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A Match I Had Today

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    Posted: 01/27/2019 at 10:44am
I had a small local town tournament today. It's mostly a for fun tournament. The organisers provide hot drinks and snacks throughout the tournament. Everyone gets a pair of table tennis socks, too.

The levels are all below 2000, with probably most people below 1500 (my guess).

Anyway, I played someone I play every year at this tournament. Last year was the first time I beat him, and this year I got him again :)

Anyway, I liked this match because I remember like 4 years ago when I met him and he destroyed me, he was kind enough to give me some advice, and even give me some receive practice on the serves I couldn't return.

All matches were best 2 out of 3. I won the 1st set and started off the second set really bad. I went down 0-6. But then I decided to go into beast mode and bam, had some really nice points.

I generally find it hard to go all out against people that I likely can win normally. But being down 0-6 was able to help me put myself in the zone!

Watch from 0-6 onwards if you don't want your eyes scarred from whatever I was doing at the start :S

Here's the set:


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 11:03am
If I was your coach, I would fine you every time you push the ball.  Just saying.  Your push is terrible and your topspins are decent.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anubhav1984 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 12:11pm
What would you guess your rating to be? Players in this video don't look like to be under 1500 at all.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jt99sf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 12:12pm
Beast mode ? He still have his jacket on and he’s playing in jeans.

Need to work on your backhand return and not to rush the ball.

Edited by jt99sf - 01/27/2019 at 12:13pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 12:13pm
Maybe I should make a swear jar, but for pushing ha. Usually I push a lot better, but these opponents don't serve short under, they mostly serve long, and mostly with light under or heavy side. Those balls I'm bad at pushing, and usually I don't attack unless it's a super serious game or I'm going to lose if I don't.

Against people who serve short, I can control the ball better because it usually has some underspin to work with.

There are some people who have really fast, usually top side spin long serves that I can't attack well. Those opponents I really struggle with. But those are usually the 2k+ crowd with much better serves and to be honest, even if they served short, I'd probably lose anyway.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zeio Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 12:16pm
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

I had a small local town tournament today. It's mostly a for fun tournament. The organisers provide hot drinks and snacks throughout the tournament. Everyone gets a pair of table tennis socks, too.

That's essentially Table Tennis Utopia.

Outrageously jeally here!

Edited by zeio - 01/27/2019 at 12:18pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 12:28pm
Originally posted by anubhav1984 anubhav1984 wrote:

What would you guess your rating to be? Players in this video don't look like to be under 1500 at all.

I have no idea, but if I was to guess, maybe 1800. The opponent I just played, maybe 1700, and the guy who won, maybe 1900. But yeah, these are all just guesses. I came 3rd in the tournament. Maybe I'm going a little low on some, but yeah, no idea :S

Originally posted by jt99sf jt99sf wrote:

Beast mode ? He still have his jacket on and he’s playing in jeans. 

Need to work on your backhand return and not to rush the ball.

Haha well, it was like 5 degrees Celsius. I just prefer to play in shorts and a shirt, even if it's cold. I put my jacket back on after the match. Also, those aren't jeans, they're long sports pants (like the light loose polyester stuff). His loss for not taking it all off ;)

And yes!! I've been working on that a lot in the last... week or 2 (since coming back from my break to Australia). Trust me when I say it was a lot worse even in December last year :x I'll keep at it for sure.

Originally posted by zeio zeio wrote:


That's essentially Table Tennis Utopia.

Outrageously jeally here!

When you suck like me, you tend to play in tournaments like that haha. The more serious the players, the less free hot drinks and snacks there are :(


Edited by mickd - 01/27/2019 at 12:30pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kolev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 12:39pm
Congrats. At the moment you deciddd to put him under pressure you won the set. Great attack from both wings, just take the risk and use it. Push isn't your game yet especially against guys who give you so comfortable balls to attack
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 12:47pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

If I was your coach, I would fine you every time you push the ball.  Just saying.  Your push is terrible and your topspins are decent.
 

