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My Match with Richard DeWitt

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    Posted: 07/09/2018 at 6:18pm
Sorry to be so late with this post, but after WVC2018 it seemed like I just never had phone or internet at the same time as I had time for posting.

Heavyspin arranged a match for me with Richard DeWitt at WVC. It was very gracious of Richard to accept. I know Heavyspin was looking for a somewhat humorous take on the match. However I was so far outclassed that I found nothing funny about the match at all. Sure, Richard does not look that imposing as he comes to the table. But since you all have seen videos of me, I will remember that "those who live in glass houses should not throw stones" and withhold any further comment on appearances.

So during warmup I was carefully analyzing Richard's strokes to look for any weaknesses. The first thing I noticed was that he just planted himself in the middle of the table and did not move that much. I was thinking that he would be vulnerable to corner to corner ball movement. And he was vulnerable the one point I was able to get in position for 2 consecutive balls in order to employ that tactic.

The second thing I noticed was that he did not loop with his forehand. I was excited that I was going to be able to stay close to the table and not get driven back. Sure enough he never drove me back. He just took the ball right off the bounce with a slightly laid back wrist and simply hit the first ball right past me with a combination of placement disguise and the kind of power from nowhere you see in a Butler backhand.

The third thing I noticed was his terrible wristy Bh technique. I win a lot of Bh to Bh rally's so I was thinking that would be another good tactic. I must have been a little off because he never had any consistency problems. And the more weirdly wristy his Bh got, the more I tended to alternate between hitting long and into the net. (hint: can you say spin variation).

Of course there was my always reliable "attack the elbow" tactic. On one hand I was pretty successful at hitting to the elbow. I could see his Fh stroke break down. Sometimes he hit with the racket tip up and sometimes with the tip down. And both were hit out of this awkward lean to the left. On the other hand (much like his Bh) this bad technique really did not produce the errors I was looking for. Maybe he was just having a lucky day.

Once we started playing I was surprised by how simple his serve was. Basically I handled it easily most of the time. Unfortunately everytime the score got close I guess I got nervous because I would send one return into the net and then pop up the next one.

I did make one really good tactical decision. At the the start of the match he asked if I wanted to play 3 of 5 or 4 of seven. 0-3 was bad enough, but it might have been 0-4 (with a 11-2 4th) if I had made the wrong choice.

I would describe playing Richard as like playing one of those old school penhold blockers who blocks the ball back seemingly before it bounces and uses a magician's slight of hand to totally disguise the placement and return spin. Except in Richard's case you are playing a shake hands player who learned his strokes from the same coach who taught Jim Furyk his golf swing.

So nothing really humorous about the match except my inept play. Luckily unlike that Brian Pace vs Fang Bo match a few years ago no one filmed this one. Not the same technical levels as in my match, but both good examples of how a much better player can really make you look bad.

Mark - Grateful for the chance to play with such a good and unique player
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pushblocker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/09/2018 at 7:52pm
Don't feel bad. i have played Richard about 8 times (6 friendly matches and 2 tournament matches...U40 final and Under  2200 finals) and I have not beaten him yet. I do get games off him but when it gets close, he seems to play his best balls..

Edited by Pushblocker - 07/09/2018 at 7:54pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 2:38am
Richard has incredible control of grip pressure at impact off the bounce, also control of wrist angle. Together, that is real tough to see where ball is going.. no time, so you are constantly off time, out of position out of zone trying wild stuff just to land it. Not a good situation as a player, but Richard can do it to you, do it to Sue, do it to Blue, and the rest of the crew.

Forum legend has it that his rubbers are practically anti all slick irregular. That report is full of crap. Sure Richards rubbers are aged, but many players have worse worn rubbers than him. Richard wins with his hand and mind, tough to compete vs him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 4:09pm
Give Richard a present of new Butterfly rubber of his choice but not anti and then we will see.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vince64 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 5:57pm
Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

Give Richard a present of new Butterfly rubber of his choice but not anti and then we will see.
Richard doe not use anti.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 6:08pm
true, but his rubber has no grip it is the same as anti. He probable changes his rubber once in 10 years or more

Edited by osmar92 - 07/10/2018 at 6:13pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote smackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/11/2018 at 12:01am
Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

true, but his rubber has no grip it is the same as anti. He probable changes his rubber once in 10 years or more
If you read above you will see this is not true
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heavyspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/11/2018 at 2:04am
Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

true, but his rubber has no grip it is the same as anti. He probable changes his rubber once in 10 years or more

If one wanted his rubber to act the same as anti, wouldn't it be a lot easier to use anti rather than go through the process of aging inverted for 10 years? Is it merely the deception of showing Mark V before a match that completely confuses opponents even up to 2200 level? 

Rich's serves have decent spin and his ball comes at you with good pace given his racket speed - two characteristics inconsistent with anti. 

I wish Rich used anti - he'd be a lot easier to play against.


