Critique my technique, footwork, serves etc.

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I am still a developing player and I would very much appreciate some more experienced players to help me with my technique. I belive my backhand is not very good, it is not consitant and it is worse than my forehand. You will see a lot of bad backhand shots in the first video.

Keep in mind I am playing with my father, he likes to chop, but sometimes he attacks and his bat is not very spinny, thus not spin sensitive a lot, it is pretty old, but he likes it. If this was a video of me playing in a club against other attacking players I would be more aggresive and not as casual. We are also playing in pretty small space, I usually play further from the table, the light is also disturbing when serving, but it is what it is. At least I have a table so I am no complaining too much about it.

Anyways I think there is enough in these 2 videos for you guys to give me some advice and point out my mistakes.

https://youtu.be/3OAzsSzf2X4

https://youtu.be/do83j83XL2g


Every help is much appreciated :)
 
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Good that you posted footage. Keep playing. You are doing well. Your strokes on both FH and BH indicate you are starting from a good base level. Keep practicing. That would be the most important part.

Practice serves. In a match, even a play match, missing 3 serves in one game is 3 serves too many (first video). But that just means you should practice serves more. Nothing to worry about. Just get more comfortable with your serves.

I think practicing switching FH - BH back and forth might help you improve as well. But the important thing is, you are starting from a decent foundation.
 
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A title like that is gunna get pros, amateurs, and 55 level USATT armchair champions to comment.

I will keep it to a few things for now.

Your instinctive timing to whip and strike a ball on BH and FH is good. We can argue this or that fundamental stroke, but you re fluid on time use your body and with time it will be better.

Your timing on serve is very clumsy, very embarrassing. Reminds me of someone I knew who was like that starting out... Oh yeah, we talking about how bad Der_Echte was starting out his serving career. I was a public health hazard to any bystander who did not wear ballistic eyewear. I was that bad timing mis-striking. Brett Clarke and Matt Hetherington have recently done a lot on this subject - vids are right to watch.

What I recommend to do is isolate the components of the serve and its timing.

You have:

- Ball toss and movement to ball on time

- How to make a whip at the right time

- how to control the bat angles

- how to accelerate bat and firm how and right time

You isolate the ball toss and impact timing by SITTING DOWN, toss a ball up higher than you think it needs, like say 30 cm or so above head height and move bat hand to ball and catch in palm (act like a follow through too)… that will make it so you only have to control toss, and movement/timing to ball. Do this by itself a LOT, like 3-5 minutes a day.

Once you get the ball toss and impact timing, you have to work on bat angle and how to keep bat FULLY OPEN at impact. Stand away from table, toss ball up, do not go for 100% whip, but meet ball on time, impact the BOTTOM UNDERSIDE of ball, send ball outwards. Don't worry about spin or a good whip right now, you are trying to correct bat angle and get in the habit of using the right open bat angle - full open at impact. Do that 5 min+ a day.

Watch Brett's vid on underspin serve like a boss and use those principles for your biomechanics (elbow back, a bit away from body, swings toward body, stops behind ribs tucked behind, then lower arm moves forward (Elbow and upper arm have stopped) and you swing into ball with a little wrist at end, a little right now. You do not need a long sweeping stroke, just a short one with the right biomechanics. You are trying to build a good habit of movement to impact. Practice this 5 min a day. Worry about timing and bat angle and biomechanics over being violent for now. Get to ball on time with good biomechanic and lower arm/tiny wrist doing the work.

Practice all that over the floor and put it all together to spin the ball forward a couple meters and spin back to you. This is where you still keep stroke short, but be a little progressively more violent. 5 min or more a day if you can.

Do this same thing a meter or two behind table. Shoot ball high bounce once on your side of table, but with good spin, make ball bounce on other side and start spinning back.

When good at that, do at table, use endline as ball toss guide, serve from around the BH corner. Do not worry about ball clearance over net, just land it safe with good spin double bounce short. Once consistent at that, visualize landing spot on other side and work on one speed of serve for now - medium slow - an instinctive speed. How fast you make ball go determines first spot it hits on your side. The better you get at impact control, the better net clearance you will have to get a ball short and tight with good spin.

