Losing a match in table tennis is often a bewildering, frustrating,and humbling experience for both coach and player. Despite hundreds of hours of practice on serves which leap left and rightand also despite amazing footwork drills that might impress a Michael Jackson impersonator, still, in the throws of a match some up-and-coming young stud, or worse, some decrepit octogenarian sneaks up and steals your ability to execute, leaving your best laid plans floundering in confused disarray.
Adrift in the mid Pacific, on the Big Island of Hawaii, our table tennis club has grown over the last two decades, from a core of largely self-taught players, into a robust club with enthusiastic children and adults of ages eight through eighty. Recently, Len Winkler, a regionally certified USATT coach moved to the far side of our island, and introduced us to the book PATT: A Principles Approach to Table Tennis, the brainchild of Donn Olsen. With his collaborator Kyongsook Kim, Donn has created a language and mode of thinking about table tennis, which offers structure to the complexity of the sport. In our efforts to guide up-and-coming youth and to improve our players, we have attempted to implement the guiding principles of PATT. The following are essays that have sprung from our efforts.
Stephen Freedman offers table tennis coaching both privately at his Kurtistown residence, or at the Boys and Girls Club of Hilo. Trained and mentored very extensively by the author and originator of PATT -- A Principles Approach to Table Tennis he offers an individualized coaching plan to support development and performance for adults and children, individually or in groups.
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Seven years ago here in Hawaii, I stumbled upon the sport of table tennis. I’d been a competitive tennis player in my youth and considered myself pretty good with a racket, until I saw the real thing up close. Joining a club, I quickly realized I was a beginner. Our best players, Clyde Young, a largely self-taught athlete, and his main competitor Yen Fang, a highly skilled player trained as a youth in China, set a standard I had never experienced before.