Kenta Matsudaira Documentary

October 18, 2013

Jim's Forehand

About two months ago I started coaching Jim. He's a lefty in his early 60s, perhaps 1000-1200 level, and very tall. He had a pretty good backhand but very awkward forehand. When he'd hit forehands he'd lean over and down, tilting his head sideways, and sort of lunge at the ball. During his forward swing his head would move about three feet sideways as his whole body went off to the side, throwing him off balance and killing his timing. I wasn't sure whether we should fix the stroke, rush it to the nearest hospital, or just bury it in the local cemetery.

We decided to fix the stroke. And lo and behold, it worked! We made this the focus of over half of our sessions, using Saturation Training. Now he stays balanced throughout the stroke, and his head stays straight and only moves perhaps six inches sideways. He now has precision, and we now have vicious rallies, his forehand to my backhand. He has a very nice smash now, in practice.

However, he's not out of the woods yet. For example, when he smashes to my backhand and I block it back, he still has trouble with the second shot, and usually hits it soft. He doesn't yet have the deep-down confidence to just let the shot go over and over. It also means it's not quite ready for matches yet.

I explained to him Larry's Six-Month Law and its corollary, Larry's Six-Month Law for Strokes. The latter means that when you develop a shot until it's proficient in practice, it'll take about six months of practice before you can use it consistently and effectively in matches. He's now on that path.

One thing that really helps when coaching basics is being surrounded by top players. Whenever I needed to give Jim a visual image of a good forehand, we'd just look around and there'd be about ten players over 2200 hitting on the other tables. It gives me and other coaches at our club an unfair advantage over others when we coach. (I can demo my forehand, of course, but it's better seeing two top players doing it back and forth. It's also inspirational for a student: "If all those players can do it, then gosh darn it, so can I!")

RGIII Response Video

The RGIII Response Video made the Washington Post! It was already in the Dallas Morning News, Table Tennis Nation, the USATT web page, and the USOC web page. Let me know if you see it anywhere else. Keep reposting - let's make this go viral!!!

Jim's Table Tennis Page

Here's an interesting page that's basically a primer on table tennis, including lots of coaching tips. (No relation to the "Jim" mentioned above!)

Chuang Chih-Yuan Training Center Sponsorship

Here's the article (in Chinese) on this training center in Taiwan's new sponsorship. (Chuang Chih-Yuan is a long-time Taiwan star, currently ranked #7 in the world, previously ranked as high as #3 in 2003.) Here's the short version, care of Bruce Liu/ICC: "Chuang Chih-Yuan's training center in southern Taiwan got a major boost from the wealthiest person in Taiwan. Terry Guo is a Taiwanese tycoon and the founder and chairman of Foxconn, a company that manufactures electronics on contract for other companies - such as Apple Inc. According to the report, it will be a 10-year sponsorship worth about US $2 million in total. Mr. Guo also donated US $5 billion to the Medical Center of the Taiwan National University for cancer research in 2007."

Kenta Matsudaira Documentary

Here's the video (44:05). The Japanese star is ranked #18 in the world. Together with Koki Niwa and Jun Mizutani (# 12 and #14), they make up a suddenly powerful team that could challenge the Chinese men. (Japan also has players ranked #33, 43, 47, 52, 54, 75, 79, and 100.)

The Practice of Practicing

Here's an article on this that features piano - but we could probably get a few insights from this.

Cartoon Cats

Here they are, a whole bunch of them playing or watching table tennis!

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