Later, when consistent, use diferent follow throughs and different points of impact on arc of swing to change what ball does. MaTT has vids out on this - worth watching.

It took my 6 months to get a short serve over 50% consistent practicing 5 min a day. You could get there in just weeks if you do not go for too much and use a progressive approach.
 
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Beside the serve faults... you should have a deep look at your legs. You should get down much more and the most important part: your weight is on your right foot for the most of the time. This is extremely bad for wide forehands, since you are doing a cross-step as soon as someone plays the ball a little bit deeper there. Cross-steps should only be your last choice and should be avoided as much as possible since recovering from there is really hard.

so watch feet. Go down (much!) more and put your weight to both feet to be able to go to wide FH and BH without using cross-steps
 
1. Too much reliance on arm movement with less hip and torso rotation.
2. Knees are not that bent well.
3. When you do a sidestep to your wide fh from the middle you do a cross over footwork and not a side step which is the result of number 1 and 2.
 
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Are you guys spanish? I think it would be easier to give correct advice if we you show the strokes when you are just training and not playing a game. Secondly, I think you need to try to be somewhat critical of all the advice you get. People will probably focus on different things and even different things for the same strokes.
 
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1. Legs aren’t bent. Bend them and try to keep your body weight forward.
2. You lean backward when playing a FH topspin. You’ve gotta lean more forward or you’ll easily lose your balance.
3. Too much reliance on your arm. For practicing using your core I would recommend keeping your arm how you do a FH topspin and keep your legs stuck in one position and try hitting getting a few balls on the table only using your hips and core to turn your body.
4. Serves one thing I learnt is that they are hard to master. When serving for most spin try hitting the ball at the top most part of the bat (most speed from there since furthest from handle) and also try copying your favourite players serves.
5. Try to keep the ball close to eye height over the table, this will yet again come down to the legs.
 
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Thank you all for advices. I will start practising serves today, but the light bulb was disrupting my serves as well, when I look up at a ball I look directly at it, but anyways I do need to pracitise serving and I will.

I was trying to work on my hip and torzo roatation after my arm got hurt and I looked it up and fund a forum that says that it could be because I use my arm too much in FH topspins so I was trying to fix that but it is not easy to correct bad habbits. I will definitly work on that also.

I haven't notice that I don't bend my legs enough and that I am not doing a sidestep. I am very glad you have also pointed that out.

You all have been very helpfull. I will train and try to correct those mistakes. I might upload a new video here for a month or so to see if I am getting any better.
 
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Just for comparison:

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.37.12 PM.jpg

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.38.50 PM.jpg

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.42.12 PM.jpg

Not that you need to be as low as the top pros. But.....:)

Also, something I noticed that I had not paid attention to with your serve that is helping make it awkward:

When you serve, your right foot is forward. That is backwards and makes it so you cannot uses your legs:

This sequence is all from one serve:

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.48.27 PM.jpg

In the second photo you can see he loads the right leg (leg behind).

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.47.44 PM.jpg

In the third photo you can see his left foot is lifted.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.48.55 PM.jpg

In the forth photo he is about to stomp to add power to the weight transfer.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.51.07 PM.jpg

In the fifth photo he has just stomped.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.53.39 PM.jpg

The followthrough on the weight transfer leads directly into the ready position:

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.58.01 PM.jpg

Also note, he is just about ready and watching before his serve bounces on ZJK's side.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 12.58.31 PM.jpg

And his feet are fully planted and his body is ready before ZJK makes contact with the ball.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 1.02.02 PM.jpg

Matt Hetherington has an excellent video about how you weight transfer and turn the torso on the serve to use your body.
 
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Just for comparison:

View attachment 21294

View attachment 21295

View attachment 21296

Not that you need to be as low as the top pros. But.....:)

Also, something I noticed that I had not paid attention to with your serve that is helping make it awkward:

When you serve, your right foot is forward. That is backwards and makes it so you cannot uses your legs:

This sequence is all from one serve:

View attachment 21297

In the second photo you can see he loads the right leg (leg behind).

