2013 ITTF World Team Classic Promo

March 26, 2013

Spring Break Camp - Grip Problems

Once again it's obvious that the biggest problem when working with beginning juniors is the grip. If they get the grip right, the rest of their strokes tend to come together. But no matter how many times you correct it, about half of beginning juniors will immediately go back to whatever weird-fangled grip they were using, leading to weird-fangled strokes that can drive a coach to dark, weird-fangled places as they try to keep smiling as they correct the grip for the zillionth time.

A poor playing stance usually leads to a poor grip, and a poor grip often leads to a poor playing stance. Most kids can fix one problem at a time, but here you have to correct two problems at once. If the kid fixes one problem but not the other, he'll almost immediately unfix the first problem and go back to the bad grip or stance, since you have to fix both together. It's a difficult cycle to break out of.

I spent much of yesterday working with five beginners, ages roughly 7-9. Three are picking things up pretty fast. Two are not. These two are still falling back into these bad habits. One insists on using sort of a "claw" grip, where he faces the table perfectly square on his forehand shots, grabbing the racket with his index finger up the middle, and his other fingers wrapped tightly around the edges in a way that tightens his forearm. Until I can get him to turn at least slightly sideways, it's going to be difficult for him to develop a real forehand. The other has limp-wristitis, where he flops his wrist all over the place on all his shots. He doesn't seem to want to fix the problem, but I'll keep trying.

Two other items came up several times when working with these beginners. All have timing problems, but when I tell them to start their forward swing when the ball hits their side of the table, they improve dramatically. It's a great timing mechanism. It's also helpful when feeding multiball to sometimes change the rhythm, so they have to time their stroke with the ball coming toward them, rather than just doing it automatically in rhythm to the rate I'm feeding the balls.

Another helpful hint was to keep reminding them to aim the racket where they want the ball to go. It's one of the more amazing things that younger kids often really don't associate these two together - you have to really harp on this before it really dawns on them that yes, the ball's going to go where the racket aims. (We're not dealing with spin yet - these are beginners.)

I'm writing this at 4AM. My dog, Sheeba, 15, a corgi mix, has taken to waking me up around 4AM each morning to go out. If I don't let her out, she makes a mess.

Finding a Service Spot

Here's the article from Table Tennis Master.

Table Tennista

Some more interesting articles from them on Chinese players.

ITTF World Team Classic Promo

Here's a video (5:05) promoting the Classic, which starts on March 28 (Thur) in Guangzhou, China. Lots of highlight plays and scenic views, done to music.

Kids Making Their Own Rackets

Here's the picture, where an industrial arts teacher has students make their own paddles. If you click on the picture, you get another rather interesting "leaning" picture.

Real Madrid Soccer Stars

Here they are, posing with their rackets

Table Tennis Is Our Drug

Here's a funny "table tennis" video (1:55). I put table tennis in quotes because you don't actually get to table tennis until the last 30 seconds - the rest is build up. But it's a pretty good build up!

Harlem Shake Gangnam Style

Here's a video (30 sec) starring the Alguetti brothers (junior stars from New Jersey) and others in the hilarious table tennis version of this dance.

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