September 30, 2013

Tip of the Week

Mid-Match Technique Adjustments.

Arm problems

Old, tight muscles strike again. Alas.

On Friday night I was a practice partner in our Elite Training Session. I played a practice match with a 2000 chopper. Going into the match I felt a bit stiff, but what else is new? But I was even stiffer than usual. I lost the first game. Bearing down, I won the next three games pretty easily. Many of the points I'd serve no-spin or light-spin to his long pips, or roll his serves back soft to the pips, and in both cases I'd usually get no-spin or light backspin returns, and then I'd win the point with an explosive, off-the-bounce loop to the middle or extreme angles. The tactic worked, but it apparently took a toll on my arm, which afterwards felt extra tight. I played one more match, where I struggled a bit as the arm felt like it had a broken arm cast on it. Then I stopped for the night.

On Saturday I spent the morning wearing the arm down feeding multiball as I ran 2.5 hours of junior programs. That afternoon I had a two-hour private coaching session - and literally minutes into the session I was grabbing my arm. I had to stop playing 15 minutes into the session, and we switched to multiball. However, at this point the arm was so inflamed I had to stop feeding multiball after maybe 15 more minutes. We spent the next hour working on serves, and then I got Raghu Nadmichettu to do the last 30 minutes. I went home and iced it several times that night.

On Sunday I had four hours of private coaching scheduled, but I had to cancel them. I did a 90-minute junior session, feeding multiball, and it probably aggravated the arm a little bit. I did more icing.

Today (Monday) is my day off. I have two hours scheduled tomorrow, but I'm probably going to get Raghu or someone to substitute. I'm wondering if I'll be able to coach on Wednesday, when I have a full night of private coaching scheduled. Thursday I have another junior session (mostly multiball, which I should be able to handle by then), and fortunately my private session scheduled after that just got cancelled - the player can't make it. I'll probably opt out of the Friday elite session as well, and hopefully will be ready for the long hours of coaching I do on weekends.

I believe the injury is a strain to the Brachioradialis muscle. (Here's a diagram.) This is in the lower arm (between elbow and wrist), just below the elbow. If you touch your hand to your shoulder, it's the muscle in the lower arm that touches the bicep in the upper arm.

I had this same arm problem during much of the early 1980s, and on and off since then. It's mostly been okay in recent years, but I've had a few reoccurrences of it, including one just a few months ago. Fortunately I've learned to stop aggravating it when it begins to hurt, something I didn't do well in the 1980s, leading literally to years of lost play as I regularly rested the arm and then tried to come back too soon. However, it's not nearly as bad as it was in the 1980s, and I should be okay in a few days.

On Saturday night I was planning to borrow a video camera and create my entries to the ITTF Trick Shot Competition. I have several ideas, though I have to try them out first. However, I had to cancel those plans, and won't be able to do this until the arm gets better. Adam Hugh and the rest of the entries - you have a temporary reprieve!

Writing Plans

Sometime this week I plan to start work on my next major writing project - but I haven't yet decided between doing Table Tennis Fundamentals (essentially a rewrite and update of my previous book Table Tennis: Steps to Success) or the sequel to my upcoming humorous fantasy novel "The Giant Face in the Sky" (coming Nov. 15). It's not easy having two writing careers while also trying to coach full time!

Double Bounce Serve

Here's an article from Table Tennis Master on why this is the "best" serve. (I'm not sure about #3.)

Learn and Improve - Table Tennis with Gary Fraiman

Here's Gary's new coaching page - pretty nice looking! He used to coach in Maryland, but now he's down in Clearwater, FL. Here's his matching Facebook page.

Three Reasons Ma Long is the Worlds Most Overrated Player

Here's the article from Table Tennis Master.

Waldner on China Stamp

Here's the article and picture.

Troy Polamalu Plays Pong

Here's a video (24 sec) showing footage of Pittsburgh Steelers rookie Troy "Mane Man" Polamalu playing table tennis apparently for a commercial for Head and Shoulders. The first person who thinks the rallies are real, may your head explode and your ping-pong paddle break. (The rallies look like the ones from Forrest Gump!)

Quadruples Table Tennis

Here's a different version of table tennis, with up to four players and four "mini-tables," as shown by Table Tennis Nation a while back.

Send us your own coaching news!