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3 Things Ma Long Can Learn From Fan Zhendong (And You Too!)

3 Things Ma Long Can Learn From Fan Zhendong (and you too!)
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We have always seen Ma Long as a superior kind of table tennis player. For anyone, going against Ma Long is no easy task which somehow make competitions against him pretty predictable. But things started to get exciting when Ma Long found a worthy opponent on the 17-year old Fan Zhendong. Let us see why Ma Long struggles against Fan Zhendong and what could be done. 

Men's table tennis has gotten much more exciting ever since Fan Zhendong has entered into the battle ground. Even against the formidable force Ma Long, Fan Zhendong can do wonders and place his adversary in difficulty. 

Although formidable, we still saw Ma Long being defeated or being in a tight intense matches before but none of those opponents have been consistent in any competition like what Fan Zhendong has done. 

So why can Ma Long simply be threatened by Fan Zhendong? What could be done? 

1.) Ma Long's backhand can be his liability. There is no doubt that Ma Long's forehand is probably the world's best but his backhand is not in the same calibre. 

What can be done? Develop something good from it. His backhand may be an obstacle but it's also an opportunity for improvement. It's more on making the most of the assets and developing the liabilities. 

Ma Long vs Fan Zhendong 2013 Chinese National Games MS Finals
video kindly shared by janus770

2.) Ma Long lacks diversity. Ma Long's awesome and powerful but he can get very mechanical sometimes. 

What can be done? Diversify. It's all about stroke's strength and it's not just a thing of speed. It's about being smarter during the game and having more diversity in the playing style. An amazing footwork included. 

3.) Ma Long's weakness can easily be exploited. This can be seen through his matches against Fan Zhendong, Wang Hao, Xu Xin and even by Zhang Jike. 

What can be done? If the weakness is too strong to overcome, then conceal it. 

Ma Long vs Fan Zhendong 2014 Squad Trials SF
video kindly shared by janus770

Ma Long may have been threatened by Fan Zhendong but at the end of the day, the result is what's important and that is: Ma Long still wins. 

So why does Ma Long still wins against Fan Zhendong? 

1.) Ma Long has much richer experience. Ma Long has been in the Chinese National Team for over a decade now. Of course, experience can increase anybody's confidence to a whole new level. 

Ma Long vs Fan Zhendong 2014 Asian Cup MS Finals
video kindly shared by TTJanus

2.) Ma Long is simply the stronger still. Since he has more experience, he has more confidence, and that translates to lesser nerve issues and more thinking. 

Just as what Ma Long has said, whether technical or psychological, he is still stronger than Fan Zhendong. 

But the question now is how long can he keep that up. Fan Zhendong is following closely behind and his improvements is growing exponentially. Fan Zhendong can really catch up with Ma Long but it all depends on if Ma Long will allow it. 

Photo source: ChinaNews 

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Table Tennis was banned in the USSR from ca 1930 to 1950 because it was believed to be harmful to the eyes

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