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Limits of countering style

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    Posted: 02/20/2017 at 8:50am
Originally posted by vanjr vanjr wrote:

The OP question was about style of play. 

I will "counter" that a huge component of getting a high rating is finding an opponents weakness and modifying your game to exploit that weakness. Heavyspin is who I think of in this department. 

Example-your opponent has a good short serve return but does poorly vs long serves. If you keep playing short serves then you lose out on an easy win. In game observations and adjustments are more important than style imo.


Well, this sounds all "wisdomy", but I will counter that this is true if you are actually able to execute the adjustments you try to make; because if you can't you just end up beating yourself. Not everybody can hit every shot, even if we would all like to. First rule:  Don't beat yourself! 

So in the context of Mark's original post, he notes his opening FH loops are not strong and in fact his attempts to feature that shot in his game may be hurting him.  So if he can develop a style that de-emphasizes that, he could well be better off than he is now. 

On the other hand, attempting to completely re-tool his entire game, especially if it means giving up some of the things he is really good at (his current backhand for example), might be a bad idea.  LP on BH might get someone from 900 to 1600 but Mark is already over 1800 and for getting him to 2000 that might not be a great plan, especially since you normally need a good forehand to go with it.  Changing to SP on his forehand?  Maybe.  I've seen people play that way.  SP on one side can definitely be effective.  It will take quite awhile to get to where you really know how to use them most effectively (at the level Mark is shooting for).  And it might not be needed.  It might just need acceptance of a limitation and a change in shot selection (which it sounds like this is what Mark is thinking).  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote obesechopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 10:06pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Originally posted by vanjr vanjr wrote:

The OP question was about style of play. 

I will "counter" that a huge component of getting a high rating is finding an opponents weakness and modifying your game to exploit that weakness. Heavyspin is who I think of in this department. 

Example-your opponent has a good short serve return but does poorly vs long serves. If you keep playing short serves then you lose out on an easy win. In game observations and adjustments are more important than style imo.

As the ratings get higher, doing "poorly" becomes more and more relative and the wins are never quite as "easy".  Dima has a relatively poor return vs serves to his short forehand, but I would never be able to exploit it in a million years and he might even use his weaker shots on that wing to play me for practice.

At every level, people target strategic weaknesses.  The original question is a reasonable one and it has been given reasonable answers.  It is a difficult way to play but one can do it to a high level with modifications.  Again I go back to Rich DeWitt.  I was largely a blocker and counterhitter until recently too - I would argue I broke 2000 mostly hitting and blocking.

That said, I think that it is more important to focus on serve/third ball and serve return than rally style when looking at your game.

Yeah, all the BORING stuff! LOL

But it's definitely true, no doubt. I know quite a few people who like to practice power loops off the table over and over -- only to complain during games that they never get to use it! Because the old geezers they're playing never open up the rally to give them a chance. And if you're not able to put your own strength into play... then it's not really much of a strength now, is it! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 8:55pm
Originally posted by vanjr vanjr wrote:

The OP question was about style of play. 

I will "counter" that a huge component of getting a high rating is finding an opponents weakness and modifying your game to exploit that weakness. Heavyspin is who I think of in this department. 

Example-your opponent has a good short serve return but does poorly vs long serves. If you keep playing short serves then you lose out on an easy win. In game observations and adjustments are more important than style imo.

As the ratings get higher, doing "poorly" becomes more and more relative and the wins are never quite as "easy".  Dima has a relatively poor return vs serves to his short forehand, but I would never be able to exploit it in a million years and he might even use his weaker shots on that wing to play me for practice.

At every level, people target strategic weaknesses.  The original question is a reasonable one and it has been given reasonable answers.  It is a difficult way to play but one can do it to a high level with modifications.  Again I go back to Rich DeWitt.  I was largely a blocker and counterhitter until recently too - I would argue I broke 2000 mostly hitting and blocking.

That said, I think that it is more important to focus on serve/third ball and serve return than rally style when looking at your game.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vanjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 2:21pm
The OP question was about style of play. 

I will "counter" that a huge component of getting a high rating is finding an opponents weakness and modifying your game to exploit that weakness. Heavyspin is who I think of in this department. 

