Feb 06

Long Time…

Where did he go?

Yes, it has been a long time since I have been posting on this blog. This is by no means the end of my involvement in table tennis, but I now play very infrequently. I am still making plans to have an excellent showing for the PA State in April, but unfortunately the plans are very lax. My time is now more than ever being devoted to my growing daughter and my professional career.

On a positive note, I am continuing coaching. Although not the prior students I have had, but my very own 2 year old girl. She’s got a little paddle and many ping pong balls that she likes to chase around. Time will tell if she decides some day to hold it firmly in her hand.

My reflections

This past year, I had a pleasure of being, now practically every time, beaten by two youngsters that a little less than two years ago have begun training with Gerald. Just like my game, their game advanced. Shay Sinha and Prasiddha Parthsarthy both have crossed over the 2000 mark for the very first time. I am extremely proud of them and their accomplishments. I am also similarly proud of my coach, Gerald Reid.

Great job and hard work that paid off. To all around me, this is yet another indication that the effort is not enough, a proper coaching is the key.

The Next Step ( for me )

So what is the next step for me, you think? I’ll say it simple. I think I’ve looped around the finish line a few times. Now, I am going back to basics. This is the key to next step. God willing, I’ll reappear at PA States.

 

 

 

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Oct 03

The Next Step is here in Paperback!

Hello, everyone. Good news!

The paperback is here!!!

The paperback can now be ordered directly through the printing company, which means that most players from US & Canada can order it now. For international orders, I would suggest to wait until the book comes out to Amazon, since Amazon can ship the book from its warehouses that are closer. This would be both cheaper and faster.

I also would like to offer a 20% off discount code that will be active until this Sunday.

The code is “QUPQYFZB”.

You can buy the book here.

Thank you all again!

Alex

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Sep 27

Book Publishing Updates of “The Next Step”

I wanted to update the followers of this blog on the state of the book. First, good news. Every single effort has now been completed in order for the book to come out in print. I again took a pass through the proof of the original, messed around with the fonts, made some grammar and punctuation corrections, and edited some of the diagrams which came out oddly in print.

All that said, the book entered its final review phase and if everything goes well (I am not expecting any issues), the paperback will be out sometime next week.

I will post the update once I know for sure when the paperback is out. In the meantime, you can get an electronic book copy, which has also been updated with the latest changes.

I am very excited and hope to hear the feedback from my readers soon.

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Sep 21

The Next Step Available on Amazon!

Just got an email from Amazon that the electronic version of the book has been published. Those of you who prefer a paperback, it will likely following in a few weeks.

 

 

Thanks again to everyone who has helped me make it happen!

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Sep 20

Working out with a Return Board

When I was just starting out to play table tennis, I saw advertisements on the web for a return board. The videos were recorded by a European return board vendor who displayed the training exercises executed by many players. This is when I decided to build my own return board. I bought up the materials and put it together. I love working with my hands and build anything out of wood pretty easily. It was one of those very pleasant and rewarding projects.

The boards I built back then were quite small, but this summer, I finally built a large return board for my students to use. I currently train two brothers, so when I work out with one kid, his brother has a chance to hit with the board. Then they switch. They are beginners, but the return board is able to give them a type of a return shot they can work with.

I took the following video at the club one day to show the return board and what routines someone can set up on it. I’ve included other return board training videos that may be interest you. Yet, before you go off and watch the video, however, I want to describe the type of training someone can do with the board and how it is best utilized.

1. The board does not adjust to the incoming shot, so when you produce your own shots, you have to feed a right amount of power and spin into the ball, so the ball can come back. If not enough of either element is produced on the shot – the ball will either drop into the net, or fly off. So return board is an excellent tool for reaching consistent control. As long as you produce the same amount of speed and spin on the shot, the ball will keep coming back.

2. The board does wonders teaching how to handle your own shot. Most beginner and intermediate players hit the ball too hard or spin too hard. These shots require more force and hence more body movement. The strokes for these shots are large and as with all large strokes, the player who gets a quick return off a fast ball produced with a large stroke cannot recover fast enough to return the next shot. So the exercise with the return board works on reducing the stroke to be quick and also works to fix player’s readiness and ready position on subsequent shots.

3. Footwork. Yes, the board is excellent for that. Very small angle changes send the ball wide, low, and deep. Its important to move to be able to return the next shot.

4. Timing. The board works oddly with the spin. It absorbs it quite neatly because the board is not stiff, its frame is still, but its on a relatively soft backboard so when the ball hits the return board it comes back with good spin and soft “touch”. This makes the next ball low and spiny, which works great to work on the timing. Since the ball is low, you’ll have to learn to wait for the ball. Trying to hit it too early or too late will be a lot harder ( if at all possible ).

5. Immediate indicator of what went wrong. When learning technique, it is hard for beginners and intermediate players to tell which part of the stroke broke down and led to a mistake. With the board, its a lot easier to tell because it does not have good fault tolerance. If not enough spin or speed is produced, the ball will die. If you were unable to make your shot, you either hit the ball too hard, didn’t move properly to where the ball will go after the return, or took the ball too early or too late.

Comparing the return board with the robot, they are different tools for practice. Robot produces the same shot in terms of spin, speed, and placement (unless programmed to avoid it) so the player can learn repetitive technique against an identical ball. Return board produces a shot that is directly related to your shot, hence teaching you the “anticipation” of the next ball.

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