Player Profile – Akbar Ormes
Akbar has been an active member of the POTTC and South Park clubs for many years. Akbar helped found the POTTC, and serves the club as vice-president, treasurer, and head coach. He has become famous locally for his passion for the game, his tireless coaching efforts, and his attention to technical detail. Akbar has watched thousands of hours of table tennis, typically of world class play and Chinese national training. As a player, Akbar incorporates the most modern Chinese play concepts, providing a basis to compete at almost any level.
First, please tell us a little about yourself and life outside of pong? Interests, hobbies?
I am a stay at home dad and loving it. To be honest most of my free time is spent watching and thinking about table tennis.
How did you get in to playing pong?
I started playing in the early 90’s but only played for a year or so. About 4 years ago my son wanted to learn how to play so I took him to the SPTTC. He decided that TT was not for him, and stopped playing about 8 months after he started. I decided to stay with the sport.
How did your interest evolve to such a high level?
It started with a conversation with a fellow club member, Matt Sakaduski, about why the Chinese players are so much better than players from other parts of the world. We decided to try to reverse engineer the way they play and one thing led to another….
How would you describe your playing style?
Two wing attacker/looper. I use the Chinese penhold grip and hit my backhand the same way a shekehands player would.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
My biggest strength is my service game, next would be my backhand drive. Biggest weakness would have to be service return and footwork.
Are there particular players that you like to model?
Wang Hao, Xu Xin, and Ma Lin are the main standards, as they are all penhold players. However with advent of the “RPD” (reverse penhold backhand) the distinction in play style is less apparent.
How would you describe your approach to coaching?
I prefer to have students attain a strong technical foundation with their strokes mechanics and footwork before training the tactical sequences.
What do you see as most lacking in our local players?
Footwork and efficient stroke mechanics.
How could this be remedied?
Lots and lots of multball training with focused attention on the quality of the stroke mechanics, and footwork.
What would you like to see in our area to advance the sport?
A robust youth development program. Also a broad program for seniors as I believe TT to be very beneficial both cognitively and physically for the elderly.
Last, you have been notorious for working on certain aspects of your game during matches. Basically you sacrifice wins for practice at technical aspects. When do you think we will get a chance to see the whole package, and how far can you go?
LOL My best play seems to be at tournaments so that’s where I am more inclined to let it all out. I don’t have enough time to train as much as I would like, so sometimes I treat league matches as practice matches. Unfortunately I have chosen a style of play that relies on being very active, and as I age it becomes more difficult to maintain my style of play. I don’t think that I can get much better than I am now but I am OK with that. I still enjoy playing for those few points that are perfect. If I don’t win every game or match it’s not a big deal to me.