TABLE TENNIS TRAINING
8-10 JANUARY 2013
from the training prior to the delayed
Fiji Open 2012
Dates: 8-10 January 2013
Venue: FsM Gymnasium, Suva
Head Coach: Terry Dahl
Fiji Table Tennis had problems finding a venue for the Fiji
Open Championships 2012 the event was moved from December 2012
to the 11-13 January 2013. The 2 ½ days international
training camp, a follow up from last years successful training,
was moved according - to 8-10 January 2013. The problems in
securing a venue also meant that information to overseas associations
was sent out late, so only Nauru sent a team of two players.
In addition to these and the Fiji players it was one player
from Kiribati and one player from Australia (my son).
The venue, the former national gymnasium in the capital Suva,
was very good. No aircon but proper wooden floor and sufficient
lighting and room for enough tables. Initially it was set up
10 tables, including two show courts with Taraflex red flooring,
but we after hearing that we had admission to the venue shorter
time than we believed the players was put in only one group
and we got in more tables.
We had a very varied group of players, from national senior
representatives to very young beginners - 26 in all. Luckily
I had several coaches/parents helping out with the beginners
so this was not a problem. Integrated into the training were
three deaf players, but this worked fine. The participants were
all practising together - from 9-12 and 2-5 pm. It was originally
meant to be two groups practising at separate times so I had
to change the coaching plans a bit but this worked fine. We
still divided the players in two groups at the tables with Group
A being the better players and Group B being the beginners.
It was also no problem to swap the players between the groups
if the abilities and efforts was different to what we saw when
we divided the group during the first session.
As the last year I was pleased to notice that the players turned
up to the morning sessions and afternoon sessions in time (not
much "Fiji Time"!). As last year the player also showed
very good attitude, putting in proper effort at the tables,
no relaxed manners or slacking down - very encouraging, with
the intensive training we did! We had no injuries during the
training. We had proper warming up before each session and also
stretching when the practising for the day was finished. We
did a bit of physical exercise at the end of the two first days
but only quite easy and fun exercises.
At the end of the training camp most of the players attended
a pool recovery session at the Aquatic Centre.
Ho and I had decided that we should follow the same training
program that I had prepared last year, just with minor changes.
The training exercises at the tables were the way that most
of the best players were used to from Oceania-training. The
assistant coaches were Shri Sharma, Henry Yee, Narendra Lal,
Tomasi Taberanibou, Choi Freddy and Olav Dahl. Thanks to all
program had emphasis on footwork and attacking skills like last
year, and this year I wanted the better player to work even
harder with their topspins/lops and to get them to bend their
knees and balance their bodies even better - in addition to
always move (with small steps). The plan, like last year, was
also to have a development day by day; stepping up from simple
exercises to more difficult exercises - and then to more match-like
ones. Multi-ball-practising in the afternoon (sometimes with
two players on one side) and top-table match-like exercises
gave good results last year, so I did not change anything here.
It is always good to make it a bit more fun when the players
get a bit tired in the hot afternoon! For the beginners I had
to make sure that they did not start at a difficult level and
that they had fun. So I introduced the fun games with hitting
cups standing on the tables, - and did this in different ways
to practise strokes and serves. With the help of the assistant
coaches/parents this worked very well.
must again say I am very happy with the players. They all behaved
very well and they all did their best during the training. It
was a big difference in the level between the weakest players
and the national players but they all tried to improve - and
I am quite sure they all did! Footwork and balance was still
a general weakness among the majority of the Fijian players,
they tend to forget to bend their knees properly. They also
still lacked quite a bit when it came to both forehand and backhand
loop/topspin. It was a pity that not more international players,
especially from the Pacific countries, did not attend - and
also that two Fiji national junior players from the Western
side were missing. The two Nauruan players did very well; Oxyna
Gobure showed talent and willingness to learn and I feel she
can be a very good Oceania/Pacific player. The young Fijian
national boys and girls also showed talent - and I hope that
they will be looked properly after!
The assistant coaches were mostly helping out with the beginners
and this worked fine. We also this year did a lot of multiball,
and this again worked fine (for both groups). Again the exercise
with two players working together on one side and a coach/player
feeding was valuable; the players are forced to use their feet
and work hard - and it is also fun at the same time! Also using
top-of-the-table system but based on exercises was successful.
They had to follow certain simple exercises while they played
for points. I always had them start playing with one serve each
and play until I shouted stop, but often ended the sessions
letting them play up to five or seven points.
I also once more let the assistant coaches play a bit with the
better players - and the last day they all joined in the lengthy
free top-of-the-table we had for most of the session.
I feel that the program that we have been following two years
in a row is very useful for the Pacific players. It kept them
working hard and it seems that they enjoyed this kind of training
- especially the competition-element to the top-table exercises
kept them motivated.
The players still need to get their feet moving better and still
to be more consistent in their attacks - and many of them still
need to bend their knees more and get their balance forwards
(some had improved). They should also be practising topspin/drive/loop
more, both for forehand and backhand. They still tend to hit
the ball with a hard smash when the ball is not bouncing hight
enough - and thus miss the table too much. Of course the players
should play more overseas, they need tough competition and they
need to see the good international players to learn from them.
The payers/coaches were aware of this and I advised them at
least to look as much as possible at international table tennis
on Youtube on the internet if they had the chance.
to Fiji Table Tennis for letting me conduct the training!
daily program with links to the exercises
invitation to the camp
the newspapers from the camp and Fiji Open;
tennis finetunes skills
tennis deal for locals
Fiji table tennis champion to be crowned
Dahl aims high
at Fiji Open
Gobure impress at Fiji Open table tennis
Seru targets pro career
enjoys table tennis
Table tennis wants international coach, needs funding