Pretty much agree. I would add that opponent wasn't attaching the push (if it wasn't a full meter high), so one push to setup the topspin attack shouldn't be out of place vs this opponent.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acpoulos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 1:33pm
After a while, you loosened up and started to let your hands go (boxing analogy). Painful to watch those early pushes. Man were you tight!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 1:44pm
some nice strokes once you got going.
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Edited by pingpungpeng - 01/27/2019 at 2:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote balldance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 2:26pm
I don't think you should play half-heartedly like the first 6 points even if the opponent is not a threat. No offence but that approach won't help you improve. Even if you don't need to play your A game, trying using those points to practice something. Don't just play easy balls and wait for the opponent to make easy mistakes.

For example, like other members said, you can practice your push, try to add your own underspin to those long no spin ball. Decent 1900-2000 players or even lower should be capable of doing that. I mentioned it before, you rely too much on the underspin of your opponent, when they push with little spin or no spin, you can't add underspin to your push and the ball is likely to pop up.

Try experimenting with the push stroke, bat angle (with no spin ball you need to close the bat more), or try adding some sideway movement. Your push stroke lacks commitment, it can only return the spin, not adding or changing the spin.

Edited by balldance - 01/27/2019 at 2:27pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 3:37pm
aaargh I had to say something again didn't I? Tongue

One remark bout your push: against those long balls it can be instantly better if you add committment to them by slicing more instead of just putting your paddle there and passively control the spin that's on the ball. Making a decision about bat angle is one thing, committing to it is the way to go; more follow through will make pushing a valid stroke and add-on slicing on top of that will make it active, even a bit aggressive. This is purely conversational, I have that pb myself, I just like to believe it's better to miss an aggressive push than being killed by what's coming back from a high floating one, it's another thing to do under pressure.

Anyway it's a moot point since your bh loop opening is very clean and fluid against those long balls so it's best anyway.

General discussion about pushing: there is value in playing friendly matches made out of long underspin serves followed by only aggressive long pushes: it's fun when done with a buddy in a light atmosphere and it's good for the touch since there is more room to tune contact; there is also more trajectory to appreciate and control its height. It's one more thing to be comfortable with anyway and we never know when it will keep us in active play when nothing else is possible/helpful for any reason.

That pushing aspect of your video made me think of that long semi aggressive low height push being the junction from which we enter "chop territory", where the slicing starts being an aggressive, attacking stroke. That transition is where inverted pushing is interesting and I have a general question: is it worth training further than that? For example, I have seen players comforatble when chopping loops with inverted!  but I am not sure it's worth spending the time to acquire the expertise other than for the satsfaction of owning the skill because the time to learn and master the technique does not match the number of times where it's the best choice to win the point in a real match. In a controlled environment it's super cool to watch though and I bet to practice too, just for the touch, so why not if it's fun?

Waiting for your next chooping loops videos with your friends Big smile


Edited by fatt - 01/27/2019 at 3:41pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FruitLoop Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 4:20pm
The problem with your pushing tactically is rather than a single set up push you got into push rallies with the guy when you are perfectly capable of looping off both wings. He never attacked a push so push long and then attack the next push.

Also you pushed often high, without good angles, taking the ball late. Take it earlier and try to place it better. Soft hands.

You should have served long more Vs him I think tactically as well as he never attacked anyway and playing short backspin got you into those rallies which were not to your advantage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kolev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 5:06pm
One thing I learned is, the shorter the push the better it is
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 7:04pm
Originally posted by Kolev Kolev wrote:

Congrats. At the moment you deciddd to put him under pressure you won the set. Great attack from both wings, just take the risk and use it. Push isn't your game yet especially against guys who give you so comfortable balls to attack

Thanks! Yeah, I don't know what was happening at the start of that game haha.

Originally posted by BH-Man BH-Man wrote:

I would add that opponent wasn't attaching the push (if it wasn't a full meter high), so one push to setup the topspin attack shouldn't be out of place vs this opponent.

Yep, most opponents at this level serve long without much spin, or side hoping the opponent pushes and pops the ball high for them to attack. They can't loop. The better few players also serve short, but usually only with heavier side spin to get easier pop ups. And they can loop, but generally very slow without heavy topspin using an open racket angle going from the bottom of the ball. So pushes definitely work if you add enough spin against nearly everyone. I just did really bad hehe.

