June 20, 2017

"What I was trained to do long ago..."
During a coaching session last night I blocked a ball rather wide to my student’s forehand. The student moved wide and made a very nice forehand loop that went extremely wide to my forehand, well outside the corner and moving away from me very rapidly. Several things happened very quickly, all the result of training from long ago, training which coaches now try to give to their students.

First, I did exactly what I was trained to do long ago, and after my block went to the student’s wide forehand, I reflexively moved to cover the potential wide angle return to my forehand. I’m pretty sure most club players would have at most moved marginally over, leaving the wide angle open.  

Second, I did exactly what I was trained to do long ago, and stepped to the ball, instead of leaning or reaching. The ball caught me off guard with the great angle, and I’m pretty sure the great majority of club players, when they saw how wide the ball was going, would have reflexively leaned and lunged at it. As an experiment, stand up for a moment, and lean to your right. Now try moving to your right. You can’t!!! By stepping to the ball, I was able to get to it cleanly.

Third, rather than moving sideways, I did what I was trained to do long ago when blocking on the forehand – I moved in, and cut the ball off quickly before it had a chance to get away from me. This allowed me to take the ball right off the bounce – but more importantly, it allowed me to hit the ball at all. I’m pretty sure that most club players would have moved sideways, and with the ball moving away from them, they wouldn’t have been able to touch it.

Fourth, since the ball was angled so wide to my forehand, I did what I was trained to do long ago, and counter-angled right back, blocking the ball even wider than the ball I’d had to block. The result was an easy ace as my student leaned and lunged sideways. (Alas!) Always remember - if you angle your opponent, position yourself for a counter-angle!

And Fifth, in the off chance that the ball did come back, I did what I was trained to do long ago, and reflexively moved to cover that potentially even wider forehand angle return – see the first item above.

After the point was over, I explained to the student what had just taken place, and we practiced covering those wide angles. But I had a small smile to myself – even after years of coaching and rarely practicing, the old training is still there!!!

USA Take Top Spots as Kanak Jha and Amy Wang Triumph in Argentina
Here’s the article by Matt Hetherington. Here are some ITTF articles:

ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coaching Course - Denver, Colorado, August 7-11, 2017
Here’s the info page. Here are other upcoming coaching ITTF courses in the U.S.

Backhand Loop Lecture
Here’s the video (7:31) from Samson Dubina.

Improve Your Hand & Eye Coordination
Here’s the video (2:02) by Jules Apatini of The Aerobic Sports Dance & Music Exercises Group, which features USATT Hall of Famer George Brathwaite doing Aerobic Progressive Exercising with a Ping Pong Robot.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

China Table Tennis Team Training at Dusseldorf
Here’s the video (16:32) from EmRatThich.

Puzzle Pong
It’s a new, special event at the Westchester Open this weekend. Here’s what Westchester Club owner and puzzlemaster Will Shortz wrote me about the event. “A new, experimental event at this month's Open is Puzzle Pong, which will start Saturday at 1 pm. Yours truly will sit at the side of the table and provide quick questions with words, numbers, and trivia during play. In addition to the usual points scored, players can also win points by being the first to answer my questions. It's the ultimate test of mind and body!” I wish I could be there!!! Alas, I have too much coaching that Saturday, and since I’ll be away three Saturdays in July, I can’t afford to take more time off.

Maryland State Championships
Here’s the USATT news item. I’ve emailed them asking them to take “Results from the” off the title, since it’s a regular article, not just results. (This was in my blog last week.)

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 19 (1991-1992)
Here's chapter thirteen! Or order your own print copies at TimBogganTableTennis.com, as well as Volume 19!

The Rise of Japan’s Generation Z
Here’s the video (2:16) – are the Japanese juniors overtaking the Chinese?

Incredible Point Between Ma Long and Xu Xin at Japan Open
Here’s the video (38 sec) – Ma’s the righty on the far side. Commentating by Adam Bobrow. (Yes, that last shot by Xu hit the table.)

MAvelous Captain Long Movie
Here’s the trailer (2 min) for the MAvelous Captain Long Movie set to hit your movie screens in 2020!

Pong-Style Border Security
Here’s the cartoon!

Send us your own coaching news!