We are often told that shot was high risk!, or tell ourselves that was a poor shot selection. Which is then followed by:
Well I agree with all of the above but...
I also believe we should train at high risk more often.
by Eli Baraty
FB: coach me table tennis
2 years ago an 11 year old called Tomokazu Harmioto burst onto the table tennis world stage. Harimoto reached the Men's final at Safir's (Sweden) and stamped his arrival by beating two players ranked inside the top 100 men's ranking.
Since then Harimoto has continued to improve and recently was crowned world Junior Champion aged 13, the youngest junior world champion in history.
Still 13, he has shocked the world once again by defeating fellow team mate Jun Mitzutani current world no.6.
I think it's safe to say Harimoto, is the best 13 year old the world has ever seen.
He reached the quarter final of the Men's World Championships and shows no sign of slowing down.
So what? and how? has such a young teenager achieved what no other has done before?
I'm sure there's millions of factors but I want to point out 3 key things.
Harimoto, has been playing for 11 years which explains (partially his high level). Other factors include both his mum and dad where international level players. He has been training relentlessly for over a decade, few train over two years at a given sport and fewer train 5-6 times a week.
It's clear Harimoto spends 15-20 maybe more hours per week training. He has given up his childhood to become a phenomenon inside the world of table tennis. The question many would ask, and say.. he doesn't have a life!
This is a debate which can only be answered by Harimoto. If he loves what he is doing, then he is living life to the best of his ability. If he is forced to live this kind of lifestyle then yes he has no life. From my point of view he loves every minute, his passion and love is clear to see. It's rare to see someone who clearly plays more than most and still maintain such a high level of joy and passion every time he plays.
At such a young age, few feel genuine fear of losing. The world has not inflicted its true pressures and consequences are limited to none. This enables the mind to relax and all skills are allowed to flow freely.
Only the very best in the world know how to access this freedom of fear and thrive under enormous pressurised situations.
The question is will this change for Harimoto as he ages and will his views on life change? Only time will tell..
Regardless of age, to become great sacrifice is required.
Eli Baraty Table Tennis Coach
I pride myself in coaching anyone and everyone, you have the ability to improve so why not invest in yourself.
FB: Coach Me Table Tennis
I aspired to become great as a table tennis player and often researched in order to find the best the sport had to offer, in my quest to reach my table tennis dreams.
I travelled all over and around London seeking players, clubs and coaches for my personal development. I was willing to go anywhere and pay any price for the best coach, I clearly remember working as a Domino's pizza delivery boy and spending my hard earned cash on TT.
Michelle Gadal came to England after coaching, Jean Philip Gatien (1993 world champion) and I decided I wanted him to coach me. I managed to get his phone number and so called him, begging Michelle to coach me. His answer was a clear no, because he was the national coach and it would be conflict of interest. I offered him £40ph, back in 1997, in today's money it would be approximately £80. For me personally, it was around 12 hours work at Domino's but I was more than willing! Just so I could gain some words of wisdom form a coach who produced a World Champion.
Today I would do it all again as I believe commitment towards your passion is one few people have in today's world.
Six months ago a young man contacted me saying he has been following my coaching blogs, videos and players (I coach) their success. At the time I was focused on providing my academy players my time and external coaching was out of the question.
Nevertheless, this young man was willing to pay my coaching fees and travel 130 miles one way for one hour of my time. I quickly recalled myself as a kid begging Michelle and decided I wouldn't let commitment go unrecognised. The young man explained that he had a friend and they would both commit to the travel and training. I decided to test their commitment by agreeing to a one off session, that one session has become a six months long coaching commitment and only seems to grow in time.
Both these players entered an event after I coached them with mixed results and the response from them was poor initially but they seemed even more determent to achieve. Training continued and I noticed big steps in their games, two weeks ago they entered London Gran Prix where they both came out with around 100 points each. They both had great wins and progressed in their events which was lovely to see.
3 key points:
I have coach at The Harefield Table Tennis Academy for 10 years and fortunate to work with so many wonderful players and people. From total beginners to borough, county, national and international players, furthermore they have all become amazing people.
