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My Progress Over Time

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mickd View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/25/2018 at 9:32am
It's been awhile since I've posted in this thread!!

What a roller coaster 2017 was. I visited and played in China for a week early in the year and was extremely depressed when I came back to rural Japan. I was on the verge of quitting at various points, but I kept on going.

I beat some people for the first time, people who were teaching and giving me advice less than 2 years ago. I also took sets off some of the better players at my local club.

I've started developing a backhand. While far from anything noteworthy, it has helped upped my game a lot. I'm also more confident in flicking short pushes if they look a little high without too much spin.

When I visited my family in Australia and played at one of the local clubs, many people came up to me to ask me to play with them. This was the complete opposite of the last time I went. Even the best few players there who usually just play among themselves (from what I saw) let me play with them. A lot of them complemented my form and even thought I'd received coaching.

I still have a lot to work on. I'm getting close to beating most of the "medium" level players at my main club.

It's actually really exciting thinking about how I'll be a year from now. I feel like I'm EXTREMELY far from my potential.

There are also quite a few cocky players I have to beat haha. Though it's going to take a few more years maybe...

Here's a random video of me doing forehands at practice recently. I've been working so much more on my backhand recently, it felt really nice just to continuously drive forehands.


I've also been testing out twiddling my racket for smashes. Whenever someone lobs for me, they always return my balls so easily. They always tell me I need to use more power, but the more power I try to add, the more likely I was to miss. After twiddling to my backhand rubber, nearly all my smashes went past my opponent. Here are some highlights of a friendly match I had recently (with the twiddling)!



I HIGHLY RECOMMEND anyone who is using a Chinese tacky rubber to try twiddling for smashes sometimes!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/25/2018 at 9:35am
When you smash with harder sponge or with a Chinese tacky rubber, you are better off topspin smashing or hooking and fading the ball in some way than flat smashing harder.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/25/2018 at 9:49am
Very quick response, NL haha. It would definitely seem that way since my smashes with a harder sponge Chinese tacky rubber is laughable at best... Something to try the next time I'm in a lobbing situation!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote emihet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/28/2018 at 5:47pm
good job, impressive
Stiga Clipper Wood, Viscaria,BBC,
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/28/2018 at 6:09pm
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

Very quick response, NL haha. It would definitely seem that way since my smashes with a harder sponge Chinese tacky rubber is laughable at best... Something to try the next time I'm in a lobbing situation!


Don't take my word for it. Watch Ma Long or Quadri Aruna play vs lob.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
Tibhar Inca
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BH: MX-S 1.9 R
Lumberjack TT
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/28/2018 at 9:08pm
Thanks, emihet!

@NL Yeah, they have really nice topspin smashes. When I mentioned the same problem to my practice partner, he said the same thing. Go for more topspin smashes. I think I usually go for topspin smashes, but it's quite difficult to generate the power needed to decide the point. I probably still need to focus on concentrating my power on the point of contact, increasing racket head speed, and getting into a better position.

After feeding multiball to the little kids at the club for 1.5 hours yesterday, I had 30 minutes to practice after they left. Played a match with one of the older guys and in the last 10 minutes one of the high school boys asked me to hit with him for a bit. He defaults to moving back to counter/lob, so it was a good chance to try it out. Some of the smashes were quite good when I moved into position (not too close to the ball, and waiting for the ball to drop to a manageable height). I still need to work on it though.

To me most of the higher balls were topspin smashes (some were a little flat, though). But I just want to make sure that's what I'm doing. Comments welcome!



P.S. The video freezes for me at 720p60 but works fine at 1080p60. If it's freezing for you.. please try a different resolution. I'm not sure why that's happening.


Edited by mickd - 02/28/2018 at 9:17pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/28/2018 at 10:42pm
Watch Ma Long and use the whole arm and body.   Think Helicopter. The key to hard sponge is that it spins better than it flat hits. You don't have to close the paddle or brush too much as you aren't looking for arc. The helicopter motion will turn the racket into the ball. Watch Ma Long smash to Freitas or Aruna to Yoshida until the beauty of the swing inspires you. It should feel like a discus throw. Hook the wrist throughout the stroke.

Edited by NextLevel - 02/28/2018 at 10:55pm
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
Tibhar Inca
FH: MX-S 1.9 B
BH: MX-S 1.9 R
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03/01/2018 at 12:36am
Ah yes. The whole arm and body swing. Such a beauty to look at... so difficult to get down right. I do love the look of it, and prefer it too. When I get another opportunity, I'll try it out. It'll probably take a few revisions before I can get the general technique down. I rarely practice against lobbing because most my practice partners can't or don't lob. I'll probably dedicate another thread to it once I get some good attempts in!!

