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Coaching the coaches, Benone way

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MASTER TRAINER Benone Christian Grigore observes the movements of paddlers with a discerning eye
MASTER TRAINER Benone Christian Grigore observes the movements of paddlers with a discerning eye

J R Shridharan elicits the views of Swedish-born Indian TT coach on the prospects of paddlers

Keeping a cool interior till the match point is vital when it comes to the crunch Benone For table tennis coaches of Vijayawada, the visit of Swedish-born Indian table tennis coach Benone Christian Grigore came as a shot in the arm, for they had an opportunity to interact with former Romanian and Swedish national paddler to fine-tune their techniques.The affable former international paddler, who spent four days in Vijayawada, not only analysed the performance of the up and coming players from all over the country, but also conducted a clinic for coaches imparting emerging trends in the game. Says Benone: "Yes! There was language problem, as many were conversing in their native language - Telugu. But, somehow, I was able to communicate with them effectively." The former USA table tennis coach used charts and visuals to impart lessons to the coaches.Benone made the local coaches realise the importance of utilising the corners effectively to garner more points. "Hitting the ball in the middle of the table repeatedly will not give you upper hand. By driving the ball deeper into the corners (close to the white lines), loaded with topspin, one can befuddle the rival. Quite obviously, the returns will be feeble," he pointed out.Benone enlightened the coaches on the significance of on-court temperament and felt that most of the Indian paddlers were very emotional. "Basically, Indian paddlers are very emotional. They get excited both for right and wrong reasons. Keeping a cool interior till the match point is vital when it comes to the crunch," he added.Krishna District Table Tennis Association coach Srinivas, who supervises paddlers at Singhnagar Stadium, said that the tips offered by Benone immensely benefited him. "I had my doubts clarified on serves and receiving of serves. I will pass on the tips to my trainees," he said.Among the new crop of players, Andhra Pradesh's N. Arundhar impressed the Indian coach and he emphasised the need for more exposure in tournaments for Arundhar to improve his game by a few notches.

Poor fitness

However, what concerned the Indian coach was the deteriorating standards of women segment and felt that physical conditioning of Indian women was far below the international standards. "Most of them are overweight and they lack in fitness. Though they are technically sound, they fail to make a mark due to their poor fitness," he felt.He appreciated the efforts of Andhra Pradesh Table Tennis Association in spreading the game in more schools. "For any game to develop, schools play a crucial role. In fact, more number of inter-school competitions should be held to improve competitive spirit among the paddlers," he pointed out.

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