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    Posted: 15 hours 5 minutes ago at 8:19pm
Timing Disruption

Timing Disruption is a strategy which changes the ball speed or point of contact such that there is a significant difference in the time between your contact and opponent's contact on successive balls.  This difference in timing can result in errors by your opponent.

Timing Disruption can be classified into 2 general types:
1. Normally slow with surprise fast
2. Normally fast with surprise slow

The "surprise fast" version is most often used by mid and far distance players.  The "surprise slow" is used most often by close distance players.  Since the two versions are so different they will be discussed separately.

"Surprise Fast" Timing Disruption:

This version of Timing Disruption is mostly used as a synergistic strategy with Attrition.
The keys for the mid and far distance Timing Disruption player are judgement and "in-out" footwork after hitting the fast shot. 

The mid and far distance Timing Disruption player has to make two critical judgements.  The first is when to use the "fast" shot and the second is whether to follow up the fast shot with an attack or to simply reset the point with a controlling shot.  A critical element to the second judgement is "in-out" footwork.  At those distances the fast shot is not usually a winner.  Instead it usually produces a weaker return from a block.  The Timing Disruption player can not attack the short, weak return if they do not move in well. They are also vulnerable to a strong attack if they move in, use a controlling shot, and do not move out well.  Since there is some safety in retreating to distance, the mid/far distance Timing Disruption player can choose to play more of an Attrition oriented strategy.  In that case they only attack after the "fast" shot when they get a very weak ball and are in perfect position to attack.

Both the judgement and footwork elements need to be practiced in drills.  Drilling the footwork is pretty obvious.  Drilling the judgement is harder.  Every time you miss a "fast" shot or a follow up attack stop and think for a second about whether or not that was really the time to take the shot.  Also (often with feedback from partner) try to recognize when you passed up an easy opportunity for a "fast" shot or a follow up attack.  Train both the body and mind in the drills.

The counter weapon to this kind of Timing Disruption is awareness.  If you just go on auto pilotexpecting a slow return you will be in trouble.  As soon as you hit the ball, focus on your opponent and look for signs in their backswings that they are going to go for the "fast" ball.  It is also important to make sure you do not stay too close to the table after hitting a short ball.  This is especially problematic against choppers.  Against LP players the ability to block the "fast" shot to the LP side can reduce the number of follow up attacks since most are less effective attacking blocks with their LP side.

As noted earlier, Timing Disruption by a mid/far distance player is usually a synergistic strategy used with a primary Attrition strategy.  The frequency of its use is largely dependent on how aggressively the opponent attacks the "slow" shots and how well they deal with the "fast" balls.  There is no complimentary strategy for Timing Disruption.

"Surprise Slow" Timing Disruption:

This version of Timing Diruption is normally played from close to the table.  Unlike the mid/far versions it is played more as an independent strategy and works very similar to the Late Power strategy.  It is normally played with blocking and counter hitting strokes.  Some LP/Anti players can play it with looping strokes on Fh and blocks on the Bh.

The key elements of close distance Timing Disruption  are excellent controlling shots which limit the opponents attacks so that you can stay in the point long enough to use Timing Disruption and short, low touch blocks which are difficult to attack.  Since the play is close to the table, the Timing Disruption player is vulnerable to Early Power attacks.  A good fast push return is very useful against the Early Power player since it starts the "fast" pace early and at the same time limits the strength of the attack.  Likewise a fast off the bounce block return of topspin serves serves the same purpose.  Being able to keep the controlling shots to the elbow or at wide angles is critical since it is so difficult to deal with full power shots from close to the table.  The "slow" disruption shot needs to be short (double bounce or just long) and low in order to keep it from being killed.  Sometimes an opponent misses an easy shot just because of the pace change, but you can not count on that to win an entire match.  

An overlooked need for the close distance Timing Disruption player is an aggressive follow up shot after the "slow" disruption shot.  If there is no fear of attack, the opponent knows he can simply play a weak "reset" push or flip against the disruption shot and be ready to launch a strong attack on the next ball.  The close distance Timing Disruption player is likely not a strong looper, but if they flat hit well they can use that to punish those weak reset pushes or flips.  They can even attack with fast deep pushes.  Once the opponent feels pressured to make a strong shot against the "slow" ball they will make a lot more mistakes.

