Next area to focus on improvement

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About 6 months ago, I felt my biggest weakness was by BH opening loop. After practicing it a lot, I now feel quite comfortable with this shot. I actually surprise myself with how many points I win in games with this shot.

3 months ago, I determined my biggest weakness was returning serve. After focusing on this area, I feel quite a bit better now. I still don't have it down perfect, but I have a few more tools in the belt when returning serve. I can use loops, flicks, or pushes to return serve.

What should be the next natural area of development to improve on? I feel my basic topspin shots are fine, opening loops from both wings feel good, serve return is heading in the right direction.

My mid-table game feels consistent enough but not very dynamic. When the ball is too short to loop but too long to push, I often use a flick on the mid-table shots. But my flick is not super powerful and it generally goes straight down the table. Should this be the next shot that I put my focus on? or is there another shot that ranks higher in order of priority?
 
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Hi Michael, a better player (percentil 97 in CR) once told me: "It's all about the movement. Everybody can do the right shot if he stands right. I can also do a bomb like Ma Long if I stand right."

I'm sure you sometime don't manage to play a shot, because you don't stand right. Some of those are a bit easier to discard, we simply didn't get there, perhaps we were reaching. Those don't feel that bad. Worse is, you manage to play the shot, but you know it is wrong. You didn't/couldn't get low enough, didn't have enough time, the swing was tight, felt weird. Those are welcoming points to think about why, and in those is the potential to improve.

Another thing you could start working on, or thinking about, is anticipation. I think good players have that. An example which comes to mind for me, is Darko Jorgic. He doesn't strike me as a particularly fluid (Djokovic-like cat movement) player, but he happens to be always on the right place in the right time. How does he do that?

Or you practice what we call "signals". Serve, you get certain pre-agreed receive, and you do say attack. Then later it becomes automatic to expect certain receives to your serves, and your response gets more automatic.

Unfortunately, if you now start to be obsessed with the technique and movement, and not so much with the rubbers, how the h... am I going to get new tips about rubbers :)

I think you should create a 3D map of all rubbers, with connections in between them, if they are close in some aspect. Probably the shape would not be a tree, I'd love to see that shape. Cheers.
 
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About 6 months ago, I felt my biggest weakness was by BH opening loop. After practicing it a lot, I now feel quite comfortable with this shot. I actually surprise myself with how many points I win in games with this shot.3 months ago, I determined my biggest weakness was returning serve. After focusing on this area, I feel quite a bit better now. I still don't have it down perfect, but I have a few more tools in the belt when returning serve. I can use loops, flicks, or pushes to return serve.What should be the next natural area of development to improve on? I feel my basic topspin shots are fine, opening loops from both wings feel good, serve return is heading in the right direction.My mid-table game feels consistent enough but not very dynamic. When the ball is too short to loop but too long to push, I often use a flick on the mid-table shots. But my flick is not super powerful and it generally goes straight down the table. Should this be the next shot that I put my focus on? or is there another shot that ranks higher in order of priority?

I have a feeling video footage of a recent match, or a match with someone a little better than you where you are struggling may show some things to work on for you.

But tactics are also, always something that can be understood better. There are ways of improving that don't have to do with technique but instead, how you the choices you make and the way you construct points.

 
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Hi Michael, a better player (percentil 97 in CR) once told me: "It's all about the movement. Everybody can do the right shot if he stands right. I can also do a bomb like Ma Long if I stand right."

I'm sure you sometime don't manage to play a shot, because you don't stand right. Some of those are a bit easier to discard, we simply didn't get there, perhaps we were reaching. Those don't feel that bad. Worse is, you manage to play the shot, but you know it is wrong. You didn't/couldn't get low enough, didn't have enough time, the swing was tight, felt weird. Those are welcoming points to think about why, and in those is the potential to improve.

Another thing you could start working on, or thinking about, is anticipation. I think good players have that. An example which comes to mind for me, is Darko Jorgic. He doesn't strike me as a particularly fluid (Djokovic-like cat movement) player, but he happens to be always on the right place in the right time. How does he do that?

