Larry Hodges' Blog and Tip of the Week will normally go up on Mondays by 2:00 PM USA Eastern time. Larry is a member of the U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Fame, a USATT Certified National Coach, a professional coach at the Maryland Table Tennis Center (USA), and author of  nine books and over 2000 articles on table tennis. Here is his bio. (Larry was awarded the USATT Lifetime Achievement Award in July, 2018.)
NOTE - Larry is on the USATT Coaching Committee, but the views he shares in his blog are his own, and do not necessarily represent the views of USA Table Tennis.

Make sure to order your copy of Larry's best-selling book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!
Finally, a tactics book on this most tactical of sports!!!
Also out - Table Tennis TipsMore Table Tennis Tips, and Still More Table Tennis Tips, which cover, in logical progression, his Tips of the Week from 2011-2013, 2014-2016, and 2017-2020, with 150 Tips in each!

Or, for a combination of Tales of our sport and Technique articles, try Table Tennis Tales & Techniques
If you are in the mood for inspirational fiction, The Spirit of Pong is also out - a fantasy story about an American who goes to China to learn the secrets of table tennis, trains with the spirits of past champions, and faces betrayal and great peril as he battles for glory but faces utter defeat. Read the First Two Chapters for free!

Tip of the Week
The Larry Line.

Weekend Coaching
I coached in four group sessions over the weekend, each 90 minutes long. The kids kept asking me, "Where have you been?" since I'd missed the last two weekends since I was down in Santo Domingo (see segment below on Pam Ams). I quizzed them – none knew where Santo Domingo was, and only about one-third knew where the Dominican Republic was. (This was mostly ages 8-12.) Now they all know.

One drill we did in one session was simple – one player served backspin, other player pushed to backhand, server forehand or backhand looped at the receiver's elbow, receiver blocked or counterlooped, and server just caught the ball or grabbed another from a box and repeated. This allowed the server to rapid-fire work on both looping against backspin and attacking the middle, while the other player worked on covering the middle. Many players, when trying to go to the middle, hit the ball so it goes through the middle of the table, but by the time it reaches the opponent, it's on their backhand side. I explained and showed them how, to get at the opponent's middle (midpoint between forehand and backhand, roughly the playing elbow),  when hitting from the backhand side, the ball had to go through the opponent's forehand side so that when it reached the opponent, it would be at their elbow. (This is for righty vs. righty.)

I had an interesting speed-walk situation. While doing the above drill I looked across the room and saw a girl who had looped with her left foot back. (She was a righty.) I did sort of a double-take – I knew she was trained better than that, so I thought it was just a fluke shot. She did it again, and I started walking to her table. She did it a third time, and now I basically speed-walked to the table and pointed out the problem. She wasn't sure where she'd picked up that habit, but went back to doing it properly the rest of the session.

During a multiball session, one kid kept finding chances to practice his backhand serve, but wasn't quite doing it right. So I rearranged the schedule so I could spend a few minutes with him on it. (He was serving too much in front, so not getting the torque you get is you rotate sideways for this serve.) He was fascinated to discover you could do different spins with the same motion – backspin, side-backspin, sidespin, and side-top.

We have one para junior player who uses long pips on his backhand. When we did a backhand pushing drill, the girl he was hitting with had trouble pushing against the no-spin and light topspins that his pips returned when he pushed, and she kept popping them up. At first, I showed her how to chop down on it to keep it low. But then I had a better idea - I had her alternate backhand topspin and backhand push. When she topspinned, she got a backspin ball which she could push; when she pushed, she got a light topspin ball back that she could topspin. This simulated for both of them the type or rallies they might face in a tournament.

US Open Entry Form
Here is the 2022 US Open Home page, with the entry form linked. It will be held Dec. 16-21 in Ontario, California, near LA. I will, of course, be there, both coaching and likely playing some hardbat events. (I normally use sponge, but like to play hardbat events at big tournaments.) As I've done with every US Open and Nationals entry form starting in 1999, USATT sent it to me for proofing, and as usual I found a bunch of things to fix. (I'm one of those weird ones who, while reading a book, will on page 200 suddenly exclaim, "But that contradicts what it said on page 10!") My first US Open was in 1976, the year I started playing. I've been to every US Open and Nationals since 1984, and several before that.

World Table Tennis Team Championships
They are taking place right now in Chengdu, China, Sept. 30 – Oct. 9. Here's the info page where you can find complete results, schedule, news, and video. The USATT News page is doing coverage of Team USA, with one article up so far, USA Begins World Teams with Victories over Thailand and Canada. (Also see articles on Worlds in segment below from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly.)