After 10 years of doing something you love, it became clear to me that I have a choice stay and continue doing what I'm doing or look to grow as a coach and person. Some may say "why change a good thing" and keep going but I believe its my time to spread my wings and fly.
The world has so much to offer and staying in one place may mean the world for one person but for someone like me, personally it means I'm not growing and more importantly I'm not sharing.
Being involved in Table Tennis for 21 years made me realise the game advances whether you like it or not and I embrace change.
So the lesson for today, if you truly wish to be a pioneer at your chosen field you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and embrace change.
Coaching players for over 17 years and watching them at tournaments and events, it's clear 99% don't know what makes them perform!.
I believe if you asked 100 coaches if they teach their players/students how to knock up (and take away anxiety) in a tournament, many would say yes but only 1 YES would be correct and productive!
So I've decided to write this to help coaches and players.
We all know how important it is to train but we struggle to have the same confidence in tournaments as we do in the practice hall.
Three key elements:
1. Prepare as you do in practice,
players become instantly aware of their enforced errors in their knock up at a tournament.
Don't become aware of your unforced errors or mistakes in a tournament day, unless you're aware of them in practice! We take practice for granted and usually we are unaware consciously of unforced errors. But in tournaments if you look at 95% of players you'll notice they become hyper aware of each and every error. Its as if we all of a sudden make ten times more mistakes compared to practice.
This couldn't be further from the truth, in fact you probably are making less errors due to awareness, so I suggest having a simple numbers routine in practice e.g. fifty drives and 10 topspin's both sides, count how many open ups you get out of ten both wings. Once you have your practice routine ratios, you can implement this on the big stage and be clear as to whether you are actually not playing well or visa versa.
Having a clear numbers routine gives you a clear view of where your playing level is on any given occasion
2. Warm up properly
90% of players have a good warm up routine in practice but as soon as they enter the hall, they grab a bat and ball and jump on a table. Why change a routine on the most important occasions? stick to your routines regardless..
3. Your trade mark exercise
Do a regular footwork exercise which you're good at, makes you feel positive about yourself and your game. Once you find a routine which compliments your game use it to boost your confidence, in tournaments.
Why do something completely different to the way you normally do it? Makes no Sense right? So the answer is simple keep it the same and the outcome will generally be the same but if you change the input then the output will generally change..
Watching a film inspired me to play table tennis but entering an unknown domain should and could have destroyed my inspiration!
We all start somewhere and the initial impact can shape the direction we choose to go. Getting hammered by every opponent was not a pleasant experience, we all experience some sort of humiliation by certain individuals for not having good skills and that can be soul destroying. I remember progressing in the sport yet at the time my level was still low and after six month of playing I remember a common theme; I would ask good players to play with me and their response would be sorry "I'm playing x,y and z maybe later! or "your not good enough" "I'm tired" then go off and play with someone else! there were many more excuses and it dawned on me there and then, (if I ever become a top player, I'll play with anyone..)
We all start at the bottom, of course some progress faster than others but in reality our starting point is virtually the same, 'BEGINNER' level. At 18 I was fortunate to inherit a coaching job from one of my original coaches (Gideon Ashison). I soon realised that coaching is much more than just correction of strokes and game development.
Coaching gave me the opportunity to help others in their game but most importantly believe in them, something I wanted as an aspiring young player.
Today I've coached many national and international players simply because:
I have studied and never stop studying Table Tennis
I want to see players I coach regardless of age or level; learn, improve and achieve...
So, if you're really serious about your game, contact me so I can help you develop your table tennis.
FB: Eli Baraty
other TT services: www.ebattsport.com
We fight an endless amount of external forces, when playing a match or competition.
But our biggest enemy is non-other than YOU!
How a game/match sways, sometimes is out of your control and it can change at anytime, due to; tactical change, external distraction of some sort, or that voice inside which questions your ability.
Be aware of any tactical change and adapt to it and try to focus on your breathing to stop any external distraction.
One thing you must never do is question your ability! If you're able to do it in practice, you can replicate it at any given situation.
