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Change equipment or just practice harder/smarter?

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Lanuk View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07/07/2018 at 12:00am
Hi all, I have been playing table tennis for 4-5 years now. I have mostly taught myself and taken tips from good players/coaches, but have been seeing little to no progress in match play for the past two years. I work on standard forehand and backhand drills, some service drills, as well as looping drills (as of recent, as my loop is very poor), but as soon as I get into point play I start making lots of mistakes.

I think one of my biggest issues is that I am terrible at reading spin, and often lose points in return of serve. Generally, I am just inconsistent. I tend to make more mistakes than the opponent in rallies which causes me to lose. Additionally, sometimes I have a much harder time against fairly new/inexperienced players (say, <900 USATT) than I do with slightly more refined players (say, USATT >1400) because I often can't deal with weird/inconsistent serves and strokes that incorporate different kinds of underspin/sidespin. 

Before I thought that my setup was a little slow, but I am starting to think I may need something slower to help me better learn the basic strokes and give me larger margin for error on returning spinny shots. Right now I use Yasaka Sweden Extra with Xiom Europe Pro 2mm on both sides. My USATT rating is currently ~1100, however I have not played many matches. 

Would you guys advise me to try a much slower setup, or something that might have higher control? If so, do you have any recommendations? If not, would you recommend any particular drills/practice techniques?

Thanks in advance!
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ericd937 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ericd937 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2018 at 1:00am
You should get a coach. How many times each week do you play? How old are you? 
Current Setup:
Xiom Zetro Quad
Gewo Nexxus El Pro 48 (max)
TSP Spinpips Blue (1,9)
USATT Rating 1815
Estimated playing level 1950ish.
(In Asia since December 2015, no USATT events here)
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Fabian1890 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fabian1890 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2018 at 1:18am
Your setup is fine. Eric is right: rather spend your money on a coach.
For reading spin: don’t watch the ball, watch your opponent’s wrist and if you are unsure just mirror his blade angle for the return. If you are unsure with sidespin, aim for the middle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LUCKYLOOP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2018 at 2:49am

A lot of info here in one place. Read the intro then make your decision, well worth 5-10 minutes of your time.

Link .... North Little Rock Table Tennis Group timeline page on Facebook

https://m.facebook.com/NorthLittleRockTableTennisGroup/?ref=bookmarks

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mhnh007 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2018 at 7:35am
Coaching will cost a lot of money, so unless you can afford a minimum of 10 hours (more like 100), it’s not going to help. It’s summer right now, so there’s plenty of summer TT camp, see if you can join. It’s a lot cheaper, you don’t have one on one training, but lots of tips, and tons of training time with players at your level, and goals.
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Baal View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2018 at 12:52pm
Have you ever seen a video of yourself playing either in practice or in a match?  You would learn a lot from that.  Because there may well be things you need to change that you don't know about now but would be clear if you watched yourself.  Of course a good coach would help a lot, but not everyone has access.  And video can help illuminate what a coach is saying to you.

Sometimes practicing bad technique or tactics just reinforces them.  You need to see what is actually going on.

The odds of an equipment change actually helping you solve technical or tactical problems are less than 1% in my experience.  Once you adjust to the new setup you will just go back to doing the same stuff.
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BRS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2018 at 2:04pm
Your equipment is fine. Not understanding spin is a big problem.

What sort of club do you play at? Are there some better players there? If you have been going for several years, probably if you ask one of the stronger players to show you how to return one kind of serve, they wouldn't mind spending 10 minutes or so helping you learn where and how to touch the ball to return that spin. Once you understand one or two, it becomes much easier to figure things out on your own.

There are also some online services, ttedge, pingskills, tabletennisdaily, that have livraries of videos designed for players trying to coach themselves. But like baal says, you have to video yourself for comparison, it won't work if you don't.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Egghead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2018 at 2:04pm
Coach can help to solve your problems. However, it will take time and $$$$$. Somehow, I highly doubt it is worth it. You need to understand that players' (>1500) serve is very different from a beginner. They want a safely return. Anyway, I believe this videos will help you



Aurora ST: Rhyzm / Talent OX
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jpenmaster View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jpenmaster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/07/2018 at 2:21pm
There are some good online coaching sites you can check out . Like others said video yourself so you can see what you are doing wrong and make adjustments. Not seeing how you are returning serve my first suggestions would be focus on the players ball contact,aim for the middle of the table, if it's long always loop it and most importantly keep a loose grip.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/08/2018 at 8:07pm
Maybe I can relate to your situation since I've also been playing for about four and a half years!

First, could you provide us with a little more background on your situation? How old are you? How often do you play? Are there high level players where you play, too?

I'm also mostly self-taught with some advice here and there from other players and the lovely players here.

Reading spin is one of the most difficult things about table tennis. Most of it comes from experience, but you can speed up the process by actively trying to understand it while practicing. For example, when you miss, you should be thinking why you missed. You should identify what spin the ball was and what racket angle may have been able to return it. The important thing here is that it's okay to be wrong. Taking like a second or two after you miss to re-analyse the situation will help you remember next time.