View attachment 21298

In the third photo you can see his left foot is lifted.

View attachment 21299

In the forth photo he is about to stomp to add power to the weight transfer.

View attachment 21300

In the fifth photo he has just stomped.

View attachment 21301

The followthrough on the weight transfer leads directly into the ready position:

View attachment 21302

Also note, he is just about ready and watching before his serve bounces on ZJK's side.

View attachment 21303

And his feet are fully planted and his body is ready before ZJK makes contact with the ball.

View attachment 21304

Matt Hetherington has an excellent video about how you weight transfer and turn the torso on the serve to use your body.



I have tried being lower on my knees today and my backhand was much more consistant. My forehand on the other hand was all over the place because I have tried to use my hip and torzo more and weight transfer. I have missed the ball a lot, and the ones I have hit I had trouble keeping slower and safer. I just put to much power into my shots and the ball goes long. I will have to practise and get better at it. It is like learning a new stroke, so it's not easy.

Thank you for pointing my leg positioning. I didn't notice that, it was just natural for me to put my right leg in front, but it does make the follow up much harder. I should definitly correct that.
 
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I have tried being lower on my knees today and my backhand was much more consistant. My forehand on the other hand was all over the place because I have tried to use my hip and torzo more and weight transfer. I have missed the ball a lot, and the ones I have hit I had trouble keeping slower and safer. I just put to much power into my shots and the ball goes long. I will have to practise and get better at it. It is like learning a new stroke, so it's not easy.

Thank you for pointing my leg positioning. I didn't notice that, it was just natural for me to put my right leg in front, but it does make the follow up much harder. I should definitly correct that.

The main, important issue is practice which is why I did not get technical in my first post. You are doing enough well that other things will sort themselves out.
 
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The main, important issue is practice which is why I did not get technical in my first post. You are doing enough well that other things will sort themselves out.

Thank you for being supportive, but I am glad you and the others have commented on technique, beacuse I don't have a coach, so there is nobody that will point my mistakes out and I want to progress and correct those.

Also I have just watched Matt Hetherington's video on serves, very good and helpfull video.
 
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Try working on your strokes by doing shadow training. Which means playing in the air.
 
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Until you are around good players helping you, or are around a competent coach who sees you and corrects you on the spot... learning by the internet your fundamental strokes and footwork habits... is gunna be a giga-fail for the most part.

You have some instincts and eye for the ball, when you get into a situation to get live reps and correction, it will get better for you.

Until then, there is the serve to improve, which, if you "get it" in terms of understanding the biomechanic things (which can be understood watching vids) AND approach it progressively by isolating components... and do the reps and have the right attitude, you can learn that part and be in a better position once you can get some live help.

Until then, for those portions, no matter how much you absorb and listen to us and the good folk making good vids, it is only going to have so much effect and you ingrain things into your instinct that will take very long to undo later.

That is a reality of TT, but it isn't like it is game over at all. You still love TT and if you do well, you can still do decent enough to get better and make some meaning and value from it. You got a lot of years ahead of you and some possibilities a lot of us who started in our 40s did not have. There is that.
 
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Marko,

Hi! This is my first post on TTD, and that's because I'm a beginner myself. There are so many aspects of TT to learn and it is overwhelming for a beginner to coordinate them all at the same time. But one of the beautiful things about TT is that there is so much to learn!

But I'll chime in on your footwork because that's so important to get that down first. Here are things that helped me.

Have someone stand facing you, holding a TT ball or tennis ball toward you at chest height, and drop it without warning. First learn to catch the ball before it hits the ground, then learn to catch it as soon as possible. Part of this exercise is just mental readiness. But there is a physical preparation that will help you with your TT footwork. You will instinctively find a ready position where your knees are bent, and you lean forward on your toes so your center of gravity is in front of you, and your arms are bent in front of you. You'll naturally bend your knees and arms because that's how you generate torque quickly enough to catch the ball without losing your balance, and it's almost identical to the ready position for TT.

