Ma Lin is really the epitome of what a table tennis player should be. Even though during his prime he was eclipsed by WLQ, and because I play shakehands, WLQ barely squeaks past Ma Lin as my favorite player, Ma Lin really exemplifies everything that a table tennis player should be. His mastery of the serve, short game, and the 3rd ball attack is unparalleled and in my opinion those are the most impressive skills to have in table tennis, because you need a level of quickness, skills, and tactics to master them that surpasses most other parts a point.
During his prime, Ma Lin dominated in the Super league more than any other player, despite losing to WLQ in international tournaments.
I think it is poignant that when asked, most pros, single out Ma Lin and not the other Chinese players as the hardest to play against, ie William Henzell in his response to my post in a different thread, and Schlager's interview on youtube. His play style is just so foreign to most players of the world, who aren't used to playing the epitome of the penhold style, since they face the European style mostly.
yeah, unless there are some players we haven't seen hidden in China, there might never be another Ma Lin like player. In the future all penholders will probably rely a lot more on the rpb, which while definitely great, tends to take away from their ability to acquire Ma Lin level shortgame mastery and the level of all out forehand mastery that Ma Lin has.
This drill is a great one to practice. If you can get someone to feed you the ball like that and keep practicing stepping around the backhand corner to attack with the forehand, many elements in your game will get better.
It's true what Carl said. Unfortunately, as I get a little older now, the first thing to go is my footwork. It's just not as it use to be. A lot of it is because the excruciating pain in my left knees, which means I can't push off to get back on the table. Whenever I do the inside out forehand, it has to a winner. It's all or nothing.
@ carl - so true. It's my favorite thing to practice on the robot or when someone can multiball me.
@ azlan - work on stretching your legs. That'll help with the knee problems as well as working on side stepping together. When you step around it should be both legs hopping to the left with your forehand stance already planted. When heading back try using your right to lead in to lessen the pain on the left knee.
@ others - Let's all just hope he can pull a win at Worlds 2013. It's a long shot, but if anyone can do it at his age especially with the Super and China wins under his belt he can do it. I wouldn't even be surprised if he won the Gold at the Olympics.