Pan Am Under 11 & Under 13 Championships
Below are links to the articles on the Pan Ams by myself and Lifeng Yu. I linked to the Teams articles last week, but the Singles and Doubles articles are new. I was down in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from Sept. 15-25 as one of the USA Team coaches.

Review of Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers
Here's the review by Samson Dubina. "Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is one of the best table tennis books that I have ever read. I feel that players of all levels can benefit from the details of serve tactics, receive tactics, rallying tactics, doubles tactics, and tactics against various grips, rubbers, and styles."

Best Table Tennis Blogs You Should Know is #2 in the World!!! From PingSunday/EmRatThich

First Galactic Table Tennis Championship
It has come to my attention that not everyone has bought a copy of First Galactic Table Tennis Championships, which came out a few weeks ago. What's wrong with you??? C'mon, it's like $5 for a print copy, the minimum Amazon would let me charge for it. It takes place about 100 years from now, and table tennis has spread to the galaxy – and the title pretty much tells you what it’s about. Yes, the aliens are coming! (To Beijing, to be specific, where the Championships will be held.) I had a lot of fun imagining various alien TT players, including the Ith, who are like giraffes but with arms just under their head, so instead of moving to the ball, they just move their heads on their long necks. Here’s the back cover description:

Li Yi is a member of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team and the best woman in the world. She has trained long hours since she was a child. But now she faces her biggest challenge – aliens! Table tennis has spread to the galaxy and alien players now dominate the sport. The best are the giraffe-like Ith, with their dominating champion Egrayu.

But Earth isn't part of it, not since the cowboy Americans colonized a moon in the Ith home system, which led to a blockade of Earth. The Chinese hope to reopen trade with the galaxy by using "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" – by running the first Galactic Table Tennis Championships in Beijing. Li, her teammates, and the American champion Danny See – a literal cowboy –  play aliens of all shapes and sizes, including the seemingly unbeatable Egrayu, as they battle for the biggest cash prize in table tennis history. But Li is drawn into a corrupt conspiracy that will shake the very foundations of honor and sportsmanship. Plus, there's that problem with the Chinese dumplings…

New from Samson Dubina

How to Backhand Loop
Here's the tutorial (37:02) from Seth Pech.

New from Ti Long

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

How Do You Come Back from a Tough Loss?
Here's the article by Lily Zhang.

The Surprising Power of a No-Spin Serve
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

How to Win the Serve | Trick to know where the umpire has the ball 
Here's the video (1:52) from Pingispagarna.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from TacoBackhand

Personality Traits and Motives in Table Tennis Players
Here's the scholarly article from Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI). "This study aims to investigate table tennis players’ personality traits and motives in the frame of the Big Five personality model and the self-determination theory (SDT) of motivation. A total of 447 Italian table tennis players ranging in level of play between the regional and international levels participated in the study."

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

Seven Days at the 2022 U19 Pan Ams
Here's the article by Sally Moyland.

Butterfly San Antonio Fall Open Results And Tournament Report
Here's the article by Vlad Farcas.

New from USA Table Tennis

New from the ITTF

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here.

Roger Federer Warm-ups with Ping Pong Dressed as James Bond for Laver Cup
Here's the article and video from Tennis World USA! Yes, he has a forehand, and did you see the backhand at the end? And yes, his opponent is faking Rafael Nadal groaning as he hits! (Here's a related story, Why we should all follow Roger Federer’s ping pong lead, from

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 11 Table Tennis Match
Here's the video (5:50) from PingSkills! (With Panda bear officiating.)

Who Needs a Net?
Here's the video (6 sec but repeats)!

Return My Serve, Win £100 [London]
Here's the video (10:09) from Pongfinity!

Pong with Anything
Here's the video (25 sec) as two use whatever's available in the basement as rackets!

Tiny Tennis Players on Ping Pong Table
Here's the cartoon!

T-Rex Hates Table Tennis T-Shirt, Button, Sticker, Coffee Cup, Mask
Here they are!

The Man The Myth The Ping Pong Legend T-Shirt
Here it is!

SF & Fantasy Stories
I've had a flurry of stories coming out in the world of science fiction and fantasy, my sideline outside table tennis. A common question I get is, "How much do you pay to get them published?" It's the other way around – magazines pay me to publish my stories, with fees ranging from $50 to $500 for a story. (And note the ping-pong ball mention in "Christmas Interrupted"!)