The key to playing against the close distance Timing Disruption player is self control.  Many of their "slow" shots look to be easily attackable.  However, they tend to give you these "slow" balls when they have you slightly off balance and thus you have difficulty setting up for the kill.  If you move to kill one of these slow balls and feel off balance use your self control to forego the kill and hit a point resetting control shot instead.  Hit the least difficult shot you can execute without having the next shot killed past you.  Deep heavy spin pushes to the weaker attacking wing, dead pushes to the LP wing, and flips to the elbow can be effective.  Make the Timing Disruption player prove he can hit winners off of simple control shots before you resort to being very aggressive against the "slow" ball.

Pattern and Time Pressure can be effective synergistic strategies to use with Timing Disruption.  Pattern play can aid in getting the opponent off balance before the disruption shot thus making it even harder to deal with.  Time Pressure play can win points even before using the "slow" disruption shot and it enhances the difference between the "fast" and "slow" balls.

Early Power play can be an effective complimentary strategy since the opponent is not expecting the Timing Disruption player to attack first.  Watch for any pattern of weaker returns or 3rd balls which would allow you to comitt to a 3rd or 4th ball attack on a few points.   A 3rd ball attack behind a surprise fast, long serve can also be used occasionally.  Even if not successful, such attacks put pressure on your opponent to try more difficult returns and 3rd ball openings.

Timing Disruption can be used from mid/far distance (usually in combination with a primary Attrition strategy) or from close distance where it is used similarly to Late Power (but more Late Lack of Power in this case).  At mid/far distance, judgement of what shot to take when is crucial.  At close distance shot execution of both the faster control shots and the "slow" disruption shot is critical.

Mark

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 hours 5 minutes ago at 6:19pm
Sorry.  Have been slow to finish up the Strategies.  I almost have Timing Disruption finished.  It was longer than others since there are 2 forms that are total different..

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 hours 8 minutes ago at 6:16pm
Thank you mjamja, it is a great thread! I find the concepts very well explained and informative. Obviously this way of thinking about TT is not for everyone but for analytical person like me is a long-awaited gift! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/26/2019 at 2:49am
I think there is different interperetations of attrition and how it relates to TT, which is why I'm not keen on the terminology. I'm a two wing topspin looper, and I've always used 'attrition' as a tactic against defenders and pushblockers by essentially reading spin reducing risk. Changing terminology changes  nothing in reality. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote benfb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/25/2019 at 10:18pm
Originally posted by APW46 APW46 wrote:

Categorizing defenders as 'attrition' is also far too neat, the reality is that the best defenders hit at every opportunity to stop players getting into a pattern and if they are not hitting, they are not getting the opportunity. Attrition for defenders in its pure form went out in the 1950's.
Perhaps you were overstating yourself to make a stronger point, but I would call this very wrong.

Classic choppers are almost purely attrition players.  They are waiting for a mistake. The mistake can either be a true failure (such as not landing on the table) or a weak shot which is punished.  However, even with "punishment", the game for class chopper is still about attrition.

Clearly, the debut of Joo Se Hyuk and his "modern defender" style changed that paradigm, by choosing a mix of attrition and attack, but there are still fairly few attackers that really have mastered modern defender the way he did.  Most of the male choppers I see now are more aggressive than the choppers of the 1990s (not the 1950s!), but I would still say that attrition is an important part of their game.  And this becomes even more so if you're looking at amateurs rather than professionals.

I suppose "defenders" could also refer to pushblockers, but that is also very much a style of attrition.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tassie52 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/23/2019 at 8:33am
Thanks, Mark, for continuing to expand your series.  Personally, I'm finding your observations and explanations both interesting and useful.

I've just spent the last thirteen weeks playing in a team where our number 2 is the archetypical "Time pressure" player.  He's an accomplished sports-person quite new to table tennis, so is relying on keen hand-eye coordination and sharp reflexes.  In the space of less than twelve months, he's graduated to beating players with years more experience and table tennis education.  He consistently takes the ball off the bounce, primarily using a backhand block played with a side swiping motion.  On the forehand he does something similar.  He rarely attempts to win using "early power" or "late power" techniques.  By constantly pressuring his opponents he forces them out of position and into mistakes.

