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Forehand Stroke - Any help?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote diedona Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 10:54am
Well, i've glued back my standard euro rubber (blue fire m2) and made some strokes saturday night (because i love having nothing to do at saturday night! lol)

This is the result so far:



I feel that in one or another stroke i made a better job, but 94% of the video is still with wrong technique. Positive point: I felt more comfortable with the euro rubber. With the chinese rubber my stroke was even smaller. Negative point: I feel m2 has an ok speed for me, but the strokes get harder to be blocked, then consistency is lowered.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote richrf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 1:27pm
I've studied the videos of hundreds of players and I have no idea what is the "right technique". If there was some commonality I would say it revolves around relaxed body motion initiated from a revolving hip motion. Beyond this, techniques are so individualized and dependent upon so many factors I would hesitate to describe any technique as right or wrong - though a coach might.

As for your stroke, I would only suggest relaxing at the shoulder and elbow a bit more (have no idea how relaxed you are at your wrist and fingers) to possibly gain more feel for the ball.

Edited by richrf - 05/17/2015 at 1:32pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote kenneyy88 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 1:37pm
Use the same stroke but slow down your stroke speed down a little and go a little less upward and you will have a good forehand counterhit. For a loop, you will need to relax your arm a little more, have more backswing and more follow through, swinging across the ball, finishing in a salute position. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote richrf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 1:45pm
I read the whole thread and it seems like relaxation is a common suggestion. The question then becomes, how does one relax? Personally, what I do while playing is I search for areas where I feel tense and use visualization combined with breath to relax my body. It tends to tense up, particularly during games. Relaxing is a skill that has to be learned just like all other skills. For some it is automatic but for most it takes time to learn.

Edited by richrf - 05/17/2015 at 1:47pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 3:42pm
The most important part of relaxing is to accept balls going off the table and into the net or even whiffing entirely. Until you do that, all the breathing in the world will not relax you. I am currently driving and will comment later. What you need diedona is for your mom to feed you multiball so you can swing at the ball without thinking rally. This setup you are using is placing too many demands on your current level of control and skill.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote richrf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 3:55pm
Relaxation is a mindset. It is as important to be relaxed before hitting a ball as it is while hitting the ball. There are all kinds of techniques to achieve this skill but I find one very quickly tenses up if the ball is going off the table. The mind simply gets upset. You can practice simple backhand blocks in a relaxed manner to develop the feeling if it helps. The idea is to learn to hit while being relaxed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 3:59pm
Relaxation is definitely a mindset. But it is first and foremost about acceptance   if you do not accept certain things, techniques will not help you. Not trying to sound too adversarial but the point must be made. If you cannot accept missing is part of the game, you will never be relaxed. I agree with your points but without accepting misses, they will not help.

Edited by NextLevel - 05/17/2015 at 4:00pm
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote richrf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 4:12pm
I agree, but it is a process. Each person finds their own way. For me, simply beginning with forehand and backhand blocks is a reasonable place to start. But even before the ball is hit one must observe the state of one's own self, both physical and mental. It is a very long process.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 4:23pm
Richrf,

I agree.

Diedona,

Have you tried going in front of a mirror and shadowing your stroke?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 5:54pm
Actually, now I am in front of a PC, this is in many ways a major improvement over your last video.  I just wish you had more balls so you could swing with more power.  But still a major improvement.

The elbow is still way too close to the body. You need to get it out more so you have room to finish on the same side of your body with a larger stroke.

Remember, don't try to get the ball on the table in the beginning with a bad stroke.  Get the proper stroke first and then try to use it to control the ball.  Feel free to miss a lot - it is part of the learning process as the brain will use it to calibrate the proper stroke.


Edited by NextLevel - 05/17/2015 at 5:57pm
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote V-Griper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 9:33pm
That's much better. i can tell that you are starting to generate some spin because some of the blocks are coming off the table. So my suggestion is to wait even longer and let the ball drop even more, until the ball get's to around table height. You can also slow down your strokes another notch or two again. 

