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Greg's Table Tennis Blog

Still Doing it My Way...

By

Photo of Journal and Table Tennis Racket

Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail....

© 2007 Greg Letts, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Lessons Learnt

I'm very glad I went to the Aussie Closed, since there were a few things that I was reminded of in time to do something about before the Australian Open on July 20, including:

  • I have been focusing too much on training my forehand loop. Against the top Australian players, my forehand loop is an occasional weapon, not my main point winner. I can't try to trade counter loops with these guys - using a defensive blade with 1.5mm unglued rubbers I'm way outgunned in the technology stakes. My forehand needs to be mainly a put away, not a rally starter. The improvements that I have made lately are enough for the moment, now I have to concentrate on my main game.
  • I need to train my over the table push more. This should be one of my most solid areas, but I noticed that I wasn't as sharp as I needed to be. The top players push fast and hard, and I should be comfortable at handling their pushes and varying the spin with both my smooth and pips sides, in order to make their first attack more difficult. I was netting too many balls when pushing during the tournament.
  • My actual chopping technique and results were pretty good. Once I am back in position defending I'm definitely competitive. I wouldn't mind a little more spin variation with my forehand smooth rubber though.
  • I need a little more work on my in and out footwork when defending. I'm a touch slow at getting in to the short ball at times.
  • I am moving quite well wide to my backhand, but occasionally I'm caught flat footed on my wide forehand. I think this is a balance issue - I need to stay leaning forward even though I have moved backwards into defensive position. When I stand upright it's hard to move sideways quickly.
  • Serve and a tight return of serve is vital - I need to keep the ball tight to stop my opponents ramming a strong attack down my throat while I'm still close to the table.
In summary, I basically need to be focusing hard on my defensive skills, while just maintaining my ability to attack. Against the top players I win points from having a rock-steady defensive game, and creating attacking opportunities from my defensive spin variation. Trying to take them on with too much topspin offence is suicide, that's their game, not mine! I've been training too much like an attacker - I've got to practice the style of game that I will actually use in competition. I don't think I'll ever be a Joo Se Hyuk style player - more a Matsushita. So why am I trying to train like a Joo?

Training

I only got back from holiday on late Monday night - so I had a rest on Tuesday and will start training again today. I'm currently 186 pounds (84.5kg), and I estimate my bodyfat is now around 16%. That's about 19 pounds of bodyfat lost since the beginning of March, which isn't bad progress. I've got 6 weeks until the Australian Open, so I'm hoping to lose another 6-10 pounds and get as close to a 10% bodyfat level as I can - my team won't have any reserve players, so I'll be playing in every match. I need to be as fit and fast as I can be to survive the week in good shape!

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