What is a compact stroke?

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I came across a comment on YouTube advising elderly players to play a compact stroke, similar to Timo Ball, in order to conserve energy during the game. The video is about lifting (topspin) backspin balls. What is a compact stroke? Is there any such thing as a compact stroke?
 
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I came across a comment on YouTube advising elderly players to play a compact stroke, similar to Timo Ball, in order to conserve energy during the game. The video is about lifting (topspin) backspin balls. What is a compact stroke? Is there any such thing as a compact stroke?
Stroke that doesn't overly engage the upper arm. Motion is driven by the body. A large stroke can be somewhat compact if the upper arm usage is largely driven by the body like the Chinrse do, but in most amateurs, it is driven by using the upper arm/shoulder joint excessively and this makes recovery difficult. When you drive upper arm movement with the core, the recovery is much easier and faster. When you swing the upper arm by itself, you need to reset the upper arm.

That is how I have come to discuss and analyze compact strokes over time.
 
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Stroke that doesn't overly engage the upper arm. Motion is driven by the body. A large stroke can be somewhat compact if the upper arm usage is largely driven by the body like the Chinrse do, but in most amateurs, it is driven by using the upper arm/shoulder joint excessively and this makes recovery difficult. When you drive upper arm movement with the core, the recovery is much easier and faster. When you swing the upper arm by itself, you need to reset the upper arm.

That is how I have come to discuss and analyze compact strokes over time.
Thanks. That makes very much sense.
 
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Compact strokes are actually harder to learn. One would have learned how to use the body power and relax to have an effective compact strokes.

For beginners, it is better to learn it step by step, learn to use body first or just snap forearm first. Most beginners make mistakes to learn powerful loops at the same time. That just does not work. Learn to apply power by body first and learn to spin later (using more forearm, wrist, and fingers)
 
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Compact strokes are actually harder to learn. One would have learned how to use the body power and relax to have an effective compact strokes.

For beginners, it is better to learn it step by step, learn to use body first or just snap forearm first. Most beginners make mistakes to learn powerful loops at the same time. That just does not work. Learn to apply power by body first and learn to spin later (using more forearm, wrist, and fingers)
Maybe for adults. The main thing is that most people do not know how to use their bodies efficiently unless they are trained athletes. This is regardless of how compact the stroke is. So they try to get power by winding up the upper arm, which *might* be okay if as part of a need to throw or hit something once but it will not work if you have to do it repeatedly over a short period of time. But most children mirroring what adults do tend to throw their whole bodies into the stroke if allowed to.

Adults are more used to just trying to tense up whatever muscle they think is closest to the activity being performed. But I find that once people are patient and do things over time and with training (and training is not common in table tennis at the amateur level), it is hard to say anything is difficult other than completely discarding ingrained habits. But everything can be made relatively better and in TT, that is often good enough for an adult learner.
 
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Most adult amateurs usually started the learning curve with powerful spinny loops, and fast powerful spinny serves by applying pure hard uncontrolled power. From what I saw, most people actually did not know what is the right approach to practice to improve. I also saw many coaches in the clubs did not train adult amateurs properly. I saw some adult beginner were trained by coaches for months without any improvement, not even in grip or stands.
 
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Stroke that doesn't overly engage the upper arm. Motion is driven by the body. A large stroke can be somewhat compact if the upper arm usage is largely driven by the body like the Chinrse do, but in most amateurs, it is driven by using the upper arm/shoulder joint excessively and this makes recovery difficult. When you drive upper arm movement with the core, the recovery is much easier and faster. When you swing the upper arm by itself, you need to reset the upper arm.

That is how I have come to discuss and analyze compact strokes over time.
So it's like Bruce Lee one-inch punch :)
 
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Personal opinion, but I think it's good for beginners to start off with big strokes to get a hang of how to make good relaxed contact and as you improve, you start to make it more efficient and reduce unnecessary movements.
 
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The highest energy usage is by your core, and both compact strokes and full swings require its maximal usage. In addition, footwork uses more energy than swings. I don't think you'd conserve energy this way.
 
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So it's like Bruce Lee one-inch punch :)
Yes, martial arts and broad sports mechanics (with some limitations due to playintennis requiring recovery in close to the table points) transfer reasonably well to table tennis.

