JonathanJ on 11/27/2010
Overall, this was a very good DVD. Great for the collection of any competitive table tennis player, not because it is exceedingly helpful in service development, but because it 1) presents a fairly wholesome overview of what kind of serves are out there, 2) reminds us of what consists good service form, and 3) is useful in studying service and service return in general. If it was simply a tutorial, I would give it a lower rating, but I would recommend that everyone have a copy on hand for helpul reminders.
janzy on 1/17/2010
First of all, let me state I am not a good tt player. I play in a club with many 500-600 players who beat me everytime. However, I do watch a lot of sports instructionnals, and I must say this one is not up to par with the likes of "The Book" for wakeboarding, or websites such as fuzzyyellowballs.com for tennis. I had high hopes for this DVD since the others in their series seemed to have great reviews.
The first problem with this DVD is that it is EXTREMELY repetitive. I would say that 90% of what the narrator says is identical for every variation of the forehand pendulum, for example. And I mean word for word. If you watch this DVD from start to finish, you will be able to tell most of what the narrator is going to say next, even tough you've never watched this. While this may seem natural considering that the motions for these serves are very much alike, this highlight the lack of detailed information for each serve variation. I expected a lot of emphasis to be put on the subtleties concerning the point of contact for each serves with slo-motion from many angles.
However, while there is definetly SOME useful information there, it's not that detailed nor well-illustrated. There are slo-mo sequences, but they are of poor quality and very blurry. Don't expect "high-speed camera"-like picture. For a movement a subtle as a tt serve, I would say bad slo-mo is a pretty big drawback.
Since the slo-mos aren't that good, I would have liked the coach to at least "shadow" the techniques so that we can get a better understanding of the movement, but there are no such demonstrations.
I expected to have a kind of "troubleshooting section" for each type of serve, mentionning the most common mistakes and how to correct them. There is none.
I would also have liked more examples and details on the many types of "fakes" one can incorporate into his serve to make it harder to read. They mention that adding fakes is important, but they show only one example in the whole DVD.
There are also some problems with the coach performing the drills. When I first saw the short serve, it seemed to bounce high to me, but I thought "hey I don't know jack, that's why I bought this DVD". To my surprise, the narrator then said something like "The coach's short serves are a little high, you should strive to make your serves lower." Later in the DVD, they demonstrate the tomahawk serve and the narrator mentions that the example given by the coach is in fact an illegal serve. Not great for an INSTUCTIONNAL DVD. Also, the coach can't perform the reverse pendulum, so they use tournament footage instead. They would have been better using a club player to show us the motion.
Finally, there is some game footage from time to time, and much of it looks like it's been taken from old VHS tapes. This would normally not bother me, but since I've been dissapointed with the instruction given, this is just more salt in the wound.
Overall useful, but I can't say I recommend it. I am seriously thinking about checking if their "90 days satisfaction warranty" thing is for real.
Update: I did send back the DVD to Table Tennis Masters and was given a full refund, no questions asked. I have to give them points for great customer service. If you're still on the fence, not sure if you should buy this or not, know that you can try it out withtout risk. The shipping cost was about the same as a rental at the local videoclub. Just don't abuse their goodwill (don't copy the DVD if you use it or make it available on the net, if you like it, pay for it).
ppgear on 10/20/2009
This is a pretty thorough DVD covering all of the major aspects of a solid serve. It's nice that it includes the Tomahawk serve that I'm sure is getting more popular as Kenta Matsudaira rises in the rankings.
There's a lot of information to digest so you'll have to watch it over and over again. As a player over 2100 in rating, I learned a few things as well that I didn't know before. Anyone under 2000 can benefit from this DVD. Good work!