Here is another guy that a coach I like proposed as a model. This is going to be how I want my strokes to look like going forward (accounting for my bad knees and less physicality, of course). The level of relaxation is just oozing from his body:


This is not "another guy", this is Petr Korbel himself! :)
As for technique, he is showing "classic topspin" (he calls it that way himself in video), and most trainers I know are trying to teach mostly same ideas.
And of course, I wish my forehand to be like his :)
 
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Here is another guy that a coach I like proposed as a model. This is going to be how I want my strokes to look like going forward (accounting for my bad knees and less physicality, of course). The level of relaxation is just oozing from his body:


That looks like an excellent forehand to observe for the mechanical details of the fundamentals. It's all there. Fluid, relaxed, great whipping action, economical use of the hips with perfect timing, the upper arm is used but not over-used: from a technical standpoint, for developing good fundamentals, that is a perfect forehand to observe. From it you would also be able adapt and produce a stroke with almost all forearm snap and a very stable upper arm for circumstances where you need faster recovery like close to the table or you could adapt and employ a full arm swing when when you have extra time or need more power.

To me the the best part of watching is how you can see the perfect timing of the hips, forearm snap and wrist on contact to create that extra whip and that beautiful pull on the ball. That is music to my eyes.

I also liked watching how, on be BH backswing, he backswings enough, and then right before contact he finishes the backswing and the wrist whips back, and then whips right into the ball on the stroke. Those are truly great strokes to watch and analyze.


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This is not "another guy", this is Petr Korbel himself! :)
As for technique, he is showing "classic topspin" (he calls it that way himself in video), and most trainers I know are trying to teach mostly same ideas.
And of course, I wish my forehand to be like his :)

Wow - I had no clue that was Korbel - the title just said so and I didn't read it. ;)

Give me a break...
 
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That looks like an excellent forehand to observe for the mechanical details of the fundamentals. It's all there. Fluid, relaxed, great whipping action, economical use of the hips with perfect timing, the upper arm is used but not over-used: from a technical standpoint, for developing good fundamentals, that is a perfect forehand to observe. From it you would also be able adapt and produce a stroke with almost all forearm snap and a very stable upper arm for circumstances where you need faster recovery like close to the table or you could adapt and employ a full arm swing when when you have extra time or need more power.

To me the the best part of watching is how you can see the perfect timing of the hips, forearm snap and wrist on contact to create that extra whip and that beautiful pull on the ball. That is music to my eyes.

I also liked watching how, on be BH backswing, he backswings enough, and then right before contact he finishes the backswing and the wrist whips back, and then whips right into the ball on the stroke. Those are truly great strokes to watch and analyze.


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The video is beautifully inspirational. I don't think I have gotten as excited watching someone loop before. When you see me practice looping going forward, you know my inspiration.
 
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I am by no means a "Ma Long copy" nor can I "loop like him" but I don't believe in the magic of the stroke, and anyone can learn it as long as they can perform the mechanics with their body.

The easiest way to start is to first have Ma Long's body proportions to 98% or closer. The best coaches in the world showing you your faults also help.:rolleyes:

Joking aside, I am very, very, very close in proportions, but still not exact, obviously. So the first thing is to consider if the stroke is even smart to learn for your body mechanics! Bear in mind you also need to be in quite good shape and be able to control your muscle firing orders and amounts subconsciously to really get everything out of the stroke.

Assuming you're 190cm, weak and lanky and still want to learn it, good. Proper mechanics are always good. You will need to develop your own unique technique later, though. Hate to break it to you. The basic mechanics are still very sound.


I will go over my findings step by step and give my own reasoning for why something is done. I do not have footage and pictures, nor can I provide any in any good quality to be considered valid, so just go and film yourself and compare it to Ma Long with frame by frame analysis.

This is assumed for a right handed player. Switch leg and arm positions accordingly.

Assumed to be looping a block, drive or long push. You must perfect that first, and you will learn to do loop backspin and counterloop etc. naturally by comparing.

Backswing - Lower body - Feet

The stance is wide, with the left foot rotated anywhere from a bit "outwards" from the direction of the knee, to slightly inwards. Ideally it is exactly at 0 degrees forward. The right leg is far back, farther than you think, and the feet form a nearly 90 degree angle. It is slightly under 90 degrees usually. The angle between the left foot and right foot's facing is NOT 45 degrees. It is far more.

