Top 30 Women 2009

Rowden Fullen 2009

Personal or National Coach? There should be cooperation but who should be in charge of the player’s development and why? On the one hand being a top player and aiming to achieve your maximum potential or on the other hand playing for your country are not necessarily compatible.

  • Cooperation and a readiness to work together must come from the top.

Mario Amizic (His thoughts, Worlds 2009)

  • Training in Europe leaves much to be desired.
  • Most Associations are unprofessional.
  • Lack of cooperation between Euro countries.

Dirk Schimmelpfennig/Leszek Kucharsky (Their thoughts, Coaching Conference 2009)

  • Should be much higher involvement by personal coaches in any European development programme for top players. Training should be more intense, more complex and more individualised. (See Appendix 1)

Michel Gadal (His thoughts, European Youths 2009)

  • You do not make a top player on training camps, you create a player on the basis of day to day training. This is the weak point of European table tennis. Only very few players have the opportunity of good development on a daily basis.

Peter Sartz (His thoughts, Worlds 2009)

  • Even in women’s table tennis some younger players showed that with the right type of game and adequate fighting qualities it is possible to compete with the Asian women.’

The big picture

  • Are our ambitions limited/restricted? Are we aiming to produce top women players only between 70 and 200 on the world rankings in common with most Western European countries? If we adopt restrictive coaching methods this will happen. What do we mean by restrictive coaching methods? Attitudes such – ‘You shouldn’t use this shot, top players don’t’ or ‘Don’t do that, top players will take that easily.’
  • With the banning of glue at the end of 2008 have we assessed in detail the future development of our young girl players and decided which styles have benefited and which girls are now disadvantaged because of the way they play?
  • Do we have a document – ‘General Training Principles’ – detailing new developments in high-performance table tennis and our training principles for 2009 – 2010? If not, why not? Have we defined and formulated the top priorities for future national and regional training?

If we are to operate totally without limitation and aim as high as we can go then we need a different approach. To get players into the top 30 in the world requires different training methods/procedures.

  1. Style research and evaluation. Some styles have a chance of getting into the top 30 but others have little or no chance – defenders, block/counter-hitters, material players, but not back from the table topspinners (especially with the big ball and no glue).
  2. Top women’s techniques – wide stance, square recovery at all times, good early ball play, competent short and half-long play, one-step movement to the FH corner, capability to deliver long, deep balls to the BH corner (to stop Penholders getting FH in from here), strong Serve and Receive with use of high throw, using BH from middle and from FH, especially on receive of serve etc.
  3. Top women’s tactics – the control of speed and the capability to control the rally, before winning the point with change of pace, spin, direction and the use of angles. Use of spin where applicable. Strong serve and 3rd ball, positive receive tactics. More in-depth use of material to control speed.
  4. Individual development (each player is different and needs to use their own strengths) – best handled by players’ personal coaches as per thoughts of Schimmelpfennig, Kucharsky and a number of other top coaches in Europe.
  5. Intensity of training and variety of sparring needs to be much higher. Exercises on the table need to be more ‘complex’ (not one player and one passive feeder, but both players involved).

Method of achieving 1 – 4 = more player opportunities

  • All coaches must be more innovative and forward-looking, ready to accept new ideas.
  • Let the player bloom and develop. More cooperation with individual coaches, more individualisation and working with players individually or in small groups (3 to 5) especially in the early stages.
  • Allowing really talented players to compete at their ability level, NOT at their age level.
  • More cooperation among clubs in the UK and more common camps.
  • Working more too with clubs and National Associations abroad and initiating exchanges. Using all our contacts within the UK.
  • Teaching players to think for themselves and take responsibility from a young age. Listening to the players.
  • Using all our facilities, the expertise of overseas coaches and top players working in the UK etc.
  • Bringing the sparring to the players or the players to the sparring.
  • Avoiding the situation where we have several 'top' setups chasing the same young player -- National Centre, High-Performance Centres, Regional High-Level Sessions. Once the player is representing her country training should progress only with input from the National Centre and the player's own coach.

Appendix 1 Coaches such as Mikola Ulyanchich and Tatyana Kokunina (Ukraine), Dirk Schimmelpfennig (Germany), Dusan Mihalka (Slovak Republic), Hans Thalin (Sweden), Jarek Kolodjejczyk (Austria), Leszek Kucharsky (Poland) and Joze Urh (Italy) are all in favour of much higher involvement by the players’ own coaches in any common European development programme.

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