August 10, 2017

Coaching a Junior Class for the First Time
At the MyTableTennis forum someone asked about teaching a junior class for the first time, and how to get them serious about the sport. Below is my response. The last paragraph might be the most important. But note the sale on the Handbook in the first paragraph! I’m willing to supply them at cost to large groups or to USATT events.

I have ten pages on this in my Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook, which comes in print ($5.99) and Kindle (currently on sale at 99 cents). I've run the beginning junior classes at MDTTC for decades. 

I generally go with a 2-1 ration - 2/3 practice, 1/3 games. (More like 50-50 for kids 8 and under.) For new players, you'll be doing a lot of multiball. At the high school level, they should have the coordination to hit among themselves after some multiball practice. 

For games, have them play king of the table, up-down tables, or Brazilian Teams. However, it's also good to have a large supply of paper cups and a bottle of Gatorade. Kids like to build large pyramids and walls out of the cups, and then they line up, taking turns knocking them down while you feed multiball. (Perhaps three shots each, though only one on first round.) Or you put the Gatorade bottle on the table and feed multiball, and they line up, taking turns trying to hit it, two shots per turn - and if they hit it, you have to drink it. But since these are high school kids, you'll want to focus more on the real games mentioned above. But let them try different games and see which they like. 

As to getting them serious about the sport, first teach the basics; then let them see real table tennis by good players, and they'll want to be like that; and then let them know about other opportunities (private coaching, more advanced group sessions, leagues, tournaments). Many will continue and become serious players. 

A key is finding the balance between serious and fun. If you are too serious, it's not fun, and you lose them. If you make it just fun, it's like playing Parcheesi, and they don't take it seriously and you lose them. Find that balance. 

Update - History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 20
We started last Wednesday morning (Aug. 2), and it looks like we’ll probably finish up on Friday Saturday after eleven days of tedious torture adventurous fun. We increased our hours to get it done sooner – yesterday (and I kid you not!) we started at 5:30 AM (!!!) and except for a one-hour lunch break (soup and a crossword puzzle), we worked straight until 5PM, an 11.5 hour blitz. Then I left for three hours of coaching. Then I got home and went to work on this blog, since I won’t have much time to do so in the morning. (And I “cheated,” using something I posted on a table tennis forum.) Hopefully I’ll survive another day without fallinzzzzzzzzzzzz

Pong Road
On Tuesday I blogged about Pong Road, the documentary featuring Rocky Wang traveling around the country. The three episodes I saw on Friday are now online! “After years of living in New York and scraping by on tournament winnings, coaching and event gigs, professional ping pong player Rocky Wang decides to leave the big city and weave his way through the United States. With little money and his trusty van (Myrtle the Turtle), he's exploring what American ping pong is really like and the colorful characters that play across the country.”

The Misunderstood Flat Hit
Here’s the article from Coach Jon.

USATT Insider
Here’s the new issue that came out yesterday.

USATT News Items
Here are three new ones.

2017 Nigeria Open (on the ITTF Circuit)
Here’s the home page, with news, draws, results, pictures, and video. It’s in Lagos, Aug. 9-13, starting yesterday.

2017 Pyongyang Open
Here’s where you can watch video of all the major matches of the event held this past weekend.

ESPN8 – “The Ocho”
Here’s the video (10 sec) – the sport will never be the same again…

How Zhang Jike Spends His Summers
Here’s the video (55 sec)!

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