Table Tennis /
The GLTTC did a demonstration and coaching visit to Eckstein Middle
School in May, 2011, where 6th, 7th, and 8th grade kids were starting
a two week unit on ping pong. Eckstein had 15 tables in the gym and
we did a great little program for two groups, totalling about 120
Here are the highlights and success elements which future
demonstration/education events might include:
So that's what I wanted to share.
- Serve rule: not drop-hit but toss-hit-bounce-before-net.
I think that gets through even in this noisy and rushed time.
- Grip lesson: a lot of it doesn't get through but it prepares
for #4 below very nicely and then #4 works well.
- Spin by demonstration The serve-back-over-net was a good
demo for the underspin
- Rooting for Ingraham vs Roosevelt was a success for both
- I agree that robot work, materials discussion and most technique
elements are likely lost in the noise.
- I agree that game time was the exciting time and they would have
enjoyed and benefited from more.
- Especially the one really hard loop Chong produced was an
eye-opener, if they could see four or five of those that would be a
life-impacting event for many, I think.
- A light amount of technical commentary during a game with pauses
for illustration might work, if brief enough not to hinder the flow of
the game. The audience is definitely curious and wide-eyed when they
see what's going on. Sharp intakes of breath were common, and those
are teachable moments. ("That's called a 'loop'". "That's a lob",
"That's a smash", "What's he doing?: Lobbing", "What's he doing?:
- Working with the kids in a somewhat large group of peers has a
definite path to success:
So that's what I did during my time with my 10 kids, and the
before-and-after differences were truly remarkable, and the kids were
continuously busy, excited, not bored, and learning. A pretty good
experience. There are probably a lot of other ways to do it, but this
was one successful method that anyone can use.
- #1 turn-taking where when you miss you go to the end of the line. 10 kids, 1 turn each, after 1 cycle that's enough and this is a fast paced component.
- #2 "ball-on-top": balance the ball on the top of the blade held horizontally. Count to ten. Do it while walking around the table in a circle. Coach leads by example, they follow quite readily. "Show me" gets the boasters to concentrate.
- #3 Then ball on top with the opposite side. Then keep walking and bounce with small bounces, 10 times without a miss. Forehands only, backhands only, forehands alternate balls with backhands. Demonstrate them all in a few seconds, then let them keep walking around the table while the coach goes on to attend to something else, #4.
- #4 Coach tom leads the circle for #2, then starts correcting grips to neutral (apologies to Seemiller: brevity!). As they circle the table, the coach can take the nearest kid, correct their grip to neutral shakehand ("deeper!": hold it deep with edge tight to the web between thumb and forefinger; "On the edge!": forefingertip pad flat next to edge of blade, "pointing here!": central plane of blade coplanar with face of wrist, "No that's backhand, no that's forehand, this is neutral, yes perfect"; coach put your hands on their paddle and hands and draw line in the air and turn it in their hands and don't let them bend their wrist instead of turning it axially within their grip to achieve the neutral plane), in only a few seconds, then go on to the next kid. Each kid gets a definite moment of memorable, specific, landmark-linked technical education, at a moment when they are struggling to keep the ball on top and understand their grip and are highly motivated to do so because of the universal failure in #1 above, so it's a very healthy teachable moment.
- #5 bounce against the wall. I demonstrate both small upward
touches (6-12" away from wall, hitting 6-24" up, at a repeatable
(light) pace), and against-the-wall chopping (4-20' away, return with
heavy underspin, it comes back top-spin). The group degenerates into
chaos of everyone bouncing differently against the wall, which is
tolerable for a short while, after which everyone wants to succeed and
they're ready for #6.
- #6 By this time all the kids have had several minutes of
concentrated time touching the ball and have had encouragement, a
little structure, and plenty of chaos, and some are wanting to hit
the ball on the table again, so as soon as I see that I come back to
the take and take it over, and call everyone to come and get in line
for a round like #1. This time the average number of touches goes
from 1.2 to about 4, with multiple 6's and a couple 10-15's.
- #7 After 1 cycle with each, I point out to all of them how much
improvement they just achieved, encouraging them for the future. They
are breathless and excited.
Original content Copyright © 2000-2011, Thomas
C. Veatch. All rights reserved.
Modified: June 1, 2011