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training a new stroke

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    Posted: 06/02/2020 at 10:22pm
if you wanted to solidify a stroke, do you

a) Try to use low to medium power on most shots to increase stability till you get good feeling and then increase power gradually as you get used to the stroke?

or b) Use the full power on strokes (ie don't hold back), don't care about the mistakes, and trust that with time the mistakes will reduce as you get used to the stroke?


Edited by blahness - 06/02/2020 at 10:22pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ghostzen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 2:32am
There's no real standard one size fits all unfortunately. Learning is different for everyone. That's why a coaches job is tricky sometimes for every level. 

I would say a transition or combination of factors. 

Also it does heavy depend on the players actual standard of play. A beginner won't have the fundamentals that a more advanced player will have and experience of that level will impact heavily on that. 

Are we talking a high level player who's job it is or a recreational player or a beginner. 




Edited by ghostzen - 06/03/2020 at 2:34am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mickd Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 2:50am
I found a combination of both worked best for me. In general you'd want to slow it down until you're comfortable with it before adding more power. That said, to be more consistent with a faster pace, you need to practice at that pace, so you can't play slow forever.

I've been rebuilding my backhand and generally it's like 5-10 minutes of backhand rallies, 5 minutes of blocking and 5 minutes of adding power.

That said, I already kinda had a feel for the stroke. If I was learning something completely different, I'd definitely want more slower paced play first to get used to the stroke. So as long as your stroke isn't changing/breaking down while trying to add speed or spin, I think it's better to add faster paced practice in too. Just be careful of overly tightening the muscles when adding pace.

GL :)


Edited by mickd - 06/03/2020 at 2:51am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ghostzen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 3:46am
Mickd - Great point Thumbs Up about making sure when "grooving" a stroke its a steady solid progression without breaking down when adding that extra speed/spin or ending up changing the stroke by forcing it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 3:59am
Originally posted by mickd mickd wrote:

I found a combination of both worked best for me. In general you'd want to slow it down until you're comfortable with it before adding more power. That said, to be more consistent with a faster pace, you need to practice at that pace, so you can't play slow forever.

I've been rebuilding my backhand and generally it's like 5-10 minutes of backhand rallies, 5 minutes of blocking and 5 minutes of adding power.

That said, I already kinda had a feel for the stroke. If I was learning something completely different, I'd definitely want more slower paced play first to get used to the stroke. So as long as your stroke isn't changing/breaking down while trying to add speed or spin, I think it's better to add faster paced practice in too. Just be careful of overly tightening the muscles when adding pace.

GL :)

I'm actually doing the same for my backhand. I'm in my second session of using it, and it feels a lot more powerful and spinny than my old stroke  during practice but when it comes to matches it's not as great as I thought it would be lol... So I was BH looping and chiquita-ing almost everything that came to my BH side with power but the landing percentages are not quite there yet. So I'm wondering if I should dial back the power a bit until I get a better feeling for the stroke, or continue looping powerfully until I get more consistent at this power level. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ghostzen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 5:02am
After just 2 sessions of using the technique Its pretty hard to groove anything properly. Definitely think dialling back the speed and power until you bed in the new stroke might be a plan. Otherwise to turn in a quote from one of my old sparing partners... You'll butcher it! 😊

It takes a long time to change a stroke and probably 3-6 months to get it totally second nature in a tight match situation.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 6:26am
Originally posted by ghostzen ghostzen wrote:

After just 2 sessions of using the technique Its pretty hard to groove anything properly. Definitely think dialling back the speed and power until you bed in the new stroke might be a plan. Otherwise to turn in a quote from one of my old sparing partners... You'll butcher it! 😊

It takes a long time to change a stroke and probably 3-6 months to get it totally second nature in a tight match situation.



Seems like that's the consensus haha...guess I'll just take it easy at the moment and focus on developing a good feeling first. I'm also learning the BH fade receive from my training partner so there's a lot to absorb! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 9:45am
This is a good topic and I agree with all the answers - I do think 3-6 months can be an underestimate for a sport you are going to play for life but it all depends.  You could spend 2 years working on a stroke before it comfortably shows up in your game since you don't train every day for hours like a professional player.

For me, I have always focused on 
1) video recording the motion, 
2) accepting the misses as a requirement to maintain proper form as best as I can and
3) trying to do the motion I want whether I miss it or make it in practice, especially in multiball.

In matches, just do whatever you think works.  When it is time, the new stroke will take over as the old stroke will not get the job done if you continue to play against better players.

The biggest issue I have when coaching players is that there is too much focus on either 
1) getting the ball on the table or
2) playing with power on the ball
when learning a new stroke.  It makes it more likely that the player will compromise form for consistency.  Most players at my level and below who play with power in the beginning will overuse the arm to either control the ball or get too much power.  It is better to prioritize doing the whole stroke and let the body miss, then let the body improve the timing with practice. The power can be low or high with the correct form.
I like putting heavy topspin on the ball...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 11:58am
I am doing this too with a robot due to covid. There is no other TT available 

For me it's like learning a new piece of music, go as fast as you can making no or very few mistakes.  So apply as much power as you can without it distorting the new technique you are learning.

