Mister Ed

September 23, 2011

Creating racket velocity on serves and strokes

Many players have great difficulty creating great spin with their loops and serves. They stroke through the ball with a constant not-too-high velocity, and the result is a not-too-great spin. There's little acceleration in their shots, and so there's little velocity.

There's a distinction between speed and acceleration. Velocity is the actual miles per hour; acceleration is how fast you are speeding up. To get a lot of velocity, you need a lot of acceleration. For maximum velocity, you need to accelerate right up until contact. How do you do this?

For looping, start with the lower body muscles, and work your way up. This means the legs, then waist, then shoulders, then arm, then wrist. Think of it as a whip, which also starts at the base (near the handle) and works its way down to the tip. This is especially true when looping and serving. Rotate your body around in a circle, creating great torque. You do so by using the muscles exactly as noted above, in that order - legs, waist, shoulders, arm, and then wrist.

On serve, you generally don't use your legs much, but for forehand serves you do rotate the body into the shot from the waist, shoulders, and arm. Then the wrist snaps into the shot like the tip of a whip, generating massive spin.

If you wave it, what moves faster, the tip of a whip or the tip of a stick? The tip of the whip. To maximize acceleration, you need to relax your muscles as if they were rubber. If they are tight, you'll have the velocity of the stick.

Ultimately, power comes from good technique (muscles used properly and in synch) and relaxed muscles.

Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook

Here is the Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook, a must read for all coaches in the U.S. (Or am I biased, since I wrote it?)  It is written as a professional guide for those who wish to coach table tennis professionally, with the U.S. market in particular, though most of it should be applicable anywhere. It incorporates most of what was originally in two previous manuals I'd written, "Junior Training Primer" and "Beginning Class Primer," as well as lots of other stuff. The focus is not on how to teach techniques, but on the "professional" side, i.e. how to get a facility, recruiting and keeping students, setting up and teaching classes and junior programs, etc. I originally wrote it a few years ago, with the last update on Jan. 1, 2010. The primer is based on years of experience coaching myself, along with co-coaches Cheng Yinghua and Jack Huang and others, and numerous discussions over the years with other coaches. Here is the Table of Contents:

  1. The Profession of Coaching
  2. How Much Income Can You Make As a Table Tennis Coach?
  3. What Credentials Do You Need to Be a Table Tennis Coach?
  4. Getting a Facility, Tables and Other Equipment
  5. Start With a Plan
  6. Recruiting Students
  7. Setting Up and Teaching a Class
  8. Setting Up and Running a Junior Training Program
  9. Private Coaching
  10. Keeping Players Interested
  11. Drills Library
  12. Sample Flyers
  13. Helpful Links & Resources

Pro Players Equipment Page

So you want to know what equipment most of the top hundred players (and many more) actually use? Here's the listing, for the Equipment Junkie in you.

Scientists play ping-pong with an electron


Hello . . . I'm Mister Ed

Can a horse play table tennis? Yes, and they did this in the TV show Mister Ed (1958-1966). Here's the picture that proves it! There's no digital manipulation; they apparently got the horse to hold the paddle and probably filmed a lot to get what they needed. I remember seeing the footage, but alas, I can't find it on youtube. And so I'll leave you with this:

A horse is a horse, of course, of course, and nobody plays pong with a horse, that is, of course, unless, of course, the horse is the famous Mr. Ed! (Sung to the tune of the Mister Ed opening theme, 0:42, with some minor horsing around with the lyrics.)


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