Welcome to part 13 of the learning table tennis
series. In this episode, we will be taking a look
at ttEDGE members Ben’s basic forehand progress. Before watching this video, I strongly advice
you to watching parts 4,5 and 10 to get the full picture. In part 4, I introduced the basic forehand. In part 5 we looked at Ben’s forehand and
established that his technique was too capped and it was going to be difficult to achieve
a rating of 2000 and beyond. We put together an action plan that really
did take Ben back to step 1 to straighten out his technique. In part 10, we saw the results of the first
action plan. Ben looked like a beginner however he had
reduced his common mistakes to almost zero. For some, it may have been a little worrying
to see a 1700 rated player suddenly look like a first day beginner however I believe it
is necessary to slow down far below game speed as it’s the best way to change old
habits and reduce muscular tension to get your strokes on the right track. So let’s have a look at Ben’s basic forehand
today after 2 action plan were put in place and followed. You should be able to see real improvement
here. The robot is firing balls at higher frequency
than it was in part 10 and the pace of the balls has been increased slightly. The feed of the ball is still well below game speed and there is no oscillation whatsoever. This training is still very much like juggling
one ball as per my juggling analogy in the intro to this series. Let’s look at all the good things Ben is
doing here. The stance is great, although it was already
good in part 10. Again, his legs are wide and bent and he is leaning forward. His head is at an even height throughout the
stroke. He is turning his shoulders just slightly
which I think is appropriate for a slow basic stroke such as this one. Ben’s isn’t dropping the shoulder as he
did in part 5 .
His wrist is straight whereas before it was bent at different times in the swing. His elbow is in or around the golden point
position for the entire stroke meaning the elbow is out and forward in a fairly static
position This forehand will soon fit in well with the
rest of Ben’s game when he is ready. From the side you will notice there is a little
whip back and forward as his wrist is acting as a small hinge. This shows there is some relaxation in Ben’s
forearm and he is timing his backswing and stroke reasonably. Let look at Ben’s and my swing together
from part 5. It’s fair to say that they were completely different strokes and Ben
looked like an adult player who was starved of coaching and formal training. Now let’s look at his current stroke in
the overlay. You will see that the strokes have a lot more in common today than they
did before this program began. If I was forced to find faults in Ben’s
swing, I would say the following. He has more weight on his right leg than his
left and the weight should be more evenly distributed. He is starting with his bat slightly too closed
and then opening it to compensate. And he can still smooth out the technique
further and make it more seamless. These concerns are small and they don’t
appear on every stroke. The bottom line is, after a few hours of training
and shadow swinging, Ben has been able to uncap his forehand counterhit potential. It is a small step in a long journey, however
many adult players can go decades being unaware that their potential is completely capped
by errors that can be fix in a few hours of training with feedback. One of the major keys here, is Ben was watching
video footage of himself every few minutes which is the next best thing to having immediate
feedback from an expert coach. If you are following this series and ignoring
the video feedback component of the action plans, you are making a big error. As far as Ben’s immediate results are concerned,
this forehand improvement should have no impact whatsoever at this stage. The only thing that has changed here is Ben
has uncapped his potential on one of the foundation strokes. He is still playing at well below games speed
and we haven’t even started to talk about footwork and combining other strokes in with
his forehand hit. Ben has a long way to go. From here, Ben can shift focus to the other
action plans he is currently working on such as the forehand topspin and backhand hit. He should however continue to spend 5-10 minutes
on the forehand counterhit every session and record the footage. He can speed up the ball and frequency slightly,
but continue to aim for the center of your opponent’s side. We will take a look at Ben’s progress in
a couple of weeks to ensure this stroke has continued to move in the right direction.

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Dennis Veasley

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