Daily Table Tennis Chit Chat

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For those of you who are really into watching other people take lessons:

I decided to despite my injuries and overworked body make a push for 2100-2200 level with training from a local coach. I haven't spent any money on organized coaching on a regular basis for almost 2 years now so this is very different for me.

The coach is a lady lefty penholder who was 2600 USATT around her peak. The way she coaches me and just about everything she tells me to do is 100% against how I think about the sport. She gives very specific technical instructions while I am more Zen and general in my TT approach. And of course, she is trying to fix my knees with exercises.

That said, having someone give me specific instructions to guide my approach to the game is probably a good thing as she will hold me accountable for how I play. And getting to practice against 2600 level consistency and ball quality is probably the biggest thing. I thought really hard about it and it is cheaper than travelling to play local leagues or getting similar coaching elsewhere. She lives pretty close to me. So as much as I hate to pay the extra money, let's see where it goes.

So without further ado, here is lesson 1 from last week:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SpEUsk6Dy4
 
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So without further ado, here is lesson 1 from last week:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SpEUsk6Dy4


wow 2600 is really good. Hope you get to your goal of 2200 NextLevel!

Well better to have a coach that gives specific instructions and talks a lot, instead of a coach that just feeds you multi-ball all day and not say much.

I used to have coaches who just feeds me multi-ball until the hour of lesson is over, then they collect the $. Then I watched videos of myself and I looked like shit. It was just multi-ball repeatedly with shit strokes. I was literally trained to do shit strokes. Even to this day, when I play games and the game gets tight, I notice those strokes relapse again unconsciously, even though I tried hard to remove them from muscle memory. Those coaches are really bad, and also they are really common. It's easy to just feed balls and call yourself a coach, unfortunately.

It's great that you have a good coach who actually cares enough to say stuff and do what she can to help!
 
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I had lesson last Friday with my main coach

I've been working for more than 1year with him, but he never saw me play in matches. So I showed him the vids from the Asian Veteran tournament... I think he realized how bad and hopeless I was (lol)...

His 2 main advices when he saw the video:

- too many errors when receiving. against the long serve, always loop it, and aim for the middle of the table for more safety, especially when there is sidespin. After missing a few loops i get nervous and start pushing too much those returns. thats very bad. Against a short serve if I'm not sure about the spin, try pushing it long. because if trying to receive short a topspin serve, the ball will pop up. With a long push, there's more chance to be able to play the ball once more...

- I'm too weak on the short FH side and should develop a decent FH flick to hope to get to the next level. I systematically push those balls but its too dangerous (risk of ball popping up) and too predictable (no other options). He said given how weak my flick is, its going to take months or years .... LOL... but i should work on it...

Of course much else to say... moving too slow, smashing balls instead of looping them, watching myself play instead of getting ready for the next shot... etc...
 
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wow 2600 is really good. Hope you get to your goal of 2200 NextLevel!

Well better to have a coach that gives specific instructions and talks a lot, instead of a coach that just feeds you multi-ball all day and not say much.

I used to have coaches who just feeds me multi-ball until the hour of lesson is over, then they collect the $. Then I watched videos of myself and I looked like shit. It was just multi-ball repeatedly with shit strokes. I was literally trained to do shit strokes. Even to this day, when I play games and the game gets tight, I notice those strokes relapse again unconsciously, even though I tried hard to remove them from muscle memory. Those coaches are really bad, and also they are really common. It's easy to just feed balls and call yourself a coach, unfortunately.

It's great that you have a good coach who actually cares enough to say stuff and do what she can to help!

You are 100% right. Moreover, it's usually difficult to work with coaches who don't speak your usual language and I suspect I would get more out of the lessons if I spoke Chinese. But on the other hand, I am advanced enough as a player to appreciate what she says even if I don't understand it.

Coaches that multiball you to death without having a technical and tactical vision for your game are pathetic. Unfortunately, most players don't realize this until it is too late - you need a caring coach or high level player to get you out of that trap.

It's just funny what she is trying to get me to do vs what my past coaches/philosophies have been:

1. She want me to serve fast pure sidespin both long and short to the opponent and sit on the return based on the sidespin I have served (pendulum, expect return to backhand, reverse/backhand, expect return to forehand). She wants me to loop the return off the bounce as much as possible.

If you know me, I serve backspin and no spin almost all the time, and I almost always serve short. So this is a radical change.

