My name is Michelle Quach. I´m 19 years old and play table tennis in the national team. I have played table tennis for 8 years. I’m in my last year of school in science line in a sports school, in Köping. This summer I have spent almost all my time playing table tennis all day.
I have been at two national camps (one for seven days and the other ten days) and 6 weeks in China. I want to talk about my visit to China because I have learned very much since I came here and it is a different practice if you compare it to the training in Sweden.
I was in a table tennis center in Zhengding, 4 hours from Beijing. It is a center for both girls and boys of all ages. It’s a very big center, the Paralympic Games have been held there before.
The center has 3 halls. One of them fits 50 tables and the other 2 fit maybe 30 tables each. The coaches here were quite strict. They scream or hit players when they aren’t content with them.
My time in China has been more than very good I think. The practice has always been very good. I can’t get better practice then what I got in China. I always played with players who are better than me.
In the mornings we always practiced normally with a single ball and in the afternoon we played multiball. My skills in feeding balls are not the best because I haven’t ever practiced it before. Some girls were quite angry at me when I couldn´t feed it good enough. Every day the Chinese practice 2-3 times. One session is 3 hours. They even practice Sundays. But I spend the Sundays for rest.
My experience in China?
It has been an amazing experience. I have practice every day, twice a day. Some days I only practiced one time because I have some problems with my body but some days I practiced 3 times.
The practice has been hard but worthwhile. I must always use 2 shirts in every practice because it was so hot there! I also played teams matches against other countries which were a good experience.
I think that if you want to be a good player you should have good quality in the practice. Even if you feel very tired in practice, you must try to focus even more. Don’t hit or miss too many balls and try to play as you do in a match. The Chinese player rarely misses.
If you force yourself to not to miss too much, it will help you very much in matches. If you look at the top players from China they don’t make any easy mistakes when they play.
In multiball training: If you want to get something out of the multiball practice you should play exercises that you feel you can get very tired of. If you play hard exercises it will help you very much to get stronger in your legs and mentally it helps you very much.
If you have played some hard exercises you can play easier after, but you must think as you play in a match! If you just play easy exercises all sessions it doesn´t help you so much. I always think: you must practice in training as if you are in a match.
I think every table tennis player who really wants to be good at table tennis should go to China for at least one time in their life. It is a good experience. You can feel and realize why the Chinese players so dominate in the world of table tennis. They practice very much every day.
You can see another perspective of practice when you are in China. The practice is more effective and harder. You should always know what you are doing in the practice and always think about what is wrong when you miss a ball. Even if it cost a lot to go to China, it is worth it.
Before you go to China: You should be aware that the practice is much harder than in your home country. You should have good physical before you go there. If you are physically fit and strong you will be able to practice more often and be able to concentrate longer without getting injured.
It is a different culture with different food and a different environment. Even if you feel tired and you don’t want to practice you have to force yourself, because you can do more than you think. Everything is sitting in the head.
However, If your body doesn’t feel good or you’re in pain, you shouldn’t practice. Because if you practice when you are hurt, you will only injure yourself further. REST is my advice to you!
For me when I had been in China for 6 weeks it was more important for me to feel my body. If I practice when I’m hurt I know that I might not be able to practice for the next few weeks.
image credited to barometern.se
I don’t regret my time in China. I feel that I have become faster in my game. I have learned that to be a good player you must practice hard with good quality and high intensity. You must sacrifice very much to be a good player, both in money and time. But always remember that hard work will be repaid.
There are some more pieces which matter in your development. Such as preparation is very important, as well as food, sleep and rest.
If you don’t eat, how can you have the energy to practice hard? No sleep? How can you manage to work hard if you’re tired? No rest? How can you play well with no mental concentration if you are tired? There are many things which matter in your development. The thing is you must find your own solution to be a good player.
This was my experience and thoughts about in China. It has been an unforgettable experience. I have made some new friends from Mongolia, Canada, USA, Slovenia, Japan, and China. I would like to back to China because I love the country. But mostly I like to practice here!
/ Michelle Quach, Sweden