Example-your opponent has a good short serve return but does poorly vs long serves. If you keep playing short serves then you lose out on an easy win. In game observations and adjustments are more important than style imo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LUCKYLOOP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 1:14pm
Originally posted by mts388 mts388 wrote:



Long pips blocking game, ok, you could do that, but you might be giving up some of the strengths of your current game, and in any case, don't underestimate how long it takes to get good at it.  Remember, it's a trade-off. 


I've been a LP'er for 2 1/2 years and I have been amazed at how tough it is to learn.  I would not recommend changing. 
[/QUOTE]

It depends on the player. A guy at North Little Table Tennis Group Timeline Page on Facebook did quite well in under 2 years. I know a player who went from 900 rating to 1650 in a year changing to long pips, over 50 guy.

Edited by LUCKYLOOP - 02/19/2017 at 1:21pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mts388 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 1:03pm


Long pips blocking game, ok, you could do that, but you might be giving up some of the strengths of your current game, and in any case, don't underestimate how long it takes to get good at it.  Remember, it's a trade-off.  [/QUOTE]

I've been a LP'er for 2 1/2 years and I have been amazed at how tough it is to learn.  I would not recommend changing. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LUCKYLOOP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 12:48pm

The long pips will slow the game down for a senior player who is not getting quicker with aging.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 12:19pm
The two wing hitting game a la Johnny Huang is one of the lowest margin-of-error styles there is.  You have to be in perfect position every time and the ball has virtually no arc.  If you haven't been playing that way more or less from the beginning, you aren't going to just suddenly pick it up.  There haven't been many players like him, that's for sure!

Long pips blocking game, ok, you could do that, but you might be giving up some of the strengths of your current game, and in any case, don't underestimate how long it takes to get good at it.  Remember, it's a trade-off. 

Close to table countering?  Sounds like the best option.  Spin when you can. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Skyline Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 12:14pm
I'm a counter type player myself. I guess my rating would around 2300 USATT level. I have always been much better at blocking and flat hitting than looping. Over the years I got really good at it. It should come natural though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 12:13pm
"Was wondering if I might actually go farther if I just gave up Fh looping and focused on hitting and countering from Fh."

It's really coming down to a shot selection question rather than a complete change in your style.  You don't want to make any bigger change than you have to.

So should you go full out trying to spin a forehand if it's an erratic shot for you and/or throwing you off balance for the next ball?  Well, no, not if it's costing you more than it's gaining you, and not if you have spent a lot of time trying to improve it to no avail

Does this impose some sort of upper limit on your level?  Well, yes of course it does.   Ma Long plays the way he does for a reason!  But the game of modern professional offensive table tennis is not a realistic style for everybody, and it is especially challenging for people in their 60s because it demands so much footwork and body rotation (not to mention vision and anticipation)! 

So what is that limit? Impossible to say, but higher than you are now if you are stubbornly sticking with shots and habits that are actually beating you more than helping you.  I think it could be pretty high for a person with really good serves, returns, short game, and who doesn't beat himself.

Mark, we all make those choices.  Eventually.  Some people commenting here maybe have not had to make them yet.  Their time will come, though.  Loop when it's a safe shot, counter the other times, it's fine.  
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Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Why not simply a SP hitting game on both wings? You could just hit everything close to table ala He Zhi Wen. The only thing that would suffer is your serve as it's much harder to serve up nasty spin using SP IMO... 

That is exactly why I am asking the  question. 

I am kind of stuck trying to get better with a more traditional one wing looping game.  I see 3 possible options.

1. A close to table countering game  (like trained 8-10 yr olds who have not started looping yet)

2. A 2 wing hitting game (possibly SP on both sides)

3. LP blocking game.

I feel most comfortable countering, but against 2000+ level loopers I seem to just get stuck blocking weakly.  So was wondering if I am more the limiting factor or if that style starts having limits above the 2000 level.

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 11:32am
Originally posted by cole_ely cole_ely wrote:

Seems like samsanov has some countering game, no?

I would say it is more of a one wing looping style.  Blocking and countering from Bh side but using a big Fh loop to finish points on a weak ball or anything that strays to far to the Fh side.  Most of the time he is too far back from the table for what I think of as a countering style.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/19/2017 at 6:13am
Why not simply a SP hitting game on both wings? You could just hit everything close to table ala He Zhi Wen. The only thing that would suffer is your serve as it's much harder to serve up nasty spin using SP IMO... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cole_ely Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/18/2017 at 7:57am
Seems like samsanov has some countering game, no?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 10:10pm
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

Originally posted by mts388 mts388 wrote:

Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

What do you think would be the USATT rating limit for a player using a fairly basic countering game?  Counter or block topspin on both sides.  Bh roll for opening backspin and Fh spin loop for opening backspin.  Just considering avg player not someone with some special gift for playing the countering style.

