Friday, May 30, 2014

Masato Shiono vs Yuan Xiaojie Men's 16s

My First Ratings Came Out...

I have no frame of reference to know if this is a good start or not, but it is a baseline piece of data:

We all gotta start somewhere, 1047 isn't bad I'm told.  My coach seems pleased.

Incidentally, the ratings show that I played one game less than I did....a minor annoyance, but I kinda want credit for that win.

Monday, May 26, 2014

This kid almost made me give up the game

Learning Koji Matsushita's serve

I like this serve, because it keeps me in the neutral position on the table, and I can vary spin types as needed.  The variations in whether one underspins/sidespins, or no spins the ball are less obvious.  Once done, little movement is needed to get into position for that first chop or forehand return.

2009 WTTC: Joo Se Hyuk - Ma Lin (full match|short form)

From 2009...  JSH has certainly improved since then.   Interesting maturation in his game, specifically on offense and close to the table play.

Friday, May 23, 2014

My first tournament...

I know that to some of the more veteran table tennis players out there, this may seem like a pretty trite post.  But I recently had one of my first tournaments.  

And I won ALL of my games!  I am so STOKED!!!

Now, keep in mind that I was an unrated player, and as such I was not allowed to continue passed the round-robin part of the tournament.  But I DID play everyone and managed to win all of my matches handily.  The top rated guy in the division was 1077, so I’m hoping that gets me a decent first score. 

Tournament style?
Some things, I found out that in competition I play much different than I do at the club.  I tend to chop a LOT more.  Much more modern D…I didn’t expect that to be the case.  Honestly, I thought I was going to naturally rely more heavily on my recent pushblocking attempt, because that was what was more comfortable.  But the chopping just came naturally.  My opponents couldn’t handle any of the backspin that I was throwing at them, and I hit some pretty good forehand smashes and pips side kills when I got a weak ball.  Plenty of long balls and netted balls off all of my mid or long distance chops.  I even started chopping with my inverted more often…deadly.

Now, that’s not to say that my style didn’t involve a lot of drop shots, push blocking and close to the table play, it did.  Anytime I caught the ball off the bounce, the quick timing of that shot caught my opponent off guard and I won everyone one of those shots I landed or didn’t send into the net.  Chop blocks, I have a much more unconventional stroke, but it worked marvelously.

At 40, I can’t believe I was so happy to be winning a bottom division tournament…well, not win but defeat everyone in it.  I didn’t know what to expect. 

Coaches abound
Another thing, the atmosphere was very interesting.  Everyone I was competing against had a coach present.  Thankfully, my coach happened to be there, as he was following a few other students who entered the tourney.   He’s very involved, which is nice.  Gave me lots of tips, warmed me up (which was huge).  Had I not warmed up previous to my first match, I know I would have lost.  Incidentally, my first opponent who I beat 3-2, ended up winning the U-1100 division. 

What is up with the cho’ing?  I’m sure I’ll get some negative comments for typing this, but I find it rather contrived when non-chinese players use this as a method of celebrating a point.  It’s natural when a chinese player says it, but when an American player uses that term, it feels like they’re trying to hard to be of the Table Tennis culture.  Just indicate your approval in English.  (or whatever your native language is.  JMHO.

So, I’m anxious to see my rating.  The tournament was last Sunday, and yet I haven’t yet received any correspondence of my USATT membership or the rating.  Wonder how long it takes?  One thing is for sure, I haven't been this excited about a hobby or sport in a LONG time.  I just absolutely love it.

World Cup: Joo Se Hyuk-Timo Boll