The good news we have been waiting for … indoor sport in England can re-start at the end of July. Hooray! This is very welcome news, as it means I can start coaching again. I already have some sessions in my diary, although I expect demand will be a little less for a while. And there may be more disruptions in the coming months, but for now, I am excited to get back to the table and hit lots of balls and share my table tennis wisdom.
In the past two months, I have been playing plenty of outdoor table tennis. In Cambridge, there are many outdoor tables dotted around the city. My nearest table is only a ten-minute walk away. The table is metallic. The net is metallic. Every time the ball clips the top of the net, there is a loud ‘ding’ noise and the ball shoots up into the air. The floor is a bit of a hazard. Tree roots are exposed, making it hard to move from side to side, without twisting your ankle. The wind is also quite a challenge. Anything between 4 mph and 10 mph is OK, but if the wind speed is above 10 mph, then it becomes hard to play. But it is better than nothing. I have been playing with a few other players, and I am pleased to report that my backhand is still pretty rubbish!
I have also been busy writing my table tennis book – SPIN: Tips and tactics to win at table tennis. It has taken me much longer than expected. I naively thought I would just take the blog posts I have written over the past few years and lump them altogether into a book. But this didn’t work. Most of the content is completely original and flows in a coherent narrative. I’m very happy with it. I have written the first draft and now I’m proof-reading and editing. Much to my surprise, I actually got interest from a publisher, but I have decided to self-publish. The book will be ready in September. I have added a page to my website with more information about the book. If you want to be notified when the book is available to purchase, please complete this form.
When the book is finally completed, I will start publishing videos and blog posts again. I have a lot of material I filmed before lockdown, but it didn’t seem worth publishing when nobody was playing. But as we gradually start to play again, hopefully there will be more interest in viewing and reading table tennis tutorials. There will be videos on deceptive return of serves, the backhand loop, defensive tactics, the forehand slap, the best table tennis grip and many more. As always, I will be joined by other coaches including Craig Bryant, Mark Mitchell and Ferenc Horvath. All videos will be published on my YouTube channel.
Finally, I have reached a fairly significant milestone. I am now 40-years-old and officially a veteran player. One day, I’d like to be veteran world champion. How cool would that be? Realistically, it’s never going to happen, unless I live to 100-years-old and all my competitors die before I do! But when table tennis fully returns, I will try to enter some veteran competitions. For my 40th birthday, I received a sketch of myself and my family as Simpson characters (see top of the page). Of course, I am holding a table tennis bat and even have a red shirt with the Bribar logo. Even though table tennis has been paused for a few months, I am still utterly obsessed!