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Salute or Wrap or Get 90-90

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    Posted: 05/08/2021 at 3:37am
I have been plauged for quite some time with not being able to finish my Fh loop in a position which comes close to resembling that of any decent player. If I shadow stroke my form looks almost perfect. But as soon as I try to hit an actual ball my form degrades and in matches it gets even worse.

Because of this I had a great deal of interest in the several threads that discussed the idea of "wrapping" the ball. In addition I went back and reviewed several coaching videos on the Fh loop. I found 3 general ways used to describe finishing the Fh loop:
1. Saluting
2. 90-90
3. Wrapping

I had tried using the first two as swing thoughts and did not have much success with them. So I decided to try the "wrapping" concept. Because of what I had read, I focused on using "wrapping" as more of a follow through concept rather than as something done right at ball contact. That was easy to do since thinking about initiating "wrapping" the ball at contact actually resulted in very little if any racket change until after contact. So almost all the "wrapping" was in the follow through. 

When I looked at the video of some "wrapping" practice against the robot I was surprised. Since I was using a more Euro bent arm backswing I did not look like any of the Chinese trained players. But amazingly I found I was finishing in the "salute" position described in several coaching videos that taught a more Euro technique. Could it be that "wrapping," "saluting", and "90-90" are all different ways of getting to the same result?

So what similar results do these three different swing thoughts produce. In comparing videos including those of my bad technique the first thing I noticed was that the three all resulted in the Fh rubber side of the racket facing almost down at the floor and the tip pointing sideways. In my bad technique videos the Fh rubber was facing sideways and a little forward with the tip pointing up. With some experimenting and more observation of the videos I realized that a difference in the finishing elbow position accounted for the different racket finishes. In the three good techniques the playing elbow moved higher and forward ( relative to the body) from the start of the forward stroke to the finish. In my bad technique the elbow did move up and forward relative the table, but not reative to my body. So its total upward and forward motion was much less than in any of the three good techniques. Less up should mean less spin and less forward should mean less forward speed. Also I noticed that if the elbow is kept more stationary relative to the body, the swing path seems to start on a more horizontal plane and then switch to a more vertical plane (as arm bends at elbow). When the elbow moves forward and up more the swing is done much closer to being on a single plane. A single plane swing is much more forgiving of minor timing errors than the multiple plane swing.

In the spirit of experimentation I retried using the 90-90 swing thought. I already had a good 90 deg angle at the elbow, but often ended with a 30 deg angle between my body and upper arm. So I focused on pushing my elbow forward and up as I rotated my hips. I started finishing in the proper form and I got very consistant with my loop. However, I seemed to be lower in spin and speed than when thinking of wrapping. Note: I never really got the salute thought to work. Maybe I just have a bad mental picture of what a salute really looks like. Pushing the elbow seemed to create more tension in my arm than my practice shadow swings.

Then it dawned on me. The other mantra for the Fh loop is keep the arm relaxed. In my shadow swings my arm (and body) was relaxed and the elbow naturally came up and forward due to the momentum created by the hip turn. In game swings I know I tense up a lot. If my elbow was staying low I must be tensing some muscle which restricts its movement. The arm is not completely relaxed. In the Euro, bent arm method the bicep must be in some tension to make the bend at the elbow. In the Chinese, straight arm method the arm is lifted higher (relative to a straight down totally relaxed position) before starting forward so there is some tension at the shoulder. I can not determine what muscle I am tensing that limits my elbows movement, but it feels like it might actually be one in my back.  

So in summary, I have concluded that the swing thoughts of saluting, wrapping, getting to 90-90, and relaxing your arm are all useful in allowing you to direct all your swing energy along a single plane and to increase the upward and forward acceleration in order to produce more speed and spin at the same time. In my case, 90-90, produced the most consistant loop. Wrapping produced a loop with more speed and spin. Saluting did not work at all. Thinking about relaxing only made me tense up more although when I do the wrapping right I can feel the arm is more relaxed. But just thinking relax does not seem to work.

