Interview with Coach Jeffrey Zeng Xun

By Larry Hodges | Oct. 29, 2019, 6:48 p.m. (ET)

Coach Jeffrey Zeng Xun and Lily Zhang

 

Interview with Coach Jeffrey Zeng Xun

By Larry Hodges

NOTE - Lily Zhang recently made history, reaching the semifinals of the Women's World Cup, the first USA player to do so at any World Cup. Coaching her in her matches was Jeffrey Zeng Xun.


Tell us about your playing career and how you got started in table tennis. (Note - Jeffrey has been rated as high as 2647 - well after he'd stopped training as a player - and was Boys' Singles and Doubles Champion and Men's Singles Semifinalist for the Sichuan Province of China, and made it to the quarterfinals of Junior Singles at the Chinese Championships.)


My uncle, Chen Longcan, was China's first table tennis Olympic champion. Under the influence of my uncle, I started playing table tennis at the age of six and a half. At age 13, I joined the Sichuan Provincial Table Tennis Team and spent ten years there. After that, I went to Canada to compete as a professional table tennis player and then came to the United States.


我的叔叔陈龙灿是中国第一位乒乓球奥运冠军。在叔叔的影响下,我六岁半开始打乒乓球。 13岁那年,我进入四川省队,并在那里训练了10年。之后,我去加拿大参加职业乒乓球比赛,然后来到美国。


How would you describe your playing style?


A right-handed shakehand-grip player, my playing style is based on consistency with steady blocking and looping. I don't try to win on the first three hits. I control the rhythm of the game and look for opportunities to score during the rally. My biggest strength is that I play defense very well.


我是右手横拍打法,我的比赛风格是稳定稳重。我不会尝试在前三板中获胜。我会控制比赛节奏,从而寻找得分的机会。我最大的特点是防守很好。


我打球的风格以稳健稳住,前三板不是那么凶狠,主要是以控制为主,然后在打相持中找机会得分,最大的特点就是防守好.


Tell us about your coaching career and why you came to the U.S. to coach.


I coached at Kaohsiung Fucheng High School and Taoyuan Shoushan High School, both in Taiwan. I also helped to train the Japanese Miki House club, the United Arab Emirates national team, and the Vancouver Table Tennis Club in Canada. Now I'm based at the Maryland Table Tennis Training Center.


After I retired as a professional table tennis player in China, I went to Taiwan, UAE, Japan, and Canada. All these competitions and coaching experiences have taught me a lot as an athlete and a coach. They have enabled me to successfully transform into the role of a coach. Then, I got an opportunity to coach at the Maryland Table Tennis Center in the United States. I hope to help table tennis develop and popularize in the United States.


执教过台湾高雄福诚高中,台湾桃园寿山高中,帮忙培训过日本miki house俱乐部,阿联酋国家队,加拿大温哥华乒乓球俱乐部.美国马里兰乒乓球训练中心.

在中国作为职业球员退役后,我去了台湾、阿联酋、日本和加拿大。所有这些比赛和执教经历不仅使我成为一名运动员,还教给了我很多东西,并使我成功地成为了教练。然后我有机会在美国马里兰州乒乓球中心执教。我也愿意帮助乒乓球在美发展和普及。

4.因为在中国退役后想去更多的国家帮助乒乓球运动的发展,刚好有一个机会所以到了美国,所以我在这里了。

 

How is table tennis different in China than in the U.S.?


Table tennis is China's national sport. Whether professional or amateur, there is a huge population playing table tennis in China. However, in the US we have a lot of people that play baseball, football, basketball, and many other sports. Table tennis is a much smaller market in the U.S., it is not as popular, far less people play table tennis. Many children who choose to play table tennis are under the influence of their family's background.


乒乓球是中国的国球。无论是专业人士还是业余爱好者,中国都有大量的人打乒乓球。但是在美国,我们有很多人喜欢棒球,足球,篮球等等。乒乓球在美国是一个小市场,并不那么流行。更少的人打乒乓球,许多孩子选择打球也是由于家庭背景的影响。


Who are some of the players you have worked with regularly in the U.S.?


I have worked with many American players, including Han Xiao, Peter Li, Liu Naihui. Liu Naihui was 2012 US Open Women's Singles Champion. I also worked with Crystal Wang, Nathan Hsu, Derek Nie, Tiffany Ke, Stanley Hsu, and Emily Quan. Emily won bronze at the 2018 US Open Mini-Cadet girls and was a Hopes Girls Finalist. She also was the champion in Mini-Cadet Girls and Hopes Girls at the 2019 2nd Youth National Ranking Tournament.


6.在美国期间,指导过Han xiao Peter li liu naihui2012美国公开赛女单冠军) crystal wang Nathan Hsu Derek Nie Tiffany ke Stanley Hsu Emily quan2018美国公开赛 13岁第三.12第二.2019美国青年队选拔赛13第一,12岁第一)


What did Lily have to do (tactically) to beat world #16 Sofia Polcanova of Austria?


When I thought of the strategy for Lily to use against Sofia Polcanova of Austria, I looked for the opponent's different weaknesses. Polcanova is tall and her moves are relatively slow. I advised Lily to use small placement changes instead of wider-angle changes and always send the ball close to the body. When the opponent handled it awkwardly, Lily would then have a chance. The opponent's first few hits are not very effective, so there is no need to be too aggressive in receiving the serve or returns, just a little speed and getting the ball on the table is good enough. 


7.跟奥地利这个打,因为她身材高大,移动相对慢一点,主要是提醒了跟她打,主要是在落地变化中以小落点变化为主,一直给她追身的球,让她处理起来相对别扭一些,Lily就会有机会.还有就是在接发球是不用太凶,只要上台有一些速度就可以了,因为对方前三板质量并不高

 

Coach Jeffrey Zeng Xun and Lily Zhang


What did Lily have to do (tactically) to beat world #9 Miu Hirano of Japan? (Note - Miu won the Women's World Cup in 2016 in Philadelphia, the Asian Women's Singles Championships in 2017, made the semifinals of Women's Singles at the 2017 Worlds, and was #6 in the world last year, #5 in 2017.)


The main idea when playing Hirano Mio is to pay attention to her serve. If you can return the serve well you are in a good position. Footwork is very important too, you shouldn't rush the point and the quality of the return doesn't need to be the greatest. If you enter into the rally, try to place the ball with wider angels on each side and longer length. Lily executed this very well.


8.跟平野美宇打主要是注意接发球,一定要接好,脚下不能慌,质量不一定很高,但是不能接高球.相持打起来要忘往平野的两大角大,线路越长越好,这一点Lily做的不错.


What would Lily need to do to beat China's Liu Shiwen? (Note - Lily lost to Liu in the semifinals, and Liu went on to win her fifth Women's World Cup, an all-time record.)


To be able to confront Liu Shiwen, first of all, Lily would need to pay attention to Liu's forehand short serve. When serving, try to serve short. When entering into the rally, she must follow Liu Shiwen's rhythm changes, placements, speed, and spin.


9.要跟刘诗雯能对抗,首先第一个还是正手位的短球要接好,还有就是自己发球减少出台,相持球要跟住刘诗雯的节奏变化,长短,快慢.还有旋转的变化.


What do you like to do outside table tennis?


Outside of table tennis, I like to play football [soccer], sing, watch movies, and hang out with friends.


乒乓之外喜欢踢足球,唱歌,看电影,跟朋友聚会.