2014 World Championships Umpires

February 7, 2014

How to Teach a Beginning/Intermediate Class

Starting on Feb. 17, I'm teaching a new Beginning/Intermediate Table Tennis Class at MDTTC. It's designed for adult players from beginners to roughly 1500 in USATT ratings. The class is every Monday for ten weeks, from 6:30-8:00PM. If you are in the Gaithersburg, Maryland area and would like to participate, contact me. We have an even ten already signed up, so I'm hoping for a good-sized group. (There's a whole chapter on teaching classes in my book Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook.)

The purpose of the class is to give players a complete introduction to the sport of table tennis. That means covering every major aspect, including grip and stance, the strokes, footwork, equipment, and tactics. But there's another reason for such a class. When new players come to a club, they often are a bit lost. They don't know the sport and they don't know other members of the club - they have no peers. By having a class, we get all of them together, and they not only learn about the sport, they develop their own peer group. I've taught a few dozen of these classes, dating back to when we started MDTTC in 1992. Some of the classes had over 20 players.

I'll start each class with a demo with an assistant coach, and lecture on the focus for the class. Since it's an adult class (younger players allowed in with permission of the instructor), it'll have a lot more lecturing and demos than in a typical junior class or clinic. Then we'll go out on the tables and practice the new technique, with myself walking around and coaching. If there's an odd number of players, one will hit with the robot, or I'll have my assistant coach hit with someone or do multiball. Usually there's a second topic to be covered in each session, so roughly halfway through we'll come together for a second demo and lecture. Most weeks may start off with players practicing/warming up the basic strokes, especially forehands and backhands, before we get to the demo/lecture stage.   

Here's the planned weekly schedule:

Week 1: Intro to TT; Grip; Stance; Forehand drive
Week 2: Table tennis equipment; Backhand drive
Week 3: Footwork; Beginning serves
Week 4:  Pushing; Advanced serves
Week 5:  FH loop vs. backspin; Blocking
Week 6:  BH attack (looping & hitting vs. backspin)
Week 7:  Smashing; Introduction to USATT, tournaments, and leagues
Week 8:  Return of Serve (and review of serving)
Week 9:  Loop/smash combinations (i.e. loop backspin, smash topspin); Tactics
Week 10:  Smashing lobs; player's choice; 11-point games

Fan Zhendong Learned His Lessons from Zhang Jike

Here's the article from Table Tennista, with links to several videos.

Umpires to 2014 World Championships

There are two ways to make it to the courts at the World Championships: as a player or as an umpire. The ITTF just announced the list of umpires for the 2014 Worlds. The list includes two USA umpires: Stephen Banko and Michael Meier. Congrats to them! (Now, what's the going bribe rate?)

Angles Galore

Here's a video (28 sec) of one of the best rallies I've ever seen - and talk about angles!!! That's Wang Liqin on the far side, Werner Schlager on the near side. I'm guessing this is from the 2003 World Championships, where Schlager upset Wang in the quarterfinals and went on to win Men's Singles. (EDIT - according to comment below, it was from the 2003 World Cup - so I was close!)

"Plastic Ball"

When I read about the new plastic balls that are replacing celluloid ones, I start humming to myself the theme music to the 1989 World Championships, "Magic Ball," except in my head it's now "Plastic Ball." So here's the greatest table tennis music (and music video) ever produced (3:10).

A Little Sit-Down Table Tennis

Here's the picture and German article (which my Chrome browser conveniently translated into English) of Milan Orlowski and Jindrich Pansky on the table.

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