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IMPROVE your technique by "messing up" on purpose?

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Joo Se Kev View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07/24/2017 at 9:50am
Hey guys, posted this over on the OOAK forum and thought you might be interested too Smile

Apologies for not posting more frequently. I've been super busy with my online coaching and it's unfortunately reduced the amount of time I have to focus on table tennis Cry

Anyway, I'm always pouring over the latest strength and conditioning research in hopes of turning up something useful for my clients and the forthcoming 2nd edition of The Table Tennis Player's Guide to Health and Fitness (see sig), and recently I came across an interesting new study. Here's a link to the abstract:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02640414.2016.1172727

In this study, they tested two different correction strategies for improving technique on the snatch (a highly technical Olympic lift). They compared the traditional method of error correction (point out the error in technique and then tell the athlete how to correct the error) with a method called "method of amplification of error" (MAE).

In the MAE technique, rather than attempting to avoid the mistake in technique, you modify your technique to AMPLIFY the error. This is only done temporarily so you obtain a better awareness for what the improper technique feels like.

Interesting, this study found the MAE technique produced superior results to the traditional model of error correction after only a single coaching session. Furthermore, the improved technique was still evident a week later.

Kind of challenges the idea of "perfect practice."

I'd be interested to hear if any of you have tried something like the MAE approach in correcting your table tennis technique? I'm definitely going to give it a try and see if it helps :) 

Here's how you might implement it:

1. Have a coach/partner identify an error in your technique
2. Modify your technique to exaggerate the error and perform a few strokes to get a feel for it
3. "Reset" and attempt to hit the ball with proper technique once more
4. Alternate between 2 and 3 as needed to build awareness and understand the difference between the two extremes

Anyone willing to give it a shot?
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anubhav1984 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anubhav1984 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/24/2017 at 1:27pm
I have tried something similar in my practice sessions, quite often. I specifically have had challenges with hitting with too much power on the opening shot after serve. I tried to amplify that a bit more by taking it to extreme levels and reducing the movement. It definitely helped me realize the mistake I was making. 
However, this is something that takes time and involves a lot of repeat cycles to condition itself into your muscle memory. Every time I go out of routine practice, I end up making the same mistake over and over and I have to start out with this sort of routine again.
Having said that, this technique is really helpful, especially when you are coaching someone. I have my practice partner, who is still bringing his game up a bit and struggles, at times, to cope up with the 3rd ball attack open. This technique has helped him reign that in a bit better for sure.
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Makelele View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Makelele Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/24/2017 at 4:06pm
Interesting. Learning by paradox seems a pretty powerful way to "ingrain" the knowledge.
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Joo Se Kev View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joo Se Kev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/25/2017 at 6:03am
Yes, it does seem paradoxical, doesn't it?
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iamj8 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote iamj8 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/25/2017 at 3:49pm
So it's like beating the bad out of you... I like it.

I've always been one to catch and unfortunately repeat my mistakes but I've never thought about trying to amplify them.

What I'd like to add on top of this is it probably helps to video yourself playing so you can specifically see what makes the "bad" technique bad and what you're doing right with the "good" technique.

Nice post, Joo Se Kev.
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Joo Se Kev View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joo Se Kev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/25/2017 at 5:56pm
Originally posted by iamj8 iamj8 wrote:

So it's like beating the bad out of you... I like it.

I've always been one to catch and unfortunately repeat my mistakes but I've never thought about trying to amplify them.

What I'd like to add on top of this is it probably helps to video yourself playing so you can specifically see what makes the "bad" technique bad and what you're doing right with the "good" technique.

Nice post, Joo Se Kev.

Yes, ideally you'd have a coach help you identify and correct these errors, but getting some footage will also provide some excellent feedback!
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