Developing player with some potential :)

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I am sorry. I must have missed the context of what makes this important, or deemed it as not important to answer. The way my arm moves is just not what I am working on right now and there are only so many things you can improve at the same time to not lose focus and deliberation. Also, I think its important to strictly distinguish interaction with people on the internet from the relationships and feedback you get from people offline. I also have an online coach that watches videos of me, but the coach at the club is focused on building everything from where my feet is planted in each shot; so, untill I am able to properly adjust my feet to every ball, he is not going to pick on the details of my armswing. I believe this method is the right one because muscle memory is "programmed" for the whole body at the same time, meaning that if you learn a stroke when your feet is planted wrong, it is hard to translate that into moving your feet differently .... or maybe its just two different ways to Rome. Right now, its very hard for me to improve my reaction times because I have this habit from training with a robot that makes me not properly perceive the movement of my opponents racket to earn valuable milliseconds to adjust my position. Table tennis is so hard! I just have to practice practice practice. In matches, all the technique things quickly go out the window and I just use my reach and slow racket to win points on awkward balls.
When you wrote this: "I know some of these players are or have been in the top 50 in Norway, and all of them certainly are in the top 100. Not to be mean to those players or anything, but they all have their own peculiarities in their strokes, but the main theme is that they have acceleration on contact, all of them move properly in position and they have good timing -- the stroke itself is really not that important as I view it."

I was trying to understand whether you felt that your movement training would make your competitive with the top 100 players after you completed all your training. The cognitive demands of table tennis are very interesting, I sometimes wonder whether my game would get better if I wore glasses or got surgery for my left eye. I was trying to understand what you think goes into making a player really good by seeing whether you thought your current approach was a realistic path to competing with players in the top 100.
 
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It probably depends on the robot as well. Once I'm comfortable with a technique I often set mine to a supra-realistic speed where the next ball would come before my shot even lands on the table. This way I get no warning of where the next shot is going and I train myself to react to unexpected locations. Good players can be very good at disguising the direction of the shot, so I do find this helpful.

As for your second paragraph, I don't think it's that important. In my experience you can develop each technique separately. With footwork, for someone like @z0uLess it's mostly mental. He just needs to develop a habit to move to the ball instead of reach or lean, and develop a sense of timing on when to move. As for exactly where to move and how much to move can depend on the stroke, but it's easy to adjust as he improves other parts of his technique.

You can't work on everything at the same time, focusing on footwork is one way to do it. Personally I prefer the other way around. I prefer to develop the stroke in a stationary manner first and then add movement. But that may be because I already have decent footwork and it's relatively easy for me to add to a stroke later on.
I am fairly confident that @hclnnkhg is just following up on my question and is making the point I am going to make here which I am sure you agree with. But the truth (and I am not telling you anything that you don't know) is that all these movements are designed to optimize your ability to get into position and play your stroke with quality using the lower body, and they feel very different in the context of hitting quality shots vs how they do when you don't hit quality shots. An d if you can hit quality shots without doing them perfectly or often (think maybe Darko Jorgic or Dima Ovtcharov or Vladimir Samsonov who almost never execute a full Chinese pivot), no one will say that those players are worse than a 2500 player who can execute perfect pivot forehands. But maybe @zouless thinks it is important to learn the movement apart from the shots, but I don't know any high level player who would tell you that movements are more important than the shots, all things being equal. Obviously they want you to have footwork, but the strokes are more important - you always need weapons to put your opponents under pressure. And in fact, if you put your opponent under pressure without moving, more kudos to you.
 