Anyway that is my take on the various analogies and/or swing thoughts used in teaching the Fh loop.

Mark - A work in progress. But will it be fine art or just Elvis on velvet.




Edited by mjamja - 05/08/2021 at 3:39am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tinykin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 3:57am
Just a thought, but have you checked that you have a full range of motion in shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers?
'Artifacts' caused by previous injuries can affect anyone from displaying a classic FH stroke.


Edited by Tinykin - 05/08/2021 at 3:57am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pingpongpaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 4:57am
Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

I have been plauged for quite some time with not being able to finish my Fh loop in a position which comes close to resembling that of any decent player. If I shadow stroke my form looks almost perfect. But as soon as I try to hit an actual ball my form degrades and in matches it gets even worse.

pay attention to the ball contact and relaxation and whole body efficiency at the moment of contact. Those follow throughs are only correct when they are the natural result of good contact.
Tryiing to groove only one of them will make you stiff and reduce your control


i am in favour of not caring whether i wrap, salute, or whatever. Instead i focus on the moment of contact and maximum relaxation from head to foot during the stroke. That is the secret of control and power in the stroke imo.
depending on what the incoming shot is and where and how i want to hit my stroke may have a different follow through.
thus
when doing fh to fh counter i might seem to wrap
when lifting chop i may salute
but its never my intention to do either
I wish I had had this insight when I started 50+ years ago
RELAX! RELAX!

Edited by pingpongpaddy - 05/08/2021 at 8:38am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote yogi_bear Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 8:48am
Originally posted by pingpongpaddy pingpongpaddy wrote:

Originally posted by mjamja mjamja wrote:

I have been plauged for quite some time with not being able to finish my Fh loop in a position which comes close to resembling that of any decent player. If I shadow stroke my form looks almost perfect. But as soon as I try to hit an actual ball my form degrades and in matches it gets even worse.

pay attention to the ball contact and relaxation and whole body efficiency at the moment of contact. Those follow throughs are only correct when they are the natural result of good contact.
Tryiing to groove only one of them will make you stiff and reduce your control


i am in favour of not caring whether i wrap, salute, or whatever. Instead i focus on the moment of contact and maximum relaxation from head to foot during the stroke. That is the secret of control and power in the stroke imo.
depending on what the incoming shot is and where and how i want to hit my stroke may have a different follow through.
thus
when doing fh to fh counter i might seem to wrap
when lifting chop i may salute
but its never my intention to do either
I wish I had had this insight when I started 50+ years ago
RELAX! RELAX!

I would agree on ball contact given that the stroke is already correct. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kindof99 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 10:00am
I think Coach Meng also mention the wrapping is done at once at the contact, not like a separate action.

When contacting the ball, the wrist and forearm do the  hit-turn action. If you shawdow practice, or hit a slow ball by yourself, you can feel that the wrapping is kind of like a series of action. But for fast ball, it is only one?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TwiddleDee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 11:36am
Having a relaxed stroke is very difficult to learn for players who have not been taught this at an early stage. I have lost count on the number of players I have tried to teach this to who simply can't do it. If their grip and basic forehand stroke mechanics are correct, I test their ability to relax by serving very heavy underspin serves to their forehand. If their stroke has the correct angle and they still can't lift them, I suspect they are not relaxed enough, and are trying to strong arm the ball over the net, which doesn't work. Way back, when I was first trying to lift heavy underspin with the little ball, I thought that I wasn't strong enough and continued to try to muscle the ball over the net. This was very frustrating for me until I accidently relaxed my grip and forearm and saw how easy it was to lift the ball.
      Not being able to relax your stroke really becomes an issue when the stress of playing a match comes into play. A friend of mine who recognized his inability to relax his forehand came up with a solution that helped him. He bought a rubber ring that fit over his forearm that didn't restrict his stroke or serves. It provided him a constant reminder to relax his forearm.
      One method that I tried with one player was to give him a blade with 802 short pips and told him that until he learned how to brush loop with it that I would not coach him anymore. I knew that there was no way that he could strong arm, low, heavy underspin with that set up. He really struggled but finally learned how.
    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robin.w Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 12:08pm
Agree on the relaxing issue. Grip,wrist,fingers, palm all contribute to the stroke and help you to do whatever you want. Lots of mutlball training will bring you to that stage. But from my experience, developing the full contact hitting through is priority rather than brushing the ball since once you bottom up the sponge, you are brushing with only the top sheet but also the sponge and blade.
Originally posted by TwiddleDee TwiddleDee wrote:

