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My friends table tennis tip actually worked!!

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maurice101 View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03/13/2019 at 6:09pm
My training partner gave me a tip the other day that seems to work. He said he got it from a high level Chinese coach on the net.

The tip goes something like this. After watching your opponents stroke and during your backswing visualize where you want to hit the ball in terms of a clock face. So for a block stroke you may want to brush loop. Visualize hitting the ball at 1 30 o'clock on the ball. Now just see your bat hitting the ball at this spot. Just do what you visualized.

I told this tip to another training partner and in 5 minutes his forehand really improved in spin and power. So much so it was the best forehand hitting I have ever seen him do to date.

This tip helps me not to rush my strokes. I am an adult learner that can do good quality power and spin shots in training but they tend to disappear in match situations. Frustrating. For example on a very wide short ball I tend to rush a stroke. If I do this tip I can do a correct spin stoke that actually goes in! I feel it would really help me in a backhand flick against differing spins.

I also think that with practice I can do this tip in a  match situation. This would be unusual as a focus on the technique during a match is not recommended.

I talked to another high level coach and he said this is what pro players just do naturally. So I sort of feel this could be a missing link for club players on the lower levels. After doing this tip sooner or later it will be automatic in a match situation.

The book the inner game of tennis seems to agree with this approach. Visualize something and then just let the body do it without thinking about technique.

What do others think? If you are a high level player do you do this on each stroke?


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Tassie52 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tassie52 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/13/2019 at 6:24pm
Originally posted by maurice101 maurice101 wrote:

The book the inner game of tennis seems to agree with this approach. Visualize something and then just let the body do it without thinking about technique.

Ah, maurice, you are diving into deep waters here.  "The inner game of tennis" is the very antithesis of 99% of what gets posted on tt forums.  Here we're all about critique - both ourselves and every one else.  "The inner game" is about letting go of the constant analysis and endless pursuit of technical perfection.  As I'm sure you know, visualising is just one means of disengaging our inner critic so our other self, the self we struggle to trust, can get on with doing what it already knows to do.

In the last few weeks, I've managed to embrace something of Gallwey's approach.  The result?  Much improved performance, yes.  But far more significantly, hugely more enjoyable table tennis.

The one thing I'd like now would be the book rewritten for table tennis, as has been done for a number of other sports/activities.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maurice101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/13/2019 at 6:46pm
Tasi52 could you please expand on how you have been able to put the inner game of tennis ideas into table tennis? Its an approach that I am interested in but my old habits have a big grip on me in a match situation even  though in training I can do the correct form.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/13/2019 at 8:13pm
It's a good solution to specific problems with strokes, like when someone is looping too high. Long term you won't want to be thinking about it though.

The inner game of tennis suggests utilising these types of things in  practice to overcome technical issues. There are infinity different ones. However the ultimate goal is to not think at all.


Edited by FruitLoop - 03/13/2019 at 8:14pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote wturber Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/13/2019 at 8:46pm
Years ago, shortly after reading "The Inner Game ...",  I was at the club and a friend approached shaking his head saying something like, "My forehand sucks today."   Aha - an opportunity to test the book's theme.

So I asked if he'd like to hit a few and maybe I could spot something to help.  We hit for a few moments and yes, he was missing badly and playing worse than typical.  Without suggesting anything about his strokes, I asked this guy if he could read the label on the ball or not.  I said that some people say that they can, but I never seem to be able to because there seems to be just too much spin. Can he read it?  

I didn't relate or connect the question to his forehand stroke issue.  I acted like it was just something I had been thinking about.  I forget whether he said he could read it or not since that wasn't the point.  But after a few minutes I pointed out to him that in those last few minutes he had barely missed a shot and that his shots were now landing with good speed and spin.  He mistook the lesson to be that he should keep his eye on the ball.  So I explained the point.

Yep.  It does work.  But it only works as a way to help you do what you've trained to do.  It won't fix your stroke.  You still gotta train.  It just allows your stroke to be as good as you've trained it to be.

It is hard to trick/distract yourself when you know what the gimmick is.  So what I do to get out of my own way is to sing songs.  I'm a fan of Bruce Springsteen for this purpose.
Jay Turberville
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Hardbat: Gambler Zebra Classic w/ Dr. Evil
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tassie52 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/17/2019 at 6:52pm
Originally posted by maurice101 maurice101 wrote:

Tasi52 could you please expand on how you have been able to put the inner game of tennis ideas into table tennis? Its an approach that I am interested in but my old habits have a big grip on me in a match situation even  though in training I can do the correct form.

My first suggestion would be get hold of a copy of the book.  I'm a huge fan of libraries and the book is an absolute classic so finding it shouldn't be that hard.  In the end, there's always Amazon as a fall back.

The main thing for me is letting go of my instinct to criticise myself.  We often talk about playing the game for "fun" but spend way too much time beating ourselves up for missing shots.  Of all the "old habits" we have, I'd suggest this one is the most damaging.  Have you ever noticed how rarely CNT players display disappointment or anger against themselves?  And on the other hand, how often low level players curse themselves?

I've found that employing Gallwey's method of giving "Self 1" (the inner critic) the task of simply observing without comment and leaving Self 2 (our playing self) to get on with it a really helpful tool.  When things go wrong, I simply note what's happened and turn to the next point.  The most crucial time in the game is then between points.  Rather than rehashing the previous failure, I focus my energy on what I want to do next, trusting that Self 2 knows how to make that happen.

As an example, last week I played against the one player in the club who is clearly weaker than me but who somehow manages to cause upsets when I play him.  First game I lost 10-12.  On many occasions, the inner critic would have had a field day with that and there would be much inner fuming and ranting.  Not last week.  I observed the result, and then chose to focus on what would happen next.  I won games 2 and 3 comfortably.  Game 4 turned out to be a tussle and I lost 9-11.  In game 5, the score blew out to 8-0 and I was the zero!  Again I worked to silence the inner critic, and focused exclusively on the next point.  I won the match 12-10 in the fifth.  


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