. The footwork. For consistency you have to hit the ball within your sweet spot, but you gotta carry your sweet spot towards the ball with your feet. In the very beginning of the video (around the 4th point) you reach when the ball moves to your wide FH. You're not caught moving in the opposite direction or something like this, it's very bad. Do either a side step or a cross step, when you can't get to the ball with the former.

When the ball moves into your elbow or body you lean left (and miss at 0:18), which is less bad, but you'd be much more consistent doing a sidestep and hitting within the sweet spot, if the pace allows.

I think you'd benefit a lot from pushing on the lateral footwork.

2. FH. I don't know much about short pips, but if you're hitting standard FH drives, then they should be shorter. On 0:39 you do a series of those and the racket head does weird follow-throughs all the time. You should direct the hit with your body and feet and the end point of the stroke should be right in front of the body. Same on 1:48. Again maybe you're trying to spin the ball and I'm missing everything entirely.

Shorter strokes (minimal backswing and follow-through) allow faster recovery and more time to anticipate the next move of the opponent.

3. FH loops on 3:38 and 5:25. You do them with your hand only: no feet, no body involved. They will be weak.
Thanks for the feedback and timestamps! By pushing lateral footwork, do you mean working on 2-point/3-point drills? I generally enjoy doing those drills but some of my practice partners don't because they find that most match rallies don't last long enough for them to apply the footwork. I think one thing I need to focus on is staying low and putting more body into each shot even as I move. This might sound a bit strange but it seems like I'm mistaking tension in the shoulder for proper forearm/waist movement. Points definitely taken on the forehand movement. The bigger strokes may have resulted from trying to play more relaxed and relieve body tension (used to be even worse than now), but as you've pointed out that's not the most optimal way to play with pips.
 
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Thanks for the feedback and timestamps! By pushing lateral footwork, do you mean working on 2-point/3-point drills?
Yes, everything that forces you to do sidesteps (later cross steps) and coordinate them with the strokes. You see, it's not that you don't have it, just look at how you hit the smashes: you get an opportunity, you approach, you hammer it. Very well played. But when you hit normal drives, there's apparently not enough incentive/motivation and you lean/reach, whereas your second nature must be sidestep-and-hit, or more generally "bring your sweet spot to the ball and hit".
I generally enjoy doing those drills but some of my practice partners don't because they find that most match rallies don't last long enough for them to apply the footwork.
Well, it's a common problem, isn't it?
I think one thing I need to focus on is staying low
Frankly, it didn't look to me that you need to get much lower. Staying too low will stress you and reduce your mobility. At the same time you don't need too much of a foot leverage to hammer loop kills, since you're playing pips with shorter strokes. I'd watch good FH pips players, but on the highest level there's only Falck and he's much taller than you. Probably He Zhiwen?


I don't think he stays low.

I'd say if you can hit within your sweet spot with the current stance, you don't need to change it then.
and putting more body into each shot even as I move. This might sound a bit strange but it seems like I'm mistaking tension in the shoulder for proper forearm/waist movement.
Yes, you should hit with your body/waist/feet. The forearm is mostly to hold the racket (:) and should be relaxed.
Points definitely taken on the forehand movement. The bigger strokes may have resulted from trying to play more relaxed and relieve body tension (used to be even worse than now), but as you've pointed out that's not the most optimal way to play with pips.
I should've said in addition that FH drives don't need much backswing because the ball is light and the pips stress the speed rather than power (you can't really spin the ball anyway): you counter hit your opponent while he's looping at you and you're faster because of the shorter strokes.
 
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