Since the restart of the table tennis tournament, from the National Championship to the Men’s World Cup, and then to the FIVB Finals, all the good players are fighting against each other, and the process of the game is also exciting, good show, really let the fans over the addiction. But “any southeast and northwest wind”, the final stand to the top of the podium, always these two people: Ma Long and Fan Zhendong. It can be said that “running water contestants, iron dragon fat duel”.
And in the three “dragon fat duel”, fat is high start low, with two breath-taking seven-set battles to overpower Ma Long first, let people once thought that belongs to the fat era has come. But Ma Long gave a powerful reply with a big score of 4:1 in the finals, showing his distinct attitude to the world: “The future is Fan Zhendong’s”.
These three matches have a very high gold content, I also repeatedly watch, taste, think, and gain a lot, here to share with you some of my experience. I think every one of us can learn the following 4 “relativities” in table tennis from these 3 matches.
The “theor of relativity” between advanced and traditional playing systems.
Ma Long has mentioned many times in interviews that the younger generation of players is very advanced in their playing techniques and that he needs to learn more from them. So the question arises, what is advanced table tennis technology? Looking at the “younger generation of players” in Ma Long’s eyes, from Fan Zhendong, Lin Gaoyuan, Liang Jingkun, Wang Chuqin of Pingguo, to the most impactful new generation players Zhang Ben Zhihe and Lin Yunru of the foreign association, we can summarize that the main feature of the advanced playing system is “backhand opening, full table attack “.
When Ma Long came to prominence, it was the era of “two kings and one horse”, and his playing system was inevitably influenced by the guiding ideology of table tennis at that time. The main force of the game at that time was Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, and Chen Jang, whose forehands were all-powerful with their own characteristics, while their backhands were relatively weak. Therefore, Ma Long’s playing system can be seen as redevelopment and refinement of the traditional playing style, which eventually reached the realm where it can go hand in hand with the advanced playing style.
Fan Zhendong’s and Ma Long’s playing styles can be compared, there are many interesting relativities: Fatty’s playing style is centered on backhand technology, Ma Long’s is centered on forehand technology; Fatty’s backhand technology emphasizes pre-emptive attack, continuous suppression, offense and defense, Ma Long’s forehand technology emphasizes small ball control, post-attack, and one-hit-kill; Fatty’s forehand and backhand are more balanced, left to left, right to right, Ma Long emphasizes more on highlighting forehand kill, from the “first three boards” to the holding section, all around the side-to-side use of the forehand to make articles ……
The main means of scoring for both sides: the side-to-side slash and the backhand rip straight line, also have a lot of interesting relativity, side-to-side position versus flat stand, slash versus straight line, forehand versus backhand, etc. But the same way is from the opponent’s strong point to break through, your backhand is strong I will burst your backhand position, your forehand is strong I will hard plug your forehand position, perhaps this is “where the attack is strong must be weak”, and let me find a new relative.
The “relativity” of the two mindsets of “fight” and “stability”.
Personally, I think these 3 games are actually proof of the old saying “only when you fight will you win”. In the first two games, Fan Zhendong was the underdog to Ma Long, so he put himself in a position to fight Ma Long, and was well prepared for the difficulties, and his tactics were thoroughly implemented. The Ma Long is last year after the knee surgery, the footwork movement ability decreased, while in order to avoid re-injury before the Tokyo Olympics, Ma Long more or less will have some conservative stability mentality, some efforts to pounce on the forehand may be able to remedy the ball, Ma Long often also gave up.
Therefore, in the first two games Fan Zhendong, even if it is a bitter battle seven games, but also always keep a clear mind, shot very decisive, and finally hard to “grind” dead Ma Long. And Ma Long after the first two games, gradually find the feeling of the game, but also on the right foot knee state has more confidence, but also set their mindset, put themselves in a position to fight the “world-first”.
On the contrary, the fatty, perhaps the unprecedented “two consecutive wins” against Ma Long, let his mind a little relaxed, the finals I personally feel that he underestimated the difficulties, from the pre-tournament tactics to the game to get rid of the difficulties of the approach are not satisfactory. I believe he must have summed up the gains and losses of the first two games and developed more targeted tactics to limit the play of Fatty and finally got the long-awaited championship.
