August 11, 2017

Progressive Coaching
A few days ago a student complained that while she could rally in drills, in games she not only missed, but tended to hit the ball right at the opponent, as if it were a drill. She wanted to know how she could fix this. So I put her through the following progression of drills, in this specific order. The key was to first build up accuracy from both the forehand and backhand sides, then do so off random balls, while always attacking the three spots you should always go after in a match – wide forehand, wide backhand, and middle (the elbow, the mid-point between the forehand and backhand). (This will likely be expanded into a Tip of the Week.)

  1. Forehand to forehand and backhand to backhand warm-up.
  2. Forehand down the line to my backhand.
  3. Backhand down the line to my forehand.
  4. Alternate forehand and backhand, to my backhand.
  5. Alternate forehand and backhand, to my forehand.
  6. Alternate forehand and backhand, to my middle. This is where my elbow (midpoint between forehand and backhand) would be in a rally, typically perhaps a foot to the left of the middle line. I stood toward the middle and played backhands side to side.  
  7. Random side to side, to my backhand.
  8. Random side to side, to my forehand.
  9. Random side to side, to my middle.
  10. Complete random, both sides. I served topspin and moved the ball around, while she placed the ball to any of the three spots – forehand, backhand, or middle.

Update - History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 20
We put in another eight hours yesterday, and should “finish” today. However, Tim has lots of corrections. Hopefully we can get to some of those on Friday afternoon, and finish Saturday morning. I leave to coach on Saturday at 12:30PM, returning at 7:00PM. Then there’s a bunch of pre-press work. Sunday I’ve got a lot of coaching and other work, and Monday is even busier – two teleconferences (one involving coaching at noon, the other a USATT board teleconference). That will end basically a non-stop barrage of work that has gone on for years weeks. If all goes well, I’m spending Tuesday (no coaching scheduled) watching movies and in bed reading. . . . (note - I went to bed at 2AM, and was back to work at 6:30AM. We're on home stretch to get this thing done. I'm about to post this blog at 7:15AM. I did most of it last night.) 

Backhand Footwork
Here’s the article and video (1:28) from Samson Dubina. Backhand footwork practice is one of the most under-developed parts of many players’ games, often leading to weak backhand attacks.

Butterfly Presents: Footwork Drills by Stefan Feth (U.S. Men’s Team Coach)

Best 5 Tips to Improve Fast in Table Tennis
Here’s the article and video (13:04) from EmRatThich. In a nutshell: Focus on feeling; Hit by the legs; Fix the hitting position; Relax, explode, and relax; and Learn the tactics.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at Pingskills.

Spot Fake Table Tennis Equipment!
Here’s the article from Sportsflu. One interesting part – it says balls are made of celluloid, not plastic! They may be a bit dated here. And, of course, there will be endless debates on whether Tenergy is the best table tennis rubber, as they say. (I think it is, but others argue for Hurricane and other tensor sponges.)

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, so follow the action this weekend!

Ping-Pong Diplomacy’s 25th Anniversary 20 Years Back
Here’s the article by Shashin Shodhan.

Ultimate Table Tennis – The Ten Seconds Rule
Here’s the article from Sportsflu. “Ultimate Table Tennis, the first professional sports league of Table Tennis in India completed its inaugural season recently.” ... “A player has to serve within ten seconds after being handed the ball. This rule is not part of Professional ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation).This rule was implemented to speed up the game. It gave Players less time to think and strategize about their next point. It generated mixed reactions from different quarters.”

Interview with Sun YingSha
Here’s the video interview (22:47) with the newest Chinese star, who won Women’s Singles recently at the Japan Open at age 16. In Chinese with English subtitles.

Rio Review: Ding Ning's Gold Medal Memories
Here’s the ITTF article, with pictures and video (2:26).

Want to Run the 2020 World Team Championships?
Here’s the info page – the ITTF just opened the bidding process.

2017 SuperMicro US National Table Tennis Championships - Doubles Highlight Videos
Here’s the USATT page with highlights of the Men’s, Women’s, and Mixed Doubles finals from the USA Nationals.

The Underhand Backhand Sidespin Loop Kill
Here’s the video (15 sec), demonstrated by Adam Bobrow.

20 Seconds of Forehand Footwork to Wake You Up
Here’s the video.

Why China Dominates in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (2:05).

Who Was the Best Woman Table Tennis Player of All Time?
Here’s the answer . . . sort of!

XFinity Ping-Pong Ad
Here’s the video (30 sec) – why shouldn’t a dog want to watch table tennis? (Carl Danner sent me this one – somehow I missed it when it came out in April.)

Chimpanzee Pong
Here are two videos where they teach a chimp to play table tennis!

Human Net Pong
Here's the picture!

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