Having a relaxed stroke is very difficult to learn for players who have not been taught this at an early stage. I have lost count on the number of players I have tried to teach this to who simply can't do it. If their grip and basic forehand stroke mechanics are correct, I test their ability to relax by serving very heavy underspin serves to their forehand. If their stroke has the correct angle and they still can't lift them, I suspect they are not relaxed enough, and are trying to strong arm the ball over the net, which doesn't work. Way back, when I was first trying to lift heavy underspin with the little ball, I thought that I wasn't strong enough and continued to try to muscle the ball over the net. This was very frustrating for me until I accidently relaxed my grip and forearm and saw how easy it was to lift the ball.
      Not being able to relax your stroke really becomes an issue when the stress of playing a match comes into play. A friend of mine who recognized his inability to relax his forehand came up with a solution that helped him. He bought a rubber ring that fit over his forearm that didn't restrict his stroke or serves. It provided him a constant reminder to relax his forearm.
      One method that I tried with one player was to give him a blade with 802 short pips and told him that until he learned how to brush loop with it that I would not coach him anymore. I knew that there was no way that he could strong arm, low, heavy underspin with that set up. He really struggled but finally learned how.
    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TwiddleDee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 1:41pm
I would rarely teach a player to drive into the sponge until they could demonstrate a solid, relaxed brushing stroke. There were a few very determined players who simply couldn't relax. Eventually, I let them modify their forehand to a Swedish grip. This allowed them to wrist snap at the ball which, when done correctly, would produce enough friction and power to overcome heavy underspin. Unfortunately, that grip modification had limitations with close to the table backhand technique. Some were able to learn to change their grip to compensate for that, others were unable to do so.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robin.w Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 3:28pm
What’s the Swedish grip?  Grip plays a very important part how you exciute any shot.

Edited by Robin.w - 05/08/2021 at 6:49pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pingpongpaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 3:50pm
The other element to the mix is to focus your effort to ensure that max power is generated at impact. Its a bruce lee kind of thing.
immediately after impact the transition to readiness for the next stroke has to start.
Some players tense up when trying to focus their energy which causes tight grip and no relaxation.
My focus as a coach is to persuade the player to think of the arm as behaving like a whip in that the elbow and wrist are loose enough to translate the power from the legs effectively.
Its also good to emphasize that even if the intention is to play a slower shot the same things should still be operating
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote TwiddleDee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 3:53pm
I'm referring to how Jorgen Persson and Stellan Bengtsson hold their blades, with their index finger curled around the blade's edge. It allows one to snap the wrist at ball contact very easily, even if not relaxed. But even more spin if relaxed. Its a forehand dominant grip because it limits wrist flexibility on the backhand , over the table shots, unless you change your grip.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kindof99 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 4:15pm
I think relaxation is very important, but it is not a natural process or just a mindset. Instead, it is a complicate learning process. If you ask a player to relax in a match, he will probably ask how.

I think for amateur players, real relaxation requires one to have good pre-judgement of the placement of the moment, quick movement to the right spot to receive, and good weight transfer.