The “relativity” of “precision” and “quality”
In these 3 matches, Ma Long showed me a new dimension of table tennis – precision. It started with the core tactics of the two players in these 3 games. Ma Long and Fatty were very familiar with each other, so the difference between the first 3 boards was very small, so their core tactics were to seek a breakthrough at the holding end. The opponent’s tactics are very clear: Fatty’s core tactic is to press the counter-adjustment; while Ma Long’s core tactic is to “don’t” hold the middle and wait for the opportunity to attack sideways.
The tactics of both sides are not a problem, the target is very strong, then the key lies in the implementation of tactics when the details of control. “Details determine success or failure”, and this point I think is precisely one of the biggest gaps between Fatty and Ma Long. Ma Long’s requirements for the drop point are very precise, and can even be said to be harsh. When attacking Fatty’s middle, the ball’s landing point is always running to Fatty’s right armpit position, so Fatty can’t pull out his hand to attack, and even top Fatty’s center of gravity to sit back, so Fatty always has difficulty playing high-quality forehand and backhand attack.
In addition, don’t middle another advantage is that the opponent is difficult to play a large angle forehand straight line, to reduce the quality of the opponent’s attack + limit the opponent’s attack line this two effects in one fell swoop. However, the difficulty of this tactic is that the gap in the middle is actually very small, and the opponent is always on the move, so it is much more difficult to shoot at the “moving target” than the “fixed target”. Once the landing point is not precise enough, it will be attacked by Fatty’s high-quality forehand and backhand on both sides. And the higher the quality of the opponent’s return, the more accurate one’s ball control will inevitably be reduced, which is the “theory of relativity” of “accuracy” and “quality”.
On the contrary, in last year’s low period, with the help of Qin’s guidance, the ball has obviously become more delicate, but compared with Ma Long, still looks rough, perhaps these still need more time to settle it. I personally think that the fatty’s pressure counter-adjustment tactics, can learn from Zhang Ben Zhihe, slightly sacrifice some absolute quality of the return, more control on the landing point, the line of the angle to play a larger, more tricky some, maybe the effect will be much better.
Finally, the “theory of relativity” of “change” and “no change”.
There is a very philosophical saying, “What never changes in the world is change itself”. This phrase in these 3 games, also has a very good interpretation. For example, the core tactics of both Ma Long and Fatty remained the same, but the secondary tactics were always changing, and Ma Long’s extra hand of high throwing serve tipped the scales of victory and defeat. Whoever adapts better to the changes is closer to victory, and Ma Long obviously did a better job of it.
To sum up, the reason why Fatty won first and then lost is that he won first because of his advanced technology and strength, and then lost because of his conservative mentality, detailed polishing, and tactical changes. The mentality can be adjusted through time, but the polishing of details and the ability to read the game need more accumulation and their own thinking. I hope Fatty will not only finish the Dragon’s routine as soon as possible but also turn these routines into his own “soft power”; and for Ma Long, I just hope he can take care of his health, after all, his current game is already a limited edition, watch one less game.
It is very inspiring for us amateurs.
Two different styles of play, the upper limit is very high, so choose which playing style is actually right, the key is to see which is more suitable for you. For amateur players who have been playing traditional style for a long time, basically, they have one or two special techniques, so they can learn from Ma Long and limit their opponents through more and more delicate variations to create scoring opportunities for themselves. At the tactical level, the general idea should be “avoiding the shortcomings first, and then the long coming”.
For amateur players with shorter playing age and more energy, they can learn from Fatty’s style of play, pay more attention to the practice of basic skills, pay attention to the balance and articulation of the forehand and backhand, and train the ball “thick”. Under the condition of relatively thick basic skills, when playing with the old men, take the initiative to play the ball long into the hold, and then stand left to play left, right to play right, then with the old men fight small ball effect is much better. The general idea at the tactical level should be, “First promote the long, then avoid the short”.