Eva Jeler is one of the most decorated table tennis coaches in the world and a former top table tennis player. Born in Slovenia, she is a biology graduate and best known as the head coach of the German Table Tennis Federation. She has been a coach in Germany since 1977, starting as an associate coach for the Bavarian Table Tennis Association. From 1989 she was the successor to Charles Roesch, and during that time the German team reached 3 European titles. From 1996 she coordinated youth work focused on the DTTZ Heidelberg. At the end of 2011 she became the head coach in the women’s field. All throughout her career she has worked with numerous young players, including Dimitrij Ovtcharov, whom she coached as a pre-and young teen. During the World Cadet Challenge Training Camp held in Fiji at the end of 2017, Eva gave a fascinating lecture that she prepared with Richard Prause and other German table tennis coaches, about the possibilities and obstacles in contemporary table tennis with the introduction of “The Plastic Ball”.
In Part 2 she talks in detail, about all the different aspects of how the new Plastic Ball affects the way the game can be played & what coaches have to think about when training their players. – How the Plastic Ball not only affects the professional top level players, but also children that are still learning the game (0:00–1:10) – Because the Plastic Ball has less rotation, more attention has to be given to the placement of the ball; how the Plastic Ball tends to slow down quicker, and whether the movement of the topspin stroke needs to be adapted (1:10–5:11) – About the forward and backward movement during rallies, how “soft” balls need to be played & how long serves are predominately used (5:11–10:13) – How tempo variations are becoming more important, how mastering both the backhand and the forehand stroke is essential & the short-short game as a possibility (10:13–14:04) – How the players should attack the ball, and how athleticism is becoming more important because of the longer rallies (14:04–16:52) – How every table tennis player has to have a clean, stable “healthy” technique, how there are bigger differences between the plastic balls vs. the celluloid balls, and how different tables play a role also (16:52–19:05) – About the possibilities of the “short pimples” with the new ball, how coaches have to search for new solutions for their players game, and how the Japanese coaches are dealing with all of these new problems very well (19:05–21:53)
In Part 1 she tells an enthralling and concise history of Table Tennis with a focus on innovation and experimentation. About various rule and equipment changes throughout the years, how the players adapted and the game evolved. – How it takes a team of people “to create a top table tennis player”, and how this lecture is a collaborative effort, coaches working together (0:00-5:33) – The 1960s: the wooden bat and various materials on it, the introduction of rubber and top spin with it (5:33-7:30) – The 1970s: the introduction of two new rubbers, long pimples and anti-topspin, the color of the bat, concealing the sound of the rubber (7:30-9:26) – The 1980s and 1990s: gluing , various types players used, hiding the serve (9:26-11:04) – The 2000s: major changes in table tennis, the changes to the serve, the changes to team matches, shortening of the games from 21 points to 11 points, changes to the ball (11:04-13:40) – Introducing the plastic ball and the changes to style and technique that have to come with it (13:40-14:32)