  • "Packing List for the Invasion" came out last week in Daily Science Fiction. The story is literally told through an alien's packing list for the invasion . . . of Earth. (I had another story there on Sept. 9, "Soul Testing in Major League Baseball.")
  • "Christmas Interrupted" in the Christmas Gothic Short Stories anthology. It's thousands or millions of years in the future and humankind is extinct, but Santa, suffering from Alzheimer's, is still trying to deliver presents to children every year, to the extreme annoyance of his aging elves. A darkly comic story, with a surprise ending that many will find touching. A ping-pong ball has a major impact on the story!
  • "Rationalized" in the Compelling Science Fiction anthology. A dystopian society requires everyone to have an operation when they turn 13 to remove the parts of the brain responsible for emotion. An underground that avoided the operation fights back - and their leader faces an impossible decision. Probably the best tear-jerker I've ever written.
  • I have several more coming out this Fall, including "The Vampire on the Tesseract Wall," coming Oct. 11 from Dark Matter Magazine. What happens when 4-D being collects 3-D beings as a hobby – and mistakenly captures a powerful vampire? It's a mashup of SF and dark fantasy.
  • And, of course, there's First Galactic Table Tennis Championships, my SF novelette – see segment above! (If you want something a little longer, try The Spirit of Pong, my fantasy table tennis novel.)

Send us your own coaching news!

Tips of the Week

Pan Am Under 11 & Under 13 Championships and a Short Blog
I just returned from ten days in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where I was one of the USA Team coaches for the Pan Am Under 11 & Under 13 Championships, along with Qi Wei, Wu "Jennifer" Yue, Xinhue "Taylor" Wang, Cheng Yinghua, and Thilina Piyadasa. We won 9 of the 16 golds, plus 7 silvers and 4 bronze! (Here's a team picture.) I coached both Under 11 (Hopes) and Under 13 boys (Mini-Cadets), with four players in each, but was in charge of Under 11 boys. The Under 11 Boys' Squad (Kyler Chen, Jason Liu, Caillou Chen, and Arjun Kumar) won gold and bronze in Boys' Teams (the two teams had to play each other in the semis or it might have been an all-USA final), gold in Boys' Doubles, Gold in Mixed Doubles, and silver and bronze in Boys' Singles. See below for my more extensive writeups.

The current human population on this planet is about 7.8 billion, and all but one of them messaged me during the ten days I was away, asking if I could do something for them. What, you weren't one of them? Then you are the only one who didn't. (I was also messaged for help by a number of chimpanzees, gorillas, blue whales, dolphins, giant squid, and a grey parrot from Uganda with questions on proper forewing technique.)

Because of this rather long todo list, this will be a short blog. However, I've got two lengthy articles on the USATT news page about the USA Boys' Teams in Santo Domingo, with two more coming in the next day on singles and doubles play. (LiFeng Yu has two articles on Girls' Teams, with another coming on singles and doubles.) Here are those articles – make sure to check back tomorrow when the rest should go up.

Brian Pace GoFundMe – On the Road to Recovery
Coach and former championship player Brian Pace was recently in a terrible bicycle accident. If you'd like to help, here is the GoFundMe page, which has so far raised about $39,000, with a $100,000 goal. Any help would be appreciated. (See Brian's updates.) How did it happen?

Brian was on his weekly 5 am training ride where he had the right of way at an intersection. A work van took a left turn in front of Brian, striking him on his left side and knocking him down an incline where he was only stopped by hitting a cluster of trees. His bike lay close to him with his shoes still clipped into the pedals

The driver of the van attempted to help Brian but could not due to Brian's injuries. The fire and rescue teams were first on the scene, followed by the paramedics and police. They worked to remove his helmet, placed him on the gurney, and finally got him into the ambulance to be transported to Wake Med Trauma Center.

Injury Assessment
Brian's x-rays revealed extensive injuries: 1) Multiple fractures and dislocation of the hip socket and pelvis, 2) Multiple left rib fractures, 3) Broken Left Arm, 4) Broken Right Knee, 5) 5" laceration on the left hand, and 6) 4" laceration on left knee

Here are some other pages you might check out.

Bounce the Ball, Win $1000
Here's the video (10:48) from Pongfinity! They challenged about 30 players to bounce the ball on their paddles as long as they could, with whoever went longest winning $1000! As someone commented on the video, this is more of a mental exercise. Toward the end, they began to do things to distract them or raise the difficulty level, such as having to lift one leg. (Otherwise, a good player could do this essentially forever, until they lost their focus or their arm got too tired.)

Send us your own coaching news!

Next Blog
Next blog will be Monday, Sept. 26. I’m out of town Sept. 15-25 coaching US junior team in Santo Domingo (see segment below).

Tip of the Week
Consistency is King.