Or you practice what we call "signals". Serve, you get certain pre-agreed receive, and you do say attack. Then later it becomes automatic to expect certain receives to your serves, and your response gets more automatic.

Unfortunately, if you now start to be obsessed with the technique and movement, and not so much with the rubbers, how the h... am I going to get new tips about rubbers :)

I think you should create a 3D map of all rubbers, with connections in between them, if they are close in some aspect. Probably the shape would not be a tree, I'd love to see that shape. Cheers.
I see a lot of guys practice movement drills. Like they do 1 loop from FH corner, then they move over to do a loop from BH corner and then back and forth. It looks fancy in practice, but I notice that these types of players usually are not that good. The fact is most points are not lost or won in this manner. Most points tend to be won from knowing how to deal with the spin, length, height of your opponents balls. Being able to loop underspin obviously is a major decider of points. Reading and handling opponents serve is also major. Knowing how to handle the no-man's land ball seems to be really big as well, and I'm only just beginning to understand better how to deal with this area.

Being able to hit 10 loops in a row from different locations looks fancy, but actually doesn't happen much in a real game.

I also used to practice backhand distance looping a lot, but more recently I'm realizing that this shot quite rarely shows up in a game. So I'm wondering what are they more direct low-hanging fruit to work on.

 
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I have a feeling video footage of a recent match, or a match with someone a little better than you where you are struggling may show some things to work on for you.

But tactics are also, always something that can be understood better. There are ways of improving that don't have to do with technique but instead, how you the choices you make and the way you construct points.

Thanks, I'll try to take a video if I can find a good matchup. I haven't taken video in a long time. I think starting in January I will start going to Balboa club where I should find a lot more good matchups. Especially in the weekly round robin tournaments.

I'm not sure exactly my level right now, but I think I'm closing in on 1800 or more. (I honestly think I gained about 100 points just from finding this new Jupiter 3 rubber)

Last week I played a former US Nationals semi-finalist who played multiple events. I felt I was playing nearly even.

 
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Hi Michael, a better player (percentil 97 in CR) once told me: "It's all about the movement. Everybody can do the right shot if he stands right. I can also do a bomb like Ma Long if I stand right."

I'm sure you sometime don't manage to play a shot, because you don't stand right. Some of those are a bit easier to discard, we simply didn't get there, perhaps we were reaching. Those don't feel that bad. Worse is, you manage to play the shot, but you know it is wrong. You didn't/couldn't get low enough, didn't have enough time, the swing was tight, felt weird. Those are welcoming points to think about why, and in those is the potential to improve.

Another thing you could start working on, or thinking about, is anticipation. I think good players have that. An example which comes to mind for me, is Darko Jorgic. He doesn't strike me as a particularly fluid (Djokovic-like cat movement) player, but he happens to be always on the right place in the right time. How does he do that?

Or you practice what we call "signals". Serve, you get certain pre-agreed receive, and you do say attack. Then later it becomes automatic to expect certain receives to your serves, and your response gets more automatic.

Unfortunately, if you now start to be obsessed with the technique and movement, and not so much with the rubbers, how the h... am I going to get new tips about rubbers :)

I think you should create a 3D map of all rubbers, with connections in between them, if they are close in some aspect. Probably the shape would not be a tree, I'd love to see that shape. Cheers.

Also to answer your question, from all my testing, the really awesome standout FH rubbers are Jupiter 3 and Bloom Power.

The standout backhand rubbers would be AK47 Red and Big Dipper 38d.

