December 5, 2013

Post Teams Coaching

Now that the North American Teams are over my coaching changes focus. The last few weeks before the Teams I was preparing players for the tournament. Now comes the long period where we focus on developing their games for the longer haul. In particular, I have several players who I'll be working on topspinning their backhands more. I also want to greatly improve serve and receive. And as noted yesterday, we're going to work more on sports psychology. But in general there's going to be a lot more work on fundamentals while setting and aiming to achieve long-term goals.

Arm Problems

HERE WE GO AGAIN!!! But it makes no sense. None. Nada.

I think it was a couple of months ago that I had serious arm problems and had to take two weeks off. I've had minor problems since then, but nothing serious. Then, last week, just before the North American Teams, the arm started hurting again. Part of it might have been the extra coaching hours getting players ready for the Teams. But it wasn't that bad, and I knew I'd be able to take a week off to rest the arm during and just after the Teams. (I coached at the Teams, but except for one session warming up a player for ten minutes didn't play any.) So I rested the arm for exactly one week, from last Wednesday until yesterday.

About five minutes into the session I was grabbing my arm. At first it just seemed tight. Then it began to hurt - badly - especially when I hit backhands. It was the same injury as two months ago, and the same one I'd had as a recurring problem in the 1980s, but not in between. HOW DID MY ARM INJURY GET WORSE WHILE RESTING IT FOR A WEEK???

I finished the session, doing lots of multiball and avoiding hitting backhands. I started my next session - I only had two hours scheduled fortunately - but could barely continue. "Fortunately" (in quotes) my student (Doug) was also having some shoulder problems, and we agreed it'd be best to take the rest of the night off.

I iced the arm last night and again this morning. I've already cancelled my session today. Tomorrow I'm a practice partner from 5-6PM, and have a private session afterwards. I'll skip the 5-6 session, but I think I'll try to do the 6-7PM one - but no backhands. When needed, I'll play forehands from the backhand side. Hitting backhands is what really causes the problems, but once I hit backhands repetitively for even a few minutes the arm swells up and I can't do much of anything. Fortunately, most of my weekend coaching is group sessions, where I don't have to use my arm except for multiball. But I have a few sessions in there.

I'm also going to (finally) make an appointment to see a doctor or trainer.

The good news? My knees seem totally healed from the problems I've had there this past month. The week off really helped. Also, with the Teams over, and with the Nationals and Christmas coming up, my coaching schedule isn't very heavy right now. (I leave for the Nationals Sunday, Dec. 15, returning the morning of Sunday, Dec. 22.)

New World Rankings

The new World Rankings are out. On the men's side, the big change is Fan Zhendong of China jumping from 11 to 5. Chinese men now hold the #1-5, 7, 11, 12, 14, 18, 22, 43, 58, 61, 91, and 100 spots. Germany has #6, 8, 24, 25, 49, 60, and 78. Taiwan has #9, 23, and 88. South Korea has #19, 26, 27, 35, 36, 39, 46, 56, 65, 68, and 83. Hong Kong has #21, 31, 96, and 98. USA's top three are #352 (Yuan Xiaojie), 367 (Timothy Wang) and 393 (Wang Qingliang).

On the women's side, the only major change near the top is Ai Fukuhara of Japan jumping from 14 to 9. Chinese women now hold the #1-3, 5-8, 11, 15, 22, 29, 34, 36, 51, 52, 65, 66, 83, 88, 89, and 97-99 spots. Singapore has #4, 20, 69, and 74. Japan has #9, 10, 26, 37, 50, 57, 63, 64, 75, 76, 78-80, 90, and 94. South Korea has #12, 17, 21, 24, 25, 35, 47, 66, 72, 73, 85, and 91. USA's top three are #80 (Ariel Hsing), 110 (Lily Zhang), and 171 (Zheng Jiaqi).

World Junior Championships

They are going on right now in Rabat, Morocco, Dec. 1-8. You can follow all the action at the ITTF World Junior Championships page. USA players are: Boys - Kanak Jha, Theodore Tran, Kunal Chodri, and Allen Wang; Girls - Prachi Jha, Tina Lin, Ariel Hsing, and Erica Wu

Yao Ming Playing Table Tennis

Here's the article, interview, picture, and link to a video (1:48) of the basketball star hitting with members of the Chinese Team, with commentary in Chinese. He's a penholder.

Table Tennis Doll

Here it is!

Head Table Tennis

Here’s the bizarre video (5:05, with the “table tennis” starting about one minute in) of a new version of table tennis, where players head mini-volleyballs back and forth.

Send us your own coaching news!