Backswing - Lower body - Legs

This is a hard one and it will probably be too physically demanding for most people until they get used to it. It's also difficult to consistently do right at first. This is where the power comes from.

The easiest way to do this, keeping in mind it's dynamic, is to place your feet in the right position, then bend your knees until you legs form 45 degree angles behind the knee. You MUST also place your weight on your soles, and lift your heels very slightly.

A common mistake is to have the right angle, but be standing on your heels. This will result in a straight back and no power due to it.

You know when your feet and legs are in the correct position when it feels quite physically demanding and maybe strange to be in this position at first. You should feel it in your thighs and ankles.

The best way is to really just do what I say, then take a picture from the same angle as a picture/video of Ma Long and copy the angles to make it correct. Obviously, longer or shorter legs or proportion of upper leg to lower leg WILL change the angles and it cannot be absolutely set in stone.

Backswing - Upper body - Trunk and hips

Your back should be bent until you feel considerable load on your right sole. Your chin will be approximately in the same line as your right knee. Then, curl your body to the right, so your upper body forms a roughly 45 degree angle viewed from the front. Your hips are also slightly curled to the right, but don't twist excessively.

Don't lean too much forward, don't keep your back straight and don't rest all your weight on the bones of your right leg.

Best way to get this right is picture comparison.

Backswing - Upper body - Racket arm

Once you're in the backswing position, place your right arm so that your shoulder is slightly lowered, your elbow is tucked into your body but without touching your side, and your forearm is at the same angle and "hovering" over your right thigh in the same axis. The wrist is naturally bent so that you get a whipping motion on the swing. Look at pictures.

This varies greatly, but that's the generic backswing that I've seen. The arm is quite bent, definitely not 180deg. Of course, it depends. That is why you must compare pictures and find it out yourself via experience. The generic starting position with the same angles is a good start.

People tend to extend the arm too much, opposed to not enough. The elbow is usually also not tucked in. The arm needs to be bent just right for timing and speed, and the elbow needs to be tucked in for faster movement and a more economic stroke.

Nail the basics, then adjust based on the ball you're hitting.

Backswing - Upper body - Supporting arm

You might have noticed Ma Long doesn't just keep the arm idle. The arm is brought along the body so that the angle is roughly 45 degrees or so and the elbow is over the crotch, and the wrist is over the right knee. Roughly. Your racket arm, supporting hand and shoulders should form closer to a triangle shape from above, opposed to a box.

You want to keep the arm close to your body, and not reach out with it. It's also not at all set in stone exactly how the arm is positioned. Generally, make sure you're bringing the arm across your body and your hand isn't hovering at your stomach like in a drive.

Backswing - Head and shoulders

The head is looking quite to the side. You want to be looking more to your side than where your torso is pointing, for the right timing. Your shoulders should be relaxed and at a 45 degree angle or so from the playing direction.

Swing geometry and mechanics up to contact

Here is where it gets hard, of course. Seriously, just take a slowmotion video and pause it at spots and place yourself in them to see how it feels. Then remember that feeling and try to stroke the stroke, and keep being super anal and analytical with it until it's your default stroke. It'll take very long to really get it right.

For me to explain the exact angles at the exact timings is completely useless. It changes as soon as the spin and placement on the ball changes.

So let me just try to explain the feeling.

After backswing, the racket arm raises a bit, closes the angle automatically and starts swinging forward like a whip. The arm is kept relatively straight compared to where it was on the backswing, you're NOT bending from your elbow to stroke, you're whipping with your shoulder and the forearm follows. The wrist will do the whipping itself if you're not tense.

The geometry is slightly concave and the angle is generally the same when viewed from the side. It's whipping, NOT throwing a ball underhand. Also, don't raise your shoulders. It's a bad habit, and Ma Long doesn't do it because it doesn't add anything except neck injuries. I know from experience.

Your left shoulder does not go up on the stroke, it goes to the left and you must actively pull with the left side of your body while pushing. The elbow is close to the body and pulls to the left.

This will come with time and comparing videos until you get the feel. Make your hand into an aerodynamic shape and tense it very slightly on contact so that the blood doesn't pile up into your fingertips when you pull to avoid tingling and numbness and you have less resistance from the air when pulling it back. (I can pull very hard and the blood piling and drag is a real issue.)