 
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I'm not sure exactly my level right now, but I think I'm closing in on 1800 or more. (I honestly think I gained about 100 points just from finding this new Jupiter 3 rubber)

What is USATT 1800? I went through our "elost" page to find out the ELO numbers for some percentile levels. Can you/someone fill in the other countries? I know that if someone has percentil 90 in CR and someone else has percentil 90 in USA, they are not necessarily exactly the same level, but at least somewhat close. That way we can have at least an approximate chance to map between those TT ranking numbers. (Note, cca 15'500 registered players in CR.)
PercentilCzechUSAGermanyRussiaSwedenPolandYour country
1002120-2470?????
901680-1695?????
801550-1565?????
701460-1470?????
601380-1390?????
501305-1315?????
401230-1235?????
301140-1150?????
201040-1055?????
10875-895?????
#players15'500?????
[caption]Ranking levels[/caption][thead] [/thead][tbody] [/tbody]
 
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There are a gazillion things at your level to improve, but one of the fundamentals I did not hear you articulate having trained much is FOOTWORK.

One step, two step, hop, slide, power hop, cross step, stumble cross, power cross. You can name them crazy things like I did, but essential footwork performed intuitively without deliberate thought gets you to more balls in position to give you a chance.

Do a few of those Balboa round robins and see where you stand. Visit Stellan whenever he holds a local camp.

1800 in SD and LA area for a tourney rating is 75+ percentile.
 
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There are a gazillion things at your level to improve, but one of the fundamentals I did not hear you articulate having trained much is FOOTWORK.

One step, two step, hop, slide, power hop, cross step, stumble cross, power cross. You can name them crazy things like I did, but essential footwork performed intuitively without deliberate thought gets you to more balls in position to give you a chance.

Do a few of those Balboa round robins and see where you stand. Visit Stellan whenever he holds a local camp.

1800 in SD and LA area for a tourney rating is 75+ percentile.

Well footwork is good, but I think its not the lowest hanging fruit.

I feel like there are more low-hanging fruit to improve your game. Maybe developing a strong and consistent deep push. Or improving the mid-table ball. etc

 
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WRONG FOCUS! What are you good at? work more on those. Then find ways how to serve,return and play to get to your strenghts and practise on those. Good luck.
 
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WRONG FOCUS! What are you good at? work more on those. Then find ways how to serve,return and play to get to your strenghts and practise on those. Good luck.
I don't follow your logic. I'm pretty good at opening loops, blocks, and topspin loops. But to improve, I think I should improve on my weaknesses.

I had a weakness in backhand opening loop, but I would say today it is more of a strength. I had a weakness in return game, but I would say today it is largely neutral. So I'm asking what are the other low-hanging fruit that can improve your gameplay a lot. Like obviously opening loop, serve, return are the 3 shots that show up most in a game and most often decide a point.
 

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Defense? Didn't hear you mention that at all. How are your blocks? Can you lob and fish? What is your plan when your opponent gets the upper hand in a point and you are forced back from the table?

It will change the outcome of many matches if you can steal one or two points per game which your opponent was set up to win after their first attack.
 
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I think you will develop more if you try to find you style of play, know your strenghts and practice those and ways to get them in a match. I think it is easy to become somewhat good at everyhting with your mentality and not so great at anything. I like to tell my players that it is like to chose and education and profession. Everyone is not best at math but better at people so they should focus at working with people and we do not have the time to become several professions and good at them. I think more focus should be around how you play in games and develp a way of winning points and become great at that. Hard to know to serve and return if we are semi-good at everything. I agree it is good to develop weakness but i think you seem to have too much focus on that, and i think you will become the best player possible if you work on your strenghts. I also agree it is wise to practice serve and return since these always happen, but i think this is easier if you have developed good strenghts so you know what you want.

Everyone can have different ideas but i believe more in focus on the strenghts. If we have the training time like the chinese it is more realistic to become good at everything.

Good luck. Edit: Noshad that won over Lin is a good example and pretty extreme. Really bad forehand technique in my opinion(looks like tennis?) but does not matter since he avoids playing forehand as much as he can and focus on his strength, his backhand.
 
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Hi Michael, a better player (percentil 97 in CR) once told me: "It's all about the movement. Everybody can do the right shot if he stands right. I can also do a bomb like Ma Long if I stand right."

