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PostPosted: 18 Dec 2017, 08:13 
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Short version: The coaching is first-rate, Portugal is amazing, and the price is unbelievably good. Go there and see for yourself. This is not a limited time camp. It's a club that is open 52 weeks a year for training. Their website is http://www.ttpor.pt/en/. Email is [email protected]

Long version: I tried to cover everything below. If you have a question PM me or post here.

I just spent two weeks training at TTPor between 4 and 15 December 2017. This was my third two-week training camp. I went to MDTTC in Maryland in 2014, and B75 in Denmark in July 2017. The biggest difference at TTPor is the personal attention. It was consistently only one or two players during the first two sessions, with one or even two coaches. In the evenings there are anywhere from 8 - 20 club members training depending on the day. I can't guarantee that this is the case year-round, but I was thrilled with the amount of direct coaching time I received these two weeks.

Comparing the three camps, I would put MDTTC out of the running immediately. It was all kids except for me, which is fine, but the bad part was it was mainly a summer day camp, and the coaching was pretty minimal. It was usually eight students to one coach for multiball, and a lot of time doing partner drills without any real coaching happening. I got to hit a lot of balls, which is good, but I didn't learn anything new in particular. I was yelled at to "Relax!!" a lot of times, and I'm sure that was good advice, but I couldn't do anything with it.

The B75 by contrast was more intensively coached, and I did learn a lot. However at the time I thought that the lack of any English proficiency by one coach (or equally my total lack of Chinese) didn't matter because she could demonstrate. But after getting what I believe she meant from TTPor in English, I was immediately able to execute my forehand loop differently. The change was essential to reduce my recovery time which will allow me to play a series of shots at my preferred distance from the table. So it's kind of important. B75 was a blast, and improved my TT, and I would recommend it as an amazing experience to anyone who loves TT, but I think TTPor was better. I never would have believed that before I went, but it was.

It's going to take me at least a year of hard work to integrate all the coaching I received into my game. Two weeks was enough time for a pretty comprehensive overhaul of my play. I have essentially an all-new forehand, backhand, and footwork. Also my fh flick has changed, and some serves, and my tactics in quite a few game situations. I took a small notebook full of notes, including drills, diagrams, tactics, and technique. So I have a lot of work to do. But having seen the changes in my play and even my results over only two weeks, roughly 60 hours of table time, I know what a difference these changes will make once I can execute them in match play *under pressure.* My results against repeat opponents improved a lot just during the two weeks, but those were not pressure situations for me.

Obviously I've just gotten back so I can't say with authority yet that what I learned at TTPor has raised my level. And the risk with any intensive camp is not being able to get enough quality training at home afterwards to make use of the new information. But considering that it cost me less to live there for two weeks, even counting the cost of all the daily training, than it does to live my normal life at home, there is no risk. Plus I had a great time and made a lot of friends. The Diniz family, who run the small business that is TTPor, are the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, and Portugal is an amazing country full of beautiful places, amazing sights, and delicious food and drink. So if you have the chance to train in Europe there is nowhere better than TTPor.

That's my long form review. I put some more general information that might be useful below. As I said, I'll be happy to answer any questions.

Basic facts: TTPor is a 9 table club open five days a week in Setubal, a suburb of Lisbon. It's easily accessible from Lisbon as commuter trains run hourly weekends, more often on weekdays. The club is a family business run by father and son Domingo and David Diniz. David is the main coach. They both have both ITTF and PTT coaching certifications.

Cost: Training costs €20/day. Housing in the club dorm is €10/day, and three meals weekdays also €10. If staying more than one week you can sleep in the dorm over the weekend for no extra charge, but have to get your own food. The accommodations and meals aren't luxury style, but for €20 you can't argue with the value. I was very happy with my decision to live in.

If you prefer to eat and sleep separately there are plenty of nice hotels and restaurants in Setubal and prices are very good by US standards. Space in the dorm is limited, so plan a little bit ahead if you do want to stay there.

Training: There are three sessions a day. Morning runs for about 90 - 120 minutes roughly between 10:30 and 12:30 or 1:00. Then lunch together if you are eating in. Afternoon session starts between 3 - 4, and runs until about 8, with a short break if you want one between individual training and the arrival of the regular club members between around 5:30 - 6:30. It's a varying group of club members, both kids and adults. The coaches will match you with some of them to do some drills and play a few matches after. I trained for around six hours most days. The club members' playing standard ranges from usatt 1000 or so (small kids) to well over 2000. I'm rated 1900 and there were plenty of partners above my level. I trained mostly with adults but also quite a bit with teenagers. It's a club with teams in the Portuguese leagues for both adults and juniors (and wheelchair, although I didn't hit with them) so everyone takes their TT seriously, including the kids.