In our division, there are a couple of other "time pressure" players, mainly relying on a strong forehand block.  Both are quite successful number 1s for their teams, winning because they stop their opponents (meaning me) from developing winning patterns and strategies.  Everything you've argued - both pros and cons of this strategy - is spot on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/23/2019 at 2:12am
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

Originally posted by Fulanodetal Fulanodetal wrote:

"I understand what you are categorizing. I tend to see time from a players point of view as something they possess, and that does include lobbers, fishers and defenders. For example, a player who is way off the table and spots a drop shot before his opponent has executed it, has more time, than another player in the same position who does not. the best way to buy time in TT is to teach yourself to look straight at your opponents bat  as soon as you have played your stroke, then pick the ball up from his bat incoming."

I don't think you fully understand mjamja's point. It is not about just Time or having time as you put it. It is about putting "Time Pressure" on your opponent. That's why defenders strategy is about outlasting the opponent (attrition) not about applying time pressure.

FdT

No surprises that real life coaches hate anyone providing good advice online :) 
 I fully understand mjamja's point, his point is glaringly obvious, and what he is doing is categorizing aspects of the game into neat little boxes, very eloquently I must add.

 A player who's style falls into the 'time pressure' as he puts it category, also has less time himself and unless he understands how to 'buy time' is very limited potentially. 

Categorizing defenders as 'attrition' is also far too neat, the reality is that the best defenders hit at every opportunity to stop players getting into a pattern and if they are not hitting, they are not getting the opportunity. Attrition for defenders in its pure form went out in the 1950's.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/22/2019 at 8:20pm
Originally posted by Fulanodetal Fulanodetal wrote:

"I understand what you are categorizing. I tend to see time from a players point of view as something they possess, and that does include lobbers, fishers and defenders. For example, a player who is way off the table and spots a drop shot before his opponent has executed it, has more time, than another player in the same position who does not. the best way to buy time in TT is to teach yourself to look straight at your opponents bat  as soon as you have played your stroke, then pick the ball up from his bat incoming."

I don't think you fully understand mjamja's point. It is not about just Time or having time as you put it. It is about putting "Time Pressure" on your opponent. That's why defenders strategy is about outlasting the opponent (attrition) not about applying time pressure.

FdT

No surprises that real life coaches hate anyone providing good advice online :) 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/22/2019 at 3:35pm
Originally posted by Fulanodetal Fulanodetal wrote:

"I understand what you are categorizing. I tend to see time from a players point of view as something they possess, and that does include lobbers, fishers and defenders. For example, a player who is way off the table and spots a drop shot before his opponent has executed it, has more time, than another player in the same position who does not. the best way to buy time in TT is to teach yourself to look straight at your opponents bat  as soon as you have played your stroke, then pick the ball up from his bat incoming."

I don't think you fully understand mjamja's point. It is not about just Time or having time as you put it. It is about putting "Time Pressure" on your opponent. That's why defenders strategy is about outlasting the opponent (attrition) not about applying time pressure.

FdT


One follows from the other though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Fulanodetal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/22/2019 at 2:02pm
"I understand what you are categorizing. I tend to see time from a players point of view as something they possess, and that does include lobbers, fishers and defenders. For example, a player who is way off the table and spots a drop shot before his opponent has executed it, has more time, than another player in the same position who does not. the best way to buy time in TT is to teach yourself to look straight at your opponents bat  as soon as you have played your stroke, then pick the ball up from his bat incoming."

I don't think you fully understand mjamja's point. It is not about just Time or having time as you put it. It is about putting "Time Pressure" on your opponent. That's why defenders strategy is about outlasting the opponent (attrition) not about applying time pressure.

FdT
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/22/2019 at 2:07am
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

Originally posted by APW46 APW46 wrote:

'Time pressure' works in every strategy, the player who has more time than his opponent in every aspect of the game is putting pressure on his opponent to play strokes, think, and apply a strategy or tactic of his own. The player with superior time of his own is normally the better player. Trying to squeeze your opponent for time, if you actually do not have the ability means that you lose because you are largely predetermining what you are doing. Peripheral vision and reading your opponent is the key.