Originally posted by TwiddleDee TwiddleDee wrote:

Having a relaxed stroke is very difficult to learn for players who have not been taught this at an early stage. I have lost count on the number of players I have tried to teach this to who simply can't do it. If their grip and basic forehand stroke mechanics are correct, I test their ability to relax by serving very heavy underspin serves to their forehand. If their stroke has the correct angle and they still can't lift them, I suspect they are not relaxed enough, and are trying to strong arm the ball over the net, which doesn't work. Way back, when I was first trying to lift heavy underspin with the little ball, I thought that I wasn't strong enough and continued to try to muscle the ball over the net. This was very frustrating for me until I accidently relaxed my grip and forearm and saw how easy it was to lift the ball.
      Not being able to relax your stroke really becomes an issue when the stress of playing a match comes into play. A friend of mine who recognized his inability to relax his forehand came up with a solution that helped him. He bought a rubber ring that fit over his forearm that didn't restrict his stroke or serves. It provided him a constant reminder to relax his forearm.
      One method that I tried with one player was to give him a blade with 802 short pips and told him that until he learned how to brush loop with it that I would not coach him anymore. I knew that there was no way that he could strong arm, low, heavy underspin with that set up. He really struggled but finally learned how.
    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pingpongpaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/08/2021 at 5:05pm
Originally posted by kindof99 kindof99 wrote:

I think Coach Meng also mention the wrapping is done at once at the contact, not like a separate action.

When contacting the ball, the wrist and forearm do the  hit-turn action. If you shawdow practice, or hit a slow ball by yourself, you can feel that the wrapping is kind of like a series of action. But for fast ball, it is only one?

during contact the angle of the racket should not be changing.
contact only lasts a microsecond. If you were to attempt to change the angle while brushing the ball it would lead to mishits. Thats just commonsense. When you observe a "wrapping follow through please bear in mind that that part of the stroke is occcuring after the ball is gone.The useful thing about the wrap phase is that its pulling the racket hand into the preparation phase for the next shot"


Edited by pingpongpaddy - 05/08/2021 at 5:06pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rich-TT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 8:41am
Agree with PPP.

I also think relaxing can be misunderstood and might miss the main point.

The upper body and arms are relaxed, the lower body is definitely NOT relaxed. The movement starts by pushing with the leg(s) which sends the body (hips, arms etc.) into a spin and then the racket just happens to collide with the ball. It's counterproductive to be doing any sort of tensing with the arm or upper body after having pushed off from the leg (mostly from the quads and glute of the playing arm leg).

As PPP said, changing the racket angle during this stage means you'd have to consciously do stuff with your arm, which isn't a good idea as you'd be breaking the momentum you got from the body.

Depending on the stroke and the ball you're receiving you'll be doing different things with your body which leads to different finishing positions - the arm will just end up depending on what you did with your body. For faster recovery you'd "break" faster with your feet and the arm/racket would naturally finish about above the eyes. For a big swing or a smash where you'd break later the arm might end up on the opposite side of your body.

The reason I think it's difficult for mostly older players to learn to "relax" is because it's not intuitive to use the body to make the arm move. They see other players arms move a lot and therefore think they need to use the arms to play. Every stroke has to be done in the right order, starting with the legs. If they don't, they'll get better at doing it in the wrong order which makes it even harder to do it correctly.

Swinging in the correct order leads to the upper body and arm looking relaxed. If one doesn't know how to go about it, they're forced to use the upper body or arm as there's no other option and when those muscles are used it's impossible to "relax". For those who don't know how to swing from the legs no amount of being told to relax will ever work. Some might intuitively start doing the right thing though, because if they are no longer allowed to tense their arms and upper body they might figure out that the only other way to hit the ball with their arm is to get the arm moving by using the body. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 1:06pm
About the conscious action at contact time: again, the rotation of the wrist and elbow may have started before contact and it's just continuing during contact and that without thoughts of any kind. Actually, even the rotation of the wrist and elbow starting before contact is not thought of, it's just a side effect of training and building the stroke. This has been answered so many times already and people keep pointing at the speed of the nervous system not able to do anything during contact WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS f**kING TRUE but does not invalidate anything, it's an empty argument.
At this point, the nervous system specialists on that question are either showing bad faith or lack awareness.


