October 4, 2011

That repeating backswing

Everyone, grab a racket. Now do your normal forehand drive or smash backswing. Now freeze with the racket at the end of the backswing. Glance at it, so you'll see the general position. Then look at where the ball might be at this point in your swing. Now close your eyes. Think about the feel of this position. Memorize it. You want to be able to repeat this same backswing for every forehand drive or smash. It's called a repeating stroke - and if you can repeat the backswing the same way over and Over and OVER, you'll develop a highly consistent shot.

Next time you are practicing, do the same thing live. When you hit a good forehand, remember the feel of the backswing as well as the contact. Then repeat. Over and over and over and over and over and over and . . . you get the idea.

Now do all this for your backhand as well. You'll thank me for all this later!

Note - you can also do this for your loop, but the backswing on the loop varies, depending on the incoming ball, unlike a drive, where it's always the same. For example, against a high ball, you backswing the same, and then raise the racket. Against a backspin ball, you'll open your racket and stroke more up, but that's in the forward swing.

101 Coaching Tips

Here's an interesting list of 101 general coaching tips. Lots of good stuff here. One thing they left out that I swear by: "Think." (#84 is similar, but different.) Before and after every session with every student I spend at least a few minutes thinking, and committing to memory (or writing down, though these days it's such a habit I don't really need to) what weaknesses that player needs to work on, what strengths the player can work on to turn them into overpowering strengths, what drills they need to do, what I should say in the session (or next session), etc.

However, it's not just coaches that should do it. Any serious player should also take a few minutes before and after every session and think about these things. What weaknesses do you need to work on? What strengths can you make stronger? What specific drills will allow you to improve these things? You can also do this before a practice match, which you can use for exactly that - practice. For example, you might decide to focus on looping during a match to improve your loop. Or if you have trouble blocking, spend a match trying to mostly block down your opponent.

How to develop an aggressive backhand

Here's the latest video from Coach Tao at Table Tennis University (4:35).

Ma Long's serve

Here's China's Ma Long (world #2, #1 throughout 2010) demonstrating his serve in slow motion (2:31).

Ping-Pong tournament raises $4000

Yes, another charity event! There seem to be ping-pong charity events springing up all over. See the three I listed inyesterday's blog.

Table tennis for social disorders

Here's the opening paragraph: "For most, table tennis is a recreational sport or hobby. For educational therapist Robert Bernstein, it is used as a therapeutic vehicle for children with Asperger's and other social disabilities."

The Art of Cho!

Yes, here's a video that puts together short snippets of table tennis players celebrating winning, with a collection of cho's and other cries of victory (1:58).


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