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Rating system is interesting. But not necessary to progress. Good coach, good sparring partners and competitive will is a key. I playing a tourney once a week, where levels of players differs from about 1600 to 2000. It’s good experience for advanced amateurs. But it’s not officially certificated tourney. Sometimes even some pro girls coming, to give us all a little bit of a lesson, and i bet their level is much above 2000. What’s interesting, that some time you don’t know whom you playing, and i was able to get wins over 1900-2000 guys. Or over players that have 10+ years of training. I’m doing this sport for 1,5 year only, but i have a lot of competitive experience in other sports - i guess, it’s helping to progress me quickly too
 
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When you wrote this: "I know some of these players are or have been in the top 50 in Norway, and all of them certainly are in the top 100. Not to be mean to those players or anything, but they all have their own peculiarities in their strokes, but the main theme is that they have acceleration on contact, all of them move properly in position and they have good timing -- the stroke itself is really not that important as I view it."

I was trying to understand whether you felt that your movement training would make your competitive with the top 100 players after you completed all your training. The cognitive demands of table tennis are very interesting, I sometimes wonder whether my game would get better if I wore glasses or got surgery for my left eye. I was trying to understand what you think goes into making a player really good by seeing whether you thought your current approach was a realistic path to competing with players in the top 100.
No, I dont think that. Its just me taking one aspect of the game at a time. As I view it, timing improves with experience, because you are able to read your opponent better the more types of players you have played and then you know where the ball is moving before it gets there. There are lots of other aspects that improve timing as well, but the experience thing is the thing that is easiest for me to do something about. I am feeling this change in real time.

Example: I play with people from time to time that are what people on this forum generally would view as beginners. There is a large variety of styles in this segment of players. One of these players is a pretty good defensive player and he likes to lob the ball, but he has almost never played doubles. So when I played doubles with him I noticed how his game totally fell apart by having to read the spin transfered between the players instead of just his own and his opponents spin. He likes to get his opponent to smash on him, but this does not work when his teammate has to receive the smashes that he sets up. This makes it so he has to play in a totally different manner, he is no longer in the comfort zone of his own game, and so his timing falls apart.

I dont think reaction time and perception is that much different between players that have been playing the game for some years ... its just that some players are more deliberate with their practice, picking a thing to improve and then evaluating themselves if they improved or not and then adjusting their methods accordingly.
 
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No, I dont think that. Its just me taking one aspect of the game at a time. As I view it, timing improves with experience, because you are able to read your opponent better the more types of players you have played and then you know where the ball is moving before it gets there. There are lots of other aspects that improve timing as well, but the experience thing is the thing that is easiest for me to do something about. I am feeling this change in real time.

Example: I play with people from time to time that are what people on this forum generally would view as beginners. There is a large variety of styles in this segment of players. One of these players is a pretty good defensive player and he likes to lob the ball, but he has almost never played doubles. So when I played doubles with him I noticed how his game totally fell apart by having to read the spin transfered between the players instead of just his own and his opponents spin. He likes to get his opponent to smash on him, but this does not work when his teammate has to receive the smashes that he sets up. This makes it so he has to play in a totally different manner, he is no longer in the comfort zone of his own game, and so his timing falls apart.

I dont think reaction time and perception is that much different between players that have been playing the game for some years ... its just that some players are more deliberate with their practice, picking a thing to improve and then evaluating themselves if they improved or not and then adjusting their methods accordingly.
Makes sense - how long have you been playing for now?
 
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I see, I think I can make 3 points, hope it can be helpful to you.

1) I don't think your technique is that bad, I just see similar issues going back. So it's really the difference, or lack thereof, between your technique now vs before that I was pointing out. You're clearly very motivated to improve, and you've got the resources (nice club, coach, robot, etc.) so I surmised that perhaps you were not focused on technique improvement so much as winning. I could be very wrong though!

2) As for what you can improve on, I think stiffness is the first thing that comes to mind. Notice how in the video you just posted your elbow angle is the most open at the end of the backswing. If you're relaxed at that stage, which you should be, then the angle should be the most open during the first part of the forward swing. This is because as your body moves your shoulder forward, it should drag relaxed arm forward and naturally open up your elbow angle. At more advanced level the same thing happens to the wrist. I've actually had the same issue, and it's very noticeable as soon as I as well as others watched videos of me play. I'll post some videos of my progress in the next couple of days.