First Galactic Table Tennis Championship
It’s finally here! No, not the actual first galactic table tennis championship, but my new novelette, “First Galactic Table Tennis Championships”! It’s in both print and kindle formats. It’s about 10,000 words, about 40 pages double spaced. It takes place about 100 years from now, and table tennis has spread to the galaxy – and the title pretty much tells you what it’s about. Yes, the aliens are coming! (To Beijing, to be specific, where the Championships will be held. Only Open Singles, no women’s events.) Cost is only $5 for a print copy within 1-2 days, or $3 for kindle. (Gee, I wonder who “Danny See” is named after?) I had a lot of fun imagining various alien TT players, including the Ith, who are like giraffes but with arms just under their head, so instead of moving to the ball, they just move their heads on their long necks! It’s a huge advantage. Here’s the back cover description:

Li Yi is a member of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team and the best woman in the world. She has trained long hours since she was a child. But now she faces her biggest challenge – aliens! Table tennis has spread to the galaxy and alien players now dominate the sport. The best are the giraffe-like Ith, with their dominating champion Egrayu.

But Earth isn't part of it, not since the cowboy Americans colonized a moon in the Ith home system, which led to a blockade of Earth. The Chinese hope to reopen trade with the galaxy by using "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" – by running the first Galactic Table Tennis Championships in Beijing. Li, her teammates, and the American champion Danny See – a literal cowboy –  play aliens of all shapes and sizes, including the seemingly unbeatable Egrayu, as they battle for the biggest cash prize in table tennis history. But Li is drawn into a corrupt conspiracy that will shake the very foundations of honor and sportsmanship. Plus, there's that problem with the Chinese dumplings…

Regarding the thing about the Chinese dumplings, this is a takeoff on an actual experience I had many years ago, except it was cheeseburgers – here's the story on that. Many of the incidents that take place in the story are taken from my own playing and coaching career.

ITTF Pan Am Under 11 & Under 13 Championships in Santo Domingo
I’ll be in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Sept. 15-25, as one of the coaches of the US Junior Teams at the ITTF Pan Am Under 11 & Under 13 Championships. The other coaches are Wei Qi, Wu Yue, Xinyue “Taylor” Wang, Thilina Piyadasa, and Cheng Yinghua (team leader). In the team competition, I’ll be coaching the Under 11 Boys’ Team. Once they get to singles and doubles, they usually have a number of them play at the same time, so coaches coach others from outside the team we’re in charge of. I have extensive notes on many of our opponents from competitions this past year in Ecuador, Jordan, and more recently in Austria in May, which I’ll share with the other coaches when we play them. US Head Coach Gao Jun has been working with us in preparing for the event, including two Zoom meetings (one last night). Here’s the complete team listing:

  • Under 13 Boys (Coach Wei Qi): Ryan Lin (2200), Winston Wu (2181), Kef Noorani (2092), Dhruv Chopra (2105)
  • Under 13 Girls (Coach Wu Yue): Amina Batkhuyag (2231), Aria Shi (2106), Genelia William (2034), Mandy Yu (2072)
  • Under 11 Boys (Coach Larry Hodges): Kyler Chen (2045), Jason Liu (1970), Caillou Chen (1929), Arjun Kumar (1981)
  • Under 11 Girls (Coach Xinyue "Taylor" Wang): Sophia Chen (1886), Abigail Yu (1886), Tiana Piyadasa (1919), Irene Yeoh (1897)
  • Team Leader: Cheng Yinghua. Volunteer Coach: Thilina Piyadasa

MDTTC Open and Weekend Coaching
Here are the results of the MDTTC Open. Coach Wang Qingliang now runs these – I retired from running tournaments in 2019 after running 203 USATT tournament. Alas, he had to go somewhere Sunday night, so I ran it the last four hours. Just when I think I’m out . . . they pull me back in. They also had a computer problem and so had to run the entire tournament off my laptop. Meanwhile, due to the tournament we only had one junior group session, for the Novice class. Lots of multiball!

New from Samson Dubina

New from EmRatThich/PingSunday

New from Taco Backhand

Worried About Winning or Losing? Set Yourself a Different Goal
Here’s the article from Tom Lodziak.

Ti Long Guides and Corrects Forehand Push Technical Errors for Swedish Students
Here’s the video (15:19). Most of it has English subtitles, and some is in English.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from USA Table Tennis

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

North Carolina Table Tennis Hall of Fame
Here’s the video (6:37) of Ty Hoff’s induction into the North Carolina Table Tennis Hall of Fame. Ty and I won hardbat doubles at the US Open or US Nationals eight times! Here’s the complete list of the 2022 inductees. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.) Here’s the news item on the inaugural 2021 inductees. (I don't have a video of the whole ceremony.) 