I would disagree in the case of lobbers, fishers, choppers, and modern defenders.  To me it seems these players are willing to voluntarily give their opponents more time in order to get more time themselves.

Maybe "Time Pressure" was a poor name choice.  I have repeatedly run into a class of player who contacts the ball very early off the bounce and makes me feel like I just do not have time to execute my normal shots even though the ball speed seems slow compared to loopers that do not make me feel pressured for time.  I was looking for a strategy name to identify what this group of players does that seems to be distinctly different from other players.

Mark
I understand what you are categorizing. I tend to see time from a players point of view as something they possess, and that does include lobbers, fishers and defenders. For example, a player who is way off the table and spots a drop shot before his opponent has executed it, has more time, than another player in the same position who does not. the best way to buy time in TT is to teach yourself to look straight at your opponents bat  as soon as you have played your stroke, then pick the ball up from his bat incoming. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/21/2019 at 1:56pm
Originally posted by APW46 APW46 wrote:

'Time pressure' works in every strategy, the player who has more time than his opponent in every aspect of the game is putting pressure on his opponent to play strokes, think, and apply a strategy or tactic of his own. The player with superior time of his own is normally the better player. Trying to squeeze your opponent for time, if you actually do not have the ability means that you lose because you are largely predetermining what you are doing. Peripheral vision and reading your opponent is the key.

I would disagree in the case of lobbers, fishers, choppers, and modern defenders.  To me it seems these players are willing to voluntarily give their opponents more time in order to get more time themselves.

Maybe "Time Pressure" was a poor name choice.  I have repeatedly run into a class of player who contacts the ball very early off the bounce and makes me feel like I just do not have time to execute my normal shots even though the ball speed seems slow compared to loopers that do not make me feel pressured for time.  I was looking for a strategy name to identify what this group of players does that seems to be distinctly different from other players.

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/21/2019 at 4:45am
'Time pressure' works in every strategy, the player who has more time than his opponent in every aspect of the game is putting pressure on his opponent to play strokes, think, and apply a strategy or tactic of his own. The player with superior time of his own is normally the better player. Trying to squeeze your opponent for time, if you actually do not have the ability means that you lose because you are largely predetermining what you are doing. Peripheral vision and reading your opponent is the key.

Edited by APW46 - 08/21/2019 at 4:46am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/20/2019 at 6:22pm
Time Pressure

Time Pressure is a very specialized strategy which involves contacting the ball almost right off the bounce such that the ball is returned to the opponent before he is ready to hit again.  The shots used have characteristics of both controlling and attacking shots.  The ball speed is more in the control range, but the commitment to play every shot from the more difficult off the bounce location with the intention of winning with that shot is more attacking in nature.  Overall, using Time Pressure requires more of an attacking (rather than controlling) mindset.  Contacting balls over the table rather than letting them come off the end of the table is a hallmark of the Time Pressure strategy.

Because the shots are played off the bounce,  Time Pressure is a close distance only strategy.  It is also not very effective unless the opponent is also playing close distance.  Blocking is the primary stroke used although very close to table counterhitting can be used.  In both cases borrowing power from the opponent's shot is important since off the bounce strokes are inherently more compact and do not generate as much power on their own.

The key to using the Time Pressure strategy is the ability to play the ball right off the bounce and even contact it over the table if the ball is a little short.  Besides the obvious reduced time to react, Time Pressure play has two other effects.  There is a kind of Timing Disruption effect since normally balls are allowed to come off the table before being hit.  Opponents are often not even preparing for the balls return at the time it is hit.  Taking the ball over the table also negates the effects of widely angled balls since they never get the chance to continue going wide outside the table.  Thus it is generally better to attack the Time Pressure player deep to the corner or middle than short and wide.  When played as a synergistic strategy to Pattern play, there are fewer balls played over the table than in a pure Time Pressure strategy.  In the mixed strategy the Time Pressure comes from playing the ball very close to the end of the table rather than the more normally expected one step back position.