Edited by stiltt - 05/09/2021 at 1:09pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robin.w Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 6:39pm
Originally posted by stiltt stiltt wrote:

About the conscious action at contact time: again, the rotation of the wrist and elbow may have started before contact and it's just continuing during contact and that without thoughts of any kind. Actually, even the rotation of the wrist and elbow starting before contact is not thought of, it's just a side effect of training and building the stroke. This has been answered so many times already and people keep pointing at the speed of the nervous system not able to do anything during contact WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS f**kING TRUE but does not invalidate anything, it's an empty argument.
At this point, the nervous system specialists on that question are either showing bad faith or lack awareness.

Hooray
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mjamja Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 8:04pm
Originally posted by stiltt stiltt wrote:

About the conscious action at contact time: again, the rotation of the wrist and elbow may have started before contact and it's just continuing during contact and that without thoughts of any kind. Actually, even the rotation of the wrist and elbow starting before contact is not thought of, it's just a side effect of training and building the stroke. This has been answered so many times already and people keep pointing at the speed of the nervous system not able to do anything during contact WHICH WE ALL KNOW IS f**kING TRUE but does not invalidate anything, it's an empty argument.
At this point, the nervous system specialists on that question are either showing bad faith or lack awareness.

My point is that in the training and building ( rebuilding in my case) phase the student may need a mental aid or visualization in order to execute it properly.  From video it was clear I was making a significantly different swing in my shadow strokes than when actually hitting a ball.  I needed something to get me to the point of hitting the ball correctly often enough that I could start establishing muscle memory.  The salute and 90-90 concepts did not seem to help.  When I thought about wrapping the ball I was suddenly hitting the ball almost like my shadow strokes.  Again, I was not trying to wrap in the micro seconds of contact.  I was thinking about it at contact but knowing that the actual wrapping was occurring  in the follow through.  Just thinking about wrapping kept me from tightening up some muscles that had been limiting my swing.   Later I used the thought of pushing my elbow up and forward at contact to achieve the same effect.  By thinking push up and forward I stopped tensing the muscles that where pulling down and back and limiting my swing.  I hope using either of these thoughts in training will allow me to get to the point where I do not need a swing thought and the stroke will come automatically when I need it.   If I was able to just relax the proper muscles in the first place I probably would not have needed any swing thought and I would have been able to replicate the swing I saw in the videos.  Due to bad muscle memory or just mental disposition (tensing up from anxiety) I was not able to relax without the swing thought.  

I was especially surprised that after all the arguments about wrapping, it was thinking about wrapping that got me doing actual strokes with a ball the same as my shadow strokes.  Part of the surprise was that I was trying to do a classic bent arm stroke and "wrapping" seems to be a concept for teaching the straight arm Chinese stroke.  Yet it got me finally swinging very close to the strokes in the instructional videos.

Mark


Edited by mjamja - 05/09/2021 at 8:06pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robin.w Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 8:16pm
There do have wrap-loop and drive-loop but a wrap after drive-loop doesn’t make any impact.  This is the argument I believe.  For a wrap loop, the wrapping / brushing starts before contact the ball and without hitting through the ball. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Baal Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 8:32pm
Worrying about this kind of thing is anti-Zen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote blahness Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/09/2021 at 11:04pm
Wrapping is the key to good consistency and spin. Even when you're out of position you can easily wrap the ball so that it lands, just with your arm alone. It's pretty easy, just make sure you close the blade angle during the followthrough lol, not exactly rocket science. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stiltt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/10/2021 at 12:18am
We can force ourselves to have our palm facing up at the end of the back swing after maximum supination. Then, the pronation in the swing (counter clockwise for a right handed) and wrapping happens as a side effect and the muscle memory is easier to build because there is only one added constraint: opening the paddle in the back swing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pingpongpaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05/10/2021 at 4:55am
for sports scientists and high level coaches fancy words can help in analysing technique.

but for players just trying to hit the ball in a game situation:-
wrap
supination
pronation
= BS
swinging correctly should be something that happens naturally without calculation. If its not simple there is something wrong with your approach

here is a message from my favourite coach
coach ma has something to say

Edited by pingpongpaddy - 05/11/2021 at 7:48am
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