2. She wants me to almost never serve or push to the middle of the table, with all serves and pushes towards the corners or the sidelines.

Again, this is something I almost never do.

3. She tells me that I need to stop using forearm snap and wrist on my strokes and that forearm snap is mostly for driving the ball. She says that I should swing from shoulder on the forehand and use the elbow on the backhand. Wrist should mostly follow the shape of the stroke and so should any forearm snap.

My game is so wrist oriented that I am confused by this. But I am going to try.

4. She wants me to use only elbow when return serves, less shoulder and wrist.

Again, this is confusing. But I think some of it makes sense.

5. She wants me to use wall sits to work on my knees and that if my movement was better, I would likely be 2200 already.

Of course this is flattering, but I don't know whether my knees are fixable.

Now there are many other things but I can't note or remember them all. But I am advanced enough to get her logic even if I don't always understand it fully given language barrier or I can't always agree with it. But I am willing to try everything she recommends. There is nothing more annoying than a student who thinks he knows more than the teacher. She even wants to change my rubber and blade but well, let me see if I can avoid that one as going to something faster will make me miss my serve return much more...
 
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I had lesson last Friday with my main coach

I've been working for more than 1year with him, but he never saw me play in matches. So I showed him the vids from the Asian Veteran tournament... I think he realized how bad and hopeless I was (lol)...

His 2 main advices when he saw the video:

- too many errors when receiving. against the long serve, always loop it, and aim for the middle of the table for more safety, especially when there is sidespin. After missing a few loops i get nervous and start pushing too much those returns. thats very bad. Against a short serve if I'm not sure about the spin, try pushing it long. because if trying to receive short a topspin serve, the ball will pop up. With a long push, there's more chance to be able to play the ball once more...

- I'm too weak on the short FH side and should develop a decent FH flick to hope to get to the next level. I systematically push those balls but its too dangerous (risk of ball popping up) and too predictable (no other options). He said given how weak my flick is, its going to take months or years .... LOL... but i should work on it...

Of course much else to say... moving too slow, smashing balls instead of looping them, watching myself play instead of getting ready for the next shot... etc...


IT's good that you sent him the video, you should have made him watch you earlier as most good coaches want to see how their students are playing. In fact, I would usually call a coach who never watches you play useless. Training general things cannot improve your game if they have no relation to how you piss points.

The weaknesses in your game are universal, I have exactly the same issues and we don't even play that similarly. I consider them level errors as well as errors of reading spin if you didn't return difficult serves at a very young age.

Months and years are nothing in a lifetime of TT, I have learned that playing seriously for only 6 years and I truly believe that. I have been working on my forehand flick for almost 2 years and it is still crappy but it is much better than it used to be. And that is enough to win points and prevent losses against players of a certain level or with a certain approach as if a player likes backspin too much, you can't push every time, even if the push is quality. Sometimes crappy flick is better than no flick at all.

In any case good luck. And don't take so many lessons without a coach watching your matches. Seriously, this is important advice for everyone.
 
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You are 100% right. Moreover, it's usually difficult to work with coaches who don't speak your usual language and I suspect I would get more out of the lessons if I spoke Chinese. But on the other hand, I am advanced enough as a player to appreciate what she says even if I don't understand it.

Coaches that multiball you to death without having a technical and tactical vision for your game are pathetic. Unfortunately, most players don't realize this until it is too late - you need a caring coach or high level player to get you out of that trap.

It's just funny what she is trying to get me to do vs what my past coaches/philosophies have been:

1. She want me to serve fast pure sidespin both long and short to the opponent and sit on the return based on the sidespin I have served (pendulum, expect return to backhand, reverse/backhand, expect return to forehand). She wants me to loop the return off the bounce as much as possible.

If you know me, I serve backspin and no spin almost all the time, and I almost always serve short. So this is a radical change.

2. She wants me to almost never serve or push to the middle of the table, with all serves and pushes towards the corners or the sidelines.

Again, this is something I almost never do.

3. She tells me that I need to stop using forearm snap and wrist on my strokes and that forearm snap is mostly for driving the ball. She says that I should swing from shoulder on the forehand and use the elbow on the backhand. Wrist should mostly follow the shape of the stroke and so should any forearm snap.

My game is so wrist oriented that I am confused by this. But I am going to try.

4. She wants me to use only elbow when return serves, less shoulder and wrist.

Again, this is confusing. But I think some of it makes sense.

