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What % of tourney players have had prof coaching?

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freakinjstu View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07/10/2018 at 10:54am
When I first came to the club, everyone looked so amazing I immediately thought professional coaching was a requirement to play this game at all.

Now that I have a year under my belt I'm rethinking that...

If we say the average USATT tournament player is 1700-1800 or so, what percentage of those do you think have had significant (say, 50+ or 100+) hours of professional coaching? 

(and by professional coaching I mean they paid someone who has some sort of credential or training as a coach, not that they had Olympic-level coaching)

Thanks for your thoughts.

PS: also what about 2000+ players (since that's my goal)


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 11:11am
People with 100+ hours of professional coaching better be well above 1800 - this level is achievable with minimal coaching (but it obviously helps). 
USATT: ~1800
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bard romance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 11:16am
I think among the 1700ish crowd, it's probably 50/50 as to whether they had coaching or not. But the coaching probably isn't the determining factor in getting to that level because I think if someone with any knack for the sport in half decent shape plays or practices for a long enough time, 1700 should almost always be attainable. So whether a 1700 player has had coaching becomes a moot discussion if you're concerned about the cause/effect of coaching and reaching a certain level.

As for 2000+ it becomes harder to do with without at least a little bit of high-level guidance. I'd say a majority of 2000+ players have had at least a little bit of guided high-level/credible coaching. I'm not sure what you mean by Olympic-level coaching but if the goal is to reach 2000+ you should probably be seeking out a coach at least at that level or much higher, or someone with a proven track record of getting players to that level. But 95 times out of 100 such a player will have attained that level at some point in his/her life. 

So if your goal is 2000+ then yes you probably want the coaching. Especially before you form too many bad habits in your formative years. Because that's how you end up a "lifetime 1700".


@pgpg - 100 hours of coaching isn't that much. It totally depends what level you were at when you started the 100 hours. If anyone could take a beginner to "well above 1800" in 100 hours they would be the god of all coaches. 


Edited by bard romance - 07/10/2018 at 11:18am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 11:37am
@bard romance -  note that I said '100 hours of coaching', not '100 hours of training' - getting to a decent level only after 100 hours of hitting balls would be a small miracle indeed. 

One lesson a week for 2 years is 104 hours of coaching. Assuming you have decent time on the table besides that for actual practice and matches, that's quite a lot - I think I'd be above my current 1700-1800 level (I probably had 15-20 hours of actual lessons over last 5 years). Am I in danger of becoming 'lifetime 1700"? That would be a bummer... 
USATT: ~1800
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rocketman222 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 1:41pm
Honestly, you can get to 2000 without coaching, the only problem being you will spend atleast 5-10x time reaching there than with consistent coaching, so if you have a lot of time to kill on the sport, go for it, but looking back at my own progress, its way better to get coaching than to not. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bard romance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 1:43pm
Originally posted by pgpg pgpg wrote:

@bard romance -  note that I said '100 hours of coaching', not '100 hours of training' - getting to a decent level only after 100 hours of hitting balls would be a small miracle indeed. 

One lesson a week for 2 years is 104 hours of coaching. Assuming you have decent time on the table besides that for actual practice and matches, that's quite a lot - I think I'd be above my current 1700-1800 level (I probably had 15-20 hours of actual lessons over last 5 years). Am I in danger of becoming 'lifetime 1700"? That would be a bummer... 

If you're accounting for how much someone practices, gets in matchplay, plays the game, then you're talking about something way too variable to come to any sort of reasonable conclusion. Sure, someone who plays a lot but doesn't and never got coaching can eventually make it to 2000, but it gets drastically less likely after 17,1800. So, as I said in my earlier post, for someone without any coaching, 1700 and 1800 is reasonably attainable, but 2000 and beyond becomes drastically less likely. 

Depending on the issues in a players game, I'm not sure how much 1 hour of lesson a week really does, unless your coach is giving you a wealth of knowledge and then you're taking it to your practice sessions to really incorporate. 

Have you been 17-1800 for 5 years while actively practicing, playing, and trying to improve your game?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bard romance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 1:45pm
Originally posted by rocketman222 rocketman222 wrote:

Honestly, you can get to 2000 without coaching, the only problem being you will spend atleast 5-10x time reaching there than with consistent coaching, so if you have a lot of time to kill on the sport, go for it, but looking back at my own progress, its way better to get coaching than to not. 

