Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zhang Jike

I know Ma Long is #1 - but the player I'm most interested this Olympics is Zhang Jike.

He's amazing. There is so much dark energy brooding inside that boy's mind! It's a confidence that he is much better than the opponent - pure power coming in every shot with a killing intent. I can't say anything bad about his forehand, but his backhand just doesn't stop - it's such a dominating technique!

If there were such thing as chakra meters, he would be the equivalent of Sasuke! (forgive the comparison...)

I'll paste a couple videos I found today. Another great one is when he won the world championships and ripped off his shirt. Pure ping pong power :)

This one he makes Ma Lin look like a bad player:

And this one, he and Mizutani go into superhuman mode and have a great match!

Aaaand yes here is the world championships final (4 of 4 though, in a playlist)

Enjoy :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

They are changing the ball again?

I mean really ITTF. First 38 to 40mm. Now celuloid to plastic?

Maybe Wang Liqin is already training with the new ball. Maybe that's why he lost to #82!

Still - great game to Noshad Alamiyan - he lost the next game to Japanese Maharu Yoshimura - let's get back to this plastic ball mess.

Different bounce? You can't keep changing stuff on everyone. Table Tennis depends so much on reflexes that are trained; everyone uses 3 star balls to guarantee this uniformity. Might as well use any ball that shows up with all these differences.

At the very least I'm pretty sure it won't burn the same. Heh.

Farewell Desto F2 - cherished friend, backhand

When I came back to table tennis, and picked up the paddle I had finished building around 2002, I immediately noticed 2 things:

The first, that although my rubbers were 10 years old, they were still in playable condition. I managed to play 3 tournaments and several gaming sessions without noticeable equipment failure. A loop or block failed here or there was probably 70% bad technique and 30% failure of the rubber sheet.

2nd, that my rubbers needed replacement and I couldn't stall on that much, because you can't expect to train and compete with equipment that's functioning barely at 50% of where it should be. Upgrading was inevitable.

Forehand was not so bad - that rubber had easily 50% of its original qualities still - but backhand was another story. Cleaned, it behaved like a normal rubber, but touch it, and you realized this was maybe at 20% of where it should be.

And I can honestly say I know there was still life in them - they could easily have been someone else's first rubbers. I know what you touch and what you can do with it are different matters. But, if I'm going to be serious, I should not be cheap.

So, with a calm heart, I started shopping around my old haunts: and .I even checked the usatt to see if new guys had come along in these years, but I didn't find someone else with a big enough inventory or better prices.

Gee whiz, have rubber prices changed. I remember my first rubber, a red tackiness, was $20. $80 for 1 rubber sheet, butterfly? $50 for "tensioned" rubbers, practically everyone else? Wow.

But hey, they did last me 10 years. If you take that into account, $50 is nothing.

I honestly loved my 2 rubbers. Even if new and "faster, spinnier" rubbers had come around, Tibhar Rapid D.TecS and Donic Desto F2 worked fabulously for me - apart from being the right speeds, they were perfectly balanced on my Kong Linghui Euro, and when I pressed spin on my adversary, he always felt it. So with great dismay I learned they are both being discontinued...

Alas, this put me in quite the predicament. There was no one in North America with a black 2.0 F2. Rapid D.TecS 2,0 red was available, and at a discount, since it was being pushed out of inventory. Perfect, I thought, I can at least get one and that won't change my game as much.

After much study I decided that my next backhand rubber would be a Tibhar. I had proven durability and game results with the Rapid D.TecS, but I knew it had to be lighter. I especially like rubbers that are tacky and controllable, but when you give it force, you get a rewarding *crack* and a woody feeling - but, funny enough, I don't enjoy rubbers that are too soft, and that ruled out most "sound" rubbers. In a word, I knew I wanted factory speed-glued :)

I would have honestly given another Rapid D.TecS a chance for backhand, but it is a heavy rubber, and would have needed to decrease thickness. Plus, it's being discontinued - in 3-5 years time I wouldn't know what to choose, and would need to change both rubbers at the same time.

You really can't compare manufacturer numbers; in the end the best help I found was in . These were my 2 previous rubbers:

Rubber NameSpeedSpinTackinessOverall
Donic Desto F28.

Tibhar Rapid D.TecS9.

Notice that 0.7 tackiness score. That's bogus. I could lift balls similar to a chinese rubber with it, when it was new. I won't say it was super tacky, but it is not that different from the Rapid D.TecS. Not that it matters anymore :'(

My final decision was a normal Tibhar Aurus, but 1.9 (a bit reduced speed and weight). I am happy to report to Desto F2 followers: it is a GREAT replacement for it. Albeit a bit faster, and definitely spinnier, it *feels* the same, and I can do most of the shots I could do before, which for a spin-based player like me, was important.

Tibhar Aurus8.

I can also tell Rapid D.TecS users, Aurus rubber has the good characteristics of the rubber we love, but is faster, and I think spinnier too. The feeling when serving or looping is excellent - another rubber I've tried that is similar is the Tibhar Genius. Aurus 1.9 is faster than a 2.0 Rapid D.TecS - I would choose the 2.1 with caution.  I know the numbers above say otherwise but that is what I'm feeling so far.

And so, I now have updated my weapons, and hopefully, when I come back to recharge, I can still find Aurus in the market. Again, Desto F2, you were sensational and will be missed. Rapid D.TecS, though your new brothers are well prepared, there is something about you that I love, and will suffer greatly when our time is done.

In the next months, I'll try a Butterfly Roundell hard 2.0 that I bought for my wife, and post a review and comparison with these rubbers.

Butterfly Roundell Hard9.29.11.0

My start in the USATT

My starting points for USATT were 1600. After a so-so first performance, I'm determined to reach 2000 as soon as possible.

For you to get an idea, at this post's date, I'm barely an intermediate player (points are the horizontal axis, with how many players have that rating as vertical axis):

This blog will have videos of my games, training, reviews of equipment I personally use, and training routine. Since this is my only serious sport, I decided to make a separate blog to track my progress.

Wish me luck!