5. She wants me to use wall sits to work on my knees and that if my movement was better, I would likely be 2200 already.

Of course this is flattering, but I don't know whether my knees are fixable.

Now there are many other things but I can't note or remember them all. But I am advanced enough to get her logic even if I don't always understand it fully given language barrier or I can't always agree with it. But I am willing to try everything she recommends. There is nothing more annoying than a student who thinks he knows more than the teacher. She even wants to change my rubber and blade but well, let me see if I can avoid that one as going to something faster will make me miss my serve return much more...

Don't think of it as changing your playstyle. Think of it as expanding your skillset.

I made myself do this too, in order for me to get used to situations that I otherwise wouldn't normally be in.

I used to always serve short underspin and loop. Now, I am able to serve topspin and other serves and still be confident with the return. I am ok with pushing long now because I know that I can counter attack decently now.

I can still play the normal short underspin routine. However, there are things that I wouldn't have learned if I didn't 'change' the way I played. I've definitely become more well rounded. Refining what you have is one thing, but sometimes you gotta add another tool in your tool box to grow as a player.

*******

In the past, I took whatever I had and pushed it to the limit and hit 2100. However, I was a lopsided player with many holes: I was all offense, no defense

Now, I think I am around 2200, and I can maybe hit 2300 if I refine my short game and my rally skills
 
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Wonderful observation from NL , the other thing I noticed is may be your left shoulder and arm is not relaxed ... you will know it better than us ... looked a little tight in the video ..


Thanks for your suggestion. Now I am trying to be more relaxed & yesterday I recorded from another angle. Please take a look and give your valuable opinion.

https://youtu.be/WI9dPVpiwbs
 
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Point the racket more upwards at the end of the backswing and try to more aggressively hit the left side of the ball with your stroke. You might be struggling because under pressure, you don't expose enough of your racket to the ball to feel safe about the contact. The stroke looks fine in multiball but it needs to be seen in the matches where it fails for you to get good comments.

Sir thanks for your reply. I am little bit confused. Is my racket angle is close? Do you mean, it should be more open? Second thing is, if I contact the ball to the left, isn't it generate more sidespin? Here is another video from different angle after taking your suggestions. Please take a look.

Thanks
https://youtu.be/WI9dPVpiwbs
 
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Sir thanks for your reply. I am little bit confused. Is my racket angle is close? Do you mean, it should be more open? Second thing is, if I contact the ball to the left, isn't it generate more sidespin? Here is another video from different angle after taking your suggestions. Please take a look.

Thanks
https://youtu.be/WI9dPVpiwbs

You didn't obviously take my suggestion but it's okay. Your stroke still looks fine in multiball, it is more important to see how it falls apart in a match. Doing 25 strokes like this is a waste of time for diagnosing serious errors unless it is similar to the pressure you face in a match or you are just learning the basic stroke. It is better to face block or higher pressure multiball. Your basic stroke looks fine.

There are many ways of doing the stroke, I am just recommending the one I think is safest. You can always adjust and reduce the sidespin by adjusting your timing and follow through, the stroke has more of a corkscrew effect sometimes. Think of it as playing a topspin over the side of the ball, and not as a hooking or fading shot. Playing a topspin over the side of the ball minimizes the sidespin.

Look at all these guys and ask yourself if they are hitting the back or the side of the ball first:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMDRA4-yEm0
https://youtu.be/fdc42cP1jDc?t=1121
https://youtu.be/N06zcDNgdsw?t=30
https://youtu.be/5lqcvObGvNA?list=PLuxSxVnhJDBeMxvZg5Kx7vym-rBsA5UIr&t=27
https://youtu.be/FgvxkRaSZQk?t=86

The thing is that your racket has to open up into the ball and hit it at some point. MY point is that you don't have to start extremely closed unless you want to.

The guy in the blue T-Shirt at the end of the last video is actually my model for the backhand.
 
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3. She tells me that I need to stop using forearm snap and wrist on my strokes and that forearm snap is mostly for driving the ball. She says that I should swing from shoulder on the forehand and use the elbow on the backhand. Wrist should mostly follow the shape of the stroke and so should any forearm snap.

My game is so wrist oriented that I am confused by this. But I am going to try.

4. She wants me to use only elbow when return serves, less shoulder and wrist.

Again, this is confusing. But I think some of it makes sense.

regarding 4. is it for FH or BH receive ?
 
