Roger Federer

July 10, 2012

Staying Low

This past weekend I watched a 10-year-old I coach in matches at the club. I was grimacing as I watched him stand up nearly straight while receiving and in rallies, leading to awkward shots, especially on the backhand drive and forehand loop. So guess what the focus was in his lesson yesterday? Yes, staying low. For much of the hour I harped on staying down, with knees slightly bent, legs a bit wider. The result? His backhand drive and forehand loop shot up, and he moved much better. Near the end, we played points, and he was able to serve and loop better than he'd ever done before. In rallies, he could cover his backhand and hit real backhands, which had been a serious weakness.

Staying low helps you in multiple ways. First, by bending your knees, it gives you a quicker start. If the knees are straight, then before you can move you have to bend them, which wastes time. Second, it lowers your center of gravity, giving you more leverage in moving quickly. Third, with the legs wider, it allows you to stay balanced even on the move, since it's easier to keep the center of gravity between the legs. Fourth, with the knees bent, it makes it easier to step to the ball rather than lean. And fifth, it gets the coach out of your hair.

Can China Sweep the Olympics (Again)?

Here's an article in the China Daily on their chances, as well as going over their players and the opposition. From a mathematical point of view, if the Chinese have a 84% chance of winning in each of the four events, then their chances of sweeping are (.84)^4=.498, or only about 50%. Even a 90% chance in each event gives them about a 66% of sweeping.

Ariel Hsing versus Uncles Bill and Warren

Here's a video (1:57) by the Wall Street Journal that revisits U.S. Women's Champion Ariel Hsing and her battles at shareholder meetings with Uncle Bill Gates and Uncle Warren Buffett, as well as against Wall Street Journal Reporter Jared Diamond.

Ping-Pong, Senior Style

Here's a video about a documentary on octogenarian table tennis. It has some nice sequences and interviews. The actual documentary, "Ping Pong: Never Too Old For Gold," is now out in limited release. 

Paralympic Backhand

So you think you have backhand problems?

The Ping Festival in England

The Ping Festival (2:56) features street table tennis, costumes, ducks playing table tennis, big paddles, long-handled paddles, mayors, and things I can't even describe.

Roger Federer vs. Ma Lin

On Sunday, Federer won Wimbledon. Now he's trying to beat the Chinese.

***

Send us your own coaching news!

July 9, 2012

Tip of the Week:

Telegraphing Serves.

My Favorite Statements at the U.S. Open

After one of my players lost a close match I told him, "Except for a few careless points, you played really well. But that's like telling a tightrope walker he did really well except for the part where he fell off and got killed."

Another Maryland junior was tied 2-2 in games. I had been coaching another match, and came over just as she lost game #4, and so didn't see any of the match, and I didn't know the opponent. Her mom asked if I'd coach before the fifth game. I told her, "Keep doing the things that are working, and stop doing the things that are not working." She won the fifth game and the match. (Actually, I also had her tell me what was working and what wasn't working so she it would be clear in her mind what she should do.)

One of our top juniors didn't have to play until late that afternoon, so for breakfast I told him he could have whatever he wanted. He had a chocolate donut, a chocolate pastry, and hot chocolate. I asked him, "You are what you eat. Your opponents are going to eat you up." (That was the last time I let him have final say on his food.)

Table Tennis Players on Cereal Boxes

Name: Michael Landers

Rank: Rated 2634 and 2009 U.S. Men's Singles Champion

Serial Number, I mean Cereal: Here he is on the lower left on the back of this Kelloggs cereal box. And here he is again on the front of a Wheaties box. So tell us Michael - what's your favorite? Kelloggs Vanilla Flavored Multigrain Cereal, or Wheaties?

Michael now has a 2-1 lead over Hall of Famer George Hendry, who appeared on the back of a Wheaties box in 1936.

Tennis and Table Tennis

Roger Federer just won Wimbledon for the seventh time. Here are three pictures of Federer playing table tennis: photo1photo2, and photo3 (as a child), and . But guess who else won Wimbledon, and in fact won eight tennis grand slams, tied for eighth place all time (with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and Ken Rosewall)? Yes, it's Fred Perry. After winning the 1929 World Table Tennis Championships, he went on to win the Australian Open (1934), French Open (1935), Wimbledon (1934, '35, '36), and US Open (1933, '34, '36).

World Veterans Championships

In case you missed it, here are the results of the World Veterans Table Tennis Championships, held in Stockholm, Sweden, June 25-30. I haven't gone through the results to see if there are any USA medallists, but if someone puts together a list, I'll post it in my blog.

How to Play Ping Pong with Soon Yeon Lee

Here's a basics coaching video (3:57) from the famous table tennis player and model.

Ping-Pong 3-D Game Revisited

On Friday I linked to this online ping-pong game and wrote, "I don't think it's possible to win, but you can spend endless time trying." Well, Aaron Avery won, and sent me a screen shot to prove it. He wrote, "Hang back in a defensive location to give yourself some time to mouse.  Swinging left or right does allow you to go for angles, unlike many online TT games."

Ping-Pong Balls of Fire

Table Tennis Nation brings us ping-pong balls on fire. (But I like the "of Fire" in my title.)

Non-Table Tennis: "The Dragon of the Apocalypse"

Despite the fantasy-sounding title (with the word "dragon") it's actually a science fiction story, and it's now published in Penumbra Magazine as their #1 story in their table of contents. They are one of the higher-paying "pro" magazines, so I was pretty happy when they bought it. The story is about the decisions the president of the U.S. faces when an apparent dragon lands on the U.S. Capitol. My name is on the cover. (Here's my science fiction & fantasy page.)

***

Send us your own coaching news!

Syndicate content