Another way to help your awareness of footwork is to do the Falkenberg and/or sidestep footwork drills. There's a good Falkenberg video on this page: https://www.experttabletennis.com/the-falkenberg-drill/


Do these just with your racquet as shadow drills every day. It's impossible to do them without having your feet in a good position for TT. Then, whenever you approach the table to play, mentally stand as if you're preparing for the drill. This will make the ready position feel natural pretty quickly.

Use all the great YouTube channels on TT. Here MLFM shows you how to stand for your forehand: https://youtu.be/xnMf8J6UFZs?t=42


One thing I think is important to understand is that learning (TT and everything else) is simply brain growth. Practice hard, and when you sleep your brain will grow. You'll see incremental results from your practice, in my estimation not the next day but on the second day afterwards. Rinse and repeat! Your coordination and instincts will continue to develop for as long as you do this, whether that's days or decades.

Oops, apparently you can't include links right away here so now it isn't my first post :)
 
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Until you are around good players helping you, or are around a competent coach who sees you and corrects you on the spot... learning by the internet your fundamental strokes and footwork habits... is gunna be a giga-fail for the most part.

You have some instincts and eye for the ball, when you get into a situation to get live reps and correction, it will get better for you.

Until then, there is the serve to improve, which, if you "get it" in terms of understanding the biomechanic things (which can be understood watching vids) AND approach it progressively by isolating components... and do the reps and have the right attitude, you can learn that part and be in a better position once you can get some live help.

Until then, for those portions, no matter how much you absorb and listen to us and the good folk making good vids, it is only going to have so much effect and you ingrain things into your instinct that will take very long to undo later.

That is a reality of TT, but it isn't like it is game over at all. You still love TT and if you do well, you can still do decent enough to get better and make some meaning and value from it. You got a lot of years ahead of you and some possibilities a lot of us who started in our 40s did not have. There is that.


Hopefully after all of this with corona calms down, we will get coach from another place come over at least once a week. The people who started tt club in our place were nagotiating with coach for the money and when he will be coming and stuff like that the week before this whole corona quarantine started. I am hoping tt clubs will open sooner that later so the coach can come and tell me where I am wrong and help me correct that. Untill then I have no other options that try to develop watching vids, listening to your advice etc.
 
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Marko,

Hi! This is my first post on TTD, and that's because I'm a beginner myself. There are so many aspects of TT to learn and it is overwhelming for a beginner to coordinate them all at the same time. But one of the beautiful things about TT is that there is so much to learn!

But I'll chime in on your footwork because that's so important to get that down first. Here are things that helped me.

Have someone stand facing you, holding a TT ball or tennis ball toward you at chest height, and drop it without warning. First learn to catch the ball before it hits the ground, then learn to catch it as soon as possible. Part of this exercise is just mental readiness. But there is a physical preparation that will help you with your TT footwork. You will instinctively find a ready position where your knees are bent, and you lean forward on your toes so your center of gravity is in front of you, and your arms are bent in front of you. You'll naturally bend your knees and arms because that's how you generate torque quickly enough to catch the ball without losing your balance, and it's almost identical to the ready position for TT.

Another way to help your awareness of footwork is to do the Falkenberg and/or sidestep footwork drills. There's a good Falkenberg video on this page: https://www.experttabletennis.com/the-falkenberg-drill/


Do these just with your racquet as shadow drills every day. It's impossible to do them without having your feet in a good position for TT. Then, whenever you approach the table to play, mentally stand as if you're preparing for the drill. This will make the ready position feel natural pretty quickly.

Use all the great YouTube channels on TT. Here MLFM shows you how to stand for your forehand: https://youtu.be/xnMf8J6UFZs?t=42


One thing I think is important to understand is that learning (TT and everything else) is simply brain growth. Practice hard, and when you sleep your brain will grow. You'll see incremental results from your practice, in my estimation not the next day but on the second day afterwards. Rinse and repeat! Your coordination and instincts will continue to develop for as long as you do this, whether that's days or decades.

Oops, apparently you can't include links right away here so now it isn't my first post :)

Thank you for advice, I will try that later today.
 
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