I watch players lose momentum and at times that slight shift can turn the whole match around from a winning position to a losing one.
Being a massive Roger Federer fan I've learnt that he has one attribute that sets him apart from everyone.
Watching him play over the years I've never seen him question his ability. He went through a 5 year period where he hardly won (some expert's believed his time had come to an end due to age) but he never doubted himself. I also began to doubt his ability to compete at the top and in fact thought it was game over when he had a knee operation and was unable to compete for 6 months.
Then I saw him uploading videos of himself training and expressing his hunger and 'will' to make a come back at 35 years young. Federer won the Australian open and three days ago another tennis title.
Federer, if you watch him play never questions his ability regardless of his opponent, crowd or score board. Due to his inner confidence he has achieved more than any other tennis player in history and is aiming to become no.1 once again.
In Roger's words.. if I'm behind on the the score board, it becomes irrelevant! "while the match is still alive, I can win".
Table Tennis coaching for kids begins with nurturing your child’s learning process
If your son or daughter has shown some ability or dare I say it “talent”, for the game, the next step would be to get a good coach for further development.
Finding a good table tennis coach for your son or daughter can be like walking through a desert looking for water and occasionally you will see a reservoir.
I chose to write this blog in attempt to help players, mum’s and dad’s and even coaches themselves.
Tip 1: Find a club or Academy that has a low player to coach ratio.
There is an abundance of camps, academies, coaches and clubs out there that would all love to have your hard-earned cash. They may even have big names and famous past background playing careers.
However, you need to do your homework and find out if your child will actually be coached by these so called top coaches/players, or is your child in a group of many players overseen by an aspiring young coach who is mentored by a legend but has limited interaction with your child!
Getting a one-on-one lesson if possible it's a great way of advancing your child’s game. Of course the price will depend on the coach which is dependent on location, past and present success. The advantages of a private coach are the same as in a school classroom; the one-to-one ratio ensures the teachers full attention and causes your child to focus on the teacher and their learning, not his/her classmates. Sometimes A two-to-one or three-to-one lesson can be even better, as the players may feed off of one another but beyond that the learning becomes decreased.
Therefore if your child is in a big group constantly their growth in development is reduced unless there is a ratio of max 1-8 players.
Tip 2: Find a self-developing coach.
If you have decided to appoint a coach on a 1-2-1 or small group lessons, you need to discern which coach is the right one for your child.
How to evaluate a good coach? Look at his/her resume and find out where they have coached, who have they coached, have they developed and moulded their coaching style over the years to keep up with the modern game?
DO NOT evaluate a coach form his/her qualification. Why? ‘you ask’ would you take a brain surgeon with the highest marks in England for his PHD and he has only done one surgery? or would you take a surgeon lower level PHD marks with 20 years of experience and 500 successful surgeries under his belt? The answer should be clear..
Qualification gives the fundamentals and in a certain aspect grants permission to do what you do in your field, it does not state your level of coaching ability.
Tip 3: Sometimes what you see is what you think!
By this I mean, does the coach keep him or herself in good condition physically?
Does he or she play regularly?
Why does this matter? well for several reasons: (there are exceptions of course)
Tip 4: Watch the coach in action.
If you are allowed ask a coach when there next training session is on and go have a look, watch them in action. If they have video tutorials on YouTube have a watch and see if you like their coaching style.
Tip 5: Your child’s perspective
Everyone is different and we all respond differently to things, therefore a simple recommendation is to ask your child what they thought of the coach? Often, they know if the coach is right for them.
A good coach in most cases will be able to adapt to that child’s specific needs, character and learning style.
Tip 6: The Past has gone, the future is not here yet, so focus on the present
A club or Academy’s past is irrelevant, it’s a guide but does not determine the present state and the prospect of its future. Therefore, I recommend looking at the history of the coach and his environment and using that as a guide line. But more importantly look at what the coach is saying and doing, are they ambitious are they driven and do they still possess passion?
Simple questions would be:
What’s your goals?
How long do you expect to be at this club?
What drives you?