Because the Time Pressure player needs to borrow power, they generally do not attack first.  Using Early Power and attacking on 3rd or 4th ball can be an effective complimentary strategy to Time Pressure especially if the opponent tries to deal with the reduced time by taking some power off their serve return or their 3rd ball.

Pattern and Time Pressure are natural synergistic strategies.  If Time Pressure is the more dominant then there are more shots played over the table and the ball movement pattern tends to be repeated shots to one location followed by a surprise location change.  If Pattern is more dominant there is more shot to shot ball movement and the ball is more often played near the end of the table.  Time Pressure strategy can turn into an Attrition plus Time Pressure strategy if both players are good at dealing with each others shots.

The Early Power player using 4th and 5th ball kills after topspin shots is vulnerable to Time Pressure since the topspin setup shot (2nd or 3rd ball) can be returned very quickly.  Using an underspin 2nd ball or 3rd ball as the setup can negate lots of the time pressure on your attacking shot.  And using 2nd or 3rd ball kills gets your attack in before  Time Pressure can be applied.  The Pattern player is probably the most vulnerable to Time Pressure.  In addition to having less time in which to execute precise placements, the over the table blocks negate the effects of their wide placements (their primary finishing shot).  The compact strokes ( mostly blocks) of the Time Pressure player are also less vulnerable to the transition pressure of the Pattern strategy.  To win the Pattern player has to find a pattern that the particular Time Pressure player finds difficult to deal with.  Since the Time Pressure player is not attacking with power, sometimes a non standard pattern going into the Fh power zone will work.  Attrition or Late Power from mid or far distance force the Time Pressure player to play a different strategy.  A close distance Late Power strategy based on pushing and then pick hitting can be effective if the Time Pressure player can not open strongly.  Of course if the Time Pressure player is using topspin serves, this would only work when the Late Power player was serving unless he is able to use a chop serve return.

The ability to play returns right off the bounce ( even playing shorter balls over the table) is the key factor in making the Time Pressure strategy work.  To do so you need compact strokes and good in/out footwork to get in over the table on short balls and still get back for deep attacks.  As such the Time Pressure player needs to practice against strong deep attacks and needs to use drills with different length returns to practice this in/out play.  When playing players who can effectively retreat to mid and far distance, the Time Pressure player needs another strategy.  Since they normally would have good blocks, they can develop a close distance Late Power strategy using deep blocks to control their opponent, short blocks to bring them in closer, and a punch block or fast counterhit as a finisher once they are in closer behind a weak return.  

Time Pressure is a specialized, close distance strategy, used against other close distance players, particularly Early Power and Pattern Players.  The Time Pressure player needs to develop an alternative strategy for dealing with mid and far distance players since Time Pressure is not very effectice against those players.  Close distance Late Power based on control blocking is the closest fit to what they do in the Time Pressure strategy.

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote smackman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/18/2019 at 6:29pm

Style, Strategy, and Tactics

Much depends on 
personality
start age
Type of coaching
no coaching
Country of origin
closeness to a club
Gear available at start age
type of rubber
environment (small space)
opposition style
ability to learn in a game
able to learn from mistakes and work on problems
amount of practice and reason for practice
remembered knowledge from last match
level of player and competition
$$$ on Dignics or 729 rubber



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/18/2019 at 4:31pm
Look at Liu Shiwen's matches against Ding Ning and Ching Meng at 2019 WTTC.  There are many points where one or both players hit 3 or more consecutive balls to different locations and often completely different sides of the table.  Another thing to look for is the players choice of using the Bh for playing balls to the elbow.  So instead of choosing a power option with the Fh they play placement and positioning by using the Bh.  It should be noted that several times Ching Meng switched to classic 3rd or 5th ball kill tactics (Early Power) using early step around footwork to get her Fh into play.  Liu Shiwen also did 3rd ball kills, but to me they looked more like opportunistic kills of poor serve returns than planned early step around type tactics.  

Of course at this level the players are so versatile that they use multiple strategies during matches unlike most average players who tend to be one trick ponies.

Mark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fulanodetal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/18/2019 at 1:42pm
I'm loving this thread!