I am already countering with SP on Bh.  My Fh looping is really poor.  Was wondering if I might actually go farther if I just gave up Fh looping and focused on hitting and countering from Fh.   Currently USATT 1880, playing 4 days a week with no formal coaching available, and 62 years old.

Mark


Your backhand countering game is excellent.  Excluding any mental problems you have Tongue is there a reason you're not better at looping? 

Will you be going to the Nationals again this year? 

Your age shouldn't be a problem.  I'm 10 years older than you and still improving.

One possible problem looping is my frozen wrist.  My loops just do not seem to give anyone a problem.  Even 1300 level players just crush them back past me.  When I use a fast flat counter I hit the ball past them rather easily.  I also have a problem with recovery.  I can get off the first loop but never the second one.  Could be follow through, anticipation, and/or reaction time.  Despite lots of work it is not getting better.   Seems to be much easier to get off that 2nd shot if I am countering instead of looping.

Mark 

The wrist is the easiest way but it is not the only way, though the older you are, the harder it gets.  I know people with powerful loops with very poor wrist usage.  It just makes you wonder what they would get if they actually relaxed properly.

In any case, if your shoulder and elbow are fine, circular rotation of the forearm is a decent alternative.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LUCKYLOOP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 8:59pm
Originally posted by mts388 mts388 wrote:

Originally posted by LUCKYLOOP LUCKYLOOP wrote:


If you put long pips OX on your BH, realistically possible to increase your rating from 1880 to 2000-2200.


Mark's backhand is fine.  I wouldn't mess with it.


Then his long pips hitting BH would be more dangerous than most Lp players.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote obesechopper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 7:07pm
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

Originally posted by obesechopper obesechopper wrote:

So long as you have a good kill shot to threaten them with, I don't know if it's too limiting. Like with classical defenders, they fall a bit to the wayside (although strangely enough, in the 60+ age groups classical defenders do quite well!) a bit by being too predictable.

You can block, block, block and essentially wage a war of attrition. If you have not only a kill shot, but your blocking game sets up opportunities to kill (as opposed to simply put the ball back on the table), then you automatically gain lethality in your game! 

Highest guy now playing that style might be He Zhi Wen? Or looser, Stefan Fegerl? Matsudaira?

Jose Luis Machado was quite a blocker also. 

Although I think most lower rank (non-pro) blocker/counter types use pips on one side in an effort to create those opportunities to smash a winner. 

Good blocking is very skillful. Drop shots, dead blocks, changing the spin on blocks, direction and pace etc. it's very technical stuff when you get down to it. So many people think blocking is just a passive hold out your paddle type of style. It can be... but good blockers know it isn't! 

I was talking more about a counterhitting game and not a blocking game.  I know some very good blockers but they are not Counter-hitters like you see in 8_10yr olds before they start looping.

My blocking stinks.

So you're asking if there are 2000+ rated hitters? If so, yes! I know some (west coast rating, so probably a lot higher than some inflated ranks in less table tennis intense zones), they generally use short pips though at least on one wing. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mts388 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 6:23pm
Originally posted by LUCKYLOOP LUCKYLOOP wrote:


If you put long pips OX on your BH, realistically possible to increase your rating from 1880 to 2000-2200.


Mark's backhand is fine.  I wouldn't mess with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 6:05pm
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Rich DeWitt is 2200+ and higher and he hardly loops.

Would you consider him a counter hitter?

Mark

How else would you describe his game?  He plays a short pips game with inverted rubbers.  That's how he describes it and how I would too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 5:52pm
Originally posted by LUCKYLOOP LUCKYLOOP wrote:


If you put long pips OX on your BH, realistically possible to increase your rating from 1880 to 2000-2200.

