Tuesday 14 July 2015

Training in China: Zhengding Blog #1

So after the US Open I left America and headed for China with a training group from Lily Yip Table Tennis Center. I'm currently in Zhengding at the National Training Base which was used by the National team to prepare for the 2008 Olympic Games.

So far the living standard has been better than I expected. You always hear that the food is awful and the beds are like rock. To be completely honest it's not all that bad, at the end of a day of training any bed is going to be comfortable anyway.

There are three gyms and I'm training in the largest one, there are about 30 tables in there. I arrived and slept at midnight and started the afternoon session the next day.

Let me tell you it was torture. Two hours of multi ball in incredible heat and humidity. The gym is large so there is not much the aircon units can do to help. The heat is really the one thing you can't avoid, you just have to deal with it (it's summer here now of course).

I was fed by another training partner and twice a coach came and fed for me. It was hard to get into the zone. I drained 2 bottles of water and probably sweat a bottle back out. I was suffering but I was more than satisfied.

The session ended with a short physical session of push ups and some sidestep shuffles between table and barriers. I was glad to be done, even though it was 30 minutes shorter than usual that day.

That evening I went to the gym and did some back squats and leg press exercises as well as some bench press.

Day 2 I was up for breakfast at 7.30, training started 8.30. It's always intimidating to train with the partners at first because you can feel inadequate. The last thing I want is for my partner to be annoyed that they got stuck with the useless guy. So there is more pressure to train as hard as you can. After 3 hours and another 2 bottles of water I was drenched again. I had lunch and rested.

Back at 2.30 and it was more multi ball.  I died and went to heaven then came back. My stamina was much better than the first day and I was dealing with the heat because I knew I had no choice.

So my first full day was over. Only by experiencing this place can I begin to understand why the Chinese are so dominant. They endure mental and physical torture day in and day out, repetition. It's a loveable hell for any table tennis lover but I can't imagine the lifetime they must have endured. It's really quite incredible.

Anyway it's the morning of day 3 and it's time for me to get ready soon. I will do my best to keep you posted and find a way to shoot some videos!


  1. I went to Zhengding as an individual in 2010 and wish I had gone with Lily Yip's group. You will get good interaction with the coaches since they know Lily. I was there for a month and had a good time. The room was good. Get a mosquito spray/flare and you will be fine at night. Good luck! -- Vince Green

  2. can you tell me from Beijing, how do you go there ? I am keen to bring my 11 years son to go there, as he is a school team player, but still want him to brush-up his table tennis skill from china team

    1. Hi Victor, I didn't go from Beijing to there but when I left there to go TO Beijing I took the train from Shijiazhuang to Beijing which was about 3 hours.

  3. i tried to mail them but it is not working. the mail is not getting delivered . can u please tell me some contact number?


    1. Hi Keval,

      Sorry I don't have that information. When I went my trip was arranged for me and it was 2 and a half years ago.


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