The other thing that many people have mentioned is taking videos. I'm not at home now so I can't show you how many videos I've taken, but I probably have more than 3TBs of data now. I take videos of myself on average twice a week. When I get home I review the videos. If it's too late, I review them the next day. This is great for improving form and helping you understand what you body is actually doing. Most people think their body is doing one thing, but it's actually doing another. Regular video reviewing helps you know on the spot what you're really doing. You can also review in slow motion the balls you missed. It's a lot easier to see and understand spin looking at how the ball was hit in slow motion. This is great because if you're reviewing shortly after your practice session, you can check if you had the right prediction at the time!

Good luck and know that there are many people here who are willing to help. Check out all those online resources, but don't be afraid to ask more specific questions if you need to. And if you're not shy, adding a video will help greatly (not just for us, but for you too Smile).
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flash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/08/2018 at 9:40pm
First options it is to get a coach. If it is not posible you should find a friend to practice. Multiball it is very good.The higher level of your friend the better. You should practice more, to try diferent aproaches. See video tutorials on the net. Try to master one type of return for one kind of serve then move to another. If you do not train with a coach or at least practice with a friend on regular basis, minimum 3-4 times a week(at first) it is very hard to improve.
And after a period of training, practice, when you see the progres you should play in as manny tournament as you can get, with variuos players. The experience from the tournament it is very important. It is not good to play with the same partener all the time. Good luck!
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T05, 2,1 mm, red, bh.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Argothman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2018 at 12:41am
Practice your loop vs long backspin and nospin serves! Players under a certain level almost always serve long. If you can comfortably loop long serves, you'll beat most such players without any issues. If you have a comfortable, spinny loop (doesn't need to be super hard or fast, just consistent and spinny) you can loop most low-ranked players' long serves without really caring about the spin- they probably aren't generating a lot of backspin to worry about, and you can overcome most any spin they put on.

I guarantee your problem is consistency. Try to do some multiball with friends, it might be difficult to learn to feed multiball decently, but if you trade off with someone and do a basket of balls each for the other person, it's one of the best ways to improve with another practice partner.

My suggestion: do some slow multiball with long balls on both sides. Do light backspin and nospin on each side, then once your loop is somewhat consistent, vary which side the server goes to, then once that's comfortable, vary the spin, and once both are decent, vary everything. This will hold you in good stead for most matches at your level. This has the double benefit of also training your ability to loop vs long pushes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cobalt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2018 at 1:16am
I'd doubt its an equipment problem as what you have is not overly fast.  Having said that, it also wouldn't hurt you if you did use some slower rubbers, though I wouldn't be spending lots of money on them.  If you look at the Chinese sites you can pick up some slower rubbers pretty cheap like LKT XP pro or Galaxy Mars II and then you would have a really nice set up on your existing blade.  You could train hard over the next 6 months.  If you've improved then put the Xiom Europe back on, and if you haven't improved you probably aren't going to so just put them back on anyway.  Having said that, once again, I don't think the rubbers are the problem.

I've come from where you are and the drill that helped me jump many players at my club was to serve backspin, have my opponent push back, then I loop their return.  Go for spin rather than speed, more friction than force.  Try spin it in the air with minimum speed on the ball  by really brushing the ball.  Your arm should still be swinging fast though, just the contact is fine.  If you often miss the ball or hit it with a leading edge into the roof then you are on track.

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flash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote flash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2018 at 12:45pm
As for the equipment even though it is in the right range of speed-control ratio could not be the right choise for you. If you haven't done it already you should try in your club various combinations from players and see what is the closest choise for you - that is the base line. For me soft rubbers do not work pretty well. I could play well with t05 but not with t05fx for example.
A very popular choise in our club for teen who want to develope it is Xiom Vega pro in 2,0 mm. As for the blade could be Tibhar Samsonov Alpha, Samsonov Premium Contact, Butterfly Petr Korbel Japan, Korbel SK7, Gionis Carbon Off, Nittaku Acoustic, Osp Virtuoso/Virtuoso +, Yeo, etc.
It does not matter to much my experience, I could guide you to the right range but the choise it is only yours. Everey player feel in it's own way, everey playing style it is unique.
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T05, 2,1 mm, black, fh
T05, 2,1 mm, red, bh.
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tom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2018 at 5:07pm
you didn't say how many hours you play a week, % of time on practice vs real match play, athletic abilities, are you comfortable with your strokes and random rallies.  the only thing we really know is that you are not comfortable with match play but hard to figure out what is the reason with the information given.  I highly doubt it is your equipment.
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smackman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2018 at 5:17pm
I would get tenergy pro and anything with a blue sponge and a head band and boost everything even the head band
Ulmo Duality,tibhar Aurus Prime Dr N Pistal Black
NZ table tennis selector, third in the World (plate Doubles)I'm Listed on the ITTF website,
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