Mjamja, while you already mentioned that the womens game falls into the pattern strategy in general, for example, I think it might be helpful if you could actually name a few specific players that use whatever strategy you are describing. Or even include a YouTube link to illustrate what you're talking about.

FdT


Edited by Fulanodetal - 08/18/2019 at 1:42pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/18/2019 at 3:25am
Originally posted by APW46 APW46 wrote:

in my world, this is called counter hitting.

If the stroke being used to make the shots is a block or a loop, do you still refer to it as counter hitting?

I have always used the term counter hitting to describe a particular type of stroke although I do think of punch blocks as the same as counter hitting.  I guess there is s an implied close distance play in the term counter hitter.  In my framework a counter hitter could be playing any one of several strategies including Attrition, Pattern, Time Pressure, or even Early Power (at lower levels where a counter hit can be strong enough for a finishing shot)..  The idea being that a person can try to win in more than one way using a given type of stroke and that there might need to be different tactics used against them based on the combination of strokes they use, their style elements, and strategy they are using.

Mark

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/18/2019 at 2:05am
in my world, this is called counter hitting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/16/2019 at 3:39pm
Pattern Strategy

The Pattern strategy uses controlling and attacking shots played in a specific combination of spin and location designed to create errors by putting high demands on the opponent's footwork, stroke recovery, and transition skills.  It shares some characteristics of the Late Power strategy, but relies more on ball movement to create errors than waiting for an opportunity to hit a winner.  As such the controlling shots are more aggressive than in the Late Power strategy and will often include placements into the opponents attacking zones.  This is one of the more common strategies in high level women's play.

The Pattern strategy works best for close distance players since moving away from the table reduces the angle of attacks and gives your opponent more time for stroke recovery and Fh/Bh transitions.  It can work from mid distance for aggressive 2 wing loopers who can be consistent with enough power to put some pressure on the opponent's footwork and transitions.  

Placement is the critical feature of the Pattern strategy.  The Pattern player needs the ability to hit precisely to many different locations against a variety of incoming shot types.  The ability to disguise where the shot is going to be hit is very useful for pattern players.  Many pattern players use a Bh punch block stroke whose direction is very difficult to recognize until the ball is hit.  The Pattern player needs to practice multiple placements against both topspin and underspin and needs to practice specific patterns they expect to use.

Pattern players can use any type of shots except chops and lobs.  Aggressive long pushes are very important because they allow the Pattern player to both move his opponent slightly out of position early and start his pattern early in the point.  Mid distance Pattern players usually do not use blocks because they are too slow to create footwork and transition problems.  Pattern play from mid distance with blocks usually develops into Late Power play with Pattern play as a synergistic strategy.

There is not a complementary strategy for the Pattern strategy.  However, just as in the case of Late Power, some players play a hybrid Early Power/Pattern Strategy.   They look for very specific reurns that they can 3rd or 4th ball kill, but if those do not come they go right into their pattern.  The serves and returns used may not be the typical Early Power serves since they must function both as setting up an attack as well as setting up the pattern.

There are synergistic strategies for use with Pattern play.  Time Pressure combines well with Pattern's ball movement to put high demands on the opponent's footwork and transitions.  Timing Disruption, particularly the use of a slow short block, can be an effective addition to the Pattern game.  Pattern play blockers can add Spin Variation to the overall strategy to get even more errors from opponents.

The Early Power strategy is the best natual strategy against Pattern play since it tends to end the point before the pattern can develop enough to cause problems.  However, since it is played close to the table, the Early Power, player is more vulnerable to the footwork and transition pressure than a strategy played from mid to far distance.  Pattern versus Pattern is often seen in the women's game.  It is often combined with Time Pressure.  In that case it simply comes down to who picks the better patterns to play and who can execute those chosen patterns.  Late Power from close distance is vulnerable since it allows the pattern to be developed against relatively light pressure.  Late Power from mid distance can be very effective since the playing distance reduces time pressure on footwork and transitions.  The Pattern player can make the mid distance player use a lot of energy covering the return angles they can generate.  But control loops from mid distance are usually more dificult for the close distance Pattern player to deal with so the Pattern player is often forced to use less aggressive angles or move slightly back which reduces his angles and effective pressure on transitions.  Both Late Power and Attrition played from mid distance with heavy topsin can be effective against the Pattern Player.  Time Pressure can break down the Pattern players ability to execute their patterns.  Pattern players who use larger loop strokes are more vulnerable than those using compact shots such as blocks and counters.  Timing Disruption srategies which slow down play can reduce the effectiveness of Pattern play.  However, slower, shorter balls do allow some Pattern players to execute extreme angles so this kind of Timing Disruption's effectiveness is highly dependent on the skill set of the particular Pattern player.  Any strategy played from far distance negates a lot of the Pattern strategies effects.  However, since the Pattern player is good at placement,  any far distance player will need extra stamina to repeatedly cover the angled shots the Pattern player is good at generating.