I'm sure you sometime don't manage to play a shot, because you don't stand right. Some of those are a bit easier to discard, we simply didn't get there, perhaps we were reaching. Those don't feel that bad. Worse is, you manage to play the shot, but you know it is wrong. You didn't/couldn't get low enough, didn't have enough time, the swing was tight, felt weird. Those are welcoming points to think about why, and in those is the potential to improve.

Another thing you could start working on, or thinking about, is anticipation. I think good players have that. An example which comes to mind for me, is Darko Jorgic. He doesn't strike me as a particularly fluid (Djokovic-like cat movement) player, but he happens to be always on the right place in the right time. How does he do that?

Or you practice what we call "signals". Serve, you get certain pre-agreed receive, and you do say attack. Then later it becomes automatic to expect certain receives to your serves, and your response gets more automatic.

Unfortunately, if you now start to be obsessed with the technique and movement, and not so much with the rubbers, how the h... am I going to get new tips about rubbers :)

I think you should create a 3D map of all rubbers, with connections in between them, if they are close in some aspect. Probably the shape would not be a tree, I'd love to see that shape. Cheers.

Best advice!

 
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I put it in a different perspective.

The environment of your play, mostly your playing and training partners, defines how you are playing and how you can improve yourself. This is the thing in the first place, then the techniques and the tactics.

Here gets a player formerly rated as 2100 Ratings Central, but the rest are 1800 level. This top player couldn't maintain his level long and his level goes down to 1800-1900. Even he knows everything about table tennis, he knows how to train himself and he is able to utilize everything he got to keep his level, he still can't maintain it in this environment. This is what happens to every top players. If you are among the top tier of your local players, this is pretty much what you can get and no further. Even you may get a chance to have a top coach or traveled to a better area and you became far better than everyone in local, when you came back and you can't maintain the supreme position for too long.

This is the first thing, the environment. If you want to be better, go to a better club and stay there.

The second thing, your knowledge of table tennis.

An adult leaner, who may have a coach or not, his best coach is always himself. And also, a good coach should always has good knowledge in techniques and tactics and being able to interpret an opponent or a game. That means a good player must be a good coach to himself first. The adult leaner should possess the capability of being able to tell what is his strength and what is his weakness, being able to tell what is his opponent's strength and weakness, being able to tell what his opponent is doing good in his stroke what is bad, being able to identify the key-point in learning a new stroke. That capability allows the adult player to see what he should improve next and how he should do. This capability is more important than any single technique or tactic.
 
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Well footwork is good, but I think its not the lowest hanging fruit.

I feel like there are more low-hanging fruit to improve your game. Maybe developing a strong and consistent deep push. Or improving the mid-table ball. etc

To your point earlier where you see people do the "Falkenberg drill" and you saying it doesn't really come up in a match hitting 10 loops in a row, i think you are missing the point. If you can do 10 loops (or 20) with active movement in a drill, then you are going to be much better are doing the 2-3 in a row that more often come up in a match setting. One you have your technique down on our strokes to an above average level, I would reckon to say that footwork is one of the most important aspects of table tennis. Don't believe me? Look at WQC, who is arguably the best player in the world right now. His footwork is insane. It's silky smooth. The way he sets up his shots his footwork is winning him match after match against the likes of FZD, Harimoto & Ma Long.

 
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I'm not sure exactly my level right now, but I think I'm closing in on 1800 or more. (I honestly think I gained about 100 points just from finding this new Jupiter 3 rubber)

Level and rating. You can never be sure what your rating "would" be because ratings are earned. Level and rating are not quite the same thing. But you are using a number that reflects a rating. I am assuming you mean a USATT rating because I think you are in the US. I could be wrong. But....

For you to be 1800, you have to play in USATT sanctioned tournaments and play enough matches for your rating to stabilize. But a lot of people who think they are 1800 because they play a bunch of players who have that rating that they are familiar with and play well against them, do not realize that this is not how to tell what your rating would be. The only way to tell is to play enough tournament matches for your rating to stabilize at about what your true level is. To get to 1800 and stay there over several tournaments would mean, you can beat most players at the 1775 rating most of the time, players of all kinds: pips, defensive, left handed.

