Thursday, 9 November 2017

Guangdong Steps Up on Home Ground in Shenzhen

The Guangdong Team prepared for an epic showdown on November the 4th as they stood before their home crowd against a difficult opposition. Led by Coach and Chinese legend Guo Yuehua along with Chinese National Team member Hao Shuai, the Guangdong team would face off with Shandong Luneng, a team of formidable opposition.

Guangdong and Shandong Luneng players warm-up

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Is Conformity of Styles Hurting the Sport of Table Tennis?

This is a topic that you may have considered subconsciously but never really discussed. Maybe when I talk about it you will notice. I spoke to a couple of players during the World Table Tennis Championships, legends of the sport, one in particular was Jorgen Persson - 1991 World Table Tennis Champion. A big topic for me with the players from past generations is what they think about the progression and changes in the sport. Here is some food for thought about 'conformity of styles'.

Is table tennis losing diversity of style and character?

Saturday, 26 August 2017

How Training Drill Selection Can Impact Your Improvement

Training hard and working up a sweat is one way to improve but there are some small details that can restrict you from reaching your potential. One of these key factors is choosing the right training drills, failure to do so can stifle your improvement. I will explain why.

Don't forget to check out over 40 other helpful articles at my Coaching Blog.

Improve by choosing the right training drills
Laziness goes as deep as Drill Selection:

Don't be fooled by thinking that training at 100% helps you avoid being lazy. Laziness can creep into your drill selection and the effects can be highly negative on your game. Why? Because sometimes players don't want to choose drills which push them even harder.

Say your footwork is slow when doing Falkenberg (backhand, pivot-forehand, forehand), but when you do a shorter footwork movement like 2 point forehand you are much more comfortable. Sometimes players will use this as a premise to choose 2 point forehand more frequently.

Yes you may fly through the repetitions, you may drip sweat all over the floor and your short footwork may improve, but you are only hurting your advancement in the game by avoiding drills which push you harder.

A good example is the three point forehand and the '5' point forehand. One involves hitting a forehand at each line on the table consecutively, the three point on the other hand doesn't include a middle ball on the transition back to the starting forehand. In the training group of elite kids that I am involved with in my club I often give the kids the option of choosing 3 or 5 point forehand. Most kids will opt for the 5 point forehand, the ones who choose the 3 point are the ones who have a higher quality level in both training and matches and generally a better attitude when it comes to challenging themselves.

These kids are training hard, no matter which drill they choose, but the ones who pick the 3 point forehand are actively pushing themselves further to improve.

You NEED to focus on weak areas:

A lot of the mentality that leads to choosing the wrong drills is picking those drills that you know you are good at. Maybe you have the best forehand game but your backhand is severely lacking (as a simple example), players may steer away from drills where they are more likely to miss, not find rhythm or make simple errors - areas which they could improve to make them better players.

Complacency is part of the problem and keeping a constant level of confidence. It's a simple formula, we miss frequently and our confidence dwindles, we no longer want to continue the drill. This is common, especially among young players.

The key to success is - make your weak areas GOOD and your strong areas GREAT.

One such weak area which is not commonly practiced is the cross-step, used for covering very long footwork movements. This often results in players not having good movement or balance when pushed wide over a long distance. Think to yourself, when was the last time you practiced cross-step footwork movements?

How to choose your drills for best results:

Here are some tips on how to get a more well-rounded perspective on choosing your drills.

- Divide Strengths and Weaknesses: Write some notes on your strengths and weaknesses and for each area add a list of potential drills you can do to help improve them. This makes you actively think about the drills you are neglecting.

- Allocate Training Time to Weak Areas: If you are going to choose 5 different drills in a training session, be sure to choose 2 which work on your weaker areas. It is common practice to favour your strengths in training but still have a big effort towards working on those areas that are lacking in your game.

- Ask Others to Choose Drills: You can take advice on which drills could help you or which areas to work on - ask your coach/es, training partners or other training players in your club or team as to what they think would really help your game. Feedback is an all important part of the cycle of learning and improving.

- Try and Add Variety to Your Training: Add many different elements to your training to cover different areas - serve and return, multiball, forehand footwork (focus on different types of footwork: in and out, side to side, long, short, cross-step), some drills focusing on technique, some on tactics, offensive and defensive/passive drills. The more depth you can build into your training the stronger your foundations will be.

Actively Evaluate Your Training:

So those are some things to think about. One area of importance is to regularly assess your training and think of whether it can be improved. Actively think about areas that you may be missing out on in practice or weaknesses which could use more attention.

And remember, laziness is not only in actively doing the drills but also in choosing them. Make the best decisions for your game and always remember to keep pushing yourself to new heights!

If you have questions or topics you would like answered be sure to email me at

Monday, 5 June 2017

Sweden's Golden Era Legend - Interview with Jorgen Persson

It was my great honour to catch up with Sweden's legend Jorgen Persson at the 2017 Liebherr ITTF World Table Tennis Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany. Jorgen has been one of the most prominent players in the sport, helping a powerful Swedish team to reach the top of the world and repel a strong Chinese movement. Hope you enjoy the interview!

For more top player interviews visit my Interviews Page.

Full Name: Jorgen Persson
Date Of Birth: April 22, 1966
Nation represented: Sweden
Highest World Ranking: 1
Jorgen Persson - Courtesy of ITTFWorld

Thursday, 1 June 2017

China's Grand Slam Table Tennis Sensation - Interview with Ding Ning

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Grand Slam champion Ding Ning during the 2017 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany, as she attempts to claim another world crown. Special thank you to Wu Yue for helping me with this and translating!

For more interviews with top players, visit my Interviews Page

Name: Ding Ning
Date of Birth: 20 June 1990
Nation Represented: China
Highest World Ranking: 1

World Number 1 Ding Ning - courtesy of ITTFWorld

Friday, 14 April 2017

Pro Tip Blog: Pioneering the Backhand Banana Flick with Petr Korbel

It's been a while but I managed to get something together to write a new blog post finally. The Pro Tip Blog is an area of my blog which I really wanted to develop more but had a lot of difficulty contacting the players I wanted for it. Fortunately I was able to organize this new piece on the backhand banana flick or the chiquita with its pioneer, Petr Korbel. I have laid it out in more of an interview style piece with some additional ideas below.

Pioneer of the backhand banana flick - Petr Korbel

Thursday, 2 February 2017

How To Beat Your Practice Partners in Matches

I had a great question this week asking how to beat the players you practice with, who know your game and particularly your serves. This is a great question and I really had to take a little time to consider how I would go about answering it because it is a very difficult area of the game. Hopefully I can provide some insight!

For more advice and help in multiple areas of the game, visit my Coaching Blog.

Jorgen Persson
Courtesy of