And the other problem being that you increase your chances of never getting there even in due time. Total lack of guidance can lead to bad habits or instincts that become near impossible to correct. If you at least set down a good foundation at the start, it makes it a lot easier to eventually become 2000 "on your own". 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 2:30pm
I think the percentage of all players above 2000 who had significant coaching is extremely high. The higher above 2000 you go, the stronger the correlation probably is.

If you look at longtime tournament players who have never reached 1700, I would guess the percentage who had significant coaching is quite low. And the lower their peak rating, the lower it probably is.

There are lots of variables that are not independent, athleticism, seriousness, talent, environment. But at a super general level, good players had coaching and bad players didn't.

There are exceptions of course. I know quite a few. Some players have lots of coaching and are still terrible, and some have little or no coaching but play really strong. But that's not the way to bet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mhnh007 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 2:34pm
If you put in about 10 hours, for every hour of lesson from coach, then you should be good enough to have people to want to play you, when you go to club.  Some even reach the 'club elite' status, but on the other hand some doesn't even looks like they have been coached LOL.  On the average, 100 hours coaching + 1000 Hours playing should give you a very rewarding playing level.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pgpg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 3:30pm
Originally posted by bard romance bard romance wrote:

...
Have you been 17-1800 for 5 years while actively practicing, playing, and trying to improve your game?


No, 5 years ago I was 750 :).

But yes, I would be higher now if I had more lessons. I think.
USATT: ~1800
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote vanjr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 5:15pm
Not the point of the post, but getting to 2000ish requires a club with players, not player over 2000. I am not convinced coaching can overcome a club where the top player is 1400.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote LUCKYLOOP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/10/2018 at 11:54pm

There are enough coaching videos online to learn the necessary skills to reach the average Usatt level of 1400-1600 and higher depending on what style you want play. Larry Hodges books are a good source of info to enhance your process.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ashishsharmaait Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/11/2018 at 12:11am
I do not think coaching is required to reach a 2000+ level, at least up to the 2100-2200 range.
I started playing TT when I was 27 and at 35 now, I would guess that my level is around 2000-2100 (I am not in the US, so its based on whatever I've played when I visited the US)....and I have never had coaching.
I have seen my progress from losing to 60+ years veterans to having close matches with state level players.

The most important things are having a good practice partner, focusing on fitness and consistency drills and having a good amount of match practice. For a long time I was stuck with receiving serves which were hidden, especially the kicking serves and I consulted many players and coaches for an answer. There was no magic technique, but practice and playing more and more players with that skill.

After 2200, things get a little difficult and I have hit a plateau for the last year or so. Its difficult (un-affordable) to get good coaching at this level as coaches would rather spend time on upcoming juniors than on someone who cannot keep up with 10-15 mins of multiball.
Ball sense, anticipation and the more finer aspects of the game hold up further progress at this level and very few people who started as adults are able to break through this level plateau.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 1dennistt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/11/2018 at 1:04pm
One of the main things a coach brings to this equation that a practice partner may not is the ability to make sure the student maintains good technique, and performs correctly.  Too often practices break down, or the emphasis is on the wrong thing without the supervision of the coach.  

Off topic:  I'm one of the players stuck in the 1800-1900 range for years.  Much of that in the past was a limitation of technique and game strategy, now I find it is a limitation more defined by my age, seems like when I fix something in my game that something happens to slow me down physically to compensate.  Ouch  Some days things go well, and other days are a struggle, but both are challenging.

But, even at my level I still find the game to be fun and challenging, and sometimes entertaining.  I have to admire the young players who are putting in so much time to achieve success in this sport.  Their energy and drive is inspiring, and it's fun to watch people running around the table, hitting for winners balls that I don't get to now or chasing down balls I think are impossible to get back.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote bard romance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07/11/2018 at 1:19pm
Originally posted by pgpg pgpg wrote:

Originally posted by bard romance bard romance wrote:

...
Have you been 17-1800 for 5 years while actively practicing, playing, and trying to improve your game?


No, 5 years ago I was 750 :).

But yes, I would be higher now if I had more lessons. I think.

Nice progress. I guess you are getting to the point where you will find out how rapid your progress continues to be. 

Ashish's post is inspiring. However, I would say he is the exception not the norm. 
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