NL's #1 of video is essential.  With no coach and no video you have very little idea what you are really doing.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote notfound123 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 12:05pm
Originally posted by blahness blahness wrote:

if you wanted to solidify a stroke, do you

a) Try to use low to medium power on most shots to increase stability till you get good feeling and then increase power gradually as you get used to the stroke?

or b) Use the full power on strokes (ie don't hold back), don't care about the mistakes, and trust that with time the mistakes will reduce as you get used to the stroke?

For me, it's always been 

c)  Learn to do it properly (w/ a coach); practice it for 3+ months; then try to use it in matches 

Going all out or holding back comes with practice ...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ghostzen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 1:38pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

This is a good topic and I agree with all the answers - I do think 3-6 months can be an underestimate for a sport you are going to play for life but it all depends.  You could spend 2 years working on a stroke before it comfortably shows up in your game since you don't train every day for hours like a professional player.

For me, I have always focused on 
1) video recording the motion, 
2) accepting the misses as a requirement to maintain proper form as best as I can and
3) trying to do the motion I want whether I miss it or make it in practice, especially in multiball.

In matches, just do whatever you think works.  When it is time, the new stroke will take over as the old stroke will not get the job done if you continue to play against better players.

The biggest issue I have when coaching players is that there is too much focus on either 
1) getting the ball on the table or
2) playing with power on the ball
when learning a new stroke.  It makes it more likely that the player will compromise form for consistency.  Most players at my level and below who play with power in the beginning will overuse the arm to either control the ball or get too much power.  It is better to prioritize doing the whole stroke and let the body miss, then let the body improve the timing with practice. The power can be low or high with the correct form.


Good point NL and very true agreed. If players aren't able to play and practice lots and put in the hours then definitely a much longer road and also a tougher road is ahead. I think learning any new skill is quality repetition.

Your previous quality comments and also videos show mindfulness about learning which is refreshing

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 7:11pm
Originally posted by BRS BRS wrote:

I am doing this too with a robot due to covid. There is no other TT available 

For me it's like learning a new piece of music, go as fast as you can making no or very few mistakes.  So apply as much power as you can without it distorting the new technique you are learning.

NL's #1 of video is essential.  With no coach and no video you have very little idea what you are really doing.  

Haha do you play an instrument too?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 7:43pm
Originally posted by NextLevel NextLevel wrote:

This is a good topic and I agree with all the answers - I do think 3-6 months can be an underestimate for a sport you are going to play for life but it all depends.  You could spend 2 years working on a stroke before it comfortably shows up in your game since you don't train every day for hours like a professional player.

For me, I have always focused on 
1) video recording the motion, 
2) accepting the misses as a requirement to maintain proper form as best as I can and
3) trying to do the motion I want whether I miss it or make it in practice, especially in multiball.

In matches, just do whatever you think works.  When it is time, the new stroke will take over as the old stroke will not get the job done if you continue to play against better players.

The biggest issue I have when coaching players is that there is too much focus on either 
1) getting the ball on the table or
2) playing with power on the ball
when learning a new stroke.  It makes it more likely that the player will compromise form for consistency.  Most players at my level and below who play with power in the beginning will overuse the arm to either control the ball or get too much power.  It is better to prioritize doing the whole stroke and let the body miss, then let the body improve the timing with practice. The power can be low or high with the correct form.

Think this is a very interesting concept. The focus is on the form rather than the results (consistency or power), rather than trying to force things to happen! It makes a lot of sense and I'm gonna adopt it...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nv42 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06/03/2020 at 10:38pm
Imo getting the timing and bat angle just correct is the most important aspect, this is what determines whether we can actually use it effectively during matchplay. But that's the tricky part, this can vary depending on the length, height and spin on the ball, so a lot of hrs of conscious effort on multi/Robo while simultaneously also trying to apply it in some sequence play involving the said stroke with a partner would be really good.

I found a good way to find myself putting in just the right amount of power for the bh and fh topspin strokes was to play against deep(not very fast though) net level (not too low) dead/float balls. Many reasons it helps:
- if you don't get your angle just right, you'l end up hitting the ball on the net or hit it higher than ideal, getting used to consciously using just the right bat will help later against backspin or topspin balls later. 
- deep ball, so you really need to use a stable stroke with just enough power in order to get the ball to consistently land.
-since the ball is gonna dip quick, you don't have time for a big stroke and hence you'd be getting used to using a quick compact stroke which will easily carry forward to match play. 



Always a good idea to watch your own pract videos like ppl have said before. It's almost a requirement in some cases. 
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