Your fingers should point to the side on swing, and up on the follow through, then go back to the starting position in an oval motion.

With your legs, you transfer load forward and your legs naturally bend around the axis. Your feet shouldn't shuffle around, changing angles too much in the basic relaxed stroke. Your feet do point more to the left when swinging and revert back more to the right after the stroke.

You rotate on your soles, you don't keep your feet completely glued to the floor. Load transfers forward and from the right leg to the left, and your leg angles change.

Again, use videos. It changes on every variation of stroke and to compensate for being slightly out of position.

The trunk is rotated, and follows with the legs. I don't have this as good as I like, myself, so I can only instruct you to refer to Ma Long himself to see what's too much and what's not enough. It's very easy to extend too much and actually risk hurting your lower back.

Just as your start swinging, tense your abs fully, then relax them exactly as you make contact. Snap your elbow rapidly at contact, this brings the power.

Directly after contact

Your body will be higher, but you will still be leaning forward with legs bent. Your torso will be facing more forward.

The balance arm is pointing up and tucked to your side, and the racket arm is bent 90 degrees or so and roughly vertical. It is extremely important for stroke mechanics and to avoid neck and shoulder injury to NOT raise your shoulders.

I can't say much about contact and follow through because it's such a subconscious thing that you really just need to learn the correct starting position first, then tie it all in from there, comparing videos and pictures from videos with you performing the stroke slowly and at full speed.

Don't expect your stroke to look anything like his in even a week, but you should see and feel a little bit improvement every day. The key is to be very analytical and a good physics understanding also helps.

If your stroke is not any good before, then this will feel quite weird at first, but it's actually quite relaxing once your form is better.

Whatever you do, don't just film yourself and go on feel based on how it looks. Actually make reasonably accurate comparison pictures of you and him both doing drills and playing and really look at the details. Things like how much you raise your shoulders, the geometry of your swing, angles of your legs, angle of your back etc.

You can't fully copy his technique unless you have the exact same composition down to the last muscle fiber, but many aspects should be common between your good stroke and his good stroke.


Also know that you're not going to be looping like Ma Long even if your form is like his, so don't try to copy everything down to the last radian and expect to hit through professionals immediately. It's a very subconscious stroke based on exquisite timing and muscle firing in the right sequence and amount.





You may now proceed to discredit everything I just typed. :rolleyes: I did my best to include everything I know that isn't too advanced and redundant for it's own good. You'll figure everything out if you have a good physics knowledge and can perform a reasonable stroke.

You also don't need a pro grade tuned Chinese rubber to do this stroke, you can do it with pretty much anything standard inverted, even rubbish premades. So if the ball slams into the net, please don't change your rubber. Change your mechanics. Practice with a slower wooden bat.


EDIT: Oh, I forgot to mention, but you need to really be in good shape. Shoulder injuries and neck injuries are very common, especially when you're starting out and you're trying to muscle it too much. Take it slow first and go to the gym regularly.
 
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As is often the case, the people who post these things never share video of their own loops. I have watched a lot of tennis and I can't play like Federer. I have served a lot and I can't serve like Ma Long. Why should it be easy to loop like him?

I mean you have written something that I think makes it clear that finding a good coach to give you your own loop is much easier.
 
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As is often the case, the people who post these things never share video of their own loops.

I mean you have written something that I think makes it clear that finding a good coach to give you your own loop is much easier.

1: This was a post about Ma Long's loop, not mine. The coaches in the CNT can't loop like Ma Long or -insert great looper here- so I guess they're full of shit, too. :rolleyes:

2: We're hobbyists trying to learn one particular looping method. We're not trying to develop our own method here.

3: Yes, it is easier to get a coach and find out your best stroke in 1/4 the time. That's what Ma Long did.
 
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1: This was a post about Ma Long's loop, not mine. The coaches in the CNT can't loop like Ma Long or -insert great looper here- so I guess they're full of shit, too. :rolleyes:

2: We're hobbyists trying to learn one particular looping method. We're not trying to develop our own method here.

3: Yes, it is easier to get a coach and find out your best stroke in 1/4 the time. That's what Ma Long did.
Here we go. I think you would be hard pressed to find a coach on the CNT who wasn't a high level player, penholder or shakehand, in his younger days, so at one time, they were all state of the art players. But that was not what I said or meant and you know it too.