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regarding 4. is it for FH or BH receive ?
Both. Obviously, she doesn't mean chiquita, but my interpretation of her point is that it is too easy to loop the ball long or lose control if your stroke is too large and powerful. It is best to compensate with racket angles and maintain control of placement. With training and good footwork to support the stroke, the power is enough. The general concept when I remember to apply it has improved my forehand serve return for sure and even my backhand in some ways as she says since my backhand is strong, I should use it to return the balls to my middle on serve and avoid pivoting to play a forehand. Of course, she is not saying that you can't use wrist sometimes to improve the speed of the stroke to get more spin, you just shouldn't be using it to play the stroke - always use the forearm as the core of the return of serve to maintain your form and control.
 
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While I can relate to the general principal , like T I am also not convinced it can be a effective technique on the backhand side , not talking about Chiquita , but how will one handle long fast serves with heavy spin , will it be possible to generate enough whip in time with the forearm alone ? My forehand stroke mechanics close to the table are pretty much the way she describes , wrist following the forearm snap , could be the way I was taught my backhand , Cannot comprehend how forearm alone can sustain return of serves on that side ...
Both. Obviously, she doesn't mean chiquita, but my interpretation of her point is that it is too easy to loop the ball long or lose control if your stroke is too large and powerful. It is best to compensate with racket angles and maintain control of placement. With training and good footwork to support the stroke, the power is enough. The general concept when I remember to apply it has improved my forehand serve return for sure and even my backhand in some ways as she says since my backhand is strong, I should use it to return the balls to my middle on serve and avoid pivoting to play a forehand. Of course, she is not saying that you can't use wrist sometimes to improve the speed of the stroke to get more spin, you just shouldn't be using it to play the stroke - always use the forearm as the core of the return of serve to maintain your form and control.
 
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While I can relate to the general principal , like T I am also not convinced it can be a effective technique on the backhand side , not talking about Chiquita , but how will one handle long fast serves with heavy spin , will it be possible to generate enough whip in time with the forearm alone ? My forehand stroke mechanics close to the table are pretty much the way she describes , wrist following the forearm snap , could be the way I was taught my backhand , Cannot comprehend how forearm alone can sustain return of serves on that side ...

Most close to the table loops can be played with the elbow alone so I am not sure what is not convincing you. Adjust the racket angle to compensate for the spin. If you are used to swinging from the elbow to play your backhand, then it is in principle no different from the forehand, move your body or your elbow to a point that gives you leverage to play the ball with the fulcrum around the elbow, compensate for most spins with angle and position, and then use the wrist for the last lift if necessary. It's different from mostly engaging the wrist on the stroke or using a large stroke around the shoulder. IF the wrist is mostly relaxed, it will add something.
 
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I understand what you are saying , my emphasis was on the "in time" part .. .but I guess the argument against it would be that you need to be able to read the ball early enough ... what I was trying to say is that with the wrist approach on the backhand it might be possible to read the ball later and still make it ... but I get it ...
Most close to the table loops can be played with the elbow alone so I am not sure what is not convincing you. Adjust the racket angle to compensate for the spin. If you are used to swinging from the elbow to play your backhand, then it is in principle no different from the forehand, move your body or your elbow to a point that gives you leverage to play the ball with the fulcrum around the elbow, compensate for most spins with angle and position, and then use the wrist for the last lift if necessary. It's different from mostly engaging the wrist on the stroke or using a large stroke around the shoulder. IF the wrist is mostly relaxed, it will add something.
 
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Sir thanks for your reply. I am little bit confused. Is my racket angle is close?

You didn't obviously take my suggestion but it's okay. Your stroke still looks fine in multiball.

Just for the record, Hridoy PMed me before he posted here. One of my recommendations was for him to post in this thread.

The other information I gave him was that, it he missed as much on multiball when the placement was consistent, that one thing he needed to do was thousands of reps of BH. Enough reps so he isn’t having so many slight miscues in timing that cause him to hit the edge of the racket or have the ball fly in an unintended direction.

The other thing I said is that, when that starts being solid, he needs to progress to some random placement.

If he can’t be consistent when the ball coming to him is consistent, then grooving the stroke.

However, NextLevel’s plan of making it easier to contact the ball, that makes a lot of sense.

Still, with how straightforward the feed is, and if the feed is not pushing the tempo, if the percentage of balls missed is that high, then some issue of contact and timing just needs to be grooved into muscle memory.

