September 5, 2014

ITTF Interview

I was interviewed by Sheri Cioroslan for the ITTF, and it was featured yesterday on the ITTF web page. (It's also up on the USATT web page.) The interview "closes out" the ITTF 100-day Countdown to the end of Adham Sharara's 15 years as president.

Aches and Exhaustion and Coaching

One of the toughest parts of coaching is you always have to be "on." As a regular player, if you aren't feeling well you just take the night off. (Unless, of course, you are in serious training to be an elite player, in which case you tough it out - like many of the players at my club, MDTTC. Of course, "normal" 9-5 jobbers have to do the same, correct?) On both Monday and Tuesday nights I was up very late, one time working on the ITTF interview, the other time on one of my SF stories (my sideline outside TT). Unfortunately, I had a Tuesday morning coaching session scheduled and a Wednesday morning dental appointment, so I had to get up early both mornings to get the blog done before leaving. (I normally don't schedule morning activities Mon-Fri, other than my blog and other writing.) So I got very little sleep those two nights. Tuesday wasn't so bad as I had only an hour of coaching after the morning session, but on Wednesday I was tired and headachy the entire day, but had three hours of coaching. I toughed it out, figuring I'd catch up on rest that night. 

Unfortunately, the dentist on Wednesday morning had found a small cavity, and so we had scheduled an appointment on Thursday morning to put in the filling. I did the blog the night before, got plenty of sleep, and thought all was well. Alas, by Thursday afternoon the pain killer the dentist had put into my gums had worn off, and the tooth with the filling and the area around it felt someone was doing target practice with a power drill - but I had to pick up kids for our afterschool program, do some tutoring, and do three hours of private coaching. I did it all with a smile on my face but often in agony. Fortunately, when you're playing or coaching you don't notice it as much most of the time, but there's no way you can completely ignore the feeling of knives being jabbed into your gums. When the night finally finished I went home and collapsed onto my easy chair to watch TV and wait for the gums to stop hurting. (Which they didn't do that night, but by this morning it was just a nasty ache.) 

The funny thing was that for me, when I'm tired, headachy, or in pain, it tends to focus me, and I probably did some of my best coaching. Thinking hard about the student helps keep my mind on that and not on being tired, headachy, or in pain. On Wednesday I found a little problem with a student's backhand loop technique that turned it into a monster shot. Another student went from spinning forehands to really drive looping them, and also made a breakthrough on serves. On Thursday I had a nice workout with one student on his serve and attack game and on his backhand flip. Another student, who was getting over a one-month break due to knee problems, had a nice return-to-the game session as we focused on fundamentals. 

Today I've only got the afterschool program (pick up two kids from school and take them to the club, then an hour of mostly multiball coaching and some tutoring), and then I'm off, where I'll likely spend some time in bed reading and resting. Saturday is a miracle - I have NO COACHING for this Saturday, which was unexpected and extremely rare. (I teach a junior class Saturday mornings, but there are two weeks break between the summer session and the upcoming one, so no session this Saturday, and my other Saturday students are all off for now.) So by Sunday (a busy day) I'll be rested and ready to go again. Meanwhile, I have several other writing projects I'm working on (both TT and SF), and perhaps I'll write up a storm on Saturday and next week. 

No Forehand Looping?

Were the hardbat and sandpaper players right all along? Has sponge and big forehand loops made the game so boring that they can't put it on TV without a rule outlawing these incredible topspin shots? Apparently, since No Forehand Looping (NFL) was on TV everywhere last night. (Let the booing and hissing begin.)

Tony Kiesenhofer Now President of North American Table Tennis Union

Here's the ITTF article. Tony is the Executive Director of Table Tennis Canada. Here's the NATTU home page.

2014 ITTF Para Table Tennis World Championships

They will be the largest ever, according to the ITTF press release.

ITTF Coaching Course Held in Flushing, NY

Here's the ITTF article on the event, coached by Sydney Christophe.

Top Ten Shots at the Czech Open

Here's the video (4:58).

Who Won?

Here's the picture - but when he wakes up I don't think he'll remember. Anything.

Send us your own coaching news!