The main thing is to try to reduce the forward velocity of the ball you hit while increasing the spin. Slow the ball down while increasing the spin. This is why i suggest letting the ball fall even more because the more the ball falls the more you have to swing in an upward stroke plane/angle and the more you trade speed for spin. You should be able to heavy spin the ball without swinging very fast as you try to "lift" the ball. Then you can gradually increase the speed over time. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 10:52pm
I disagree he needs to let the ball drop more - bad habits are hard to fix in this game and too much upward motion can ruin a loop if it isn't combined with forward stroking and precise timing.  He will be stuck trying to take the ball late.  IF you were there coaching him, that would work, but from here, it might create the wrong scenario.

Diedona,

Somewhere in after 2:30 till the end shows your best contact.  The contact is great.  What you now need to do is to straighten the arm for more power.  

You can keep this stroke and it will work okay though you will struggle to get power out of it unless you try to get the elbow out more.  This stroke will actually do okay at the lower club levels.


You don't need to completely straighten the arm - just not keep it at 90 degrees when you start looping - something like 130 to 150 degrees is fine.  It allows your elbow to help you generate more spin and speed when you go from 150 degrees to the 90 degree position that you should finish at.  You will also need to free up the wrist a little and stop holding it in a fixed position.  You don't fix your wrist when you throw a ball - there is no need to fix it while looping.

Initially, the extra power from the elbow will make you miss, but it is very easy to control - relaxing the wrist is trickier, but if you do it enough, it is also possible to control.  Continue to brush the ball.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote richrf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 10:54pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

Richrf,

I agree.

Diedona,

Have you tried going in front of a mirror and shadowing your stroke?


Yes, I often do this to get a mirror of my current stroke and then compare it to the player that I am studying.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote diedona Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 11:04pm
@richrf
i think my forehand stroke has been veeery wrong for a long time and my former coach refused to help me. I am trying to improve it with my mom doing some blocks and youtube videos + comments from this thread! My mainly problem is the short movement and strange trajectory of the arm (i think XD).

I feel i am.. a bit stiff during the strokes, but its hard to get relaxed.. I will try! :)

@kenneyy88
Yes, i agree! I have made some more trainning today and i feel more liberty in my movement. I think i am finally getting it right when playing.

@nextlevel
I talked with my mom about multi ball, but it didn't worked well... She says she rather keep blocking. We are thinking about getting a newgy bot, so i can stop disturbing my mom all the time. The only problem is how to ship it to brazil and pay the 60% + 18% of customs. The only national robot available sucks big time (robo pong).

I think that my elbow will finally get away from the body. This sunday afternoon we had trained some hours and i think it's starting to work out! I also played some untaped slow strokes, really trying to focus on the movement itself.

I have tried to use the npa on the center of my body and i think it helped... I need to train more, but overal i am very happy that something is starting to change! :D

@V-Griper
I understand :) I will try to work and tape some strokes with more spin and less speed. It's something like a brush loop, right? I feel i do these (or at least i try) when trainning topspin x backspin...

Thanks everyone for the kind replies!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote diedona Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/17/2015 at 11:39pm
By the way, this is the taped trainning of Sunday. I havent applied the more recent tips from you guys, as i havent read them at that moment.



I feel that this is starting to sound - i mean - look better. I think i have more precision and can perform slower strokes in this kind of movement.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2015 at 5:42am
This is again another significant improvement.  You are now finishing on the same side of your body and you are able to control the shot from distance - really good stuff from 2:00 or so.  Amazingly fast improvement in one day.  You also look very relaxed.  I like your pace and your mother's blocking.

I personally (and this is just me) would like you to use the elbow a little more by straightening your arm more on the backswing and finishing the same way you do now - the elbow is a powerful lever.  If there were no elbows, I would have no forehand at all because I have no knees.  Relax the wrist a little.  When you straighten the elbow a little, you will have to close the paddle even more. The arm is supposed to feel like a whip if it is perfect, but it doesn't have to be perfect on day one or day two.  It is all a process.

