Coach Samson Dubina 2016 US National Team Coach 2015 USATT Coach of the Year

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Coaching DURING the Game

Learn the 3 Basic Types

Coaching DURING the Game
The new ITTF rule allows for coaching during the match.  There are 3 basic types – encouragement, informative, and secretive.
For the most part, encouragement like “Come on”  “This point”  “Good shot” “Keep fighting”  these were usually allowed under the old rule.  It is good for coaches to continue encouraging the players.  The type and amount of encouragement will differ greatly from player to player.
General informative coaching can be spoken out loud without fear of the opponent and/or opponent’s coach hearing.  Informative coaching includes reminders like..  “Keep Moving”   “Think about placement”   “Remember the plan”  “Take your time.”  These were previously not allowed, but now are allowed.  These are especially helpful for the fragile student that needs support during the game and likes getting feedback from the coach.
In order to keep tactical advice from the opponent or opponent’s coach, this needs to be done in code language or signals or Bluetooth or spoken while the player is getting the ball at the barriers.  Without the player and coach feeling 100% comfortable with this, it can really be a huge distraction to the player.  If a player and coach want to implement this, I would highly recommend using it during private lessons, group training, club play, league matches, etc…  Once the system has been developed for secretive coaching, then it can be a huge assistant, especially for kids.  Just remember that both the coach and player must feel comfortable with it prior to using it in important tournaments.  Also, remember that the code words or signals don’t need to be used at all – when the player wins the first game and is leading 5-0 in the second game, just let him play.  The signals are designed for a specific situation, not every point.
Now that the rule has been in effect for several months, I can really only see negative effects.  I see parents yelling at their kids, I see kids yelling back.  I don’t really see any benefits.  If I were ITTF, I would not have voted for it.  But the reality is…   it is a rule.  It is allowed, so coaches and players needs to see how they can use this rule best to their own advantage.