PingPod #36 – Giving Advice

10 years ago

Table Tennis Thoughts


Jeff: Welcome to the PingPod, the Ping Pong podcast by PingSkills. I’m Jeff Plumb.

Alois: And I’m Alois Rosario

Jeff: and today we are talking about giving advice during matches. So Alois, a lot of players play in a team environment and I think there’s a lot of opportunity for them to help each other in that environment.

Alois: Yes, and I think it’s an opportunity that you should really look at. Firstly trying to get your team mates to help you and then also you looking to help your team mates during your pennant or your league matches.

Jeff: Okay. It can be a bit sensitive because sometimes players don’t like receiving advice, they might feel like you’re criticising them.

Alois: The first thing to think about when you are giving any sort of advice is the old sandwich principal. The sandwich principle of giving them a bit of help or some positive yes positive reinforcement. Then you can throw in the bit of advice that you really want to get across, a point that you’re looking at trying to improve and then finish off with a bit more positive reinforcement at the end.

Jeff: Good sandwich, and that important part is in the midde but they receive it better if there is a bit of positive on either side of it.

Alois: That’s right.

Jeff: Alright, say we are playing in a competition and we are watching our team mate in a game, what are the things we should be looking out for?

Alois: I think an easy process is to firstly think about the serve that they are doing. So what type of serves have been effective. So from the previous game think about when he did the tomahawk serve deep to the other person’s backhand corner the other person missed three returns so we can give them a bit feedback saying well that serve worked well, you could try that again.

Jeff: So start off with the start of the rally, the serve. Okay excellent. What is another area besides the serve that we can focus on to give some advice.

Alois: So let’s move through the rally. Now let’s think about the return of serve. When your opponent is serving, what type of returns are working effectively for your team mate. As an example, let’s think about the placement of the return. Let’s think about the type of spin that they are putting on the return and also the speed. For example again if I’m watching you Jeff, and I see that in that previous game you pushed 3 long backspin balls to your opponent and they missed all of them, thats one of the things that I’m going to pick up on and say well Jeff, I think you need to push more balls into your opponents backhand.

Jeff: Okay now some people may be worried about giving that advice because they’ll think, well that player is in the match, he did that, he will know that a certain tactic is working well for him. Is that a consideration?

Alois: Well it’s funny that often it’s much easier when you’re sitting back nice and calm to actually see better what’s going on. When you’re in the heat of the battle in the match, sometimes you might have even played 5 or 6 backhand pushes into their backhand, and they’ve missed them all and you’re just not registering that because you’re worried about your own serve or you are worried about his fast topspin or something like that. So sitting back on the sideline often gives you a much better opportunity to look at the game clearly and to provide some help for your player.

Jeff: Yes. That’s why it’s still good to give the advice because the player might not have realised it and even if they did, it just reinforces that so it’s always a good thing. Okay so we talked about some points. You can look at the serve, you can look at the return of serve. I guess the next logical place is the rally?

Alois: Absolutely so then we start to think about what’s the best direction to play. Is it into the backhanded, is it into the middle is it into the forehand? We also look at the speed of the the rally. Surprisingly as it may seem, sometimes playing slower is more effective than playing faster. We all know that some players backhands are weaker, some players forehands are weaker. That’s a directional or placement thing we need to think about. In your advice let’s think again about the service that your player is doing the type of returns of serve your player is doing and then in the rally, what they are doing.

Jeff: That’s a good point about actually giving the advice because during the match technically you’ve only got one minute. So how do you package all that up in one minute and how many things can you fit in in that one minute?

Alois: Not very many. It’s important that before you start blurting out to the player when they come back to the corner everything you know that table tennis and everything you’ve just seen try to take 5 or 10 seconds to reinforce in your mind perhaps 2 maybe 3 things that you think are going to help them in the next game. Certainly don’t try and bombard them with 5 or 6 things because nothing will get through.

Jeff: That is the critical point. Stick to very few points. How do you wrap those few points up into that sandwich technique you talked about? Can you give a brief example?

Alois: I might say to Jeff, when you were pushing in that game to his backhand you were doing really really well. When you’re in the rally though, I want you to play your topspins a little bit more to their forehand side because their forehand block isn’t very good and then you might finish it off with you’ve played really well, let’s focus again on that pushing that you made in that first game and let’s see if we can improve get even better.

Jeff: Great. That’s quite short and quite succinct. Is that the style you’d like to see?

Alois: You certainly want something really simple. As you know, when you’re playing you’re in the heat of the battle and your head is going everywhere, you often ca’t take in too much information so keep it simple for the player. 2 perhaps 3 things in that one minute is plenty for them to deal with in the next game.

Jeff: There’s some really good advice for you. Next time you’re playing in a team environment think about watching your partner and think about giving them a few short points of advice in between the game. And even ask them to do the same for you. You’ll both really benefit. It will be really helpful.

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Janagiraman Mohan

Janagiraman Mohan Posted 3 years ago

Thanks for giving advice sir, especially sandwich principle

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