My Experience At The U13 US Team Trials
Here’s the article by Kef Noorani

New from ITTF

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here.

Truls Moregardh vs Elias Ranefur | FINAL | Sweden Tour Masters 2022
Here’s the video (6:44).

Rules in Para Table Tennis
Here’s the video (4:52). It’s in Swedish, but with English subtitles. With Swedish national para team players David Olsson and Peter Molander.

25 Table Tennis Cartoons from Cartoonstock
Here they are!

Never Underestimate an Old Man Who Plays Ping Pong
If the heading fits, this is the shirt for you! I can’t find one for “Woman,” but here’s Never Underestimate a Girl Who Plays Table Tennis. And how about Never Underestimate an Old Man Who Plays With Long Pips?

The Point Isn’t Over Until the Point Is Over
Here’s the video (16 sec) - watch that last shot and the premature celebration!

Win 1 Point, Win $100
Here’s the video (15:14) as Adam Bobrow once again entertains while promoting table tennis – and giving away hordes of money!

Non-Table Tennis - Soul Testing in Major League Baseball
My story "Soul Testing in Major League Baseball" came out last Friday at Daily Science Fiction! It's a satire on drug testing and the steroids scandal in baseball. Forget steroids - what happens when major league baseball players illegally sell their souls to Satan to become stars? Finding ways to test for souls leads to an ever-escalating battle between players and Major League Baseball. If you like it, don't forget to rate it! (Come to think of this, is this really non-table tennis? There was at least one case of a suspension in table tennis due to steroids usage, so who knows how many others have sold their souls to the Satan in return for power loops and footwork?)

Send us your own coaching news!

Tip of the Week
The Simplicity of Tactics.

Weekend Coaching
I coached in four group junior sessions this weekend, one on Saturday, three on Sunday, all 90 minutes. (We have 65 kids in our junior program, divided into four groups by level. Most meeting twice a week for 90 minutes, while the strongest group meets three times a week for two hours, plus smaller sessions after school.) Other coaches in the sessions included Wang Qingliang, Lidney Castro, and Vikash Sahu, with Cheng Yinghua and Jack Huang doing private sessions separately.

I was a practice partner for one of the sessions, where the players rotated around so I blocked for them while they did footwork drills. The kids really improve this way. For some reason, I felt energized the whole session – perhaps after seven days in Texas, 17 in Mexico, and the day before in Chicago (see segment at end), I was craving TT?

Using this newfound energy, I was all over the place in another session as a "walk around" coach, jumping on the kids (not literally) to have active feet, to control their placements, to focus on consistency, and so on.

Especially at the higher levels, I'm a strong advocate of doing drills that allow you to zero in on and practice specific techniques and rallies that you use in an actual match. I discussed this with two of the coaches, with some suggestions on specific players and drills. I noticed that one of our top junior players tends to dominate in one type of rally that he often gets into, but that he may not be doing enough drills that allow him to practice this specific strength. In his last few tournaments he hasn't dominated as well in these rallies as he has in the past – hopefully we can focus on that so that he can continue to dominate with it, and at even higher levels.

One of our top juniors said his arm was bothering him, and will probably take a few days off at least. When this happens, you have to figure out of it's serious or not and whether he should see a doctor; make sure the player doesn't do anything to aggravate the problem; and figure out the source of the problem – a technique problem, overuse, or a fluke injury from some mishap, either in table tennis or out.

During a break in one group, I nonchalantly did my "blowing the ball" trick. Here's video of the trick, from an interview I did in 2020 with Kevin Nguyen. (The link should take you to 38:45.) Notice that I'm not just blowing the ball up, but I'm blowing it sideways - and somehow, magically, it just floats in mid-air! Immediately I was surrounded by kids demanding to know how I did it. Alas, we were in a table tennis session, not a blow-ping-pong-balls session, and the other coaches were already looking at me with "What are you doing?" looks. So I told them if they wanted to learn, we could do it after class. At the end of the session, they all ran over – and so we had a 15-minute session where I taught the trick and they practiced it! (Due to Covid, I hadn't been doing this trick for a while, so it was new to a lot of them. I used to do it all the time.) The parent love how I explain the physics of how I blow the ball sideways by spinning the ball – it's the same principle that makes a topspin ball drop, a sidespin curve sideways, and a backspin float. Since so many people ask me how to do this, I've decided to write it up as a Tip of the Week!

