May 8, 2017

Tip of the Week
Advantage of Passive Receives.

Coaching Level vs. Playing Level
It’s difficult for a low-level player can become a National Coach. It’s a simple reality. To be a high-level coach means spending years regularly working with, or at least watching and interacting with, top players as they develop, and the coaches who work with them, and then coaching and developing (or help developing) your own players. You can’t learn this by watching videos. Since top players become top players by training with other top players and working with top coaches, they automatically get this, and so have the potential to become top coaches.

I say potential because not all top players are suited to be top coaches. Some learn and really understand the game as they develop, while others do not. Some are good teachers, others are not. Some are emotionally suited to coaching, others are not. I've met at least one 1400 player who could be a National coach, and at least one 2800 player who probably shouldn't even be a club coach. Nearly all top players can, if they choose, become decent coaches.

But the reality is that top players are far more likely to become top coaches than non-top players. Non-top players rarely have the opportunity to spend years working with, watching, or interacting with top players as they develop, something top players do on their way to becoming top players. Lower-level players often become fine basics coaches, but not National level unless they have this opportunity. But some do get the opportunity, and if they are the type who is willing and able to learn, they can become high-level, perhaps National coaches.

These days, with 93 full-time table tennis clubs in the U.S., there are far more opportunities for lower-level players to spend years developing as high-level coaches than before. But there are no short cuts; you have to put in the same time and effort into this that a top player spends developing his game. You can’t just watch video of top players and expect to understand what it took for the player to reach that level – you have to see it developing, every step of the way.

What’s the best way for a non-top player to become a top coach? It’s pretty simple. 1) Spend years watching and interacting with top players and coaches as they develop; 2) Spend years studying the sport; 3) Develop players. The first two set you up to do the third item, and the third item proves you are truly a high-level coach. The third item can even be a group effort as sometimes low-level players/coaches work with top coaches in developing players, and in the process can become top coaches themselves.

We’re going to be revamping the USATT Certification Process soon. (I was recently appointed chair of the USATT coaching committee.) We’ll probably be adopting more of the ITTF coaching certification process, and making other changes. One thing I’ve always been unhappy with is the rating requirements for the various coaching levels. For club, state, regional, and national coaching certification, we currently require 1400, 1600, 2100, and 2300 ratings. (There's an adjustment factor for women - +150 points, so 1250 qualifies for club coach, etc..) Playing level is often one of the best indicators of a player's knowledge, but not always, and having it set in stone in the rules that we will certify coaches based on their playing level rather than their coaching level - which would often be a result of their playing level, but not always - needs to change.

USATT Board Teleconference
We have our monthly teleconference at 7PM tonight. (I'm on the board, alas.) I normally coach 4:30-8:00 PM on Monday nights, but as usual had to cancel the last 1.5 hours. The agenda:

  • Roll Call/Administrative Tasks
  • Approval of Committee Members (Coaches Committee, Classic Hardbat Committee)
  • SafeSport Update
  • Discussion Regarding High Performance Director
  • Discussion Regarding Hopes Continental Event
  • Discussion Regarding ITTF-North American Commercial Grant
  • Old Business
  • New Business
  • Adjourn

Articles and Video from PingSkills
Here are new ones.

Articles from Samson Dubina
Here are two new ones.

EmRatThich Videos
There are five new videos up at the enigmatically named EmRatThich.

Table Tennis T-Shirt
I kind of like this one – “It’s okay if you think table tennis is boring. It’s kind of a smart people sport.” (It’s why I titled my best-selling book Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!)

How to Do Three-Point Forehand Footwork Like an Olympian
Here’s the video (51 sec) featuring USA’s Yijun 'Tom' Feng (2015 USA Men’s Singles Champion).

Ma Long Exercise First Ball With His Coach
Here’s the video (2:11).

Elite Table Tennis in Slow Motion
Here’s the video (11:54). It’s from last year, but I don’t think I saw it until now.

Zagreb Open
The Zagreb Open in Croatia finished on Saturday. Lots of articles, results, pictures, and video.

Doubles Seeding Announced for Liebherr 2017 World Championships
Here’s the ITTF article.

The Perfect World Championships
Here’s the ITTF article on Waldner’s perfect 21-0 game record in Men’s Singles at the 1997 Worlds – the only player to win the Worlds without losing a game. Links to highlights video (57 sec).

Table Tennis Robots
These robots are getting better and better (57 sec)! But they still can only do simple rallying – they can’t well react to spin, and don’t seem to attack themselves. I would love to see this robot in a tournament to see what rating it would get. But I don’t think they can serve, so I’m fine with an adjusted rule that in robot vs. human matches, the human always serves if the robot is unable to. From what I see, I don’t think it could return a simple backspin serve or push, so it would get a rating probably under 800.

China’s Men’s vs. Women’s Team – Serve Pressure Training
Here’s the video (8:17) – I’m not sure what the rules are, but it’s some sort of serving competition, which the men won.

2017 ALN Cup Interviews
Here are the videos (4:00 and 8:57) with Lubomir Pistej, David Gonzalez, Abhilash Rajesh Kumar, Mudit Mahajan & Barney Reed.

Amazing Point
Here’s the video (26 sec)! It’s Artur Grigoryev vs. Mikhael Gladyishev at the Russian Club Championships last year.

Joo Sae-Hyuk vs Jan Ove Waldner Exhibition
Here’s the video (15:16)! Joo Sae-Hyuk, a chopper/looper, was a Men’s Singles Finalist at the 2003 World Championships. And Waldner . . . well, according to Wikipedia, he’s “widely regarded as being the greatest table tennis player of all time.”

Mini-Table Pong
Here’s the video (82 sec).

Table Tennis Trick Serves - Pongfinity
Here’s the video (1:32).

How Adar Alguetti Asks for a Date at the Prom
Here’s the video (32 sec). USA junior star Adar (rated 2626) is holding the sign.

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