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ttEDGE Blog

I'm in Verviers, Belgium for the Men's World Cup which starts tomorrow. I qualified for the World Cup by winning our continental championships, the Oceania Cup, back in May in Bendigo. The World Cup is certainly the real deal with only 20 players competing for $150,000 in prize money. World Cups are always very well organised and a pleasure to compete in.

It's been a particularly quiet table tennis recently. After squeezing in 5 tournament in 6 weeks over the May / June / July period, I've had very little on since mid July. My next big event is the World Singles Cup which is in Belgium in late October. This will be my 6th World Singles Cup. 20 players will compete for US$150,000 in prize money over 3 days. The top 8 players have byes through the initial group stage.

The Australian National Championships wrapped up in Sydney last weekend. Around 120 players from around the country competed in singles, doubles, mixed doubles and teams. We were all playing for the title of Australian Champion as well as $10,000 in cash.

It's been a little too long since my last blog post so apologies for that. The past 5 weeks have been hectic to say the least. I've had 3 major tournaments, sold our apartment, gone through the end of financial year at work and have tried to keep my training up at 3 days per week.

I let my strength work in the gym slip after the Olympics last year, which was partly deliberate and partly due to having less time available for training. I was mentally and physically drained after the Olympics (and 18 months of full dedication before it) and was not thinking about how to develop my game into the future. I don't especially enjoy the gym and my main reasoning for gym work is to help my table tennis.

I've had a long and busy period of competition recently with 4 tournaments in past 4 weeks. The results have been acceptable and probably to be expected, at best. Last week the Australian teams travelled to Guangzhou in southern China to compete in the World Team Cup. This year's event saw a return to the old playing format (for the past few years the weaker countries from South America, North America, Oceania and Africa have played our own knockout tournament first, with just the winner progressing) and we were drawn to play against Japan (seeded no. 3) and Chinese Taipei (seeded no. 6).

I've been about as pleased with my training recently as I could be. I feel like my game is finally starting to come together as a whole, from the fragmented state it's been in for the past 5 months. Firstly, I've been able to put in 3 good table tennis sessions per week as well as 1 or 2 weight sessions in the gym. With less training than that, I feel slow and inconsistent with my shots when I play. Secondly, I've put more focus on serve and return of serve and have worked these elements into my exercises more regularly.

I had an interesting Ask The Coach question about playing against anti-spin rubbers the other day. For those who aren't familiar with anti-spin - it is very smooth surfaced rubber with almost no friction. I've been fortunate enough during my career to have trainined a lot against different kinds of rubber like short pimples, long pimples, grippy pimples, smooth surfaced pimples and anti-spin. It's easy to forget that the only experience most players get against these types of rubber is during a few (mostly infuriating) competition matches.

My past two training sessions have been a lot of fun. Petr Korbel from the Czech Replublic has been visiting Australia to do some work for the ITTF and to promote table tennis. Petr is a legend of the game with a bunch of World and European Championships medals to his name. You can see some footage of him playing here