3) I see two major issues with your training method for looping backspins. First is that the pace is way too slow. You feel like you don't have enough time during games because your training gives you way too much time. You're standing there a full second waiting for the shot before you're served a backspin. Forget about the service, just have it shoot you backspins one after another as quickly as you can handle. The second is that the location is too predictable. While that's OK when you're just starting to develop the stroke, you've been practicing it for a while now and you need to add variations. For my backspin practice I have the pace set at 50 balls/min, random FH and BH, with 7 different locations for the FH and 3 for the BH (reversed if I'm practicing BH backspins). These 10 total different locations include different speeds, and 1 location per each of BH/FH is a double bounce ball that I need to loop/flick over the table.
It may be that the improvement is just going slower, or that its hard to see improvement in the small details on videos like this. I honestly am not noticing that much improvement on the videos that were taken three months apart, but its easier to see when you are coaching yourself and are aware of all the details of your own game. The video where I serve between each ball is actually the only time I did practice like this. However, your feedback has made me more aware of how I should maintain a more consistent training regiment in order to measure my own progress. Maybe I should start doing revisits to some of my videos to compare.

About the pace being too slow, thats a good point and my coach has pointed to my swing being too long and have instructed me on how to hold the bat in more of a ready position so as to be able to respond more quickly. In other drills, the pace is too quick, like in the video named "27 12 22 falkenberg".

Here is a 30 second video of me from today, hitting slow paced (25 balls per minute) max backspin balls that is coming to the same position every time:
 
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Makes sense - how long have you been playing for now?
I started playing with a friend during lockdown in december 2021. Never played any table tennis or any other racket sports before that. I have only started playing three times per week in the club this last month and before that I played one time per week at the club (but a lot of training on my own with robot and with friends). This group that I have been allowed to train with is working very closely on technique because its with children from the age of 10 to 15 years old. Most of the time its two trainers with a group of 6 players, me included. I think I was allowed to play with this group because the trainer has observed how I was able to progress on my own with barely any supervision from a trainer.
 
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It may be that the improvement is just going slower, or that its hard to see improvement in the small details on videos like this. I honestly am not noticing that much improvement on the videos that were taken three months apart, but its easier to see when you are coaching yourself and are aware of all the details of your own game. The video where I serve between each ball is actually the only time I did practice like this. However, your feedback has made me more aware of how I should maintain a more consistent training regiment in order to measure my own progress. Maybe I should start doing revisits to some of my videos to compare.

About the pace being too slow, thats a good point and my coach has pointed to my swing being too long and have instructed me on how to hold the bat in more of a ready position so as to be able to respond more quickly. In other drills, the pace is too quick, like in the video named "27 12 22 falkenberg".

Here is a 30 second video of me from today, hitting slow paced (25 balls per minute) max backspin balls that is coming to the same position every time:
I personally think your swing is not too long, but I'm sure speeding it up isn't a bad thing either.

What settings are you using for thr robot? Those balls look way too fast for a typical push. Also, I wonder how different your robot is to the Amicus Prime. At max backspin which I think is -5, the spin is entirely unrealistic. -4 is already a bit unrealistic, but it's still loopable and is a reasonable practice against a very heavy chop. -3 and -2 are the levels of spin you'd commonly see on a push.
 
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I personally think your swing is not too long, but I'm sure speeding it up isn't a bad thing either.

What settings are you using for thr robot? Those balls look way too fast for a typical push. Also, I wonder how different your robot is to the Amicus Prime. At max backspin which I think is -5, the spin is entirely unrealistic. -4 is already a bit unrealistic, but it's still loopable and is a reasonable practice against a very heavy chop. -3 and -2 are the levels of spin you'd commonly see on a push.
Ive heard that the prime sends even harder backspins. I have amicus start.
 
