Coaching Tip: How to Handle the First Loop Off Backspin

A loop against backspin comes at you differently than one against block or topspin. At the lower levels, the loop against backspin is often the only loop they see, but as players reach the intermediate level and beyond, more and more they face loops against just about any deep ball.

And yet most players practice mostly against loops off block or (at the higher levels) counterlooping. Much of the reason for this is how easy it is to do drills where one player loops, the other blocks. You can do a continuous drill in this way, facing a loop something like every second, and rapidly become proficient at blocking (or at higher levels, counterlooping) such loops.

Continue reading

Coaching Tip: Training Cycles

So you have a big upcoming tournament a few months away, and want to prepare yourself to be at your best? Welcome to the world of training cycles.

Some players train the same way all year, and as a result they show steady improvement. However, that improvement comes about because of the sheer amount of training. Often these players lose at big tournaments to those who don’t necessarily train more, but train smarter.

Continue reading

Coaching Tip: How to Play and Practice with Weaker Players

In some table tennis club in Lake Wobegone, all the players are above average and you never play a weaker player. But the rest of us have to make do playing and practicing with whoever is at our club. And often that means playing and practicing with weaker players.

Some recoil at the idea. It’s almost a mantra for many to say, “I want to play stronger players.” And it helps tremendously to play stronger players if you want to improve rapidly. But you also need to play matches with weaker players, and you can get good practice with them as well. Here’s why.

Continue reading