First Galactic Table Tennis Championships
My new novelette (basically a short novel) will be out next week! It combines my two worlds of table tennis and science fiction. I'll give the link in my blog next Monday. Below is the back cover text that explains the story. Regarding the thing about the Chinese dumplings, this is a takeoff on an actual experience I had many years ago, except it was cheeseburgers – here's the story on that. And here's the cover!
=>BREAKING NEWS - First Galactic Table Tennis Championships is on sale now at Amazon, paperback or kindle!

Li Yi is a member of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team and the best woman in the world. She has trained long hours since she was a child. But now she faces her biggest challenge – aliens! Table tennis has spread to the galaxy and alien players now dominate the sport. The best are the giraffe-like Ith, with their dominating champion Egrayu.

But Earth isn't part of it, not since the cowboy Americans colonized a moon in the Ith home system, which led to a blockade of Earth. The Chinese hope to reopen trade with the galaxy by using "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" – by running the first Galactic Table Tennis Championships in Beijing. Li, her teammates, and the American champion Danny See – a literal cowboy –  play aliens of all shapes and sizes, including the seemingly unbeatable Egrayu, as they battle for the biggest cash prize in table tennis history. But Li is drawn into a corrupt conspiracy that will shake the very foundations of honor and sportsmanship. Plus, there's that problem with the Chinese dumplings…

JOOLA Global Championship
They were held this past weekend in Orlando, FL. Here are the results (go to dropdown menu at top and choose "2022 JOOLA Global Championship").

USATT Board Meeting on Tuesday
They will have a Zoom meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 8PM eastern time. Here's the USATT Agenda and Notices page, with a link to the agenda and how you can join in. USATT members are welcome to attend, though they cannot speak without permission of the chair. (They used to have the standard Zoom comments section for anyone, but they didn't like the comments there and so no longer allow that.) Here's the current agenda, subject to change:

  • US Performance Center (Ike Belk)
  • Report of the Chief Executive Officer
  • Audit Committee Report
  • Next Board Meeting Set for December 5, 2022
  • Executive Session

New from Samson Dubina

Butterfly Training Tips

USA Nationals Men's R16 + How to Backhand Flip After Serve Tutorial
Here's the video (12:43) from Seth Pech. "Seth Pech vs Dan Liu Men's R16 2022 USA Nationals Texas" – Seth gives another great tactical analysis.

New from Ti Long

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.


New from Steve Hopkins


Taco Backhand

New from Table Tennis Central

Awesome Table Tennis Short Videos
Here's their video page.

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here.

Puerto Rico- Third Place Global In The 2022 ITTF Pan American Cadet Championships U15
Here's the article by Edgardo Vázquez.

"Fear My Racket" Table Tennis Shirt
Here it is!

Sitting Down on the Lob
Here's the video (40 sec), also with other trick shots!

Saturday Evening Post Table Tennis Cartoons
Here they are!

Non-Table Tennis - World Science Fiction Convention
I flew up to Chicago on Friday morning, returning late that night, for the World Science Fiction Convention. It was primarily a "business" trip where I met with three publishers. One of them is reprinting my science fiction novel "Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions" (which had gone out of print at the previous publisher, and has multiple table tennis scenes) – I'm hoping this publisher will promote it like crazy!!! (They also did a lot of proofing of it, and I will be spending a number of hours this week going over the edits.) I met with two others about upcoming short stories, and I've been commissioned to write one, a sequel to a previous published story, "Nanogod," which was published last year in Dark Matter Magazine. I also discussed with one a possible satirical political book I might write – let's just say Trump fans won't approve. :) August was a good month for my SF writing career - I sold three stories and two others are "finalists." 

Send us your own coaching news!

Tips of the Week
Here are the Tips I put up during my 24 days in Texas and Mexico, plus this week's.

Texas and Mexico
I returned Sunday night from a week in Texas and 17 days in Mexico. (Yeah, I'm exhausted – I've been walking seemingly non-stop the last three weeks.) Here's a short rundown.

The week in Texas could be divided into three parts. I was in Missouri City, TX (just outside Houston) from Aug. 4-7 for the 2022 Classic Hardbat World Championships – see segment below with my ten articles. I spent Monday, Aug. 8 touring Houston, with a tour of Space Center Houston the highlight. I spent Aug. 9-11 in San Antonio, touring The Alamo, the Riverwalk, the San Antonio Zoo, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (I've now been to four of them, in San Antonio, New York City, Santa Monica, CA, and Galveston, TX.) As always, I buy souvenir magnets when I sightsee – here's the six from Texas.