Originally posted by acpoulos acpoulos wrote:

After a while, you loosened up and started to let your hands go (boxing analogy). Painful to watch those early pushes. Man were you tight!

Yeah, sorry for that eye bleeding play haha.

Originally posted by tom tom wrote:

some nice strokes once you got going.

Thanks tom.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 7:32pm
Originally posted by balldance balldance wrote:

I don't think you should play half-heartedly like the first 6 points even if the opponent is not a threat. No offence but that approach won't help you improve. Even if you don't need to play your A game, trying using those points to practice something. Don't just play easy balls and wait for the opponent to make easy mistakes.
...
Try experimenting with the push stroke, bat angle (with no spin ball you need to close the bat more), or try adding some sideway movement. Your push stroke lacks commitment, it can only return the spin, not adding or changing the spin.

I have this problem where for tournaments like this, I also go to have fun, so I don't try and kill every ball if I'm in the lead or I think I can still win quite easily. The problem there is that it's only when I'm being more aggressive I've got enough spin on the ball for consistency. When I'm going half arsed I don't brush the ball enough, and I'm not good enough to rely on changing racket angles only to counteract the spin.

I actually have a lot of good opportunities to practice returning floating balls short and low with my students, so I'll definitely keep that in mind as a task for me to work on :) I'll try to get rid of the half arsed pushes and replace them with more quality, even when I'm not trying to be super aggressive. Maybe I should learn to be a chopper?? They usually have very good push touch!!

Originally posted by fatt fatt wrote:

aaargh I had to say something again didn't I? Tongue

One remark bout your push: against those long balls it can be instantly better if you add committment to them by slicing more instead of just putting your paddle there and passively control the spin that's on the ball. 
...
Anyway it's a moot point since your bh loop opening is very clean and fluid against those long balls so it's best anyway.

General discussion about pushing: there is value in playing friendly matches made out of long underspin serves followed by only aggressive long pushes: it's fun when done with a buddy in a light atmosphere and it's good for the touch since there is more room to tune contact; there is also more trajectory to appreciate and control its height. It's one more thing to be comfortable with anyway and we never know when it will keep us in active play when nothing else is possible/helpful for any reason.
...

Thanks! And yeah, balldance and you are right here. I need better commitment on pushes as well. Though I swear I usually push better than that. Those points were just... I don't know haha. I need softer hands. When I went back to Australia, I lost to some people because my pushes pop up too high. No one uses heavy underspin serves. It was hard for me to control.

All of the more serious table tennis school clubs I've gone to commit some time every session to pushes only. Like, not just practicing a pushing rally, but trying to win points through pushing alone. I think it's a great exercise because sometimes a fast push in a wide angle can just as easily win you the point as well as it limiting your opponent's ability to attack.

Originally posted by FruitLoop FruitLoop wrote:

The problem with your pushing tactically is rather than a single set up push you got into push rallies with the guy when you are perfectly capable of looping off both wings. He never attacked a push so push long and then attack the next push.

Also you pushed often high, without good angles, taking the ball late. Take it earlier and try to place it better. Soft hands.

You should have served long more Vs him I think tactically as well as he never attacked anyway and playing short backspin got you into those rallies which were not to your advantage.

All very good points, thanks FruitLoop. If it was a much more serious match, I'd try and open as early as I can. For me, a lot of these matches have the feeling of say having a quick match at a bar with a table tennis table while drinking beers. It's a little more serious than that, and I still don't want to lose, but I often go into the match with a friendly have fun approach if it's a low level player, or if I've gotten the first set already.

As for the pushes, I really need to work on it. I think one reason why I'm so bad at is is that one of my main practice partners always pushes in the same way. Super heavy. So I push heavy back. When it comes to balls with varying spins and closer to no spin, especially when the balls vary per ball, I struggle still.

Long serves worked well against him. I did some in the first set off memory and they worked well. For the second set, I just did the 2 current serves I'm working on (heavier side under to their short backhand that curves away from the table (reverse spin for left handers) and short side/no spin to their forehand that curves away from the table (regular pendulum spin for left handers).

