Coaching Decisions

September 25, 2012

Coaching Decisions

Here's a tough decision I've got to make - and it's a good decision to have to make. I have a new student, a 7-year-old girl. She has one of those rare combinations of talent, physical ability, and mental focus. She's been playing about two months and already has nice strokes, can even forehand loop backspin with surprising power. (Yes, one month after starting, this 7-year-old is already looping.) Should I go the "normal" route and have her focus on hitting against topspin until she's bigger? Or should I have her loop the forehand against everything right from the start, since she seems to do this naturally? She's too small right now to really be successful trying to loop over and over - her hitting peers would hit her off the table. But imagine where she might be in two years. And since she's picking things up so fast, how soon should I have her spin the backhand as well? (It's tough spinning the backhand until you are taller.) Decisions, decisions . . . but I think she'll almost set the course. If she can loop over and over, then that's what I'll have her do. 

She was using a rather slow blade and sponge, but in our last session she tried out my blade - a fast carbon racket with hyper-tension sponge for looping - and fell in love with it. I was of course skeptical, thinking it was obviously too fast for her, but she was noticeably better with it, could rally faster and more consistently, and loop with great spin. (Yes, great spin at age 7.) After discussing it with her dad, we're likely going to get her the same or similar setup. Many coaches would be against this, and so would I normally, until I saw how well she played with my racket, and especially the way her eyes lit up while doing so.

2013 National Team Trials Host City Bid

Want your club or city to host the 2013 USA National Team Trials, to be held Feb. 7-10? Here's the bidding info! Good luck to you.

Want to Be the Voice of Table Tennis?

The ITTF is running a contest to select a table tennis commentator for the 2013 World Table Tennis Championships in Paris. You can be the winner - if you enter! As the ITTF page asks:

  • Do you love Table Tennis?
  • Have you always wanted to be a commentator? 
  • Have you got the knowledge and insight to engage our viewers? 
  • Does travelling to the biggest events all over the world sound brilliant? 
  • If the answer is a resounding YES, then we want to hear from you

The Anti-Plastic Ball Petition

Here's an article against the upcoming introduction of plastic balls in place of celluloid balls, by former about.com table tennis moderator and Australian player Greg Letts. It includes a link to a petition. (I've been trying to get hold of one of the new plastic balls to try out, but haven't been successful.)

Photos from the 2012 World Women's Cup

Here are 21 photos from the Women's World Cup. The first one is of the very nice outside decorations, including two giant paddles. USA's Ariel Hsing is photo #16. (Is that a black power salute in photo 13?)

Paralympic Graphic

Here's a nice photo collage for the 2012 Table Tennis Paralympics.

Oakland Raiders Game Ball

Here's a picture of the game ball the Oakland Raiders gave to the 2012 London Olympians (or at least to ones in attendance at the Sept. 23 game, where they beat the Steelers), including USA Table Tennis Olympian Lily Zhang.

Ping London 2012 Promotional Video

This is a very nice table tennis promotional video (2:04). It's a bit different than the usual ones. And now that whistling tune is going to be in my head all day.

Non-Table Tennis - Specter Spectacular: 13 Ghostly Tales

The horror anthology Specter Spectacular was released today, with 13 ghost stories. I said horror anthology, right? Actually, 12 are presumably horror, while one is a humorous ghost story - my story, "The Haunts of Albert Einstein"! "Poor Albert Einstein is destined to haunt his old offices in Princeton for eternity, surrounded by the ghosts of bickering physicists who simply will not shut up, and the relentless paparazzi. What can he do to save himself from this fate?"

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