There isn't any single answer to developing a player IMHO. That said, with the new ball, there is a power requirement that makes it harder to use undeveloped muscles in isolation and get good results. You had a few more options with the old ball..
 
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In terms of how best to learn, as kindof99 said, you can make good arguments for learning a full smash/windmill loop first and for learning just basic counterhit/forearm snap stroke to start with. I try to give the illusion, which I currently use when I play, that you just learn two or three strokes and then with minor adjustments, you adapt them to a variety of balls. But as long as the process is iterative and there is feedback, I think you can do almost anything. The issue is usually a lack of feedback (video and coach) and absence of a deliberate attempt to expand and challenge a player's assumptions about what it means to make mistakes or control the ball during practice and match play.
 
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.. The main thing is that most people do not know how to use their bodies efficiently unless they are trained athletes. ..
I completely agree with this. However, over time, even trained table tennis players without an athletic background can develop the skill. IMO
 
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I completely agree with this. However, over time, even trained table tennis players without an athletic background can develop the skill. IMO
For most amateur players, the key to really learn the fundamentals right is not to use too much power from arms first. It is like you need to have a reset button, and start everything in fresh. Most adults just think to add spin and power by adding more power and moving quicker. The result is that their bodies become stiffer and use less of the core power and have no improvement. It is really hard to relax upper body and try to apply more core/leg/body without resetting the strokes. Coaching adult players is hard because they can not forget how they play and learn from the beginning.
 
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For most amateur players, the key to really learn the fundamentals right is not to use too much power from arms first. It is like you need to have a reset button, and start everything in fresh. Most adults just think to add spin and power by adding more power and moving quicker. The result is that their bodies become stiffer and use less of the core power and have no improvement. It is really hard to relax upper body and try to apply more core/leg/body without resetting the strokes. Coaching adult players is hard because they can not forget how they play and learn from the beginning.
You're right. This happens to me all the time! I can topspins with great quality when I'm relaxed during practice. But in a match, my body tenses up and I forget everything! I focus too much on hitting the ball hard, and the worst part is my reflexes get ahead of me then I hit the ball too early and it ends up in the net. It's so frustrating! Any tips?
 
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You're right. This happens to me all the time! I can topspins with great quality when I'm relaxed during practice. But in a match, my body tenses up and I forget everything! I focus too much on hitting the ball hard, and the worst part is my reflexes get ahead of me then I hit the ball too early and it ends up in the net. It's so frustrating! Any tips?
This is normal. The biggest issue is pretending it isn't and then not realizing it is a natural consequence of hitting your limits. In other words does it happen when you play any opponent or does it happen against players who are good enough to cause you problems with their pace of play? If the former, then you are being too pressured by circumstances. If the latter, it is just the opponent being good enough to put you under pressure by rushing you with sufficient quality. In reality, it is a mix of both, and the solution is to practice enough so that the match conditions become more natural to you. And in the absence of that, you just have to use some acceptance and mental training to not let what is natural bother you so much. But I find that many people do not realistically appreciate the gap between their practice level and their desired match level. Of you don't realistically see that playing at 60% of your normal level is easily possible in match pressure situations, you are setting yourself up for unreasonable expectations and repeated disappointment. So the key is to raise that 100% or 60% by raising both, but not by expecting that you will play 100% under pressure because that is just wishful thinking.
 
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You're right. This happens to me all the time! I can topspins with great quality when I'm relaxed during practice. But in a match, my body tenses up and I forget everything! I focus too much on hitting the ball hard, and the worst part is my reflexes get ahead of me then I hit the ball too early and it ends up in the net. It's so frustrating! Any tips?
Try to take the ball a little on the side of your body. It will give you more time to act. Try to loop when the ball drops more. Practice to hit/loop only by backswinging with your body and with right foot gripping the floor. Try to expect where the ball will land and where you are going to contact it and move first without stretching your hand/arm out.
 
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.. In other words does it happen when you play any opponent or does it happen against players who are good enough to cause you problems with their pace of play? ..
It happens when I play against someone better than me at the club but not when I play against the kids who train there and those of similar level.

My goal is to stay relaxed and avoid rushing even when playing against stronger opponents, even if I lose.
 
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