January 23, 2017

Tip of the Week
What Are Your Main Weapons? (As explained in my Dec. 28 blog in the Tip of the Week, I'm putting up extra Tips of the Week and post-dating them for earlier in December so I'll end up with 150 Tips for the period 2014-2016. So today's Tip of the Week is dated Dec. 29. There are two more to go, and then we can finally celebrate the New Year!)

Non-Technique Problems with Juniors and Adults
Yesterday I coached in three different 90-minute group sessions - one for beginning juniors, one for advanced juniors (mostly ages 8-10), and one for adults. In the latter two I noticed some interesting parallels. Usually junior and adult players have different problems. Most well-trained juniors have pretty good technique, but don't have the hand-eye coordination or control yet to be consistent. Most adults, unless they started as well-trained juniors, have technical issues, but better hand-eye coordination and control. But sometimes the problems are the same. Here are two examples, both involving forehand looping.

In the advanced junior session, there was a player who had good forehand loop. However, while sometimes he'd let it go and it would be pretty nice, often you could see him holding back, trying to just guide the ball onto the table, with his racket slowing down at contact instead of accelerating. At the adult session that night, there was a player who had the exact same problem. In both cases, the problem is more mental than technical. You have to just let the shot go and accelerate into the shot. It doesn't mean you rip the ball, but if you try to guide the shot, you lose speed and spin, and end up with a weak shot.

In the advanced junior session, there was another player who also had a good forehand loop. The problem was that the player was way ahead of the ball, and so at the point where contact should be made, the ball was still out in front, over the table. So the player often hit the ball toward the end of the swing, as the racket decelerated out in front, in an off-balance, awkward shot. In the adult session, there was a player with the exact same problem. In both cases, the technique was good, but the timing was off.

In all four cases above, the players had good technique, and often had very nice loops - but often their technique was hindered by these other issues. All four are now (hopefully!) working on these problems, which, with some serious practice, should be relatively easy fixes.

Five Consecutive Lob Edges!
It really happened - not by me, but against me by 15-year-old Matt Stepanov during a coaching session I had with him last week. He wanted to lob some, and he won five straight points lobbing on the edge!!! We were laughing hysterically after the first three, so you can imagine our reactions when he got the fourth and fifth!

ITTF Presidential Election
It's a three-way battle between incumbent Thomas Weikert of Germany, ITTF Deputy President Khalil Al-Mohannadi of Qatar, and superstar player Jean-Michel Saive (former #1 in the world and Men's Singles Finalist in 1993). "The elections will be held on Wednesday 31st May at the Annual General Meeting in Düsseldorf, Germany, to be held on the occasion of the Liebherr 2017 World Championships."

Since I blogged last week USATT has put up over 20 news items. Some are duplicates of ones I've had, others are new, but rather than my linking to them one by one, why not browse over them?

Waldner Receives Award for Lifetime Achievement
Here's the ITTF article.

New Coaching Articles from Samson Dubina

Podcasts from Expert Table Tennis
Here are three new podcasts by Matthew Pearson

Lessons on Deliberate Practice from Jerry Rice
Here's the article - this applies to all sports.

Three-Point Multiball Training
Here's the video (33 sec).

Table Tennis Tutorial: Most Important Tips (part 3)
Here's the video (14:49). This is all about the grip. Links to parts 1 and 2 are below it.

Zhang Jike Working with Three Coaches?
Here's the video (11:39). They are speaking in Chinese, so I'm not sure what's going on, but it's interesting to watch a Zhang Jike training session.

Table Tennis on Fire
Here's the picture of Kim Gilbert! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) It's got fireballs, explosions, lightning, and a Kim in a hot rod!

Snowman Pong?
Here's the video (9 sec)!

Hale and Pace Table Tennis
Here's the video (73 sec) - it's from 2012, but I'd never seen it, and it's hilarious! I wonder if the famous Shaun the Sheep Table Tennis video (68 sec) was inspired by this.

Send us your own coaching news!