Taiwan school team’s training in Yokohama with Sally Moyland
(By Sally Moyland)
My teammates and I just came back from a one week training in Japan. My teammates are from the middle school I study at in Taiwan, Cheng-Zheng Junior High. We spent the week training at Hayato High School located in Yokohama. It took us about 50 minutes of travel time to get from our hotel to the school. For transportation, we needed to take the train to get to Yokohama, and then take the bus to get to the campus.
The training sessions in Japan were compact and well organized. They have a quick tempo throughout the day, no matter if it is practice or break time. The kids in Japan have good teamwork and will always help their teammates. Yet, at the same time they are also independent and can help themselves. For example, they train and compete as a team, but when coaches’ attention is elsewhere, they can still solve problems and improve themselves.
Their playing style is quite different from what I have experienced in my USA and Taiwan tournaments.The most common style of play I saw in Japan was aggressive with a flat hit, rather than a control and attack style. In competitions, even the younger players would setup strategies. Almost every shot is a powerful shot, and that makes playing rallies quite difficult. I learned that sometimes the strategies don’t work, but even so to keep thinking and still be determined when executing new ones. It took me a few games to adjust to this style of play, where every detail is important.
During the day, there are many chores to do. The younger students clean and repair table tennis equipment. The older students make tea and wash dishes. I ended up choosing to repair the nets that we pick up balls with.
It was a new and different experience to practice outside Taiwan with my teammates. I also really enjoyed being in Japan. Even though the training was different and quite tiring, I think it helped me improve, and I definitely want to go again.