John Lennon

March 8, 2013

Junior Incentives and Team Leagues

One of the things junior table tennis in the U.S. tends to lack - including at my club - are junior incentives for each level. The kids come out and train and train, but for what? To win a rating event at a tournament? To win an age event at a tournament? (Not enough of them.) To win practice matches? To do well in a singles league? Rating points? These are all nice things, but they aren't quite enough. One way to address this is a junior team league. Another is to give training incentives, especially at the lower levels. At all levels there needs to be a balance between improvement (with specific goals) and fun. I'm now looking into both, with plans to set up various incentives and goals at the beginning level, and a junior team league starting this fall.

How would the junior team league be set up? Kids like doubles, so I want to include that. So most likely it'll be some version of two-person teams. However, rather than have just two or three players on a team (where the third can only play doubles), I'm leaning more toward six-person teams, where the top two play a best of five against the other team's top two (i.e. four singles and a doubles); the third and fourth players do the same against the opposing team's third and fourth; and the same for the fifth and sixth. This means each team will be made up of a balance of advanced, intermediate, and beginning players, but players would mostly compete against players in their own range.

Here are some thoughts on what are needed at the various levels. Please comment or email me if you have any suggestions.

  • Beginners - Goals and Milestones. At this stage, it's all about improvement and fun. And so the focus should be on training players for specific goals, such as a certain number of forehands in a row, or a number of side-to-side forehands and backhands made in a row, or pushing a certain number in a row, or serving a certain number of times under a bar over the net (so the serve must be low enough not to hit the bar). These give the players specific goals to aim for, and keeps their interest up. At the same time, it needs to be fun - and so as soon as players are good enough to rally, I want to get them into the junior team league. In fact, one of the built-in incentives is they have to pass certain of these goals before they can play in the junior team league.
  • Intermediate - Competition with their Peers. They've got the basics down, and from here on improvement isn't as fast as before. A junior team league is a great way to give them something to train for.
  • Advanced - State and National Titles. At this point they've played for years, and have reached a very high level. They may be training for National titles, or at least State titles. At the same time, a junior team league gives them something to train and look forward to on a more immediate level, as well as a way where they can connect with their friends, who might not be at quite the same level.

Book Signing Tonight

Reminder! Today at 7PM I will be doing a book signing at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. I will also be selling and signing four of my other books. All books will cost $15, with a Special - buy the Tactics book, get a copy of the Tales & Techniques book for only $5! Here's the info flyer. Below are the books.

  • Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers
  • Table Tennis: Steps to Success
  • Table Tennis Tales & Techniques
  • Pings and Pongs

Table Tennis on TV in Tampa

Here's a video (4:32) where Coach Michael McFarland and college player Matt Delgado demonstrate table tennis on the Tampa local TV show Daytime TV.

How to Play Ping-Pong with Soo Yeon Lee

Here's the video (3:57)!

Table Tennis Music Video

Here's a music video (3:59) in Croatian, by Nevan Dužević. The description, translated into English via online translator, says, "Marigold is Zagreb Dužević songwriter fan of ping pong plays multiple instruments and especially likes to compose on keyboards." I'm not sure what the "Marigold" refers to.

Table Tennista

There are a bunch of new articles and videos at Table Tennista, including:

Table Tennis Master

There are a bunch of new articles at Table Tennis Master, including:




Table Tennis on the Moon

Here's the secret picture of what the astronauts really did during the moon landings.

Link to my blog where I wrote about table tennis on other planets? (And here's my blog from Oct. 24, 2012, where I wrote about table tennis on the moon, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and outer space.)

Collective Table Tennis - Quintuples!

Here's a video (4:30) of five on five table tennis on an "adjusted" table!

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