Edited by heavyspin - 07/11/2018 at 7:29am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/11/2018 at 9:47am
Dead old rubber plays differently compare to anti.  It return dead ball on passive stroke, but can create spin and speed on active one.  Having say that, anyone who can beat LP PushBlocker, with quite ease, then I can say it's not the weirdness of his rubber that you should be worry about Smile.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Lightspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/11/2018 at 4:24pm
I used to practice with Rich all the time and sometimes now coach him during tournaments if we happen to be at the same venue.  Rich has phenomenal touch, fast reflexes and great ability to assess what is going on during the point and quickly figure out a way to win the point.  These attributes count for a lot in table tennis and are impossible to judge by looking at someone's physical appearance.  Rich doesn't play the standard game but what he does he does very well.  I think he has a lifetime highest rating of 2475, so if someone plays Rich and loses I can guarantee it has almost nothing to do with what rubber he is using.   It might have to do with his touch, good service return and placement, strategy and experience.  I have seen him play very well with brand new rubber as well as older rubber.  People lose to Rich not because of any equipment he uses, they lose to Rich because he is a good player. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 1:28am
Anyone who loses to Richard D and hates on his rubberz can hate on life, they still lost... and are still lost... since they don't know why they really lost... so they are lost.

I lost vs him (twice), but I am not lost, just a loser. There is a difference.

Richard isn't in your face Cho and is a good sport. You gotta bring it and bring it right to compete vs him.

I do not have nearly the time around Richard as Lightspin does, but anyone watching a few of Richard's matches should be able to easily see how he wins points and wins games. 

Richard plays a low risk game with a high degree of touch and quality. What everyone calls touch, I call control of grip pressure at and during impact. Rich does it real well... and right off the bounce. He is one motor scooter of quick risk assessment and decisive off the bounce play. He transfers risk to you.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 3:37pm
No one argues ,  Rich has skills, but it relates to the equipment he uses. His rubbers are illegal strictly by letter of law.
I played against him and I know how regular rubber behaves and many others types of rubber. 
He would definitely not be able to play as successful with anti as with worn our inverted rubber. I just said that his rubber has similarity to anti. He is the best worn out player and gives trouble to players since few has experience against worn to ground rubber.

The same effect banned glass pips had on many players who never encountered  it.
With any other rubber but not worn out inverted Rich will have problem playing successfully/


Edited by osmar92 - 07/12/2018 at 3:39pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt Pimple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 4:17pm
Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

His rubbers are illegal strictly by letter of law.

Please elaborate! Did he treat them?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 5:33pm
i cannot  claim that, since did not investigate or was not present at that treatment but the way his rubber plays does not confirm the behaviour of any known inverted rubber. They are at least few years old, grip is inconsistent, you expect trajectory and bounce from inverted rubber but it bewilders you when you receive it. Unless you play him many times no way you could  beat him unless you 2200-2300 player.
there is a rule that grip should not deviate from original to a great extent, his deviate alot.


Edited by osmar92 - 07/12/2018 at 5:34pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt Pimple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 5:44pm
Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

i cannot  claim that

You did make the claim above that the rubbers are illegal!
Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

there is a rule that grip should not deviate from original to a great extent, his deviate a lot.

Could you please show me that rule? I don't remember seeing that specific rule when doing my umpire exam.

For clarification, I don't know Rich neither did I ever play him or even see him play.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 5:53pm
Originally posted by Matt Pimple Matt Pimple wrote:

Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

i cannot  claim that

You did make the claim above that the rubbers are illegal!
Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

there is a rule that grip should not deviate from original to a great extent, his deviate a lot.

Could you please show me that rule? I don't remember seeing that specific rule when doing my umpire exam.

For clarification, I don't know Rich neither did I ever play him or even see him play.

i said i could not claim he had treated them. You think only treatment makes it illegal?
Leave the rubber for some time exposed to air and rubber degrades 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 6:01pm
this is helpful
his rubber discolored by time , at least, and if checked with original one would not match by color and properties.

https://d3mjm6zw6cr45s.cloudfront.net/2017/10/T9_Racket_Control_BoD2015.pdf
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 6:06pm
Read at the bottom in other measurements.  Lack of friction

https://sr.bttv.de/fileadmin/bttv/media/SR/pdf/T9_RacketControl_BoD2011.pdf
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt Pimple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 8:13pm
These are technical leaflets and not ITTF (or USATT) rules! They are written for umpires at ITTF or other high level tournaments where every rackets is controlled on what they may want to do or look for.
Why don't you go to the tournament director the next time you play Rich?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 8:49pm
I dont have to do it, i can beat him ))))
plus we talk about rubber in question not about complaining . 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Purett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 10:47pm
he plays better when the rubber is older like after 3 moths period
the rubber still spins you have to understand that his stroke creates the dead ball

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/12/2018 at 11:05pm
Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

I dont have to do it, i can beat him ))))
plus we talk about rubber in question not about complaining . 

Out of curiosity, what's your head-to-head tournament record against Rich? 

