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How to move up to next level?

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BeaverMD View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BeaverMD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/03/2017 at 11:19am
I'm not familiar with Australian levels.  Can our Aussie friends explain the OP's level of division 4 is in relation to RC or USATT?

But threads about improvement always pique my interest.  I play in MDTTC, a full-time TT facility so I am always glad to see players improve.  I take pleasure in thinking "Whoa, this kid just started 5 years ago and look how much he's risen in ranking."  I see this a lot.  But don't be fooled.  Junior training does not automatically mean improvement to a higher level.  As a matter of fact, I see lots of kids stuck in the 1300-1700 level and eventually just quit.  But definitely, the juniors that stick with the training and put concepts together, they improve rapidly.  For adults, even the ones that take lessons and train, I see improvement much slower as would be expected.  So this post is focused more on my observation of adults that have improved.  Even more specific, these are adults that I have witnessed move from 1700-1800 level and break the mystical 2000 rating and not all of them take lessons.  Here are some things they did or are doing correctly:

1.  Consistency - yes, of course this is part of being a good player.  These players do not raise the power in their strokes until they get to a certain number.  For instance, they won't increase power with loops until they get to 15 loops first.  Or even in FH/BH counters during warm up, they wait until getting to 25 hits before speeding up.  This promotes auto-correction in the body and also confidence when increasing the pace.

2.  Aggressive service returns - they are always ready to loop or, if over the table, flip against weak serves.  This does two things: one, it sends a message to the server to have tighter serves.  Two, if the serve is attacked, the server is put on blocking/defense mode and with the plastic ball, that usually is a detriment if the returner can keep the attack going (see number 1).  I noticed also that as the service returns of these players improved, so did their services because now, they know what to do to not have their serves attacked so easily.

3.  Comfortable staying on defense - generally, I see the 1700-1800 group very eager to attack/loop.  But this adult group I'm talking about, they welcome blocking, fishing, chopping, or even lobbing for an extended period.  They don't rush trying to loop while in a defensive posture.  BUT, they are ready to transition to attack when an opening presents itself.

4.  Equipment - ok, someone mentioned switching to long pips.  I will include also short/medium pips, anti-spin as well as dead/slick Mark V (or whatever) to that recommendation.  Generally, I would not agree with this because only three people in this adult group improved with this equipment - one SP, one LP, and dead Sriver.  The key with these guys was COMMITMENT to their equipment.  They weren't sticking to their gear when winning and changing rubber when losing.  This gets them familiar with capabilities of the rubber and what tactics to stick to and avoid.  I suppose this applies too if you are using inverted and sticking to one thing or something similar.

So those four things are what I've observed with adults improving at the level I mentioned.  So for the OP, start with those.

I do want to include something about footwork.  None of these players in my sample had overly fancy or lively footwork.  As a matter of fact, I've never seen any of them do classic drills like Falkenberg or "one shot center one shot wide" drills.  But what I've seen them work on is the quick step around FH loop from the BH corner.  So backhand to backhand counters maybe 5 or 6 hits, then step around for a FH loop.  

Once again, this is my observation of adults in the 1700-1800 range that broke 2000-2100.  I always say TT is an individual sport so if you can figure out what makes you improve best (lessons, practice, drinking ginseng tea, whatever), go for it.



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larrytt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote larrytt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/03/2017 at 11:48am
Here's my take on How to Move Up a Level.
-Larry Hodges
Professional Table Tennis Coach & Writer
Member, USATT Hall of Fame
USATT National & ITTF Certified Coach
Butterfly Sponsored
Chair, USATT Coaching Committee
www.TableTennisCoaching.com
www.MDTTC.com
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/03/2017 at 12:26pm
My best advice would be to constantly record and review your practice sessions. I think I have close to 2tbs (or maybe more) videos of myself practising and at competitions.

I started playing as an adult about 4 years ago. Since I wasn't able to get a coach, I found videos a great way to correct form. You'll be surprised how many times you think you're doing something one way, but when you see yourself playing, you're doing something completely different.

Watch a lot of instructional videos and videos of professional players. Then watch and review your own play. Having all of that in mind while practising really helps.

Choose a few things (try not to overthink all of the issues you find) and keep them in mind as you practice. Constantly remind yourself what your goal is, even between rallies.

Aim for consistency. I see a lot of people go for crazy shots, and it's true that when they land their opponents struggle to return them, but from my experience, most of those players have trouble reaching the next level. They get stuck.

Here is a thread I made awhile ago about my progress over time. I certainly could have improved a lot faster had I focused a little more on the things I mentioned above.

Good luck!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/03/2017 at 12:47pm
Ok Larry,

I already posted a link to that article early in the thread, but you like most of the other forum members just ignore my posts.  Smile

Seriously, I would appreciate your comments on my takes from that article.

1.  To go to the next level you general need to bring all phases of your game up to that new level.  If you don't, then players at that next level will find the weaker areas and exploit them.

