Coaches’ Seminar: Summary

Rowden Fullen (2002)

Coaching methods throughout Europe — formal or informal/innovative methods.

  • England, Germany, Russia and former satellite countries, Holland. (A framework). Can be too dogmatic. (D. Parker and Hasegawa).
  • Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France. Develop own style. (Without a framework difficult to develop, where is the base?).
  • Influence of more ex-players going into coaching on modern playing styles. Can have good and bad effects.
  • History and growth over the decades — facts and changes in the game.
  • Hard bat — upward direction of the strokes, no spin reversal from 1920’s – early 50’s.
  • Sponge bat — spin reversal, lob defence early 1950’s – 1959.
  • Sandwich bat – late 1950’s onward.
  • 1960 Loop – S. Jacobson. (Slow, much spin) Birth of the modern game.
  • 1970’s Long pimple and high throw.
  • 1980’s Swedish model, old guard, S. Bengtsson, K. Johansson, U. Thorsell and youngsters, E Lindh, J. Persson, J. O. Waldner but with M. Appelgren in the middle plus coaches such as G. Östh and B. Persson. New model playing style - short topspin, between Hungarians and Chinese, nearer table and with glue. Stronger B.H.s, better blocking, better serve/receive, more individual style development. Swedes in every final from 1983 - 95, (winning ‘89,’91,’93 and in 2000).
  • Worlds dominated by Europe (Hungary) 1926 - 1955. Dominated by Asia (China) from 1956 - 2002. ( Sweden 1973, Hungary 1979, Sweden ‘89-’93 and 2000).
  • Style 2000’s plus? Super power but without so much spin, workmanlike but without flair?

    The world picture — from a playing and coaching perspective

    Players in Europe, most of top stars are old now but still at the top in Europe and high in the world rankings - Waldner, Gatien, Saive, Persson, Primorac, etc. where are the young ones? Boll, Maze perhaps. The women in Europe are even worse off, a forty year old winning the European singles! Women’s table tennis is quite simply dying in Europe. With the Chinese super-league starting Sept. 2002 and big money in exhibition events in Japan it may well be that European table tennis as a whole is on the way out.

    From a coaching viewpoint we are losing expertise all the time, many of the older coaches are giving up and not being replaced. Many ex-players are now going into coaching so we are in fact getting a different kind of coach. The career path of a coach and that of a player are in fact rather different. Players are often biased in favour of their own style of play and not always aware of the ‘whole picture’, the potential of other styles, uses of materials, the differing tactics and problems in the women’s game, the theory of table tennis etc. Probably this is why we have less unusual players like C. Prean and Ni Xialan coming through the system. In many areas too the status of the coach is devalued as clubs want not coaches but player/coaches, someone who can play in their first team and act as coach/trainer too. All in all we have more ‘fitters’ as it were but fewer engineers as in many areas of modern life (generators and brushes). In many countries in Europe the level of reward available to professional coaches is much lower than that in industry.

    Coaching objectives — the prime skill is adaptability. (Sara and Anna, Japanese training camp). The importance of growth and especially of direction. (Many coaches take players up to a certain ‘plateau’ then the development stops and levels out.) How many players even know how they should play — B.H./F.H. split, playing distance, length, stroke-play spin/drive, serve to suit own game, slow return of serve, a winning weapon etc. Many players don’t really seem to know where they are going or how to get there! There must always be progress, without this there is stagnation.

    Multiball – Movement v drive/topspin.

    • Opening v chop/float.
    • Variation v chop/topspin.
    • Movement in/out, short/long.
    • Player’s distance, close and back.
    • Adaptability, irregular.

    Stroke correction techniques

    • Length of the stroke.
    • Timing (where you hit the ball on its trajectory after the bounce).
    • Table position (re where you hit the ball).
    • Stance (relate to the line of play).
    • Body action.
    • Bat arm.
    • Free arm. (rotation).
    • Recovery.
    • Anticipation.

    Service — New rules and how to gain advantage.

    Ball visible from the time when it is first thrown up to the time it is hit with the racket. How do we gain advantage now? Distance between the contact of the ball on the racket and the ball on the table, plus fast action. B.H. service action, higher throw and more rotation on F.H. to get arm out of way and aid spin, some of old serves come back? (Axe serve?)


    Early ball push, stop balls, slow returns of fast serve, value of slow roll etc.

    Tournament coaching

    Not talk about technique, not too many things, only a couple of points. Make sure first that player’s mind is in tune, treat the mental problems first, calm them down if necessary. Main context should be tactics, how to oppose your player’s strengths to the opponent’s weaknesses, or sometimes play weakness to weakness.

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