On Aug. 11, I flew to Mexico City for a 17-day tour. Fifteen were as part of the Mexico Unplugged guided tour with superguide Mark Bobich. I could write a book on that trip, like I did in 2019 – see Larry's Adventures in Europe and Egypt: Seven Weeks Following Tour Guides with Little Flags and Funny Hats, and the Quest for the Elusive Dr Pepper. Instead, I was inspired to write a new science fiction story that involves a time traveler going back to 1519 to stop Hernán Cortés and the Spaniards from conquering the Aztecs. (On a side note, I sold three more science fiction stories while I was away. The stories are called "You Are President, Madam President"; "The Whaler and the Whale"; and "War Around the Clock." The last one's title can have two literal meanings – and both describe the story.)

During those fifteen days we toured the sights of Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Cristobel de Las Casas, Palenque, Merida, Chichen Itza, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun. I saw lots of archeological sites (i.e. ruins) of Aztecs, Mayans, and others. (Note that their descendants are alive and well, and still speaking their languages!) Some of the best were the ruins of Chichen Itza, Mayan ruins from roughly 600-1200 AD – though much of it was in pretty good shape. I also spent a lot of time just walking about these cities, exploring. I ate lots of Mexican food – alas, I came down with food poisoning of some sort and spent one day rather sick, and after that ate mostly "American" food. I've now been to 21 countries, all 50 US states, and 10 of the 32 Mexican states. Here's the 19 souvenir magnets I picked up in Mexico.

As always when I'm out of town for a time, my todo list is longer than an unexpedited match between two passive  and extremely patient choppers. I've got seven requests for letters of recommendation, a zillion emails with various questions and requests, plus I've got to watch videos of a number of our top junior players and other preparations for coaching at the upcoming 2022 ITTF Pan American U11 & U13 Championships (Sept. 17-24 in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic). I've also got to prepare for a one-day trip to Chicago this Friday for the World Science Ficton Convention, where I'm meeting with publishers. Plus four group sessions I'll be doing this weekend at MDTTC. 

Meanwhile, I'm currently involved in various stages of six (6!) different books - you might say I'm "booked" for the forseeable future. They are:

    • First Galactic Table Tennis Championships (a novelette that I'm self-publishing)
    • Yet Still More Table Tennis Tips (fourth in the series, likely coming out this fall, see first three here)
    • Yet Still More Pings and Pongs (fourth in the series, likely coming out this fall, see first three here)
    • Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions (it's being republished by Arc Manor Publishers, with some changes, including a new cover – and it has a number of table tennis scenes!)
    • Campaign 2110 (the sequel to the above)
    • I Can Do Anything (political humor book I've outlined and started writing)

2022 Classic Hardbat World Championships
The event took place Aug. 6-7 in Missouri City, TX, just outside Houston. I won bronze in Over 60 Men's Singles! But I was mostly there to do coverage. Here are the ten articles I wrote.

2022 ITTF Pan American Cadet Championships (U15)
Here's the ITTF home page with complete results. The event took place Aug. 23-28 in Cuenca, Ecuador. USA swept everything! Here's video coverage from Jimmy Butler (3:31). Here are articles:

=>USATT articles by Joshua Dyke:

=>Butterfly articles by Steve Hopkins:

Sally Moyland GoFundMe Page for Worlds
Here's the page. "Sally is currently the Number 5 player on the 2022 national team, she has been told that she must be self-funded if she wishes to attend the Worlds Team Championships. She needs 7000 dollars for the trip to China." How good is 15-year-old Sally? At the Nationals in July, Sally made the final of Women's Singles, won Under 15 Girls' Singles and Doubles, Under 19 Mixed Doubles, and made the semifinals of Under 21 and Under 19 Girls' Singles.

European Championships
Here's the home page with results for the event held Aug. 13-21 in Munich, GER.

I'm a Longevity Doctor, and I Always Recommend This Game for a Longer, Healthier Life
Here's the article from Well and Good. "Volleying a ping-pong ball back and forth may not seem like much of a sport. After all, it usually doesn’t require any real athletic prowess, excepting the occasional lunge after a rogue hit. But when you delve into the mechanics of the activity, there’s far more than meets the eye (or hand). As you step from side to side, strategize your next shot, and reach to hit the ball, a whole bunch of systems fire in the brain and body, making regular table tennis sessions a secret boon for longevity."

Table Tennis Older Prevents Dementia, Let’s Play Ping Pong
Here's the article from Nation World News.

"Hard Work Beats Talent:" Meet the 20-year-old Orthodox table tennis phenom battling discrimination and aiming for the Olympics
Here's the article from, featuring Estee Ackerman.

How Nigerian Paddler Quadri Aruna is Reinventing Table Tennis for a Whole Continent
Here's the article from

'We Are Faster In Observing Things Than Chinese'- G Sathiyan Reveals How Indian TT Can Reach New Heights
Here's the article from Cricket Country.

