13 December 2009

1. International table tennis
- analysis of current top players
- analysis of new trends
- analysis of development in table tennis

Top players
Wang Hao vs Jørgen Persson in the last Olympics, Beijing - here.
Wang Hao vs Ma Lin in the Olympics finals - here.
Michael Maze vs Tim Boll in the finals, European Championships 2009 - here.
Kim vs Moon in women's finals 2005, attack vs defensiv play - here.
New trends
2007 World Junior Table Tennis Championships Boys' Final, Xu Ruifeng of China vs Jeong Sang Eun of Korea - here.
European Youth Championships 2009 (cadets) Eskil Lindholm (Norway) vs Nicky Marx (Denmark) - here.
Development in table tennis

Stellan Begtsson, Sweden, wins World Chamionships 1971 - here.
Kjell Johansson
vs Xi Enting - here.

Terry: Table tennis development and playing styles
Table tennis has changed over the years but after the introduction of rubber with the pimples inwards plus foam, the style of playing is not that different today from the time the players first got used to it. The players are much better, though! Today the top players in the word are able to controll and use almost all kind of attacking strokes. They can open with both backhand and forehand from backhand corner. They can use spinny, curved strokes with long arm, they can use fast loops with short arm. They can hit the ball off the table, they can loop the ball long after the top-point is reached. What is very pronounced among the best players is an extremely fast footwork, both sideways and in the depth. The Chinese (and a few others) ar also recovering very fast with their racket - some times in a way almost like in tennis!
Observations from the resent european junior championships are that after the serve, return and opening for attack stokes most of the players are playing on a half-distance to the table - most often with loop to loop rallies.
(PS: The Chinese have not developed any new playing styles - they have copied!)
Looping the ball very early:
This is not a new style, even if many players today believe so, and it is not from the Chinese! It was the Swedish player Erik Lindh (bronze in the 1988 olympics), who introduced it (I know Lindh from local table tennis competitions in Sweden - he sometimes met/beat my best juniorplayer Dag Vavik): Wikpedia: "Lindh was a pioneer of the style of looping the ball very early - often straight after the bounce."
Short arm movement:
This is definitely not something new - Stellan Bengtsson from Sweden was the first to introduce a short and fast loop on the forehand, often followed up by a smash. He won the 1971 World Championships at the age of 18 (coach for Sweden was Christer Johansson, later coach for Norway. I used to work together with him).
Long arm movement:
Is definitely not out today. Take a look at Wang Hao number one in the world today. He is using quite long arm movement in forehand. Yes, even in backhand - with penholder grip! Also many of the top players are still using quite long arm - not as long as the famous players from Hungary, but with the shoulders parallel to the long side of the table when starting the stroke.
Stop the hand and arm early:
The best Chinese players are varying on how they end their stokes. If they loop on no-spin or top-spin they will very often go though all the way to the left-hand side of their body - a movement under their head. Then the arm will curve down a bit and recover very fast to the stomach/lower chest. When looping on backspin the arm-movement is shorter and going much more upwards (of course), the hand will most often stop in head height and then in one movement go a bit downwards, a movement that most often so will continue down to starting position (almost like in tennis).
The believe among some European players/coaches that the strokes have to end in front of the chest is on the way out. It can be used of course, but so many varieties are now used!
Close to the table:
The believe that the Chinese players are always standing very close to the table is not correct (but more so for the Chinese female players). They might stand close to the table when returning the serv (they are expecting a short serve) but recovers very often fast to a position more on distance - to keep up their attack or counter-loop a loop.

"Erik Lindh: Lindh was a pioneer of the style of looping the ball very early - often straight after the bounce. In the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul he finished in third place and won the bronze medal."