I said that anyone professing to claim that he doesn't believe that some key aspects of Ma Long's loop are beyond hobbyists should show either their own loop or the loop of someone they taught. Such pretentious claims to expertise without substantiation are borderline ridiculous.

Ma Long actually plays far more TT than any of us so no, he didn't get his loop in 1/4 the time of any of us. Anyone asking a hobbyist to use Ma Long as a primary role model bears the burden of proof here.

The amateurs I know who try to loop like Ma Long in great detail usually can't play more than two matches in a row. They are largely unconcerned by it and think that one day, they will be able to acquire the physical fitness to support their technique. They then proceed to criticize the looping of motions of higher rated players with supposedly inferior but more personal technique. Thankfully, reality keeps everyone honest. Sadly, people on the internet write all kinds of stuff without ever feeling a need to provide any evidence for it.
 
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Here we go. I think you would be hard pressed to find a coach on the CNT who wasn't a high level player, penholder or shakehand, in his younger days, so at one time, they were all state of the art players. But that was not what I said or meant and you know it too.

I said that anyone professing to claim that he doesn't believe that some key aspects of Ma Long's loop are beyond hobbyists should show either their own loop or the loop of someone they taught. Such pretentious claims to expertise without substantiation are borderline ridiculous.

Ma Long actually plays far more TT than any of us so no, he didn't get his loop in 1/4 the time of any of us. Anyone asking a hobbyist to use Ma Long as a primary role model bears the burden of proof here.

The amateurs I know who try to loop like Ma Long in great detail usually can't play more than two matches in a row. They are largely unconcerned by it and think that one day, they will be able to acquire the physical fitness to support their technique. They then proceed to criticize the looping of motions of higher rated players with supposedly inferior but more personal technique. Thankfully, reality keeps everyone honest. Sadly, people on the internet write all kinds of stuff without ever feeling a need to provide any evidence for it.

I don't understand what you're trying to prove. No one is arguing with you here, and you're the only person criticizing anyone's behavior, like you're somehow entitled to it. Do you really think Ma Long would get as upset about my post as you did? He would probably say "Keep it up!".

I also never talked bad about Ma Long's loop nor did I claim that it's somehow at the same level as hobbyist's shots. I just said that it's not some magical shot: anyone with a working body can perform it.

Now, integrating it into your game, that requires the physical ability that you are talking about. I think it's quite obvious that not everyone can play the same shots in the same way that Ma Long can, otherwise we'd all be number 1. :rolleyes:

However, it is possible for a hobbyist to be in tremendous shape. Perhaps not as good shape as the world champion (Have we understood that we're literally talking about the best player in the world right now?) but in good shape to be able to reasonably perform these shots.

Also, I must still stress the fact that we're not all elite players who compete at an olympian level and knows everything there is to know about table tennis, like yourself. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: Perhaps we are just interested in the mechanics, for the pure fun of it.
 
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I don't understand what you're trying to prove. No one is arguing with you here, and you're the only person criticizing anyone's behavior, like you're somehow entitled to it. Do you really think Ma Long would get as upset about my post as you did? He would probably say "Keep it up!".

I also never talked bad about Ma Long's loop nor did I claim that it's somehow at the same level as hobbyist's shots. I just said that it's not some magical shot: anyone with a working body can perform it.

Now, integrating it into your game, that requires the physical ability that you are talking about. I think it's quite obvious that not everyone can play the same shots in the same way that Ma Long can, otherwise we'd all be number 1. :rolleyes:

However, it is possible for a hobbyist to be in tremendous shape. Perhaps not as good shape as the world champion (Have we understood that we're literally talking about the best player in the world right now?) but in good shape to be able to reasonably perform these shots.

Also, I must still stress the fact that we're not all elite players who compete at an olympian level and knows everything there is to know about table tennis, like yourself. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: Perhaps we are just interested in the mechanics, for the pure fun of it.
Sure, we can all analyze mechanics and enjoy the mechanics. Does that prove anything about amateurs being able to loop like Ma Long? Why is this kind of thinking limited to looping? As I pointed out, why not serving or pushing etc.?