Thanks NL.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/25/2018 at 10:14pm
Yesterday during the last 10 minutes of practice, I played a game against someone that is much stronger than me. She uses long pips on the backhand, which I'm generally pretty weak against.

We play together for about 30 minutes maybe once a week, but we usually do drills. I think the last time I played a game against her was about a year ago.

I did surprisingly well. We only had enough time for 2 sets (11-7, 9-11). I used a lot of short and long serves targeting her forehand, with the occasional long dead serve to the backhand (since I didn't want to deal with the pips).

Unfortunately I didn't record the match, but it was really nice to see I've improved because the last time I played her I only got like 5 points.

I suspect the next time I play her, she going to beat me easily. But I hope this isn't a one off thing!


Edited by mickd - 04/25/2018 at 10:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/26/2018 at 10:31am
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

Thanks, emihet!

@NL Yeah, they have really nice topspin smashes. When I mentioned the same problem to my practice partner, he said the same thing. Go for more topspin smashes. I think I usually go for topspin smashes, but it's quite difficult to generate the power needed to decide the point. I probably still need to focus on concentrating my power on the point of contact, increasing racket head speed, and getting into a better position.

After feeding multiball to the little kids at the club for 1.5 hours yesterday, I had 30 minutes to practice after they left. Played a match with one of the older guys and in the last 10 minutes one of the high school boys asked me to hit with him for a bit. He defaults to moving back to counter/lob, so it was a good chance to try it out. Some of the smashes were quite good when I moved into position (not too close to the ball, and waiting for the ball to drop to a manageable height). I still need to work on it though.

To me most of the higher balls were topspin smashes (some were a little flat, though). But I just want to make sure that's what I'm doing. Comments welcome!



P.S. The video freezes for me at 720p60 but works fine at 1080p60. If it's freezing for you.. please try a different resolution. I'm not sure why that's happening.



just watched this video again and saw something that you might want to pay attention immediately, as you're about to create a bad habit. Whenever he lobbed the ball and you did a sort of topspin smash you always drew your left leg back. Pay attention to that and stop it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/26/2018 at 11:54am
Hey TtGold. Thanks for having a look! Could you elaborate a bit more on what you mean? Do you mean not standing side on? Or not putting my weight on my left leg before I smash the ball? Or do you mean the angle my foot is facing? Or something else? I'm trying to get some weight transfer in, so that's why I'm leaning on my left foot and standing side on. If I'm making a mistake here, let me know! Cheers!

P.S. The smash at 0:05 was just bad though Embarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/26/2018 at 12:10pm
Very impresses. Looking so much better than in early videos. Keep up the good work and keep posting.

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tt Gold Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/26/2018 at 1:38pm
At 0.05 for example you raise your right leg. This is a common bad habit among players. It doesn't have any benefits and will only cause trouble once you reach a level where the game speeds up. Also at 10 seconds moving onward your left leg moves back( behind you). That's what I was pointing out. Generally you need to work on having a stable position, so no leg raising or letting your left leg go.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04/26/2018 at 7:58pm
Oh, I think I see what you mean. Do you mean how my left leg bends up at the knee? I'll need to work on having better balance while smashing. To be honest, I didn't feel out of balance at all during those shots (except for the one at 0:05). But yes, looking at the video, I should probably work towards addressing this, so thanks for bringing it up!

I think there are two factors that come into play that 'forces' me to hit like that. Timing and position.

I think I'm hitting a lot of the balls too high. A lot of the balls I'm hitting above head height, which means to reach above the ball to do a topspin smash, I need to push up off my left leg, which causes the raising and the leg going behind me as I land forward on my right leg.

And positioning. A lack of anticipation and movement means that the ball doesn't enter my ideal strike zone so that I can have a balanced weight transfer without jumping towards the ball, or in the case of 0:05, pushing up because the ball was already too close to my body to hit forward.


Thank you Mark :) Progress has been slow since about half of my play time is spent helping new players. But that's my choice and I enjoy it, so no biggie there! I'm looking forward to more videos from you, too!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/04/2018 at 7:02am
It took a little over 4 years, but I'm finally starting to challenge the above average members at my local club!!

I remember losing 0-3, only taking up to 5 points a set with my opponent going easy on me a few years ago.

I barely lost 2-3 this week :) I had a chance at 11-10, but she got the ball back! Here's the last few points of the 5th set and some random highlights! I felt like I'm getting better at controlling the ball, especially against long pips. I liked the point at 1:27.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kevo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/04/2018 at 10:01am
That's really great play vs the long pips. Really impressed. I always enjoy your videos as I lived in Japan--Aomori-ken--for 5 yrs and really remember it fondly. (Though I hardly played any TT at all at the time! I played football (soccer) seriously then.)

