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Using analogies for learning strokes faster

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Joo Se Kev View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05/01/2020 at 5:47am

Hey guys, as many of you know, I’m working on a new book (see sig) that focuses on optimizing athletic performance in table tennis through the latest sports science. One of the chapters is on motor learning and discusses ways to tweak your practice so that long-term learning occurs and performance improves. 


One of the things I’ve discovered is the effectiveness of using analogies when learning.


In one study performed on novice table tennis players, researchers compared explicit instruction versus instruction by analogy. The explicit learning group was given a set of instructions that detailed exactly how to hit a forehand topspin. The analogy group was simply told to imagine a right-angled triangle and to swing his or her racquet up along its hypotenuse while hitting the ball. The authors state that the effectiveness of the analogy hinges on its ability to “integrate the complex rule structure of the to-be-learned skill in a simple biomechanical metaphor that can be reproduced by the learner” and that “Most importantly, the essential rules needed to impart topspin do not need to be explicated; they remain disguised in the right-angled triangle analogy.” 


At the end of the trial, they found that novice table tennis players who learned the forehand topspin stroke by analogy performed better, had a better implicit grasp of the stroke, and their skills held up better under pressure compared to the explicit learning group.


I thought maybe we could tap into the collective hive-mind here and come up with a list of good analogies to use for various strokes / aspects of play.


We have the right-angled triangle one from the study for helping novices learn topspin.


I also liked the box analogy Matt Hetherington used in his backspin serve tutorial.


One cue I like to use with athletes who tend to bob up and down when moving laterally is “stay in the tunnel.” This does a great job in helping them implicitly understand the need to stay low.


What else can we add?


Get on the early bird list for my new book: Peak Performance Table Tennis.
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stiltt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/01/2020 at 11:56am
Brett Clarke is on the same path, https://www.youtube.com/user/BrettClarkeTT/videos

I used to coach and I used them a lot, one of my favorite ones was the "power zone", borrowed from a tt friend at dinner time:

mjamja started the same thread a while ago:

We can beat around the bush as much as we want, nobody will ever take away the golden palm from heavyspin and his buffet analogy to teach the fh push:
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joo Se Kev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/01/2020 at 4:08pm
Originally posted by stiltt stiltt wrote:

Brett Clarke is on the same path, https://www.youtube.com/user/BrettClarkeTT/videos

I used to coach and I used them a lot, one of my favorite ones was the "power zone", borrowed from a tt friend at dinner time:

mjamja started the same thread a while ago:

We can beat around the bush as much as we want, nobody will ever take away the golden palm from heavyspin and his buffet analogy to teach the fh push:

Thanks! I hadn't seen that thread. Pretty hilarious read LOL
Get on the early bird list for my new book: Peak Performance Table Tennis.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/01/2020 at 6:32pm
One thing I have noticed is that really respected coaches (in multiple sports I have attempted) all seem to be able to describe the action being coached in multiple ways.  They keep adjusting their descriptions (analogies) until they find one that finally "clicks" for the student and gets the desired results.

I love to just watch those kind of coaches do their thing.

Mark
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Joo Se Kev View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joo Se Kev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/02/2020 at 6:26am
Absolutely. There is both an art and a science to coaching for sure!
Get on the early bird list for my new book: Peak Performance Table Tennis.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote heavyspin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/02/2020 at 2:49pm
This may only apply to me and a few others. A coach observed that my posture was too upright on my forehand stroke. She told me "don't stand up and show your opponent that you're having a baby." So here's the analogy. Hide your baby when executing a forehand.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/02/2020 at 4:28pm
The Brett Clarke's "Forehand Topspin like a Bear" video is hidden now; too bad, it was the best video to explain how to relax in the fh loop, it was especially useful for looping long slices from a chopper without running out of steam quickly.

Actually in that playlist it looks like a lot of videos were made private.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joo Se Kev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/04/2020 at 8:47am
Originally posted by stiltt stiltt wrote:

The Brett Clarke's "Forehand Topspin like a Bear" video is hidden now; too bad, it was the best video to explain how to relax in the fh loop, it was especially useful for looping long slices from a chopper without running out of steam quickly.

In that case, as a chopper, I'm glad it's hidden LOL
Get on the early bird list for my new book: Peak Performance Table Tennis.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cole_ely Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/04/2020 at 8:59am
discus toss on the forehand and frisbee toss on the backhand?

Sometimes I might refer to boxing in terms of getting your hips involved or baseball and also baseball in terms of hitting the ball right in front of you

It's not a perfect analogy, but I find it useful for total beginners


Edited by cole_ely - 05/04/2020 at 11:20am
W1 St with Illumina 1.9r, defender1.7b

Please let me know if I can be of assistance.
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