This being said, if you are able to attack long pushes from either wing when you want, you have improved and that is worth knowing. So, this is not to dampen your enthusiasm. It is just because I have seen so many players who assert that they are a certain level, and use a rating number, because they are able to play competitively with a few players whose style they know and understand who have that rating.

This is just not how to judge what your rating might be even if you are close to accurate.

For your own understanding of these things, it might be worth signing up for a few sanctioned tournaments and see how you do.

 
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Level and rating. You can never be sure what your rating "would" be because ratings are earned. Level and rating are not quite the same thing. But you are using a number that reflects a rating. I am assuming you mean a USATT rating because I think you are in the US. I could be wrong. But....

For you to be 1800, you have to play in USATT sanctioned tournaments and play enough matches for your rating to stabilize. But a lot of people who think they are 1800 because they play a bunch of players who have that rating that they are familiar with and play well against them, do not realize that this is not how to tell what your rating would be. The only way to tell is to play enough tournament matches for your rating to stabilize at about what your true level is. To get to 1800 and stay there over several tournaments would mean, you can beat most players at the 1775 rating most of the time, players of all kinds: pips, defensive, left handed.

This being said, if you are able to attack long pushes from either wing when you want, you have improved and that is worth knowing. So, this is not to dampen your enthusiasm. It is just because I have seen so many players who assert that they are a certain level, and use a rating number, because they are able to play competitively with a few players whose style they know and understand who have that rating.

This is just not how to judge what your rating might be even if you are close to accurate.

For your own understanding of these things, it might be worth signing up for a few sanctioned tournaments and see how you do.

Yeah I agree, that I might be around a USATT 1800 "level" against certain styles, but only 1400 level against other styles. I don't have a rating at all, I'm just trying to cite a certain benchmark to give members an idea of where I am. I'm trying to describe what I do well and what I don't do well, and trying to pinpoint the low-hanging fruit that can boost my game a lot.

 
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Yeah I agree, that I might be around a USATT 1800 "level" against certain styles, but only 1400 level against other styles. I don't have a rating at all, I'm just trying to cite a certain benchmark to give members an idea of where I am. I'm trying to describe what I do well and what I don't do well, and trying to pinpoint the low-hanging fruit that can boost my game a lot.
And having seen a small amount of footage, my thoughts were that, if you learned more about game strategy, this would up your level, from where you are, more than most things I can think of.

BTW: I think that is some of what Lula is describing and since Lula is the only person on here that I know of who is a real solid coach, it is worth trying to understand what he is talking about. He is also, most likely the highest level player commenting in this thread.

That being said, choosing some of your weaknesses and focusing on improving them is fine in my book. But the tactics that will make it so you are playing to your strengths in points, is really very valuable to learn.

 
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Yeah I agree, that I might be around a USATT 1800 "level" against certain styles, but only 1400 level against other styles. I don't have a rating at all, I'm just trying to cite a certain benchmark to give members an idea of where I am. I'm trying to describe what I do well and what I don't do well, and trying to pinpoint the low-hanging fruit that can boost my game a lot.

I read in MyTT forum that USATT has a secret little known "get a high fake ratings" prorgram on sale for free, for new members, where you (or any other new member playing in their first USAT tournament) can get a very high rating without winning a single match.

If you combine that with the $500 I offered you, I strongly urge you to play in US Open 2022 to make full advantage of this double bonus offer.

Don't wait too long though. USATT may cancel the fake ratings program offer if they wise up or start caring about their current members who actually "earn" their ratings with real wins.

This fantastic USATT program for new members is especially good for wives of players coming to tour USA with their husbands during US Open . Even they can enter the open singles event at US Open & get a high rating & make their husband look small (well you know what I mean)

 
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