Daniel's Inside-out Looping
I had a great session with 12-year-old Daniel yesterday. He's about 1700, but he's still struggling to be aggressive in games – he much prefers fishing and lobbing, and so usually lets his opponent attack first. He simply has zero confidence in his looping game. I've been working with him on this for months. In games he often will go for all-out smashes (forehand and backhand), but looping is just an occasional variation for him. He wins mostly by pushing, blocking, sudden smashes, and fishing & lobbing.
Yesterday might have been a breakthrough. When he forehand loops, he tends to bring his arm across his body, dissipating his power and causing occasional arm problems because of the strain it puts on his arm. Periodically we've fixed the problem, but then he falls back into the old habit. But yesterday I noticed something – when he loops inside-out to my backhand, the stroke is much smoother and technically far better. So I had him practice his inside-out loop for a time. Then I had him set up to do an inside-out loop to my backhand – but had him point to where the ball was going to go. Then I had him rotate his body so that his finger pointed crosscourt, i.e. essentially an inside-out forehand loop but crosscourt. Suddenly his technique was just right – though he said it felt funny. We spent about 60 minutes of our 90-minute session working on this with various drills, with me constantly harping on him to "loop inside-out to my forehand." Now he has that Easy Power I'm always talking about!
The problem really is two-fold. He has to both overcome the technical issues, and there's that zero confidence in looping problem, which doesn't really correlate, since he's pretty good doing it in practice. (He has a very nice backhand loop as well, which he also rarely uses in matches. In drills, he can backhand loop over and over to my backhand block.) Anyway, we'll keep working at it. With his ball control – he may be the best 12-year-old lobber in the country – he has potential if he can only develop an equally good looping game and the confidence to use it. (At the end of our sessions I always let him lob a bit, and many gather around, oohing and aahing as he returns my smashes over and over, sometimes 20 or 30 in a row.)
Cressy Goes to China
Here's the article on Gordon Cressy's upcoming 15-day table tennis training program at the Chinese National Table Tennis Training Centre in Shijiazhuang, China. He wrote me this morning saying, "Thought that you would like to know that your book "The Spirit of Pong" inspired me to take this journey." Gordon's in his 70s!
New Coaching Articles from Samson Dubina
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Here's the video (60 sec) as the one-year-old takes her first intensive lesson from dad Samson Dubina. He's a slave-driver! But look at her hands going up and down – I'm worried we may lose her to basketball!
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Here's the video (22 sec) – and a pretty crazy backhand smash as well!
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