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Online Table Tennis Coaching?

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Joo Se Kev View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08/13/2018 at 6:44am
Hey guys! Posted this over at OOAK, but would love your input too:

While I happen to be an online trainer myself (for health, athleticism, weight loss, muscle gain, etc.), I'm certainly not qualified to coach table tennis remotely.

Still just a scrub, intermediate player dreaming of being like Joo Se Hyuk when I grow up  Wink  

But it makes me wonder...Are there any prominent online table tennis coaches around today? If so, what's your opinion on the efficacy of having an online coach for table tennis?

Do you think it's a viable way to improve your skills?

Personally, I had a great experience with Greg Letts (nearly 10 years ago!), but I'm not sure he's still doing it.

Would love to hear your guys' thoughts on it!
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jfolsen View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jfolsen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/13/2018 at 9:32am
I did online coaching with Sean O'Neill several years ago as part of my drive to reach 2000. It worked fine. I would send him the occasional video of my matches, he would send them back with commentary. There were also specific drills to do, both to correct weaknesses and general consistency. It's not that much different from having a coach in person except for the time lag.

And in some respects it may even be better. A lot of what passes for coaching I would categorize as "renting a hitting partner." The amount of coaching that occurs is quite minimal. Ideally, your coach isn't hitting with you, they are watching you as you hit with others. That happens 100% with video coaching. I find the occasional ad for table tennis coaches that specify the applicant must have a certain rating silly, they are hiring a training partner, not a coach.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NextLevel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/13/2018 at 10:55am
There is some benefit of practicing against the ball quality and consistency of a higher level player. Yhat said, I agree with the "glorified practice partner" pandemic that passes for coaching in the US for a variety of reasons that jfolsen describes. I also agree that online coaching allows you to focus on things that may be easy to overlook when you are being coached in person.

I think the biggest side benefit of online coaching is that it forces you to record and revisit your play. It's too common to see people take away the first interpretation of how they played based on their memories as a fact. The chance to review and reinterpret what is happening and to share it with someone who has seen many similar situations and can prescribe a reasonable solution is invaluable.

The other thing I recommend is to work with someone who has some experience coaching and getting results with the kind of player you are. Unless your goal is to be a 2500 player, this isn't always a 2500+ player.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BRS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/13/2018 at 11:34am
NL's advice is all good. It's pretty hard to work on specific technique with an online coach. A good balance to me is to have an online coach do match coaching (after the fact obviously) and advise you on what to concentrate on in training. Then use a live "glorified practice partner" coach to work on the situation or skill the match coach saw.

That's not as good as having a real live high-quality coach do both with you like a serious competitive player does. But we are dealing with second-best by definition here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rocketman222 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/13/2018 at 1:18pm
All good points, I think for the student to be able to successfully use online coaching, they need to get to a certain level, at-least the fundamentals on the base  6 shots right(counter,push, loop), which are easier to teach in-person with a multi-ball style. 

NL makes a good point about learning from a real coach and just not another 2500 imported player(there is a lot of them in the bay area).
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Joo Se Kev View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joo Se Kev Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/14/2018 at 6:51am
Originally posted by rocketman222 rocketman222 wrote:


NL makes a good point about learning from a real coach and just not another 2500 imported player(there is a lot of them in the bay area).

Totally agree! That's like the people who hire a trainer just because he or she looks jacked.

Some people are just naturally gifted and have great instincts regarding their own training; it doesn't mean they know how to help *other* people get better, or even communicate well...

It's rare that the best coaches are also the best players.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bard romance Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/14/2018 at 5:08pm
Originally posted by Joo Se Kev Joo Se Kev wrote:

Originally posted by rocketman222 rocketman222 wrote:


NL makes a good point about learning from a real coach and just not another 2500 imported player(there is a lot of them in the bay area).

Totally agree! That's like the people who hire a trainer just because he or she looks jacked.

Some people are just naturally gifted and have great instincts regarding their own training; it doesn't mean they know how to help *other* people get better, or even communicate well...

It's rare that the best coaches are also the best players.


Yes, but it is very common that the best coaches were also highly competent players.
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larrytt View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote larrytt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08/14/2018 at 5:48pm
Originally posted by bard romance bard romance wrote:

Yes, but it is very common that the best coaches were also highly competent players.
You don't need to be a top player to be a top coach, but it's difficult and somewhat rare for a non-top player to have the regular exposure to top players over many years as they develop from beginner (almost always starting as a little kid) to top player, as well as working with and learning from the coaches who are overseeing this. You can't learn this by watching videotapes of top players; you need to see players go through the entire training process as they develop over the course of many years. Top players do this since they are among those undergoing this process, and so, if they are the perceptive type with potential as coaches, they can become top coaches. 

For a non-top player to do this, there has to be some reason why he's in the playing hall for large amounts of times over the course of years to see all of this happening, as well as the opportunity to learn from the best coaches as they coach up-and-coming players. The flip side of this, of course, is that those few non-top players who make the effort to get this type of background are often the most determined, and so end up as great coaches. I know of several top coaches who were never very good as players, and each of them has a unique story of how they developed their expertise. 

You don't need to be a top player to be a good "club coach," i.e. someone who teaches the basics to new players or to coach clubmates at tournaments. That's a different situation. But they are unlikely to develop the next Kanak Jha or Ma Lin without years of observing and studying how top players are developed, start to finish. (I blogged about this on May 8, 2017, but the above is written from scratch.)
-Larry Hodges


Edited by larrytt - 08/14/2018 at 5:52pm
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