Tag Archive: coach


Fragments of memories

American singer Kelly Clarkson has a song called ‘A moment like this’, which says A moment like this, some people wait a lifetime.

Yes, life is often composed of the past, of the memories we have, for certain moments that we always want to remember. After having read quite much Romantic literature (in terms of Romantic period), I can see that most writers at that time agreed with that too. Take my favourite poet John Keats as an example, in his poem Bright Star (which is one of my favourite poems of his), he was trying to capture the moment, that he was leaning towards his girlfriend Fanny Browne; in his Ode to a Nightingale, he was trying to turn the moment that he saw the nightingale into literature. Everyone has different moments that he wants to remember: the happy ones, the sad ones, the romantic ones, the hilarious ones, the touching ones…….. But it has to be unique, and probably special.

Well, do we actually live in the past, or the present? (I think we can neglect the possibility of living in the future as we are not Marty in Back to the Future) We all live in the past. If we think about it this way, life is just composed of all the fragments of memories we had, the ‘present’ that we see, is just going to turn to the past, to the history in the next second, just like Jimmy Hendrix said ‘The story if life is quicker than the wink of an eye), the present does not mean much as it turns to the past too quick. That is probably why my favourite Romantic writer John Keats, immersed himself into describing the memories he had, trying to re-collect some of the best moments he had, with the ‘words brighter than bright, and fairer than fair’ (when he described Fanny in his letter) If, I can travel back in time, I would also like to go through certain moments in my life again. (And of course I would like to visit Keats, as he is sometimes my inspiration of writing.) And the following piece of writing, is for me to remember a friend who is going back home soon. (I rarely write poems, so I am not sure if it is a good one)

Forlorn! Forlorn!
For thou art gone.
Lasting fragments I get,
When thou art back for dawn.

Eternal Sunshine with the waking dream,
Woken by the hateful gleam.
Go back where you belong,
We are fish in different streams.  

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My first table-tennis league match took place on Tuesday (07/10/2014)

We were facing quite a tough team, with 2 of my opponents who have beaten me before. I still remember, my opponent Rob beat me 3-0 in North of Scotland 2012 (I played him against in April in the local league, and I beat him 3-2), and Andy gave me a hard time, beating me 3-0 in the Aberdeen Christmas tournament.

Since I knew they would be my opponents of the night, all I thought was ‘Oh my goodness, am I going to win a game tonight?’ Aye, my confidence fell to the ground, or possible the nuclear of the Earth…. Andy, of course, was my main threat. Rob was still a challenge for me. All I did was shivering. However, I saw my old teammate Joe playing against his opponents with his determination and spirits, and my new friend Ben, also battling with sweat and tears. Ya, isn’t sport a thing about spirits? Skills of course are crucial. I was unsure about my skill, but I did try hard to improve throughout the summer. Seeing Joe and Ben playing gave me the spirit of trying.

‘Ya, I am here already, I am here to win, and not to forfeit!’ I thought. The first match against an old coach Doug went alright. I kind of saw him play before, so I thought it would be fine. The second match against Rob made me nervous, I would say my first set was kind of lucky, with him making quite many mistakes, and my flicks going pretty well, I got 11-2. I gained a bit of confidence after that, but my doubt about my ability still existed, but in fact it might be one of the elements which helped me stay calm. I won 3-0 straight. Then here came Andy. I still could not play against him well in the first set because of his style, I struggled, and lost 5-11. I was going to give up. However, Joe and Neil’s games lit the fire of my heart again. ‘I am NOT giving up yet, as long as the game is not finished yet, I still have a chance!’ I thought, then I remembered what the Youth Star Christopher Wheeler told me, ‘Take every single point as the last point of a match!’. It did help me concentrate a lot. I fought back, and eventually won the match 3-1 in sets.

Sports are always about techniques, so practice is always important. But there are also other crucial elements. I learnt from this match, that the spirits, and confidence, would boost your performance in matches, sometimes it may allows you to exceed your limits, like 110%! That’s a lesson learned. Sometimes, playing matches is the best way to improve, that’s the reason why. Also, it is a great feeling beating someone whom you have never beaten before!

Playing my old team (got kicked out) next week, strange feeling!

Difference of playing and coaching

I didn’t really know the difference between playing and coaching before, but now I do know after coaching some real beginners.

First, they require different qualities. Coaches need to be patient, observative, and can always encourage players. They don’t have to be very good players, although it should be better if they are. They don’t need to have a heart to compete, it may be better if they don’t because it can make them calm and be good at observing players in matches. Competitive players, on the other hand, need to be equipped with good skills (not if they just started), and the heart to compete and improve.

Competitive players should definitely have a very strong will to improve, because after a certain age, their improvement will be limited. Once they find that they can hardly improve, they can always do more coaching. Therefore, I believe players should focus on maximizing their improvement while they can. The high-peak of improvement may not be related to age, but the amount of time they have played.

I regret that I didn’t start to play table-tennis when I was young. I only started last year to be honest. I am glad that we won the Aberdeen Local League this year. During the summer, I actually planned to maximize my improvement, but I got allocated to coach the beginners, which wouldn’t help much. I don’t mean that I don’t like coaching, but I do have a strong will to play better in the next season, and i believe the summer is a better time for improvement. I only started last year, I think I do have potential to do a lot better (as good as I possibly can be).

Well, what I would do in summer for table-tennis is…
1) Practise more with those who have a strong will to improve
2) Will keep on coaching, but may sneak to the ‘middle group’ (not beginners) at some point
3) Will visit Drumchapel Table-Tennis at some point to actually see how they do so well in making good players, and may join some trainings there
4) do more physical exercise which would help.
I hope all those would work! Anyway, I am happy that we won the Aberdeen Local League and League Cup! It is the first medal I have got ever!

What I think a coach should do

Having been involved with the table-tennis coaching activity for quite a while, I do have my own thoughts about what a good coach should do.

A good coach doesn’t need to be exceptionally good in that sport, but he does need to have a passion in it. Therefore, he would try his best to analyze the players, and find what are good and bad. This is the most important task that a coach should do.

A good coach should take care of every one that he coaches. Every player is different, and the trainings that they require would probably be different. Therefore, a good coach should give the players a personalized exercise during every training session, the players would be able to maximize their improvement.

A good coach should, most importantly, encourage every player. The worst thing a coach can do is probably to discourage players, and it would probably make the players quit. Therefore, I think coaches CAN divide players in to groups according to their ability, but NOT to tell them.

I don’t know whether my thoughts are right, but that is what I think after I’ve been involved in some coaching.

UKCC LEVEL 1 Table-Tennis Coaching Course Day 1

Woke up at 5a.m., got dressed, and packed my stuff, and caught the bus at 7 to Dundee for the table-tennis coaching course.

Flattered by the coaching tutor, as he claimed that my backhand (which I think is my weakness) is quite good and consistent, and asked me for demonstration for backhand drive and backhand block. He didn’t quite believe that I have only played table-tennis for JUST MORE than a year. (Quite satisfied that I have just played 1 year and now I am trying to get the coaching certificate!)

Looking forward to the second day of the course. It should be on 8/2, but the venue is unavailable on that day, so they changed it to 1/2, and I would be unavailable due to the SSS Championship, so I would be doing it on 22/2 in Aberdeen! No travel required!!! The only thing is that I need to demonstrate forehand push to the kids (which is what I don’t do!)… Well anyway, happy as the coaching tutor said my skills are relatively advanced!