4 years ago
An email from Dean Fitzgerald, working in the mines in Mt. Isa, QLD, Australia, and finding some time to play some Table Tennis.
Well I think the last time I wrote I had just got hold of Darcy, about 3 weeks ago.
You may remember the photo i sent you of my blue K-Mart Table with the catch net on it out in the back shed. Well, Darcy and I started to work on the 52 week programme and have not stopped pretty much. We started off the first week doing 5 hours per day all 7 days, consistency drills, over and over till we nearly lost our voices from counting. We kept an eye on technique, Darcy agrees with everything you say on the vids so its working out well as far as him adopting your programme and putting me through it.
After the first 7 days of training 5 hours per day of the PingSkills Method it was becoming very obvious that my playing ability had lifted beyond even my own expectations. I was belting forehand counter top spins back for the first time in my life, I was standing properly now, I was moving away to the side to allow distance for my forehand, I wasnt reaching for shots, my ability for faster rallying was obvious, I was returning shots only days before I was flinching at and couldnt even get the bat to. I said to my land lady, can you believe this, I'm going to smash the guy at work, I'm going to be able to thrash everybody.
I went to work, took the Rook, I was all prepared. It was night shift, 1 am, lunch we would play. He gave me a bit of his usual trash talk at the pre shift meeting, did you bring your A game etc, I showed him the Rook, it'll take more than that to save ya he says.
Now this is a work mate, he's 59, been playing casually all his life with TERRIBLE technique. This is the guy who refuses to serve legally, holds it in his fingers, over the table surface, real fast illegal top spin.. He stands like a kick boxer one leg in front of the other. Thinks he's a B Grade Player, he's actually a D Grade player with 50 years experience. Hangs out around mine site cribrooms thrashing novice players and beginners like me. A Table Tennis Bully. Out of the approximate 350 games I've played against him I've won about 50. His natural abilities are in his placement, has me running around the table regulary chasing after the ball.
You referred me to a vid about how players with poor technique suffer from an ability ceiling and that once you can increase your ball speed they tend to fumble. Well, this was my plan. Relax, "increase ball speed", footwork, footwork, footwork, and for gods sake breathe during the rallies. There was to be a reckoning, things where about to change. Lunch time came. To the table we go. He fronts up with a new 729 bat which took me by supprise. It's not very good, but a new bat all the same, it's got a slow thick foamed red backed rubber on one side, and the black side has next to no foam and a speed rating of 10.5. I had a couple of quick serves with it. The black side.... control rating 0 out of 10... I get my Rook back, we start hitting back and forth to warm up.
I've never won the first game against him before, I won it. Second game he came back and beat me. I couldn't believe it but I tried to stay focused. All that training and I was still missing shots, still swatting forehands, why? The table felt different, in a different place. I wasn't playing anywhere near as good as I had been at home. I decided instead of trying to beat him with winning shots I would just safely keep the rallies going with a faster than usual pace and waited for him to miss. The increase in ball speed changed everything, he couldn't get his bat in place quick enough, I ended up beating him 9 games to 1.
He wasn't happy, put it down to a bad night and being tired. It was my biggest win.
Now that I was back on shift, Darcy and I were now doing 2 hours per day instead of the 5. But it was good. Told him about how my backhand was poor, we backhand consistency drilled to 1000. Only stopped due to net strike about 6 times, mostly Darcys fault.
Back to work, he was playing better but i still beat him 6 games to 2.
The next day, 9 games to 1. "Thats not all though", several months ago, he beat me 11 - 0. I was experimenting with new serves and lost several points to the net. I said to him a week ago I could smell him going down 11-0 himself as I was getting better. He replyed. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN, IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN... Well it happened Alois, I got him 11 - 0... He was furious.
On the fourth night I was determined not to let him win a game, and I didn't. The nerves that I had built up over whether or not I was meeting my personal expectations started to settle. Just relax and play the shots I was saying. It was coming together. I smashed him 9 - 0.
The next day I recieved a message from him on messenger. He resigned from playing. Skull number one...
You cannot imagine the positive impact PingSkills has had on me. The fitness involved alone. You would have an idea from seeing other gung-ho beginners in your time how sore my body has been. I went from training against silly little robots by myself to 5 hours a day hardcore. I've been physically trashed, still am. It's such a good healthy, low impact hobby. The feeling of self satisfaction also from the obvious increase in skill level is fantastic, it's becoming more enjoyable and less frustrating as my skills improve. Darcy now says he would consider me entry level C Grade. Will make vid in the next two days.
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