April 19, 2017

The Relationship Between Stroking and Footwork
I worked with an adult beginner yesterday. She’s only had a few lessons, and her forehand and backhand shots were still more or less patting the ball back and forth. Until yesterday.

Here’s what happened. We probably spent a good 20 minutes at the start just hitting forehands, first multiball, then live, and she was unable to do more than awkwardly pat the ball back and forth, hitting the ball flat (no topspin). Then we did backhands, and it was the same, though a little better. We did some pushing and serve practice, then came back to forehands, and still mostly just patting the ball back and forth. Then I decided to introduce her to footwork, which we normally hold back on until the strokes are more solid. So I fed multiball side to side as she hit forehands from the forehand side and the middle.

And suddenly she was driving the ball! The balls even had some topspin. She hadn’t been able to do this while standing more or less stationary, but once I had her moving, the stroke fell into place. Presto, instant good forehand! (Well, it still needs a lot of practice, but a lot less pitter-patter.) What happened was that when she was forced to move, she became more aware of getting into position for each shot and rotating the body. When she didn’t have to move, she more or less reached for the ball, which also led to using less body rotation.

We finished the session with something I wouldn’t have expected we’d be doing that session: I fed high balls (multiball), and she smashed. After getting the stroke right while moving, she was now able to smash balls. Quite a transformation!

Regarding that serve practice mentioned above, it was her first time – she’d never served before. When I asked her to show me a serve, she dropped the ball on the table and hit the ball after it had bounced. So I went over the rules and showed how you do it properly, and she picked it up quickly. I also brought out the colored soccer balls for pushing practice so she could get feedback on the spin on her pushes. We’ll work next on putting spin on her serves.

Side note - this is the same woman I mentioned in a previous blog who has an uncanny resemblance to former USA Team member, 3-time Canadian Open Women's Singles Champion, and USATT Hall of Famer Barbara Kaminsky - twice I've tricked locals into thinking she was Barbara, who lives nearby in Virginia. But I think Barbara still has the better forehand! 

Kanak Jha: My Quest for Olympic Games 2020
Here’s his funding page, where he talks about his training, including a video (2:24).  

10 Benefits Of Playing Ping Pong For Your Health And Brain
Here’s the article from PingPoolShark.

Ask the Coach
Here are more questions answered from PingSkills.

Zhang Jike Pendulum Serve Slow Motion
Here’s the video (18 min).

Sportfist Launch Offline Tournament Software for Windows
Here’s the USATT article. I haven’t tried this new software as I use Omnipong for my tournaments, and am quite happy with it.

Young Talent Overcomes Obstacles on the Road to Hopes Qualification
Here’s the USATT article featuring Shishi Hu, by Matt Hetherington.

Seeking Elusive Title; Timo Boll Returns to Korea
Here’s the article.

Taiwan's Top Female Table Tennis Player Aspires After Glory at Upcoming Taipei Universiade
Here’s the article featuring Cheng I-Ching (鄭怡靜). (I thiink that's the first time I’ve put Chinese in my blog!)

Top Ten Shots from the Asian Games
Here’s the video (4:09).

Tribute to Liu Shiwen
Here’s the video (4:18).

Smacking Things with Paddle
Here’s the repeating gif image!

Send us your own coaching news!