April 8, 2011

Stroking Coaches

Imagine going to a nice steakhouse and ordering the finest steak. They bring it, and that's all there is - just the steak. No potato or other vegetable on the side. No salad. No bread. Not even a drink. A coach who only works on strokes is like a steakhouse that only serves steaks.

Now some players only want to work on strokes. They are fun to do and great exercise. And beginners should focus on them. But a coach who only works on strokes is like that rather limited steakhouse. Coaches also need to work on footwork, serve, receive, tactics, strategic development, the mental game, physical training, equipment choice, even nutrition.

On the other hand, did you ask for anything on the side at that steakhouse? Maybe it's available upon request. Similarly, if you have a coach who seems mostly focused on just strokes, try asking about other things. Maybe it's available upon request. Of course the coach should be offering these things on his own, just as the steakhouse should, but as players and diners you should do what it takes to bring out the best in your game and meal.

Ping-Pong Interior Decorating

For the table tennis diehards out there, why not decorate your house in ping-pong balls, like this?

Top Ten Ways to Increase Your Rating
(I'm going to make a Friday Top Ten List a regular thing.)

  1. Bribery and blackmail are tried and true winners here.  
  2. Coaching and practice. Sure, it sounds silly and old fashioned, but some people are into this type of thing.
  3. Memorize the USATT rating chart. Then for every match, calculate whether the odds favor you. For example, if your opponent is rated 113 to 137 points higher than you, you'll gain 25 points if you win, but lose 3 if you lose. Is he a 25-3 favorite or more? If so, run away!!!
  4. If memorizing the USATT rating chart and calculating odds is too hard for you, take the simple route. Default every match unless the opponent is rated at least 238 points higher.
  5. Cheat.
  6. The ratings in the USATT system slowly inflate. For example, when Eric Boggan won men's singles at the 1978 Nationals, he came out rated 2449 - and that made him the #2 player in the country, with only three players rated over 2400. Now there are about 80. So go to sleep in a time capsule and wake up in about 30 years, and watch your rating skyrocket.
  7. Hire a top player from China and have him legally change his name to yours.
  8. Hire a beginner and have him legally change his name to the name of your high-rated opponent.
  9. Switch to binary. You may be rated only 1000, but in binary that's 1111101000. Or, if you want it to look more legit, try base eight. Now that 1000 rating becomes 1750 - congrats! (Here's a base number converter for you.)
  10. Hack into the USATT computer. Sure, it's guarded by the best security that the CIA can provide - don't want Al-Qaeda breaking in and destroying this centerpiece of American supremacy - but any 12-year-old with a computer should be able to do it.


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