Playing the Middle

December 6, 2012

Video Analysis

On Tuesday I did a video analysis for a top USA junior player. I've been doing this for $150, but I just raised the price to $200 - it just takes too long to make it worth the time otherwise. This one took over six and a half hours, and ran 18 pages (single spaced in Times Roman 12 point) and 8653 words, my longest one to date. (I'm not doing any more until January - too busy.) The one I did yesterday covered seven games against four opponents, plus video of him practicing. (One of the games he played ended 25-23!!! Yes, in a game to 11.) Here's my video analysis page, which includes two samples of ones I've done.

I break my video analysis into four parts:

  1. Point-by-point analysis of several games or matches.
  2. Analysis of the games, both on how the player can improve and tactical suggestions against that player.
  3. Player analysis, where I analyze the player's game and what he needs to work on to improve.
  4. Drilling suggestions, where I describe drills for this player.

When I do the point-by-point analysis (the most time consuming part), I write about what happened in every point, usually watching each point 2-3 times. Then I go over those notes to analyze the match itself. Then I go over each match analysis to analyze the player's game, and work out what drills he needs to work on.

In the one I did yesterday, some of the things I found (and gave recommendations on how to improve) included:

  • The player's serves were too high, due to a high contact point. Needs to serve lower.
  • Too often serve and pushed rather than serve and looped.
  • Feet were often in a backhand position when looping forehands.
  • Had trouble covering wide backhand in fast rallies - wasn't stepping to the ball.
  • After strong first forehand loop, often played soft with second loop.
  • Because often rushed, player backhand looped from the side erratically, but in practice did it more in front (more conventional). So he was practicing one way, executing another.
  • Backhand receives were too soft and tentative.
  • Didn't step in well for short balls to the forehand.
  • Held racket too high when receiving, leading to a tendency to push against side-top serves.
  • Plus plenty of strengths to build on.

Peter Li Teaches the Basics

Reigning USA Men's Singles Champion teaches the basics of the grip, stance, and forehand in this short video (1:10).

Playing the Middle

Here's a coaching video (8:26) from Greg Letts on playing the middle.

Magnifique Moment de Tennis de Table

Here's another highlights video (11:21)!

Under 21 Europeans

Here's a good match between the #2 and #4 Europeans under age 21 (#15 and #19 in the world under 21), Simon Gauzy of France versus Kristian Karlsson of Sweden. The future of European table tennis? The time between points is removed so the whole match takes place in 5:26.

Ultimate Ball Control

Here's a video (53 seconds) of a kid who has incredible skill in getting the ball into a cup of . . . water. (So it's not beer pong, it's water pong.)

***
Send us your own coaching news!

July 15, 2011

Playing the Middle

Playing the middle may be the most under-utilized tactic in table tennis. The middle in table tennis is roughly the opponent's playing elbow, the transition point between forehand and backhand, and the most awkward place to return a shot. It's usually much easier to move to the forehand or backhand corners than to cover the middle, which involves making a split-second decision no whether to play forehand or backhand, and then moving sideways to allow the shot. (Beginning and intermediate players especially have trouble getting out of the way to play forehand from the middle, and often instead do awkward backhands by leaning over instead of moving.)

Part of the difficulty in playing the middle is because it's a moving target. Here's a quick cure: shadow practice! Imagine an opponent as you do so, and imagine hitting shot after shot right at his elbow. If he begins to favor one side, the middle moves, and you aim for the new spot. Then go to the table and do middle drills where you play everything to your partner's middle, and he returns everything to a pre-arranged spot, either backhand or forehand. If you watch your partner/opponent, and play it right, you should be able to force awkward middle shots over and over by changing where you aim based on where the opponent stands. If he looks to play forehand, just aim more to the backhand, and vice versa if he looks to play backhand. (This might become a Tip of the Week sometime in the future.)

Week One of MDTTC Camp Ends

Week one of the July MDTTC camp ends today; week two starts Monday! (We're halfway through and I'm still alive. Surprisingly my voice isn't hoarse, as it often gets during these camps. On the other hand, it might just be that I'm deaf from all the screaming kids in the camp, and can't hear my own voice. And we have another two-week camp in August.) I'll celebrate/mourn the end of week one by seeing Harry Potter late this afternoon/tonight, if I can get a ticket.

Table Tennis on TV

The TV Show Victorious featured a table tennis segment. First there's a short Popsicle commercial featuring table tennis, then a funny 90-second clip of the tryouts for the school table tennis team!

Fan Yiyong and a first-time student

Here's an interesting account by a journalist of her going to Coach Fan Yiyong in Seattle for a lesson. How familiar is this scene to coaches everywhere?

Comedian Frank Caliendo and Table Tennis

A nice article about Caliendo and his table tennis. He says he lost 25 pounds from table tennis, not to mention getting a 1670 USATT rating.

Ping-Pong Playing Robot

Meet Topio 3.0 - or is it the Ping-Pong Terminator? You decide. I think we can all agree that he can beat you, though not necessarily at the table. Heck, he's strong enough he might beat you with the table. Sarah Connor, where are you?

***

Send us your own coaching news!

Syndicate content