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Table Tennis Coaches – Avoid This Word

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As a table tennis coach, I think it is very important to praise and encourage your students when they have played well. If a coach compliments their student and then follows it with the word “but”, it basically discounts the positive that was just said and can be discouraging to the student.

For example:

My student asks, “So Coach Samson, what do you think about my performance at the last table tennis tournament?”

I reply, “Your looping was very powerful, your footwork was fast, you had good strategy, BUT you missed every smash.”

By using the word “but” it puts the focus on what my table tennis student didn’t do.  In light of all the good things that I said, he will remember that I was focusing on his one weak point.  Instead, here is how I should have worded that sentence.

I reply, “Your looping was very powerful, your footwork was fast, you had a good strategy, AND we need to continue to work on perfecting your smash.”

By using the word “AND” I have not degraded him but instead I show that we have areas to continue improving while building his confidence.

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  • Jena Newgarden
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