He is getting very nice spin though.

Sent from The Subterranean Workshop by Telepathy
 
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I understand what you are saying , my emphasis was on the "in time" part .. .but I guess the argument against it would be that you need to be able to read the ball early enough ... what I was trying to say is that with the wrist approach on the backhand it might be possible to read the ball later and still make it ... but I get it ...

Is that really true though - is using the wrist a stable looping stroke? I think focusing on putting the elbow in the right position helps a lot even if you intend to use the wrist. Experiment with it and let me know what happens.
 
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Just for the record, Hridoy PMed me before he posted here. One of my recommendations was for him to post in this thread.

The other information I gave him was that, it he missed as much on multiball when the placement was consistent, that one thing he needed to do was thousands of reps of BH. Enough reps so he isn’t having so many slight miscues in timing that cause him to hit the edge of the racket or have the ball fly in an unintended direction.

The other thing I said is that, when that starts being solid, he needs to progress to some random placement.

If he can’t be consistent when the ball coming to him is consistent, then grooving the stroke.

However, NextLevel’s plan of making it easier to contact the ball, that makes a lot of sense.

Still, with how straightforward the feed is, and if the feed is not pushing the tempo, if the percentage of balls missed is that high, then some issue of contact and timing just needs to be grooved into muscle memory.

He is getting very nice spin though.

Sent from The Subterranean Workshop by Telepathy

Not saying my technique is great (it is obviously not, and some people say that I hit the ball on the backhand when I am not - I just come over the ball extremely, which may or may not be your cup of tea depending on your technique), but you can see that I do not close my paddle to spin - I have learned that it creates too much risk for my level of practice and play.

https://youtu.be/FhahYwFLMdM?t=700
https://youtu.be/FhahYwFLMdM?t=774
https://youtu.be/FhahYwFLMdM?t=1190
https://youtu.be/FhahYwFLMdM?t=1271

There are two main components of spinning the ball - one is turning the racket in a motion that shapes the ball. The other is brushing or contacting the ball with good grip, thick or thin. If you turn the ball with a curved motion, you can reduce your risk of whiffing the ball by hitting it more solidly on the side. Again, it is not the technique some people prefer but for me, it is safer and some very good players like Kreanga, Mizutani and Maze do it on both their forehand and backhand side. You can always close the paddle extremely but I personally do not recommend it unless you are training to be a pro. And even the pros do not always do it like I have explained already with the examples above.

I have tried to do the backhand Hridoy is doing, I just give up and whenever I see someone missing backhands, I teach them my method and they find a way of combining it with their natural stroke and suddenly stop missing. So I am not telling him to change his stroke - I am telling him to change his swing contact point and the brain will figure it out.
 
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I agree with Next Levels plan , his swing plan is too horizontal and will be susceptible to top edges the moment he plays matches and is not able to take the ball early enough ... timing will always be an issue because the sweet zone in the stroke is much less compared to what Next level is suggesting .... I also noticed the quality of the multiball that you have referenced here ... having considered all of that and after seeing the latest video I still feel, if he is not ready to rebuild the stroke from fundamentals as Next level has suggested , with the current technique it will really help him to be less tensed up and anxious. It might help just accepting that he is trying to improve his backhand and he will have to keep working on every little thing to keep improving it , in the mean time he might miss more than he expects to make but nevertheless keep the focus on the footwork, timing and keep reminding himself to whatever little thing he things went wrong the last time he missed ... don't know if I am able to get through with this ... but I feel this might help ..
Just for the record, Hridoy PMed me before he posted here. One of my recommendations was for him to post in this thread.

The other information I gave him was that, it he missed as much on multiball when the placement was consistent, that one thing he needed to do was thousands of reps of BH. Enough reps so he isn’t having so many slight miscues in timing that cause him to hit the edge of the racket or have the ball fly in an unintended direction.

The other thing I said is that, when that starts being solid, he needs to progress to some random placement.

If he can’t be consistent when the ball coming to him is consistent, then grooving the stroke.

However, NextLevel’s plan of making it easier to contact the ball, that makes a lot of sense.

Still, with how straightforward the feed is, and if the feed is not pushing the tempo, if the percentage of balls missed is that high, then some issue of contact and timing just needs to be grooved into muscle memory.

He is getting very nice spin though.

Sent from The Subterranean Workshop by Telepathy
 
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