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It may be that the improvement is just going slower, or that its hard to see improvement in the small details on videos like this. I honestly am not noticing that much improvement on the videos that were taken three months apart, but its easier to see when you are coaching yourself and are aware of all the details of your own game. The video where I serve between each ball is actually the only time I did practice like this. However, your feedback has made me more aware of how I should maintain a more consistent training regiment in order to measure my own progress. Maybe I should start doing revisits to some of my videos to compare.

About the pace being too slow, thats a good point and my coach has pointed to my swing being too long and have instructed me on how to hold the bat in more of a ready position so as to be able to respond more quickly. In other drills, the pace is too quick, like in the video named "27 12 22 falkenberg".

Here is a 30 second video of me from today, hitting slow paced (25 balls per minute) max backspin balls that is coming to the same position every time:
Swing is too long usually means the upper arm not being driven by the body movement. In the video posted here, you can see your upper arm is still going by itself well after you have contacted the ball. You have a lot of power but you use too much upper arm to play the ball. Just do a short forearm snap, reduce the upper arm usage. Most upper arm motion must come from the core - upper arm must move in a very limited range unless you are killing the ball and recovery is moot (or you have a lot of time). If you try to keep your elbow as the lowest part o the stroke, hopefully it may get better.
 
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I started playing with a friend during lockdown in december 2021. Never played any table tennis or any other racket sports before that. I have only started playing three times per week in the club this last month and before that I played one time per week at the club (but a lot of training on my own with robot and with friends). This group that I have been allowed to train with is working very closely on technique because its with children from the age of 10 to 15 years old. Most of the time its two trainers with a group of 6 players, me included. I think I was allowed to play with this group because the trainer has observed how I was able to progress on my own with barely any supervision from a trainer.
So you haven't played that much. Well you have a lot to learn and hopefully it will work out as you play more. Are you happy with your current improvement trajectory?
 
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@zouless,

Let me give you my honest opinion, which you may not want. You can spend a lot of time working on footwork basics, but other than spin reading which is always the X factor in my view as you can't tell whether someone can handle the challenges of serve and and serve return well, there is no reason why you can't be TTR 1400 within a year, maybe even better. Even with that, athleticism can mask spin reading challenges at that level. And this will be with lots of room to progress further.

The real problem IMHO, is that no one is showing you how to use your body to hit the ball properly and you are getting more quality than the children you train with who cannot get quality without hitting the ball properly. Don't spend forever working on footwork, footwork works better when you know how to hit the ball as the movements are designed to accentuate the athletic use of the core to hit the body. But if you don't know how to hit the ball without engaging the upper arm, this will not be clear to you.

Don't spend forever waiting to learn how to hit the ball. You can learn how to hit the ball properly and then decide you only what to hit it soft. That is perfectly fine and I hit the ball soft all the time when I am training footwork drills. In fact, I can train with someone with TTR 400 if they want to exchange balls because I can play the ball really soft. I am a strong believer in training your ranges of speed and spin and not hitting with power all the time as long as the form is correct so you can improve your control.

My opinion has ended.
 
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Ive heard that the prime sends even harder backspins. I have amicus start.
Looking at the manual, it appears that max backspin is -4 on the Amicus Start. Assuming it's the same as -4 on the Prime, it's too heavy for a regular push. Combined with the speed it's coming at you, it's just not a ball you'll ever see. -4 can possibly be achieved with a heavy chop, but the ball would be slow and floaty, not shooting directly at you with speed. I would suggest using -2 to -3 spin and 12 to 14 in speed to simulate a push. You can go up to 16 speed but you'd need to lower the spin to -2 as that can simulate a LP punch of a moderate loop, but you probably won't see that much. I think perhaps your lack of experience is causing you to use unrealistic robot settings, and that could slow down your development as well.

And to piggyback on what @NextLevel is talking about, your body movement needs to be synchronized with your arm movement. That is, your body should be moving your arm in the same direction your arm is moving itself. Right now there's a disconnect between how your body is moving your arm vs how your arm is moving itself, so your power is not being synergized. You're moving your hip and waist, you're kicking with your leg, all because you know that's what you should be doing, but they're not actually contributing much to your power because your arm is moving in a different trajectory.