You already have a good enough forehand (IMO) now in basics for building on and it will only get better from here on out as you get better at using it.  Once you can choose to straighten or bend the arm, all you will have to do is practice against different spins and aiming at different points on the table using the same technique to understand how to loop better.  Straightening the arm will let you loop drive backspin and weak balls much more easily without bending your knees so much.  So let's be greedy here and go for it.


Edited by NextLevel - 05/18/2015 at 5:46am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2015 at 1:23pm
Your basic forehand stroke is perfectly reasonable and i would not be trying to make conscious changes to it at this stage in the game.

However, you need to bend your legs a little more and, potentially, put your feet a little wider apart (not much).

You should feel the right quadriceps working on every loop as you push off of the right leg.  Right now, your feet are largely in the same place when the ball is consistent.  When the ball goes a little wide or a little into the body, you tend to lean either forward or backwards, which is not a good idea.  When you do move your feet, you use them to get into position for the stroke, but you do not launch your stroke off of the right leg nearly enough.

The basic problem with selecting the correct stroke is that it is a little different for everyone.  However, you have a good enough basic stroke where at this point in the game, if you want to get better, you have to focus on your footwork and on making sure your wrist and arm are relaxed.  Your stroke will naturally evolve as your foot and body position start dictating the trajectory of the racket a little.

In the beginning, it is best you overexaggerate the weight transfer somewhat to get it grooved in.  After that, it will become natural.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2015 at 1:51pm
Off-topic.
Koshkin, I notice you and and I joined on the same date, 30/10/2003. Is that possible, or did MYTT make some adjustment for all early joiners during some server change or similar?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2015 at 1:57pm
Tinykin, I am pretty sure that I joined right around that time, so I would not be to surprised if we joined on the same date.  I doubt that this is a MyTT server adjustment, but I could be wrong.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2015 at 2:00pm
Diedona,
 
This is not the time for footwork - you are working on your stroke.  Forget footwork - after you learn a good stroke, you can work on your footwork.  Footwork is one of the most overrated things in table tennis. The level at which footwork holds you back is far higher than your current stroke.  I can show you many players with bad footwork who will beat you in table tennis if they hit the ball once.  I beat players with far better footwork than myself all the time because I have better strokes on at least my forehand or my backhand (usually my backhand but sometimes both sides).
 
Fix the elbow issue - try straightening it a little on the backswing and break it when hitting the ball.  It should feel as if you are using your arm like a whip - should be relaxed.   The elbow is one of the most powerful and stable joints in the body if used correctly and it is hard to misuse it on the forehand (on the backhand, one needs to be more careful). 
 
Weight transfer is important, but leave that alone for now.  What you are doing is good enough.
 
If you want to be able to loop fairly powerfully without bending your knees or doing all kinds of crazy things that your body may not be suited for, you need to get the elbow and wrist usage correct.  People who don't know how to straighten their elbows don't know how to punish weak balls without using all their power.  Fix this first!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote BH-Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/18/2015 at 5:10pm
1st vid looked like stroke was 25-30% power using almost entirely the shoulder muscles to generate the power... not a good recipe for success. Might be consistent at that power range, but any more power (and you'll need way more power than that in a match) is asking for misses.

This last vid seems to use the legs and hips to start the power some more (and also uses better shoulder rotation) and you can hear the wood on the ball, so obviously better than previous vid, but still way too much use of hitting shoulder joint as a pivot point. SOME should be used, but OP hinges on it and barely uses any arm snap or wrist snap.

On a slower ball over the table (like in this drill) try getting into a position looking over the ball and use more forward stroke more open bat and use the elbow as a hinge... NOT the shoulder joint like you are. This is a more effective way to handle these balls over the table.

If you are gunna take it after it leaves the table, then using more lower body, shoulder rotation, and arm/wrist snap is sensible and controllable.