I'm 0:1 (but that's hardly a surprise...). 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/13/2018 at 3:36am
Osmar, I have played Rich twice, checked his bat both times. Sure, his rubbers were not new, but they were consistent across the face of the rubber.

My BH rubber of XP 2008 Super Power at the time was more oxidized than Rich's rubbers both those match days.

You may not want to accept the fact that Rich produces his different ball spins/speeds/placements from his control of grip pressure at impact, his excellent command of the strike zone, his wrist control, and his ability to see the opponent. Yeah, that is tough to accept when a player looking like Rich does and his not so new looking setup end up bossing the points. I know it feels unfair and on a level it is. He was likely a better player than you.

I applied whatever pressure I could and did well for what my level is. He was a better player than me and still is. Heavy Spin has serious trouble competing vs Rich, and Heavy Spin has been solid 2200+ for Eons.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/13/2018 at 3:43am
Tell you what I will do. Next time I am on East Coast or a huge Natl tourney, I will make it a point to seek Rich out and borrow his bat to have a test game vs some other player.

I will bet you a bag of Cheeze-Its I can still loop the crap outta the ball and play a topsinning attacking game with emphasis on heavy spin... and I don't really like his FH rubber at all and can still do it. His rubbers are not anti or have crappy grip on parts of it. His FH rubber (Mark V) is way too slow and not so dynamic, but I will still manage to spin the crap outta the ball anyway with his setup.

I'm buying the Cheeze-its if I cannot do what I am saying.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote vanjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/13/2018 at 7:17am
I do not know Rich and mean no disrespect, but i suspect his underwhelming athletic appearance has something to do with all the complaints about his rubber. It is not polite to complain about the former so i suspect some chose to complain about the rubber. However he is an inspiration to guys like me who are losing whatever athleticism they once had.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/13/2018 at 10:10am
With all this discussion about him, I decided to youtube one of his matches. He didn't look like he was using anything illegal at all. I see someone who has non-standard technique with a lot of variation. I saw him chopblock, punch low balls with a slightly upward facing racket angle, doing a wristy backhand, block with side spin, etc, all in one set...

It was actually pretty cool.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/13/2018 at 3:42pm
Originally posted by pgpg pgpg wrote:

Originally posted by osmar92 osmar92 wrote:

I dont have to do it, i can beat him ))))
plus we talk about rubber in question not about complaining . 

Out of curiosity, what's your head-to-head tournament record against Rich? 

I'm 0:1 (but that's hardly a surprise...). 

I played him once in 2013 and lost caz I was completely lost on what was coming from him. Not easy to adjust to his style specifically what spin or no spin coming. It takes more games to get used to it. I made many mistakes even though i am good with all type of equipment.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/13/2018 at 3:44pm
Originally posted by BH-Man BH-Man wrote:

Tell you what I will do. Next time I am on East Coast or a huge Natl tourney, I will make it a point to seek Rich out and borrow his bat to have a test game vs some other player.

I will bet you a bag of Cheeze-Its I can still loop the crap outta the ball and play a topsinning attacking game with emphasis on heavy spin... and I don't really like his FH rubber at all and can still do it. His rubbers are not anti or have crappy grip on parts of it. His FH rubber (Mark V) is way too slow and not so dynamic, but I will still manage to spin the crap outta the ball anyway with his setup.

I'm buying the Cheeze-its if I cannot do what I am saying.
this is the wrong approach. Get him new rubber and then make a conclusion as for difference in game.
Some anti have grip as well and you can loop with them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/13/2018 at 3:56pm
Originally posted by BH-Man BH-Man wrote:

Osmar, I have played Rich twice, checked his bat both times. Sure, his rubbers were not new, but they were consistent across the face of the rubber.

My BH rubber of XP 2008 Super Power at the time was more oxidized than Rich's rubbers both those match days.

You may not want to accept the fact that Rich produces his different ball spins/speeds/placements from his control of grip pressure at impact, his excellent command of the strike zone, his wrist control, and his ability to see the opponent. Yeah, that is tough to accept when a player looking like Rich does and his not so new looking setup end up bossing the points. I know it feels unfair and on a level it is. He was likely a better player than you.

I applied whatever pressure I could and did well for what my level is. He was a better player than me and still is. Heavy Spin has serious trouble competing vs Rich, and Heavy Spin has been solid 2200+ for Eons.

I accept the fact that he knows how to play rubber with substantially diminished grip. Styles make a difference , he may beat 2300 and lose to 2000 player. I checked his rating he had adjustment up of 300 points in 11/26/2006 without showing whom he beat, Was it a glitch? 

my rating is over 150  points higher now. He is on average below 2200 for the last several years. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote osmar92 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/13/2018 at 4:00pm
I am not trying to diminish Rich skills, but just saying difficulty is not his technique but the rubber he plays that create unorthodox spin or no spin. Give him new regular rubber and many shots he would not be able to produce. 
He polished his skills , perfected the style with old rubber and that creates problem for many who plays with him.
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