2.  To judge whether various parts of your game are at the next level or are still lower you have to look at matches against players already at that next level and compare you performance in the listed areas to their performance.  

Questions:
1. Is the best way to accomplish #2 to video matches and then do some kind of points won/lost comparison between you and them in each of the areas.  Something like your serve return errors vs theirs.  What other comparisons that are not quite so obvious might you use?

2. Could you get feedback from comparing a next level player vs you to a match between that same player and another next level player?

3. Any more specifics in how to determine which (if not all) areas need the most work and what methods (multi-ball, drill with partner, professional coaching, shadow or solo practice, etc) are critical to each area you mentioned.

Mark - The most ignorable man in the world.  Stay attentive my friends.


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larrytt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote larrytt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/03/2017 at 11:08pm
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

Ok Larry,

I already posted a link to that article early in the thread, but you like most of the other forum members just ignore my posts.  Smile

Seriously, I would appreciate your comments on my takes from that article.

1.  To go to the next level you general need to bring all phases of your game up to that new level.  If you don't, then players at that next level will find the weaker areas and exploit them.

2.  To judge whether various parts of your game are at the next level or are still lower you have to look at matches against players already at that next level and compare you performance in the listed areas to their performance.  

Questions:
1. Is the best way to accomplish #2 to video matches and then do some kind of points won/lost comparison between you and them in each of the areas.  Something like your serve return errors vs theirs.  What other comparisons that are not quite so obvious might you use?

2. Could you get feedback from comparing a next level player vs you to a match between that same player and another next level player?

3. Any more specifics in how to determine which (if not all) areas need the most work and what methods (multi-ball, drill with partner, professional coaching, shadow or solo practice, etc) are critical to each area you mentioned.

Mark - The most ignorable man in the world.  Stay attentive my friends.

>1. Is the best way to accomplish #2 to video matches and then do some kind of points won/lost comparison between you and them in each of the areas.  Something like your serve return errors vs theirs.  What other comparisons that are not quite so obvious might you use?

There are a number of ways. First, if you focus on being aware of how you are winning and losing points, it becomes a habit and you become your own feedback as you become more aware of these things. Second, as you said, watch video. Third, as your opponents. Fourth, have a coach or experienced player watch you play and get their feedback. 

>2. Could you get feedback from comparing a next level player vs you to a match between that same player and another next level player?

Sure. To use one example, suppose when you push back the next-level player's serve back, he dominates by looping. Then you watch him play someone his own level, and against these same pushed returns he doesn't dominate. This is very common, and mostly comes from two things - the higher-level player pushes better (this is often subtle), and handles the opponent's first attack better. Too many players push serves back just to get the ball in play, when they should be pushing quick, heavy, low, very deep or short, mostly angled, with the direction disguised. If you do most of these well but just one poorly, the higher-level player will eat you up on the one thing you don't do do well in your pushing. (Here's a Tip on that, "Pushing: Five out of Six Doesn't Cut It.")

Similarly, players often spend so much time practicing their attacks that they can't deal with an opponent's attack, especially the first attack (which is often spinnier, since it's usually off a push). Watch a higher-level player, and note how much more consistent they are off that first attack. 

>3. Any more specifics in how to determine which (if not all) areas need the most work and what methods (multi-ball, drill with partner, professional coaching, shadow or solo practice, etc) are critical to each area you mentioned.

As noted above, one way is to be aware of how you win and lose points so that it becomes a habit, and then you'll have a good idea. Otherwise, ask your opponents and coaches/experienced players who see you play. I know if I play someone a match, if they ask me afterwards what they need to work on, my problem isn't trying to figure out what to say, it's trying to figure out how much to say or I might talk for half an hour. Smile Usually, for a given match, it comes down to 2-4 main points, and the player needs to work on those. 

Hope this helps! (I might turn some of the above into a Tip of the Week.) 
-Larry Hodges
Professional Table Tennis Coach & Writer
Member, USATT Hall of Fame
USATT National & ITTF Certified Coach
Butterfly Sponsored
Chair, USATT Coaching Committee
www.TableTennisCoaching.com
www.MDTTC.com
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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: 11/04/2017 at 12:09am
Thanks for the feedback Larry.

Mark
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LUCKYLOOP View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LUCKYLOOP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/04/2017 at 12:55am

Putting long pips OX on your BH is the most efficient time wise to move up a level.
Hntr Fl / 4H & BH Xiom Sigma Pro 2 2.0
Yinhe T-2 / 4H Xiom Sig Pro 2 2.0 BH Xiom Omega IV Elite Max
Gam DC / 4H DHS Hurricane 8 39deg 2.1 BH GD CC LP OX
HARDBAT / Hock 3 ply / Frenshp Dr Evil OX
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blahness View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11/04/2017 at 4:12am
Lol at the amount of suggestions to join the dark side of LP pushblocking...
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Tacky rubber lover :)

Stiga Clipper CR

FH: Hurricane 8
BH: Hurricane 8
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