Seth Pech Tells Why He Plays with Tibhar’s Q1 XD Rubber

Seth-Pech_mugAbout a month ago I picked up two sheets of Q1 XD from Tibhar to try them out. I had played with the Q1 original sheets before and the sponge was too soft for me. When I played with XD, which has a harder sponge, I was really impressed with the consistency of the trajectory that the ball enters and exits the rubber. I was also impressed with the amount of spin the rubber generates, even though it doesn’t look or feel grippy.

Continue reading

Coaching Tip: Super Spinny Slow Loops

Some of us remember the incredible topspins of U.S. Team Member Rick Seemiller (brother of Dan) back in the 1980s. He didn’t have great speed on his loops. What he did have was more topspin than anyone in the U.S., and probably in the world. Even world-class players commented on this. When faced with this very slow, arcing ball that exploded off your racket, invariably going off, many an opponent called it “unreturnable.” Rick pulled off a huge upset over world #1 Mikael Appelgren, the best counterlooper in the world at the time, who over and over counterlooped off the end and then just stared at his racket in disbelief.

Continue reading

Coaching Tip: Holding Back on Serves

Suppose you have a tricky serve that gives your opponent all sorts of problems. But suppose it’s also one of those serves that he can get used to, and only works by either surprise or by the opponent’s not being used to it. Should you hold back on this serve for key points in the match?

Continue reading

Lily Zhang on Mental Toughness

Lily Zhang US Nat 2012 A

Lily Zhang won the 2013 US Women’s Singles Championship after traveling from India, where she recorded a personal best finish in the quarters, at the World Junior Championships. Here she talks about the elements of the mental game and how important those elements are to achieving and sustaining a high performance level.

Continue reading

Coaching Tip: The Banana Backhand Flip

The backhand flip has rapidly become the dominant receive against short serves at the world-class level. The flip (usually called a flick in Europe and Asia) is a short stroke where a player steps and attacks a short ball, forehand or backhand. What makes the backhand flip so dominant is that since the table is in the way, it is difficult to generate topspin against short balls except with the wrist, and it is easier to use wrist over the table with the backhand than the forehand. It was just a few years ago that players like China’s Ma Long showed at tournaments, backhand flipping even short serves to the forehand, considered a no-no by most coaches for many years since it put you in an extreme backhand position and so not ready to dominate the table with the forehand on the next shot. Ma Long and others showed this wasn’t true – they’d step back quickly and rip the next ball with their forehand.

Continue reading