Right, once you relearn all BH strokes, tactics etc. Might take a while.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LUCKYLOOP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 5:45pm

If you put long pips OX on your BH, realistically possible to increase your rating from 1880 to 2000-2200.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rocketman222 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 5:14pm
I have seen a 2300/2400 jpen hitter in koreatown in action, he hardly ever looped but countered everything really fast in to really uncomfortable spots for his opponents, he i think is in his 40s, but probably had a lot of training as a kid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfolsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 4:22pm
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

What do you think would be the USATT rating limit for a player using a fairly basic countering game?  Counter or block topspin on both sides.  Bh roll for opening backspin and Fh spin loop for opening backspin.  Just considering avg player not someone with some special gift for playing the countering style.

I am already countering with SP on Bh.  My Fh looping is really poor.  Was wondering if I might actually go farther if I just gave up Fh looping and focused on hitting and countering from Fh.   Currently USATT 1880, playing 4 days a week with no formal coaching available, and 62 years old.

Mark


Very limiting. Your top level with that style will probably be 2700, never a World Champion. (no, not really kidding).

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 4:07pm
I once watched Eric Owens toy with 2200 players by never hitting a heavy spin or hitting more than about 50% of his normal pace  He pushed, blocked, and countered softly and anihilated them  He was around 2650 at the time, this was at least 10 years ago, but I remember it vividly.   He actually did it to show me what you could do by just keeping the ball on the table.  Obviously he made it look easier than it really was.   Still..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 4:01pm
However you play you have to try to stay in balance throughout the point. So at some age or athleticism level you can't try to play like Ma Long.  The top end level without a strong topspin FH?  Impossible to say because it depends on how good you do everything else.  The best playsrs i know understand their own limitations.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 2:35pm
There are some hitters here in the 2050 - 2100 range.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 2:13pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Rich DeWitt is 2200+ and higher and he hardly loops.

Would you consider him a counter hitter?

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 1:55pm
Originally posted by mts388 mts388 wrote:

Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

What do you think would be the USATT rating limit for a player using a fairly basic countering game?  Counter or block topspin on both sides.  Bh roll for opening backspin and Fh spin loop for opening backspin.  Just considering avg player not someone with some special gift for playing the countering style.

I am already countering with SP on Bh.  My Fh looping is really poor.  Was wondering if I might actually go farther if I just gave up Fh looping and focused on hitting and countering from Fh.   Currently USATT 1880, playing 4 days a week with no formal coaching available, and 62 years old.

Mark


Your backhand countering game is excellent.  Excluding any mental problems you have Tongue is there a reason you're not better at looping? 

Will you be going to the Nationals again this year? 

Your age shouldn't be a problem.  I'm 10 years older than you and still improving.

One possible problem looping is my frozen wrist.  My loops just do not seem to give anyone a problem.  Even 1300 level players just crush them back past me.  When I use a fast flat counter I hit the ball past them rather easily.  I also have a problem with recovery.  I can get off the first loop but never the second one.  Could be follow through, anticipation, and/or reaction time.  Despite lots of work it is not getting better.   Seems to be much easier to get off that 2nd shot if I am countering instead of looping.

Mark 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 1:49pm
Rich DeWitt is 2200+ and higher and he hardly loops.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
Tibhar Inca
FH: MX-S 1.9 B
BH: MX-S 1.9 R
Lumberjack TT
No train, no gain.
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mjamja View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02/17/2017 at 1:42pm
Originally posted by obesechopper obesechopper wrote:

So long as you have a good kill shot to threaten them with, I don't know if it's too limiting. Like with classical defenders, they fall a bit to the wayside (although strangely enough, in the 60+ age groups classical defenders do quite well!) a bit by being too predictable.

You can block, block, block and essentially wage a war of attrition. If you have not only a kill shot, but your blocking game sets up opportunities to kill (as opposed to simply put the ball back on the table), then you automatically gain lethality in your game! 

Highest guy now playing that style might be He Zhi Wen? Or looser, Stefan Fegerl? Matsudaira?

Jose Luis Machado was quite a blocker also. 

Although I think most lower rank (non-pro) blocker/counter types use pips on one side in an effort to create those opportunities to smash a winner. 

Good blocking is very skillful. Drop shots, dead blocks, changing the spin on blocks, direction and pace etc. it's very technical stuff when you get down to it. So many people think blocking is just a passive hold out your paddle type of style. It can be... but good blockers know it isn't! 

I was talking more about a counterhitting game and not a blocking game.  I know some very good blockers but they are not Counter-hitters like you see in 8_10yr olds before they start looping.

My blocking stinks.
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