Miscellaneous: I met one person in two weeks who really had no english. The Diniz speak excellent english, as do most of the club members, and the general population of Portugal if Lisbon and Setubal are anything to go by. However naturally a lot of Portuguese is spoken in the club. I learned the words for fh and bh, the numbers 1-11, and some other useful stuff for TT. You will lose nothing from the training if you have zero portuguese, but you should expect to have a lot of non-TT conversations go over your head.

Setubal is a pretty seaside town of about 100,000 people. The club is inside the football (soccer) stadium in the center of town. Everything you could possibly need is walkable within 500 meters. The beach and more bars/restaurants are about a kilometer. Google maps is your friend here if you are curious.

Online coaching: David also offers an online coaching service where he will review your match video for the only-in-Portugal price of 5 euros a set, minimum three sets. I will post a separate thread about this for people who can't travel to Portugal, but wanted to mention it here.


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PostPosted: 27 Dec 2017, 23:30 
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Thanks for detailed review - out of curiosity, how much vacation time do you have? 3 weeks in B75 camp in the summer, and now 2 more weeks in Setubal?! Somewhat jealous...

Also - any of the coaches specializing in chopping/modern defense?

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PostPosted: 27 Dec 2017, 23:56 
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Just to clarify about B75, a week there is five days, with a day off between. So three weeks at B75 is 17 days. But I do have a generous vacation allowance and used every bit of it for TT this year.

The coaches at TTPor don't specialize in defense. David did compete with LP on his backhand for a while, so I expect he could coach defense up to a pretty high level. Since I play a standard looping game I didn't ask much beyond that.If you want to know more you should email him.

At B75 there was one chopper coach and a very few defensive players. The two I saw were in the higher groups. I imagine most of the coaches there could help with modern defense, but it definitely wasn't the mainstream. It's a shame WSA went under because they had specialized short courses. If the choice is between B75 and TTPor I'd say TTPor is the better choice, because David did compete with LP, and because the instruction is so much more customized to your requirements. Being in a group of 1 to 3 just allows that more than being 1 of 8 students. If your level is seriously high already, like usatt 2200 or above, then B75 becomes more of an option.


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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 00:42 
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I went back to my B75 stuff and found the chopper coach. His name is Peng Gao. Here's a video they shot of him goofing around with another coach after hours.
[youtube]http://youtu.be/RJaxSZwF_eM[/youtube]

It was fun to watch the coaches get to play after training us all day. They are good.

The other coaches in the higher groups besides Peng could definitely feed multiball and organize drills for choppers, despite not being defenders themselves. I saw that happening. In the lower groups (B75 background: 7 groups of 16 players, three coaches to a group, I was in group 6 at usatt 1800) it was harder because the skill level spread could be >400 usatt points. In groups 1-4 there were huge level disparities but all the players had mastered basic essential skills.


Last edited by BRS on 28 Dec 2017, 00:47, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 28 Dec 2017, 00:46 
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BRS wrote:
I went back to my B75 stuff and found the chopper coach. His name is Peng Gao. Here's a video they shot of him goofing around with another coach after hours.


It was fun to watch the coaches get to play after training us all day. They are good.

The other coaches in the higher groups besides Peng could definitely feed multiball and organize drills for choppers, despite not being defenders themselves. I saw that happening. In the lower groups (B75 background: 7 groups of 16 players, three coaches to a group, I was in group 6 at usatt 1800) it was harder because the skill level spread could be >400 usatt points. In groups 1-4 there were huge level disparities but all the players had mastered basic essential skills.


Cool, thanks for the clip (fixed embedding).

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PostPosted: 11 Jan 2018, 19:54 
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Thanks for the review, I'm actually hoping to attend one of the european camps during April/May.
For the TTPor camp, do you know if it is usually busier than that? Do you play mostly with coaches or other players and if with players when is the best time to go to ensure a high standard (I'm not in the US but at a guess I'd be USATT 2200-2300)?
How was getting to Setubal? Did you fly to Lisbon and get a train/taxi?

The other camps I'm looking at are in Hennebont, France and Dusseldorf, Germany. Anyone have any experience of these?


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PostPosted: 13 Jan 2018, 05:59 
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I also trained in Setubal, and recommend it highly.

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