I hope this has been a useful insight for people looking at getting a coach.
Growing up, I was unaware of how mentally tough I was! I wanted to win and that desire drove me through many hurdles.
My personal desire to win as a player faded due to many reasons (that's another story) but I want to share 3 key elements which I believe can help you win more matches.
1. Talking to yourself:
We all have that voice that pops up saying "you're going to lose this match" "don't bottle it" that's the voice that likes to say negative things and find excuses and reasons for us to lose.
As soon as you hear that voice, over ride it and speak to yourself, internally or externally, repeating positive words and phrases such as; "this is my point" I'm capable of winning this match" etc.
2. Facing the challenge head on:
I often hear and see players given excuses prior and after a match. "I haven't trained this week" "my rubbers are dead" "I've been unwell". The fact of the matter is you have a match regardless, so why not face it head on? If you lose you lost with your specific circumstances and on that occasion it wasn't meant to be! You give yourself a greater chance accepting your so called issues and going into the match with what you have. if you manage to win you did it despite your issues..
It's like being thrown into three different cages with a lion.
Cage 1: You have a gun
Cage 2: You have a knife
Cage 3: Only you stand before the lion
In all three circumstances you have no choice but to fight for survival. If you choose not to fight regardless of cage number, you will lose your life! If you choose to fight in all three cages your chances of survival are increased.
I'll never forget watching one of the all time greats Wang Liqin and he had a special formula which he used to control the tempo of a match.
If he won a point on his serve he would bounce the ball twice on his bat and then serve. If he lost a point he would bounce the ball 4 times!
On the return of serve, he would wipe his hand once on the side of the table and twice if he lost the point.
Now you have some inside secrets to perform regardless of the situation, go out there and perform your magic..
By Eli Baraty
Facebook: @coachmetabletennis by Eli Baraty
1. Multi-ball or Robot:
If you have a sparring partner who can do multi-ball (Multi-ball tutorial click here). This is a system that was introduced by the Chinese to increase consistency by hitting 100's of balls within a short space of time.
The system develops muscle memory and gives you the ability to hit thousands of balls working on footwork, technique and consistency . This system is extremely beneficial and compared to a normal practice of 1 ball per rally, followed by time spent on picking up the ball, its a no brainier
If you don't have access a sparring partner or coach and wish to get a similar results, you can purchase a table tennis robot. The same principle applies, you are able to hit many balls within a short space of time.
The issue (you may or not agree with me) the variety of shots accessible and the spin received can be unrealistic. Furthermore there may come a time (shortly after initial use/purchase) where you will get bored due to limited sequences and zero interaction, or feedback.
2. Single Ball Training
The polar opposite is a 'single ball training session' but with a twist! One of my former coaches had a theory (if you train with one ball in a large hall) it encourages full focus on a single rally and reduces unforced error's. When you have lots of balls near by, your focus is reduced on unforced errors.
I must admit this helped me in two ways; 1) focus became "match like" and 2) the disappointment of an unforced error was thought about while fetching the single ball.
I suggest doing this kind of training at least once a month and depending on the amount of times you train this can be increased or decreased. I also believe this type of training is better suited for advanced players..
Having the perfect technique is not vital for consistency but it may harm progression.
The key, regardless of poor or good technique is to find what works for you. Once that has been established you must focus on re-enforcing that movement and make it muscle memory. If a technically varying stroke had been been developed and used in match play, you will notice many unforced errors due to technical deficiencies. So repetition of a correct movement is vital to maintain a stable stroke through an exercise into a match. Please note, different stokes are needed for different types of balls received, e.g. a back spin ball requires a different stroke to a topspin ball received
They say 6000 times is needed to build muscle memory so I would focus on developing a stroke that works and follow it up with 6000 reps.
Equipment plays a big role in consistency make sure you buy a good bat that will give you the best possible chance of developing your game. A few personal recommendations for developing or advanced players please click here
There's no real secret to becoming consistent, it's about correct reps and developing the mindset which believes in the work you have put in.
Facebook: Eli Baraty
Business W: www.ebattsport.com