It would be very complicated to explain how the body should move, but a coach can help with that. If you want to figure it out yourself, then what you can do is:

1) Find an arm movement that executed the shot you want, maybe against a ball that's relatively slow and less spinny since only the arm is generating power in this step

2) Don't move the arm at all, just hold your racket out. Instead, move your body in such a way that would cause your racket to move in the same trajectory as in step 1 without moving the arm at all.

3) Combine the arm and body movements. Now they should be moving the racket in the same trajectory and thus maximally combining their powers.
 
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I think based on the FH against backspin training video and how his racket is moving, @zoulless doesn't really understand how to convert the incoming backspin to a topspin stroke. The reason why he's moving everything hard (including upper arm) is because he's trying to brute force loop it - which basically won't work at all - you need to learn how to walk before you can run/jump.

If you watch this video, it'll show you how to loop underspin as easy as topspin - it is a very important progression because it teaches you what the racket movement needs to feel like when looping underspin.

 
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I think based on the FH against backspin training video and how his racket is moving, @zoulless doesn't really understand how to convert the incoming backspin to a topspin stroke. The reason why he's moving everything hard (including upper arm) is because he's trying to brute force loop it - which basically won't work at all - you need to learn how to walk before you can run/jump.

If you watch this video, it'll show you how to loop underspin as easy as topspin - it is a very important progression because it teaches you what the racket movement needs to feel like when looping underspin.

This is how my second coach taught me to approach backspin (he also added in avoiding the main spin axis). So I have never had that fear of heavy chop that most people have. It's partly why I teach wrist flexibility because you can compensate for some of the angle requirements with supination/pronation and finger usage even if you can't get extremely low. It's how I usually drive and kill backspin balls over the table.
 
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This is how my second coach taught me to approach backspin (he also added in avoiding the main spin axis). So I have never had that fear of heavy chop that most people have. It's partly why I teach wrist flexibility because you can compensate for some of the angle requirements with supination/pronation and finger usage even if you can't get extremely low. It's how I usually drive and kill backspin balls over the table.
Yes - the reason why finger driven forearm supination/pronation is very important on both wings because it essentially allows the racket to move in such a manner (to neutralise incoming spin and produce your own topspin). But that is just the spin neutralising part - to get real quality (read: power and spin) from the loop you still need to power the stroke properly with the body which is what you and dingyibvs have emphasized.
 
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I think based on the FH against backspin training video and how his racket is moving, @zoulless doesn't really understand how to convert the incoming backspin to a topspin stroke. The reason why he's moving everything hard (including upper arm) is because he's trying to brute force loop it - which basically won't work at all - you need to learn how to walk before you can run/jump.

If you watch this video, it'll show you how to loop underspin as easy as topspin - it is a very important progression because it teaches you what the racket movement needs to feel like when looping underspin.

He's probably not gonna be able to do that until he changes the spin setting on the robot. -4 spin is very, very heavy, touch it lightly like what Ti Long does its gonna just jump off the racket. It'd look more like a push than a hit/loop. You can see how weak the backspin he's getting when he used that technique.
 
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He's probably not gonna be able to do that until he changes the spin setting on the robot. -4 spin is very, very heavy, touch it lightly like what Ti Long does its gonna just jump off the racket. It'd look more like a push than a hit/loop. You can see how weak the backspin he's getting when he used that technique.
Hmm I didn't consider that before - you're right it probably needs to be quite light backspin to start with. With heavier backspin you absolutely need to involve all the other mechanisms (especially from the body)
 
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Hmm I didn't consider that before - you're right it probably needs to be quite light backspin to start with. With heavier backspin you absolutely need to involve all the other mechanisms (especially from the body)
I actually disagree, you just need to open your racket a bit more for heavier balls. That is the standard way to loop heavy chop.
 
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