Coaching Kids

April 17, 2012

"Close the racket!!!"

These three words are the most common ones spoken to kids when they first learn to play. I've come to understand the millions of years ago our ancestors carried around ping-pong paddles to fend off arial attacks from large man-eating eagles. And so it is in our genes to aim the paddle upward to defend against avian attacks. Adults can overcome this ingrained instinct, but kids, being smaller, apparently are more afraid of eagles. No matter how many times I lead them through the proper stroke and have them shadow-practice the shot, as soon as I feed them a ball multiball style most invariably flip their wrist back and aim the paddle up, and hit the ball high into the air, apparently in an attempt to shoot down those ferocious eagles. (Okay, it's usually not that bad, but most kids start with this tendency, and some have great difficulty breaking it. I have one 5-year-old girl who after two lessons still can't stop herself from launching eagle-bound ping-pong balls toward the ceiling.)

Exhibition at MDTTC Open House

Here's a video (8:44) of the exhibition I did with Derek Nie at the MDTTC Open House on April 7. (Derek, 11, is rated 2090 and was a finalist in 10 and under at the 2011 USA Nationals. That's Crystal Wang umpiring and standing up to me no matter how much I harass and bribe her.) I do humorous exhibitions with lots of trick shots and props. This one went decently, but I missed too many times with the clipboard and big paddle. Also, the video cuts off before the game is over. (We played one game to 15, since one 11-point game is too short to get all the tricks in.) In the unseen video afterwards I blew one ball back, aced Derek with a backspin come-back-over-the-net serve, led the crowd in the world's first table tennis wave (I've done that about 200 times), and did a bunch of lobbing while lying on the floor as I "almost" come back. (Derek knew in advance that he gets to win.)  Later on we had another "straight" exhibition between Han Xiao and Jeffrey Zeng Xun. (Here are pictures from another exhibition I did at nearby Lake Forrest Mall.)

French Hardbat

Here's a poster that appears to promote a French Hardbat tournament. (I don't read French, sorry.)

Joo Se Hyuk's sidespin chop

Here's an interesting video from PingSkills that teaches world #8 (and the #1 chopper) Joo Se Hyuk's curving sidespin chop against a smash (1:53).

Lobbing video

Here's a video (7:53) that showcases great lobbing points by many of the best players in the world, both in real matches and exhibitions.

Cat playing table tennis

Here's a new video of a cat playing table tennis (1:49). He doesn't just hit forepaws, he has four paws. And things get really interesting when the net goes down.


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