I think if you guys see me doing mostly backhand serves in a set, it means I feel a little under pressure. If I'm doing pendulum, reverse pendulum, hook serves (basically just forehand serves), I still feel like I have some control of the game.

Originally posted by Kolev Kolev wrote:

One thing I learned is, the shorter the push the better it is

I've been wondering about this. I think level matters, but I feel that while short is important, low is more important. Low followed by short. But yeah, if they are only able to loop long balls, and can't flick short balls, then definitely short first. If they're looping, they generally aren't finishing the point so it gives you a chance to counter or at least block. If the ball is high, it's more likely to be a kill shot coming.

 
P.S. I'm really glad to see so many replies. Thanks guys. It's nice actually having people to talk to when I check the forums :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote avova Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 7:35pm
Interesting, an edge ball is only a "sumimasen"? I thought it would be a full "gomennasai".

I played in a very similar looking sports center in Tokyo once on vacation. I think it was Oyamadai station.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 8:02pm
I agree with the other posters, the pushes are way too low quality, you seem to be just bumping it back which leads to bad control over an active push where you brush the ball a lot. The best way of increasing your push quality imo is to learn and practice tomahawk serves on both sides, the action is incredibly similar. My FH push quality went way higher after learning them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 8:20pm
Your description also gave the pushing issue away. Good pushers can push anything, even long sidetopspin serves! Without a good push I think you would be quite vulnerable to good servers who have huge spin variation and follow up with strong attacks. The issue you have is a lack of an active brushing stroke, and if you can't get it from pushing practice, might as well get it from tomahawk service practice!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/27/2019 at 9:11pm
Originally posted by avova avova wrote:

Interesting, an edge ball is only a "sumimasen"? I thought it would be a full "gomennasai".

"Sumimasen" is more polite than "gomennasai". I could have been living the last 5.5 years of my life as a lie though! "Gomennasai" is what children would say to adults, friends to friends, etc.

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Your description also gave the pushing issue away. Good pushers can push anything, even long sidetopspin serves! Without a good push I think you would be quite vulnerable to good servers who have huge spin variation and follow up with strong attacks. The issue you have is a lack of an active brushing stroke, and if you can't get it from pushing practice, might as well get it from tomahawk service practice!

(replying to both of your posts)

Yeah, I can't push top spin or heavy side spin. I'm really bad at it. I don't have a tomahawk serve yet, so time to practice it I guess :) Anything to help improve my pushing too. I think the biggest issue so far is that I didn't have it high on my priority list, always focusing more on my topspin mechanics. Maybe now I'm at a point where I need to take a step back and work a little more on improving my push. I'm confident that now I'm aware and conscious about it that I'll be able to improve it greatly with a little time (maybe a year? hah).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/28/2019 at 9:35pm
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

Originally posted by avova avova wrote:

Interesting, an edge ball is only a "sumimasen"? I thought it would be a full "gomennasai".

"Sumimasen" is more polite than "gomennasai". I could have been living the last 5.5 years of my life as a lie though! "Gomennasai" is what children would say to adults, friends to friends, etc.

Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Your description also gave the pushing issue away. Good pushers can push anything, even long sidetopspin serves! Without a good push I think you would be quite vulnerable to good servers who have huge spin variation and follow up with strong attacks. The issue you have is a lack of an active brushing stroke, and if you can't get it from pushing practice, might as well get it from tomahawk service practice!


(replying to both of your posts)

Yeah, I can't push top spin or heavy side spin. I'm really bad at it. I don't have a tomahawk serve yet, so time to practice it I guess :) Anything to help improve my pushing too. I think the biggest issue so far is that I didn't have it high on my priority list, always focusing more on my topspin mechanics. Maybe now I'm at a point where I need to take a step back and work a little more on improving my push. I'm confident that now I'm aware and conscious about it that I'll be able to improve it greatly with a little time (maybe a year? hah).


Yes it's one of the most underrated skills in table tennis, the push. Everybody sees the loopkill that finishes points off, but neglects what created the opportunity. Also a lot of the so called "unforced errors" especially on opening loops are actually more "forced errors" due to the quality of the push.