I think what you don't realize from a practical point of view is that there is a lot of misinformation about table tennis out there. And when you give the impression that amateurs are better off copying or are able to copy the form of a World Class athlete, you are feeding some of that misinformation. I will simply assume that you are doing so with good intentions and let it be. But in making claims about mechanics, it helps to be able to demonstrate what you are talking about. What I don't get is why it is so hard for you to substantiate your claims with an actual example of someone, you or a friend, who is looping like Ma Long.
 
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Sure, we can all analyze mechanics and enjoy the mechanics. Does that prove anything about amateurs being able to loop like Ma Long? Why is this kind of thinking limited to looping? As I pointed out, why not serving or pushing etc.?

I think what you don't realize from a practical point of view is that there is a lot of misinformation about table tennis out there. And when you give the impression that amateurs are better off copying or are able to copy the form of a World Class athlete, you are feeding some of that misinformation. I will simply assume that you are doing so with good intentions and let it be. But in making claims about mechanics, it helps to be able to demonstrate what you are talking about. What I don't get is why it is so hard for you to substantiate your claims with an actual example of someone, you or a friend, who is looping like Ma Long.

Hobbyists are best off learning good mechanics. A coach and close observation of people who are doing it right is best, in my opinion. Am I not advocating exactly that?

I think you're making up context for this thread and my posts. The purpose of this thread, what it is for, is to learn about performing one specific stroke in Ma Long's arsenal, because we find it mechanically good/it looks cool/he's world champion/looping is all the craze now etc.

I myself focus on all good aspects of his game. Ma Long's use of the balance arm is interesting, especially in his backhand loops, and he has many different shots up his sleeve which proves that even at pro level you can play a "tricky" game even if you're a two wing looper. His pushing is great and sets up his forehand very well and I think we should all aspire to push like Ma Long. Let's not even talk about footwork and his method of lowering the body accordingly when playing strokes, namely counterlooping.

The reason we focus on looping is because it's "the" shot right now.

I'd also like to add that while we can very closely emulate a world champion's form in specific situations, don't expect to be able to do it as a hobbyist when under pressure. That's why I think hobbyists should really stop doing a "Ma Long forehand" on every forehand, not noticing that Ma Long himself is varying the elbow bend and body mechanics on every stroke.

I believe you're trying to avoid hobbyists copying one advanced stroke badly, injuring themselves due to lack of conditioning and overall not as proper form and losing matches due to trying to play that one shot all the time. We'd agree, then.


I'd also like to give you directions to the first line in my long post here, where I claimed that I can't loop like Ma Long, to make you understand that no one here is claiming they can loop like Ma Long.
 
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I'd also like to give you directions to the first line in my long post here, where I claimed that I can't loop like Ma Long, to make you understand that no one here is claiming they can loop like Ma Long.

Which is precisely the problem. You can't do it, yet in your words, "anyone can learn it as long as they perform the mechanics with their body."
 
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Which is precisely the problem. You can't do it, yet in your words, "anyone can learn it as long as they perform the mechanics with their body."

You don't understand the basic difference between an individualized stroke that depends solely on body proportions and muscle structure among other things, and a technique. Anyone can have "Ma Long technique" but no one except Ma Long or a clone of his will do the exact same stroke.
 
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You don't understand the basic difference between an individualized stroke that depends solely on body proportions and muscle structure among other things, and a technique. Anyone can have "Ma Long technique" but no one except Ma Long or a clone of his will do the exact same stroke.

Maybe a video of your stroke or someone you have taught will help me understand this difference that I supposedly do not understand?

The other unsaid reason why I don't encourage hobbyists who are adult to learn to loop like CNT players is that table tennis is not solely about who has the best technique. There are other at least equally important things that go into good table tennis play.
 
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Ma Long's FH technique uses a stroke that is gigantic. It is too big a stroke for a player under 2700 USATT to realistically use in match play and recover to be ready for the next shot after.

Learning a good stroke that is right for your particular body would be a much better idea for most players. As your level gets higher and higher you begin to know when to use a more compact stroke or a larger stroke so you can recover fast and be ready for the next shot.

But here is a guy who said his forehand was Ma Long's technique. You can see him playing starting at about 1:45 on the video.


This might be why NextLevel says that it is worth showing your play. NextLevel has more video of himself out for all of us to watch than most people. His technique isn't perfect but he never said it was. And he is definitely focused on improving. And he is definitely 2000+ level. So fairly decent.


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