April 29, 2011

Table Tennis Troubleshooting by Brian Pace

I spent this morning watching the five-video series by Coach Brian Pace on "Table Tennis Troubleshooting" - and so should you. This goes over how players can identify and fix problems in their games. I'm amazed at how much time he's put into these, both on preparing and organizing what is said and shown in each video, and the nice graphics. Shots are shown both regular and in slow motion. Since Brian has very nice technique (and entertaining besides), every example is great to watch and copy. (Video 4 and 5 are actually listed as episodes 5 and 6; I think there's another one coming later.)

  • Video 1: Shot selection and short serves - great graphics and examples! This is really two distinct topics in one video. (10:01)
  • Video 2: "Technical Property Line" - nice graphical presentation of the various skills that make up your game. This one is harder to describe without watching the video. (3:45)
  • Video 3: When to start forehand looping - nice comparison of the loop and drive, and discussion of when it's time to learn to loop. (5:02)
  • Video 4: Sidespin serve return - demonstrates both the serve itself and how to return it. Nice graphics. (5:05)
  • Video 5: Building fitness - just what it says, with emphasis on cardio. (4:36)

Backspin and Sidespin Serve Exercises

When teaching backspin serves, I've always challenged students to serve so the ball comes back into the net. At first, I tell them to go ahead and serve high, since the goal is to create backspin. This makes it easier to make the ball come back into the net. Once they can do that, the next goal is to serve with just as much (or more) backspin and keep it low. If you barely graze the ball, and put little forward momentum, it'll come right back into the net no matter how low the serve. (In a real match situation, you probably want more forward momentum on the serve, so it might not go into the net; instead, the second bounce would be near the endline, and so it would go off the end after the second bounce, given the chance. This makes it harder to flip, to drop short, or to quick push with an angle.)

I'm now doing a similar exercise for sidespin serves. For the forehand pendulum serve, I have them serve from the forehand side of the table. I put a box of balls (we use Gatorade boxes at MDTTC) on the far side of the table on the right (opponent's backhand side if he's a righty). The goal is to serve the ball with sidespin so it hits on the left side of the opponent's table, then curves around and bounces into the box on the right. I start by demonstrating it. It's much easier than it looks - try it!

The Ping-Pong Song

This piano/ping-pong song is both compelling and relaxing to watch, but it'll play in your head all day! You've probably never seen table tennis played on a piano before, right? (3:40)


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