As a Pattern player, placement is the key against any strategy.  One key feature is the ability to play very wide angles.  This requires using a slight reduction in speed in order to get the ball to land in the shorter distance available on very wide angles.  Practice on mixing shots to the short wide angle with shots deep to the corner and elbow is essential.  Against Early Power players hitting the elbow early is very important.  Against any strategy played from distance, the Pattern player needs to both move the opponent wide side to side and sometimes make them move in and to the side at the same time.

In summary, Pattern play is an effective strategy for close distance players and is especially good against other close distance players.  It does not work nearly as well against mid to far distance players and is vulnerable against heavy topsin played from mid distance by a control looper.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/15/2019 at 4:44pm
Originally posted by geardaddy geardaddy wrote:

This discussion of styles and strategies is certainly interesting, but I think it is missing a critical piece.  You need to also describe the necessary strokes and technique required to execute the strategy.  It is not enough to just say "do this or that" to implement a strategy.  You need to describe the specific abilities that are necessary to successfully implement that strategy.

In the system I am describing a strategy is not tied to a particular stroke or technique.  For instance an Attrition strategy can be played by a lobber, a chopper, a blocker, or a mid-distance 2 wing looper (among others).  What all those do have in common is the need to be patient and all fit well with high risk aversion personalities.  Likewise, Early Power strategy can be played by loopers or hitters.
When you select tactics, which are right for your personal style and strategy, you start to be able to identify specific strokes and techniques which you needed in order to implement those tactics.  There are still 20+ posts (each will take at least 1 week to write) I need to make to finish out a complete description of the approach I am describing.

In the description of each strategy I do try to point out key elements that are crucial to that strategy and mention some general training methods that help specific to that strategy.  

Please be patient with me as I try to organize and present this information.

Mark










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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote geardaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/15/2019 at 12:06pm
This discussion of styles and strategies is certainly interesting, but I think it is missing a critical piece.  You need to also describe the necessary strokes and technique required to execute the strategy.  It is not enough to just say "do this or that" to implement a strategy.  You need to describe the specific abilities that are necessary to successfully implement that strategy.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/15/2019 at 4:48am
Originally posted by Tassie52 Tassie52 wrote:

Okay, so we may disagree over the usefulness or otherwise of mjamja's offerings, however I'm finding his thoughts absolutely fascinating.  Please don't discourage him!

As far as the assessment of different strategies, I think he's clearly on the money - at least at the level I play.  Regardless of APW46's quibbles, I see lots of difference between "late power" and "attrition" as executed by the players I'm surrounded with.  

 I'm not trying to discourage anyone, I can't see what is wrong with scrutiny though, if He is confident of his theories, he can confidently fend scrutiny off, if he can't then we can make our own minds up from our own experience.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote YoAss Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/15/2019 at 4:21am
My old coach got riled up about this, when I visited him and asked him to help me address a weakness.

He asked me, what is your game?  How does this fit in?  And then went on about focusing on deepening my strengths rather than dwell on my weaknesses.

He was very vehement, and I trust his TT wisdom so deeply there's no way I can question his judgement.  So I asked him, if I want to play to my strenghts, how do I prevent getting shut out by someone smartly exploiting my weaknesses?

And he told me: enhance your strengths.  Then I was enlightened.


Edited by YoAss - 08/15/2019 at 4:22am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tassie52 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/15/2019 at 3:35am
Okay, so we may disagree over the usefulness or otherwise of mjamja's offerings, however I'm finding his thoughts absolutely fascinating.  Please don't discourage him!

