January 18, 2011

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Table Tennis Players

I've been thinking a lot recently about the seven habits of highly effective table tennis players. Why? Because I recently browsed a book I'd read long ago, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." The book lists these as the "7 Habits": 1) Be proactive; 2) Begin with the End in Mind; 3) Put First Things First; 4) Think Win/Win; 5) Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood; 6) Synergize; and 7) Sharpen the Saw. (Google the book if you want more info on any of these seven.)

There is a correlation between some of these and the habits of "highly effective table tennis players." For example, you don't get to be a top player without being proactive, i.e. striving to do what it takes to improve. However, I'm not going to try to create a one-to-one correlation between the seven habits listed and ones used by top table tennis players. Instead, I'm going to list my own list of seven habits of "highly effective table tennis players. Here's my list:

  1. Loves to practice.
  2. Proactive in finding ways to improve.
  3. A perfectionist in most or all aspects of the game.
  4. Is always thinking about their game, analytically and tactically.
  5. Never gives up, whether in tournaments or practice.
  6. Loves to compete and win.
  7. Is working toward specific goals, both short-, intermediate-, and long-term.

One item I tried to work in but couldn't find room: "Respects opponent's game even while looking to dominate them." So . . . what's your list?

The Backhand No-Spin Serve From the Forehand Court

Over the weekend I played one of our local 2250 cadet players. He's used to all my serves - mostly forehand pendulum high-toss serves, with lots of variations, and yet was so used to them that he handled them easily. Then I tried something desperate - a backhand no-spin serve from my forehand court! I'd tried no-spin serves already to no avail, but now that it was coming at him from a different angle, with a different motion, he completely fell apart against them. I came back and won that game and the next. He finally figured it out in the third game, and came back to win in five - but only after I missed a couple easy balls from up 9-8 in the fourth. (And let's face it, he's twice as fast as I am now, one month short of 51, with me still trying to play all-out forehand attack.) The simple serve worked, but I probably went to the well too many times, and at the end he was quick pushing it to the corners effectively.

Coaching News

  • Attila Malek (full-time coach in Sacramento, 1979 U.S. Men's Singles Champion) is now the USATT Club Representative Director as well as the Clubs Advisory Committee Chairman. See the USATT News item that lists the updated committee and board positions. (Malek replaced Linda Leaf on the board; that's the only board change.)
  • The USATT Coach of the Year nominations were announced a couple weeks ago. They are: Lily Yip (Coach of the Year), Sean O'Neill (Developmental Coach of the Year), and Daniel Rutenberg (Paralympic Coach of the Year). Congrats to these coaches!!!

Send me your own coaching news!