Random question: Do you know what blade and rubbers your opponent with the LPs uses? I play a similar syle and am curious.

Cheers and keep up the training!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/04/2018 at 10:50am
Thank you, kevo! Yes, Japan is a great place! Were you on the JET Programme? I've never been to Aomori. Never been north of Tokyo. It's on my to visit list along with Hokkaido!

I'll ask her for you the next time I see her! She's told and showed me her racket before, but I forgot.

Will do!! And I'll keep the posts coming!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kevo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/05/2018 at 12:44pm
Yes, Mick. I was on the JET programme but also lived there as a teenager as well. Aomori is a wonderful place. Real hidden Gem. People mainly fly over it or pass through it on their way to Hokkaido but it is worth visiting. Lovely people. Great skiing and food!

You keep posting and we'll keep watching! 

Cheers!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/06/2018 at 9:55am
I plan to visit as many prefectures as I can, so Aomori is definitely on my list :)

I asked her today and she's using Fastarc G1 on her FH and Tibhar Grass D.TecS on her BH.

She said that Grass D.TecS still creates a lot of variation with the plastic ball, too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kevo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/06/2018 at 11:38am
You're a star, Mick, thanks! I use D.Tecs myself though have been toying with anti again. You didn't by any chance catch what blade she's using? It doesn't seem to be a balsa blade. A defensive blade of some sort...?

Cheers!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 10:25am
Sorry for taking so long to reply, kevo! I checked her blade and she's using Nittaku Acoustic! So a slightly offensive blade. She's usually offensive with her forehands, so I guess it works well with that.

Yesterday I went to play against short pips girl (you can see her in the OP). It's been 1.5 years since I last played her. She's now in year 9 and about 2 weeks away from retiring from middle school table tennis to focus on high school entrance exams. Needless to say, she has improved a lot! She has also been taking some coaching classes.

So.. who do you think won?? 2 years ago when she was in year 7, I barely beat her in 5 sets. Of  course, I've improved as well...

Watch and let me know what you think! Sorry about the camera angle. I usually avoid taking it from that side since I'm left handed, but on the other side there was a guy lobbing, so I didn't want him to knock my camera over :)

Here's the last part of our match. For the people who haven't read the OP, she uses short pips on her forehand!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/31/2018 at 11:54am
As someone who started playing as an adult with no coaching, I think I should be proud of my progress over time. But as the competitive side of me is constantly at the back of my head yelling, sometimes it's hard to stay positive, especially since I always watch videos of myself playing (so easy to nit pick everything in a video). In so many ways, knowing what I know now, I regret so many of the things I did (or didn't do) that really slowed my progress down. Of course, all of us wish we were stronger, but I really feel like I could have been much stronger by now if I was just more disciplined.

Anyway, today I finally had a great moment at the club. I don't really remember the last time I was this happy after playing table tennis. It all started as business as usual. I spent the first 1.5 hours feeding multiball to my students. After they left, usually I'd play with the other coaches. But today we had 4 coaches come to help with the kids. So I let them practice against themselves and went over to the other side (where most the adults play).

One of my long time rivals (not sure if that's the right word for him), or rather someone on my "to beat" list (long story, but we didn't get along years ago. he has quite a stuck up personality. we're fine now tho) was open, so I asked him if he wanted to hit some balls. He said okay. We hit for a minute or two and then he said let's play a match. I said okay.

I've never beaten him. The last time I played him was maybe 8 or so months ago. Maybe more. And to my surprise I actually beat him 3-1. I don't think he was playing as well as he usually does, and I was probably playing some of the best TT I've ever done, but it was still a great moment.

Anyway, I really wanted to share that. I was in such a happy mood all the way home :)

Here's my favourite point from our match.



P.S. Sorry for the long wall of text!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/31/2018 at 12:03pm
Congratulations. First win against a good opponent is always special. You looked very good in that point. Much more fluid and balanced than in some of early videos. You seem to be more compact in your strokes too. Hope I can get there one of these days.

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JediJesseS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/31/2018 at 2:52pm
Great point! What equipment are you using these days? As your skill and understanding have improved do you find you have different preferences now?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fatt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/31/2018 at 2:55pm
Great stuff! I remember a few heads on my list and the feeling when getting a win v. them the 1st time, it gives a true feel of accomplishment.

I think you are better than me but I also think you do not care about criticism from lower players as long as they are constructive so here I am.

You are a naturally kind person and it may be detrimental to your game sometimes during a match --> I am thinking of the 8th ball that comes after your nice fh loop: you apply great pressure in that 6th ball loop and the following stroke seems to hold back a bit, too much control instead of keeping the pressure up. I actually am like that but it's only because the ball comes back at me too fast and I can't do anything else so it's often "loop-every-other-ball" for me and I just control and maybe place what comes back however in your case you are athletic and trained so you do not have to be there yet. 

ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK, it's a mindset!

Maybe I am full of $%* and your actual game is what you need to play to be happy at the table and in that case, forget about what I wrote.

I liked the bh serve return btw, VERY SMOOTH!!! 

Question: can you imagine an 8th ball off the bounce aggressive fh in the rally above? that could be a routine of choice in your training: serve long slight topspin, get a soft passive return with almost no rotation, loop that serve return hard and fh kill off the bounce whatever your partner actively blocks back to your fh. That should help building that mindset.




Edited by fatt - 08/31/2018 at 4:08pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/01/2018 at 12:21am
Thanks Mark! I've been practicing a lot more closer to the table table tennis recently, so I think that has helped with making my strokes a little shorter. A little more like the women's game! I think you're already there because from what I've seen in your past videos, you're always close to the table with a fast and powerful compact swing. And with much better placement than me haha. I just put the ball back onto the table.

Thanks JediJesseS. I use Hurricane Long 3 with Neo H3 on the forehand and Omega 7 Euro on the backhand. I've basically always used Neo H3 on my forehand. Over time, I've been trying a bunch of different backhand rubbers though. I went from Fastarc P1 3 years ago to MX-P a year ago to Omega 7 Euro like a month ago. I don't know which I prefer on my backhand, but I generally give each rubber at least a year before I change. MX-P was a little too fast, I think. I found it was making me too passive because I could just block balls back with decent speed. With Omega 7 Euro, passive blocks hardly bounce off the rubber, so it's forcing me to be a little more aggressive (which is what I want). At first most my backhand balls just fell into the net with it, but now that I'm used to it, I'm liking it so far.

Thank you for the kind words, fatt :) He has been on my list for over 3 years, so it was really nice to finally get the win. I was still very humble after the match, but after getting back to the bench I was pretty excited haha. And yes, I welcome all criticism from all players!! So thank you for taking the time to write that out. And of course, you hit the nail on the head because that's something I've been trying to work on! I definitely need to be more aggressive. There was a rally in the 4th set that I lost because I was extremely passive on all my returns. I passively blocked the ball back like 3 or so times before overcoming to his pressure and missing. After reviewing the video, I felt like I had plenty of time to be more aggressive with all those blocks, I just didn't have the attacking mindset there. It's so easy to fall back on what you've been doing since the beginning! There were some very nice short points like that where I was aggressive from the beginning, and they usually start from a slight topspin long serve ;)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/06/2018 at 11:17pm
Last week I played someone that I didn't think I'd be able to win and ended up winning 3-1 :) It was my first time playing him! I'm finally starting to consistently beat the average club player, and starting to challenge the upper average players, too!

There's still a lot of work to be done, especially against different styles. I got smashed by a long pips player on the same day, though he's one of the top players at that club. Unfortunately he didn't want me to upload the video.

Anyway, here's set 2 from the match! As always, ALL opinions and suggestions are welcome. I'm highly analytical in my play. So even if it's something I won't be able to implement straight away, or something very simple tactically or technical, feel free to post!!



(If it's not clear from my other videos, I'm yellow shirt!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ericd937 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/06/2018 at 11:23pm
It may just be the location of the camera, but I cant see the the ball contact your paddle during your forehand serve because your other hand is blocking the view. I'm not sure if your opponent can see it or not? Has anyone ever complained to you about that? 

Also, I'm impressed by your footwork. Much better than mine. You have quick feet. 


Edited by ericd937 - 09/06/2018 at 11:24pm
Current Setup:
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T80 (max)
802-40 custom sponge (1.5)
Official USATT Rating 1815
Current estimated level:
Bad Day ~ 1800
Good Day ~ 2100
(In Asia since 2015, no USATT events here)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/07/2018 at 12:28am
Thanks for the quick reply, eric! I have a lot of the older guys complimenting my footwork all the time, but the younger guys usually tell me how bad it is haha. It's still a work in progress but has definitely improved a lot over the years (more accurate movements, less wasted movements)!

I'm generally really really careful about my serves, so if anything is wrong I'll definitely put it highhhh on my priority list to fix. Could you let me know which serve/s (time/s in the video)? I've never had anyone complain about it, but as you know, most people won't complain about serves. I also rarely complain about serves.

I always move my hand out of the way (or try to!) and always only move my head down after the ball has dropped below head height (or try to!!)

As for the camera, it was 1.5 tables to the left of the table I played on, relatively far back, zoomed in. So it was quite left side bias (from our view).

Thanks again!


Edited by mickd - 09/07/2018 at 12:31am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote skip3119 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09/07/2018 at 2:25am
Looks like you play better than me, so no suggestion from me.
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