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June 21, 2013

MDTTC Camps - Day Four Highlights

Yesterday's focus was on backhand looping and hitting. As usual, I did a short lecture and demo. I used Derek Nie as my demo partner, feeding him multiball as he looped against backspin. We also rallies where I served backspin, he pushed, I backhand hit or looped, he blocked, I chopped, and we started over.

One of the changes in my coaching over the years is in regard to when to teach the backhand loop against backspin. For many years, I would teach the backhand drive against backspin first, as did most other coaches, and later teach the backhand loop, which in some ways is just an extension of a topspinny backhand drive. But more and more I'm teaching the backhand loop against backspin very early on. Topspin on the backhand is more and more important these days, and so I tend to teach a more topspinny backhand from the beginning than before - and so it's easier for kids to learn to backhand loop as well, since after a few sessions they have already developed the habit of creating some topspin. Older beginners have more trouble with this, and sometimes I'll have them learn to drive against backspin, like in the old days, but only after testing them out and seeing if they were able and willing to learn to backhand loop.

If you ever come to my lectures, everyone there quickly pays attention for one reason and one reason only - at some point, often without warning, I'll say "What's the first thing you do?" The kids in the camp compete to see who can blurt out "Get in position!" first. It's also a good way of ingraining that idea in them. I'll sometimes say this right in mid-lecture.

Here's something that's come up a few times in the camp on the forehand loop. Often players take the ball too quick off the bounce. This causes multiple problems. First, since looping is a longer stroke, a player (at the beginning/intermediate levels) need more time for the stroke, and so are rushed if they try to take it too quickly, such as at the top of the bounce as they might with a regular drive. Second, if contact is too much in front, they'll end up with a flatter and erratic loop. Instead, they should start out by taking the ball a bit later until they can get good topspin and do it over and over. Once proficient at it they can take it quicker. Some coaches do teach the loop at the top of the bounce right from the start, but I find this leads to more problems if done too early. However, it might work for a very talented player with extremely good timing. It all depends on the player.

The afternoon session included a lot of stroking drills, some serve practice, way too many broken balls (did we set a record? Hopefully never again), and the usual games toward the end - King of the Hill, Brazilian Teams, and the ever-popular Cup Game, where the kids stack paper cups and then knock them down as I feed multiball.

One of the kids, 13-year-old Leon Bi, who is signed up for all ten weeks of our summer camps (as are a few others) is having problems with an ingrown toenail. Over lunch I took him to see a doctor. But irritatingly, they wouldn't see him unless one of his parents was present, even though they faxed over a signed document giving permission. So later that afternoon Coach Cheng took him to another doctor, with Leon's parents meeting him there. This time they treated it with various ointments and painkillers, and he seems fine now.

It was a pretty exhausting day. After coaching in the camp from 10AM-6PM (with a lunch break), I also had two private coaching sessions from 6-8PM. 

USATT Search Box

You can now search the USATT home page for various items, including tournaments (listed by star level), coaching courses, Paralympic events and classifications, and USATT meetings, and you can do it by date ranges and by region/state/country. Here's the link, or click on the "See all events" link on the top right of the USATT home page. (Click on "coaching courses" and the seventh one down is the ITTF coaching course I'm teaching in South Bend, Indiana, Oct. 2-6.)

Chairman's Blog - Regarding our Tournaments, Part 1

Here's a new blog entry (just went up this morning) of USATT Board Chair Mike Babuin on USATT tournaments, in particular about the upcoming U.S. Open.

Guo Yan Ends International Career

Here's the story.

Serena Williams and Table Tennis

Yesterday I linked to a picture of Serena Williams playing table tennis at Heathrow Airport as she "prepares" for Wimbledon. Here's a page that links to a video of her playing (1:49) as well as more pictures.

Table Tennis Reality Show in China

Here's the link - "Who is the King?"

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