Message to Lower Ranked Players

November 28, 2011

Tip of the Week:

Message to Lower Ranked Players from Higher Ranked Players. (Re: How to beat us.)

Results of the JOOLA North American Teams

They are on the NA Table Tennis home page. It was a great three days at this well-run tournament, though now my mind is sizzled to a crisp from three days of coaching.

Successful attitudes during a grueling tournament

The JOOLA North American Teams is the most grueling of tournaments. I've noticed there are two types who do well there. The most successful are those who think of themselves as warriors, ready to take on anything and everything, match after match, shaking off all past results as they prepare for combat. However, there's another attitude that seems to work at all levels except the elite level, and that is the "party" attitude. This is the player who plays for fun, and so is completely relaxed when he plays - and guess who wins when he plays an uptight, nervous opponent who so badly wants to win that he rarely does, and whose mind is completely stressed out after a few matches?

My best coaching advice of the tournament

A player I was coaching lost the first game to a weaker player, and said between games he was nervous. I told him to "Play like it's just another match at the club." It was simple, obvious advice, and it worked. He reminded himself of this the rest of the tournament. It was so successful I repeated the advice to others, and the relaxed wins became infectious.

How to not care when you do care

Someone asked me at the Teams, "How do you not care when you do care?" It was a shorthand way of asking how to relax and not worry about winning when you so badly want to win. My answer was that you should be so focused on what you are doing (what serves to use, how to receive, where to place the ball, etc.) and should have convinced yourself so thoroughly that you can do the shots that you need to do, that the idea of losing never enters your mind. You should expect to win, so there is no uncertainty. And if you do lose, when it happens there should be a moment of confusion since it was totally unexpected. Then you shake it off, figure out what you need to do next time, and convince yourself it will never happen again because you know you can execute the shots needed to win.

Quote of the tournament

During a match at the Teams this past weekend, a 10-year-old I was coaching led 10-2 match point in the fifth game against a much higher-rated player. He lost the next four points, and then called a timeout at 10-6. He walked over to me and said, "I'm so nervous I think I'm gonna die!" After we finished laughing, I told him to put all his nervousness into a ball, and give me the ball, and I'd keep it on the sideline for him until the match was over. He handed over the ball of nervousness, and won, 11-7. (Later we tossed the ball of nervousness in the trash.)

Best team names at the Teams

Here are my favorite team names from the Teams, in alphabetical order. (Here's the complete listing - set field to "2011 NA Teams.")

  • Arctic Frost Spin (Karl A. Augestad, Kyle Yan, Ralph L. Stadelman, Zackery Gholston)
  • Beta-lactamase Inhibitors (Amy Lu, Ben Wolski, Joseph Chow, Josiah Chow)
  • Binary Coded Decimal Team (Bernard Lemal, Chun Yi Wang, Duc Nguyen, Li, Gan, Tai T. Ly)
  • Bone Crushers (Donna Rogall, Orlando E. Russell, Paul Nichols, Ray Glass, Raymond F. Chen)
  • Boys Gone Wild (Michael Landers, Peter Li, Suchy, Mieczyslaw)
  • Never Give Ups (Claude Francois, Daniel Guttman, Kyle Moyant, Ping Tan Foster)
  • Nice Team (John Bauer, Philippe Dassonval, John Salas, Li Yu Xiang, Wei Wilson)
  • Occupy Baltimore (people's ping pong party) (Khaleel Asgarali, Raghu R. Nadmichettu, Rocky Wang, Scott Lurty)
  • Peching Order (Keith Pech, Pedro P. Perez, Seth Pech, Seyed Hesam Hamrahian)
  • Spin Fatality (Charles Oxrieder, Chris OBrian, Gregg Robertshaw, Samir Nasser,  Walter Wintermute)
  • SPiN Galactic (Franck Raharinosy, Emile Goldstein, Jonathan Bricklin, Teodor Alexandru Lipan)
  • Sultans of Celluloid (Kaelan Yao, Paul R. Nunez, Stephen D. Hunsberger, Vincent Petrone)
  • We're Actually Not That Good (Edward W Wang, Hyo Won Kim, Joshua Tran, Karl Montgomery)

Lumbering forehand

Here's Larry Bavly pulling off the shot of the day at the Teams, at 1:30 of this 2:28 video.

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