|Tip of the Month Winner|
Congratulations to Nicolaas Strik of Rumford, RI for his contributions to the Coaching Forum contest. The winning entry is listed below for your review and implementation into your training program.
Making Quick Decisions
One thing I like to do is throw in 6 white balls with the 40 orange Newgy balls. When I see the white ball come, that is when I change direction, change spin, or make that my kill shot. I enjoy my Newgy a great deal. The only thing better than my Newgy Robot is the customer service that I receive from Newgy.
(Editor's Note: this is a very simple but effective tip for training yourself to make quicker decisions. To make this tip even more effective, you may want to cloak the Clear Front Cover of your Newgy robot so that you can not see the balls advancing up the ball channel, thereby letting you "cheat" by knowing in advance when a white ball is getting ready to be discharged.
When I was young and training hard at table tennis, one of the training aids I repeatedly used was a "light panel" consisting of four differently colored lights. The coach would give meaning to each light, such as Blue Light = Move Left, Yellow Light = Move Right, Red Light = Move Forward, Green Light = Move Backward. The coach would then power the lights on and off in random order and the students would have to respond accordingly. As soon as the coach would notice that everybody was responding correctly he would speed up the drill or change the meanings. This was an excellent drill to decrease response time and develop quicker decision making, both key skills to acquire to become a better table tennis player.
An example of a good drill using the above tip would be to use consistent, medium paced backhand counters to return a medium speed topspin ball to your backhand corner against all orange balls and then step out and all out forehand kill every white ball. This would simulate the typical backhand exchanges where each player is trying to "pin" the other down on the backhand corner.
Another good drill using this tip would be to have the robot give low backspin returns across three-fourths of the table. Against all orange balls you would use a slow speed, heavy spin loop. Whenever a white ball is delivered, you would use a fast loop. If a third ball color was mixed in like yellow, then you could then smash each yellow ball. This would simulate the attack choices that a player would typically have to choose from when attacking a chopper.
This tip can lend itself to many variations. Make up your own to suit your particular situation. If you want more color choices for balls, buy white balls and then dye (Ritz dye, for example) them various colors. This is the easiest way to color several balls without affecting its weight or balance.)