I agree with Next Level in saying it isn't time yet to go to the complicated multi-position intense moving footwork drill combos just yet. I still believe that developing efficient footwork that is simple, like a small one step, a shuffle step, two step makes sense right now. All that step around FH followed by a desperate crossover step should be way later down the line.

If the OP can learn to do a quick shuffle, a one step to the ball, a quick two step to each side and maybe a hop/slide step... that would be much more useful and applicable at his level.

I would say emphasizing STANCE, Balance, Movement to the ball, recovery, and some simple footwork is a much wiser investment at this time.

NL is right, it isn't time to go turbo on the difficult footwork stuff yet... getting to the ball on time on balance ready to execute an efficient stroke and be ready to move back and take on the next shot will do him a lot better than working on some of the sexier stuff. It looks like he doesn't have the room to do that stuff anyway.

I'll put in an example in the  paragraph below of the key point Next Level made about the development of footwork at his level... and Next Level achieved the "desired" 2000 level. He says his footwork is very limited due to arthritis in joints and defeats others his level who have WAY better footwork.

I believe that. I have dropped 3 levels in the last 1.5+ yrs and Next level has gained 1.5. Even in my sorry state of TT deterioration, I can still move pretty damned well, I just lost touch, timing and consistency. If I played Next Level right now AND he played to attack first (and landed most) he would defeat me... like 3-1 consistently and I move 10x more/better than him.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote boaspirit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/21/2015 at 12:49am
Originally posted by diedona diedona wrote:

By the way, this is the taped trainning of Sunday. I havent applied the more recent tips from you guys, as i havent read them at that moment.



I feel that this is starting to sound - i mean - look better. I think i have more precision and can perform slower strokes in this kind of movement.

dude significant improvement. if you look at your first vid the range of your paddle hasn't increase from this vid. but because of the body usage your shot now has more weight in them, this is a combination of spin and power that comes from your body, as appose to before it was just your arm. you were able to produce a topspin before but it wasn't heavy which means its up to your opponent to control that ball, as you can see now your mom has a harder time blocking because your shots got heavier.

you said you have more precision and can perform slower strokes now this is because before you were using arm now ur using body, the arm has alot of Range, in other words its very free and its hard to produce the same consistent strokes because since you arm can move in any direction, while you body has less range of motion, so in other words you can repeat a movement over and over very consistently

congrats man! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote diedona Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/22/2015 at 12:01am
Well, here i am once again with my "footage of the week".



I'm really trying to apply all the tips you guys are telling me. I really feel that things are getting better. Last week i felt i couldn't apply much of power with this stroke, but yesterday i felt it was stronger and easier to make a "power loop" (i mean, when i intentionaly tried to kill the rally while not killing my mom, in the paralel).

Still i have the issue you guys pointed: My arm is too stiff and the angle is not increasing. It's something like 90 degrees and i really strugle with it, but it doesnt relaxes! Maybe it will eventually... I have tried to do some shadow strokes, but almost no result come. I will give it time.

@NextLevel
>.< i'm still struggling with the elbow issue... Sometimes i feel i can compensate it with more "leaning forward" in the forehand motion, but i feel really strange trying to change this part of the stroke. It's not like i don't want, it's more like i can't make it right now, it's like an invisible force holding my arm. Maybe it comes with time?

@BH-Man
Hm... I think i did follow unconsciously your tip about a more forward stroke at one taped shot, around 3:35. I am really struggling with the arm/elbow role in the stroke... Maybe its time to watch again the youtube videos and try to mentalize the strokes a bit more.

@boasspirit
Thanks for the explanation and kind words!! :)

Well, back to my shadowy place in the webs... *vush*
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote richrf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/22/2015 at 12:14am
In order to go to the next level you will have to break old habits and build new ones. That means you will have to get worse before you get better.

