October 7, 2011

Practice game serve rule

Ever gone out and practiced your serves, but then, as soon as you go out to play a practice match, you find yourself holding back on the serves because you're afraid of missing them? And so after spending all that time practicing serving spinier, or lower, or faster, or some new tricky serve, as soon as the game starts you go back to your old serving patterns?

Try the "two-fault rule" in some of your practice matches. All this means is that you are allowed to miss two serves per game without losing a point. This allows you to really push the limit on your serves, and so you can incorporate what you practice into your practice games. After all, they are practice games, right?

Yesterday's coaching highlight

I was coaching a new kid (about eight) in I think his third lesson. He would hit about five in a row and then smack a wild one that would miss. I challenged him to hit fifty forehands in a row. He said no way. The more I encouraged him, the more he insisted it was impossible. Then I tried reverse psychology and told him there was no way he could get fifty. He agreed he couldn't. (Dang, that usually works up to age ten.) Finally, I pretty much got him, kicking and screaming, to try to get fifty. After getting about thirty on the first try (his eyes went wide), he got fifty on about the fifth try. Later he did fifty backhands in a row.

How I spent my Ping-Pongy Thursday
And note that I'm working hard on my table tennis game and fitness not for tournaments - though that might happen - but to be a better coach when I'm hitting one-on-one, and to make it easier to do so, since it's a physically demanding job. And lo and behold, after a few weeks of this, I'm playing perhaps the best I've played in a decade.

  • Half an hour writing my table tennis blog.
  • One hour watching videos of a player I'm coaching at the Westchester Open this weekend.
  • Two hours of actual table tennis practice - I'm getting back in shape!
  • Four hours of table tennis coaching.
  • Forty-five minutes of weight training.
  • Ten-minute run around the neighborhood.
  • Five minutes shadow stroking.
  • Half an hour of stretching in three ten-minute segments spread throughout the day.

Westchester Open

I'm off to coach at the Westchester Open this weekend in Westchester, NY. If you're there, stop by and say hello. Better still, prove you are reading my blog by using the secret code - if you see me, say, "Pong long and prosper." Try not to feel too silly.

A Diplomats Ball with a lot of little balls

The Institute of International Education's Rocky Mountain Center marked the 40th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy by making table tennis the focus of its 10th Diplomats Ball. Guests were told to wear formal attire with tennis shoes. Table tennis stars Marilyn Feinstein and Emad Hussain gave a demo, and the guest ponged it up for the evening.

Spectacular rallies

Here's 5:35 of spectacular rallies from ttCountenance. They have many more table tennis videos on their site - I just added them to the video links here.

JOOLA and The Brady Bunch

JOOLA now has a dedicated USA video channel on YouTube. And yes, JOOLA is all CAPs, since it's a German acronym - here's the story of how the department store Joossand in the city of Landau starting making ping-pong tables in 1952 and soon became JOOLA.

And now for a seemingly unrelated bit of trivia. In the animated sequel to TV show The Brady Bunch, called The Brady Kids, two of the characters were a pair of panda cubs named Ping and Pong! And now, just thinking about JOOLA's history and The Brady Bunch, the theme song to The Brady Bunch is running through my head:

"Here's the story ... of a store named Joossand ... which was making ping-pong tables long ago. All of them were great for ping-pong ... used by champions ... and by boys and girls.

"Here's a story ... of a city named Landau ... which had no ping-pong tables, none at all ... they were a city ... no ping-pong tables ... yet they were ping-pong prone.

"Till the one day when this company met this city ... and they knew that it was much more than a hunch ... that these two would somehow form a company ... that's the way we all became the JOOLA Bunch. The JOOLA Bunch ... the JOOLA Bunch ... that's the way we became the JOOLA Bunch!"

Virtual table tennis against invisible opponent

Who needs the hassle of ping-pong tables, fancy sponges, balls, table tennis clubs, or an actual opponent? Happinet brings you this new type of virtual table tennis at the Tokyo Toy Show 2011 (2:02, starts with a short commercial). It's Japantastic!!!


Send us your own coaching news!

I seem to do this before every big tournament. I practice serves till I'm blue in the face, then a 2000+ player rips them down my throat. So I go back to my tried and true dink serves. I think if I practice a little more with the practice rule you mentioned, it will help me to become much more comfortable with these serves.