I once played a very skilled player who had such an amazing push, it was close to unloopable, he would push all kinds of serves, including side-topspin and no-spin serves, the pushes were always low, deep, placed to the corners or to your middle, and with very heavy underspin. He occassionally pushed some with no spin and some others short. It was a nightmare to deal with. I was losing more points than winning if I attempted to loop those monsters... If you pushed it back you had to deal with a strong opening loop. I ended up giving up on short serves against him and simply served long all the time with mainly heavy side topspin to avoid his push. The funny thing was that it was way easier to deal with his loops than his pushes! I saw some stubborn players who repeatedly tried to do the short serve followed by opening loop strategy, and got destroyed hard with his pushes. He barely even needed to loop to win against them easily.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/29/2019 at 5:50am
I know a player like that! He pushes really heavy and consistently, even against all serve spins. I still have trouble opening with a loop. If I go too slow with the loop, he likes to smash it off the bounce. I probably still need more spin. He's a pen user tho! The good thing is that he doesn't vary his push spin much, and generally just goes super heavy.

I think I've won about 1 in 15 matches against him. Haven't played him in a few months, though. He's also in his 50s and plays an extremely movement based mid distance counter looping style. Probably rated around low 2000, maybe a little higher during his 1st and 2nd matches (he tires because of his age and play style).

I found the video of when I first played the opponent in the OP! It was 3.5 years ago. And after that match he spent just under 10 minutes serving reverse and regular spin to both my backhand and forehand, giving me advise for returning them. Great guy! One of many I am very thankful for over the years.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TT newbie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/29/2019 at 7:30am
Off-topic, but those gyms in Japan always amaze me. The floor is extremely well maintained, always shining and not slippery at all. Same for tables, always in excellent condition.
Another singularity I find interesting in tournaments in Japan is that the winner never express himself after the match when someone asks "who won?" I don´t know if it would sound not politely but the fact is the loser is the one who take the word and says "maketa" (I lost).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/29/2019 at 10:23am
Yeah, it's because the city maintains them. They re-wax the floors once or twice a year. I forgot how often it was, but I've helped do it in the past. I have been to one gym where it was really slippery, though. Usually it's because the school that the gym belongs to has closed down (due to the lowering number of children in Japan), but they still keep the gym for people to play sports in.

And yeah! Sometimes I have to force people to tell me if they won or not haha. I ask them how it went, they say they played badly. I ask them if they lost, they say no. I then ask them if it went 5 sets, and they say no, they won 3-0. They rarely say negative things about their opponents unless it's between close friends and they're just teasing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TT newbie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/30/2019 at 2:01pm
I´ve played in a lot tournaments in Aichi-Ken: Chiryu, Anjo, Kariya, Komaki and some in Nagoya. All gyms had excellent floor and space.
But what kinda surprised me was the high level I found within those tournaments. My best result was a bronze medal in Nagoya. But I think I couldn´t expect more than that since I used to worked all day and played only in the weekends.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/30/2019 at 6:44pm
That's really good. If you don't mind me asking, what playing level would you say you're at? Just wondering because I don't think I'd ever get anywhere near top 10 in singles unless it was like this very small for fun tournament (and my area isn't known for its table tennis).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TT newbie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/31/2019 at 1:40am
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

That's really good. If you don't mind me asking, what playing level would you say you're at? Just wondering because I don't think I'd ever get anywhere near top 10 in singles unless it was like this very small for fun tournament (and my area isn't known for its table tennis).
I don´t know how to calculate my level. Actually I don´t know how the USTTA rating works. 
Some say "I am 2200", others say "I´m aiming for 2000", but when I read this I have no clue on what they are talking about. How do they get to those numbers?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01/31/2019 at 7:10pm
Haha, don't worry. There's no way to calculate a USATT rating except by playing a whole bunch of USATT rated tournaments in America. The more you play, the more accurate it'll be.

Just off your results, I wouldn't be surprised if you were 2200. I think there are a lot of amateur club players who are 2000-2200 in Japan!

If you have any videos of yourself playing, I would love to see some. Of course, only if you're comfortable with showing me. If you don't want to put them up publicly, you can private message me instead :)
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