Study your favorite players. I like c watching Waldner, Samsonov, and Klampar. Try to create a vision of relaxation in your whole body and start with gentle, relax blocks. (There is a moment of tension at the moment you hit the ball since you are pressing your forefinger into the racket at the moment of contact).

When you feel you are getting tense again in the shoulder, elbow, and wrist - stop, adjust and start again. Once you train your body to relax (body memory) your overall game will be prepared to jump to the next level, plus you will enjoy the game much more and you will be able to play much longer since you will be expending far less energy.

Every great athlete in any sport will tell you they are very relaxed when playing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/22/2015 at 1:22am
Diedona, 

Right after ball impact, you are squeezing your hand a little.  That forces a somewhat abbreviated follow through.  Focus on having a relaxed grip on the handle.

Aside from that, this is a significant improvement.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/22/2015 at 1:27am
What richrf said (+1).

Another major improvement (in the beginning of the video).  The arm is now straighter and the elbow is further away from your body.

dieodona,

The way to think about the elbow is this - what you are trying to do is make your racket move as fast as possible so you can spin the ball with confidence.  So you see, you are turning your body and going over your head (which is in principle good form) to get more power.  But with some practice, you can get that same power by putting some more distance between you and the ball, and when you use a straighter arm to contact the ball, snap the elbow to get power for the shot.  Yes, with the straighter arm, you lose some control, but it is not a shot you will use all the time.  Remember that if you start by focusing on control, you will never develop a good stroke.  You build the stroke first and then let your body figure out how to control it.  This stroke with the elbow can loop all by itself without using the body. Try it if you don't believe me.  Straigthen your arm then bend the elbow and end at 90 degrees.  Use this motion without moving your body to topspin the ball.  That exercise may help you.  If you learn this stroke, you will be able to loop with both a straight and a bent arm at your choice. Both are important.

Think of your basic topspin as your practice stroke which captures most of the possibilities you want to incorporate in your game and there will be some shorter or longer versions that you will use in other situations but which are just parts of that practice stroke.  But if you have the long arm version, it helps.  If you were competing with other players on a regular basis, you would see what other people were doing to get powerful loops and you would see them snapping elbows and you would realize that to get a better forehand, you would likely need to do it too.

Think of it like starting with a straight arm to give someone an uppercut punch.  Some people use the analogy of throwing a discus.  Just relax and loosen the arm.  Don't be afraid to miss in the beginning.  I tell people all the time - if you are afraid to miss, you will never develop good technique.  Missing with good technique helps you learn faster. 

What you have done is impressive so don't let this detail destroy your enjoyment.  If you can't do it, don't lose sleep.  But I would strongly recommend it.  It will give your stroke a new dimension and when you can't spend all day training, good technique with the arm is very helpful.

There are small details like weight balance and body rotation that you can work on over time (I suspect that you are putting too much weight on your right foot), and there are other camera angles that would be helpful (seeing your stroke from the right side and the back.  But again, you have done a good job.  It all depends on how perfect you want your technique to be at this point.  Your finishing position and basic loop is good.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
Mazunov
FH: TBD (MX-S, C1)
BH: C1
Lumberjack TT, not for lovers of beautiful strokes. No time to train...
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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: 05/23/2015 at 4:43am
huge improvement, now you need to work on your stance, it is too upright. You bend down which is good. However you don't have the forward lean which will allow you to have a more forward drive stroke. Basically tuck in your stomach so that your upper body is leaning forward about 45 deg pretty much all the time. Watch any side view video of any top pro player and you'll see the diff immediately. When you do this, the energy you have from the right leg pushing from the ground is directed forward and upwards (not just upwards like what u r doing now). Also your heels shouldn't touch the ground fully, this will cause you to move poorly. IMO Zhang Jike has the best balanced stance, there is a lot to be learnt from him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/23/2015 at 11:45am
Also, as NextLevel suggested, work on contacting the ball with your elbow >90 deg first. This is critical for developing a stronger FH topspin. The elbow snap just provides a huge amount of power and spin to your stroke. 
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