As far as the assessment of different strategies, I think he's clearly on the money - at least at the level I play.  Regardless of APW46's quibbles, I see lots of difference between "late power" and "attrition" as executed by the players I'm surrounded with.  Equally, my approach of "timing disruption" is hugely different from those I play against who try to create "timing pressure", although I'm happy to admit sometimes those things (as I understand them) look similar.

I am really keen to hear Mark's thoughts on the whole range of strategies.  More please!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/15/2019 at 2:43am
Originally posted by Baal Baal wrote:

Tactics you can't execute are self defeating and most people beat themselves.

That is a great statement Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/14/2019 at 5:47pm
All of this is great (or not so great) in theory.  On real tables, a lot of players will never improve because they only practice the stuff they are relatively good at.  If you can honestly identify stuff you suck at it is possible to come up with practice regimens that eventually reduce those liabilities.  Tactics you can't execute are self defeating and most people beat themselves.

Edited by Baal - 08/14/2019 at 5:48pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote APW46 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/14/2019 at 3:06am
Originally posted by benfb benfb wrote:

Originally posted by BRS BRS wrote:

Making in game decision-making simpler, I think the ball tells you what to do every time.  Pre-conceived tactics and decisions are useful to practice, but in games just let the ball tell you what to do.
Unlike Stiltt, I don't like this.  For any given ball, there are many things you could do.  If you don't have a sense of what you do well and what you do weakly, then you're not going to make good decisions about what to do with a specific ball.  "Pre-conceived tactics" is critical to making good decisions.

Mark's approach is very analytical, and some intuitive players are going to be uncomfortable with that.  That's fine.  But the way I see it, the goal is to "know yourself".  The way I see it, most players have a broad sense of who they are at the table, but don't look very carefully at the details.  Mark's analysis is a way of pulling out those details.  The better you know yourself, the more you can play to your strengths and stay away from your weaknesses.

Also, to APW's remark that there is nothing new here.  That's pretty much true for every coaching remark every made on this forum.  The question is whether Mark has found a way to organize the information that is useful to some other players.  For example, I personally understood Mark's postings more than I understood APW's, even though I appreciate both.
 Probably because my response was not the length of War and Peace Wink but there are many different ways to say the same thing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote benfb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/13/2019 at 1:26pm
Originally posted by BRS BRS wrote:

Making in game decision-making simpler, I think the ball tells you what to do every time.  Pre-conceived tactics and decisions are useful to practice, but in games just let the ball tell you what to do.
Unlike Stiltt, I don't like this.  For any given ball, there are many things you could do.  If you don't have a sense of what you do well and what you do weakly, then you're not going to make good decisions about what to do with a specific ball.  "Pre-conceived tactics" is critical to making good decisions.

Mark's approach is very analytical, and some intuitive players are going to be uncomfortable with that.  That's fine.  But the way I see it, the goal is to "know yourself".  The way I see it, most players have a broad sense of who they are at the table, but don't look very carefully at the details.  Mark's analysis is a way of pulling out those details.  The better you know yourself, the more you can play to your strengths and stay away from your weaknesses.

Also, to APW's remark that there is nothing new here.  That's pretty much true for every coaching remark every made on this forum.  The question is whether Mark has found a way to organize the information that is useful to some other players.  For example, I personally understood Mark's postings more than I understood APW's, even though I appreciate both.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/13/2019 at 8:49am
Late power to me is almost irrelevant.  What is the definition of late - after the fifth ball?  Unless one player is a defender most matches I play or see have 10% or fewer of the points getting to a sixth ball.

I just counted rally length in a match from my local club tournament this weekend.  Ideal setup for longer rallies -- evenly matched players who train together for years and know the other's serves and tendencies.  One player is a blocker/counter-attacker.  Total points were 42 - 39 in four sets.  On 16 points the ball was touched six times or more.  That includes missed sixth balls.  If I only counted balls with six or more successful shots it would be single digits.  

So under ideal conditions at the ~1900 level late power is possible on fewer than 20% of the points.  

Unless you define late as anything after the third ball?
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