September 8, 2017

USATT Coaching Committee Report
September 1, 2017
By Larry Hodges (Chair)
[NOTE – this was submitted to the USATT Board of Directors one week ago.]

Since I was only appointed in March, and the committee approved in May (myself, Rajul Sheth, Han Xiao, Sydney Christophe, and player rep Timothy Wang, with staff liaison Jörg Bitzigeio), we’ve only had a few months. (Also, I’m busiest during the summer, as are other coaches on the committee, and so I’ve put off a lot until the fall.) Here’s what happened on the USATT coaching front so far this year.

  • USATT University. We held the first USATT University at the USA Nationals in July, with great help from Gordon and USATT headquarters. Eight courses were taught, including four that were directly coaching related. However, attendance this first time around was low, and so we need to work on that. Despite putting flyers in everyone’s playing packet, an ad in the program, and USATT news items, the large majority of players, when asked, didn’t even know about it. Courses taught included:
    • How to Set Up a Successful Junior Program (taught by Larry Hodges)
    • Intermediate and Advanced Serving (taught by Larry Hodges)
    • Advanced Return of Serve (taught by Stefan Feth)
    • One-On-One with High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio
  • Grandfathering. The new coaching committee grandfathered eight coaches to the National level: Jörg Bitzigeio, Samson Dubina, Min Kyun Kim, Davorin Kvesic, Wang Qing Liang, Wei Qi, Han Xiao, and Zhou Xin. There are two more to be considered soon.
  • ITTF Coaching Courses. Three were recently held:
  • NCTTA Coaching Certification. Richard McAfee and the National College Table Tennis Association spearheaded this three-day (24 hours) college coaching certification process, which is mostly based on the ITTF coaching courses. I was consulted on it, but other than approving it, they get all the credit.

Current Issues and Challenges

  • Six-hour Club Coach Certification Course. Currently, all one has to do to get certified at the club level is pass a test, be a USATT member for two years, and achieve a 1400 rating. Putting aside for now that we shouldn’t generally use playing level as a requirement for coaching certification level (that’s going to change), I’m currently putting together a six-hour club coach certification course that can be taught by any high-level coach. Once it’s ready, I’ll send to the coaching committee for comments and approval, and possible adoption as the process to get certified as a club coach. (Beyond the club level there is state, regional, and national.)
  • Updating of Coaching Certification Process. This needs updating. I’ve already marked up the ten-page document, and will send to the coaching committee for comments sometime this fall. However, there are some conceptual things that need to be worked out, and so there’ll likely be much discussion among the committee along with High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio. This includes questions on the process itself for each level, and for grandfathering coaches.
  • Coaching Recertification. Jörg and I have had discussions about adding a recertification process. Currently, once you are certified at a certain level, you stay there always, even if you aren’t active or up to date on current coaching techniques. Overseas and in other sports, most associations require some sort of recertification process to remain on the “active” list.
  • Coaches Education. Jörg and I have also had discussions about better educating our coaches. Options include seminars, webpage, a newsletter, invitations to coach or assist at National Team Training Camps, and the recertification seminars noted above. These options will go to the coaching committee for discussion later this fall.
  • National Coach Title. For decades the highest certification level has been USATT certified National Coach, of which there were 77 before a number were weeded out by not going through SafeSport. This is separate from the National Team Coaches, who are the roughly ten or so selected by the High Performance Committee and/or High Performance Director to coach our national teams. Jörg has raised the issue that this can cause some confusion. We don’t currently have an alternate option, but it is an issue we will be looking into.
  • ITTF Level 3 Course. We are looking to set up one in fall of 2018, which is when a number of USA coaches who passed the Level 2 course will be eligible. Jörg, Richard McAfee (who would teach the course), and I are actively discussing this. We are hoping we can have it coincide with a National Team training session so as to better educate the coaches. This would be the second Level 3 course ever run in the U.S., the highest ITTF level.


New ITTF Level 2 Course Scheduled
Here’s the announcement on Facebook. (It should go up in the USATT listing soon, with flyer.) It’s Oct. 13-15, 27-29, at the New York Indoor Sports Club, taught by Richard McAfee.

Class of 2017 - NCTTA Qualifies Coaches Under New Program
Here’s the article by Matt Hetherington.

Attacking Placement
Here’s the article and video (7:56) from Tom Lodziak.

Shot Placement for the Win
Here’s the article from Table Tennis Spot.

Ten Serves
Here’s the video (1:58). Can you do them all?

Kanak’s Fundraising for Olympic Games 2020 Updates
Here’s the update.

Taking the Paddle to Parkinson's
Here’s the article from Metro Sports News in New York. “Since its founding in 2011, the Westchester Table Tennis Center (WTTC) has been a venue for internationally competitive table tennis contested by some of the best athletes in the world, including many Olympians. It has also become a valued and treasured community resource hosting youth programs, charitable fundraisers and, most recently, a new therapeutic program for individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.”

2017 China National Games
Here’s the ITTF coverage.

Who is the Father of Table Tennis?
Here’s the article from Sports Flu.

Invitation to Umpire at the 2017 United States Open
Here’s the ITTF article. The U.S. Open will be held Dec. 17-22 in Las Vegas.

Looking to Watch TT Videos This Weekend?
Here’s the USATT Video Page and the ITTF Video page.

Light Warmup
Here's the video (69 sec) of Seth Pech preparing for the Presper Financial Architects Open, with Sampson Dubina feeding multiball. 

Table Tennis Awesome Shots
Here’s the video (1:46) – a compilation of great trick shots.

PBS Kids Ping-Pong Table Effects!!!
Here’s the video (61 sec)! I’m not quite sure what’s going on here, but it’s weird, and it’s from PBS, so it must be good!

Marco Reus vs Timo Boll - So Funny!
Here’s the video (3:09) as the soccer champ takes on the ping-pong champ – in headis (“soccer pong”).

Funny but Deadly Ping-Pong Game!
Here’s the video (35 sec) – stay to the end!

Send us your own coaching news!