News from All Over
Since I've been away for about a month, rather than try to list every interesting article, I'll just link to some of the main news and coaching pages, and you can pick and choose.

Smurf Pong
Here's the cartoon! (Translation: "Game, set and match.")  

Win 1 POINT, Win $10 (Beat Me, Win $100)
Here's the video (14:23) from Adam Bobrow! Here's another (12:29), Beat Me, Win $100 (Sunset Edition)

Send us your own coaching news!

I got back last night from seven days in Texas and seventeen in Mexico. My todo list makes the shark from Jaws look like a minnow and I'm a week behind on sleep. So I'm going to postpone this week's blog until tomorrow, Tuesday Aug. 30. Meanwhile, this week's Tip of the Week is up, along with the three I put up while I was away. Enjoy!

Next Blog on August 29
As noted below, I'll be out of town Aug. 4-28. However, there will still be a Tip of the Week every Monday. See segment "Houston, San Antonio, Mexico."

=>UPDATE - Here are the nine articles I wrote at the Classic Hardbat World Championships, Aug. 6-7 In Missouri, TX, just outside Houston.

Tips of the Week

World Classic Hardbat Championships
They will be this weekend in Missouri City, TX, just outside Houston. Here's the player listing by event – it's pretty strong! Here's my article on the USATT News Page. (This is an update of the one published by Butterfly a month ago.) I'm only playing one event – Over 60 Hardbat – and will be there primarily doing coverage. I expect to write up a storm!

Quick note to those in the Over 60 Event – you have no chance against my absolutely unstoppable forehand. Give up now. Your only chance is if you find my weak backhand. (Shhh – keep that a secret. I don't want others in the event to know.) There's a history behind this. In sponge (which is what I primarily play and coach), I developed a forehand-dominant style, with just a consistent backhand. With sponge, I could just rebound the ball back, over and over. But I can't do that with hardbat, where you have to stroke the ball more – and so my backhand isn't so good. Good thing that, at 62, I still move like a [really old and broken down] cheetah!

There was some controversy regarding this event and USATT, which initially wouldn't put the article up on their news page. However, after twelve days, it's been resolved, and USATT is going to post the updated article on their news page tonight. I'll link to it when it goes up. (I wrote a long article on this topic for today, but since it's been resolved, I decided not to post it.)

Houston, San Antonio, Mexico - Sightseeing!
I leave this Thursday for a 24-day odyssey through Texas and Mexico, Aug. 4-28. Here's my schedule:

  • Aug. 4-7: Missouri City, Texas (just outside Houston) for the World Hardbat Championships. (See segment above.)
  • Aug. 8: Sightseeing in Houston, in particular the NASA Space Center, and possibly the Houston Zoo or the Museum of Natural Science.
  • Aug. 9-10: Sightseeing in San Antonio, in particular The Alamo and the San Antonio River Walk, and likely the Historic Market Square, San Antonio Zoo & Aquarium, and perhaps the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park & Mission Trail. (I'm told I actually visited The Alamo once – but was one or two years old at the time, and somehow can't remember it!)
  • Aug. 11-28: Guided Tour of Mexico. The tour itself is Aug. 13-27, but I'm going down a couple days early on my own. The tour focuses on historical sites, including Aztec ruins, and so on. Place we'll visit include Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque, Merida, Chichen Itza, and Playa del Carmen.

2022 US Open Table Tennis Championships
Here's the USATT news item – they will be held in Ontario, CA (just outside Los Angeles, not Canada), Dec. 16-21, 2022. I will be there and so should you! It'll be the seventh time we've had a US Open in the Greater Los Angeles Area. I attended the 1994 and 1995 US Opens in Anaheim and did major writeups of the events for USA Table Tennis Magazine (I was editor) – in fact, I've been to every US Open and US Nationals from 1984 to present. My first Open was the 1976 US Open in Philadelphia. (I started playing early that year.) Alas, I missed the 1977 US Open in Hollywood.

The article says, "This will mark the first time in the 91 years of playing the US Open that USATT has hosted a major event in this Southern California inland region." This is a little bit misleading, though presumably they are referring to strictly the inland region east of LA. Below is a listing of past Opens in the LA region. Your best source for such info (including results of every US Open and Nationals in our history) is US Table Tennis Results History, created and maintained by Vince Mioduszewski.

  • 1959 US Open, Inglewood, CA, 18 miles from LA.
  • 1964 US Open, Inglewood, CA, 18 miles from LA.
  • 1977 US Open, Hollywood, CA, 7 miles from LA.
  • 1994 US Open, Anaheim, 28 miles from LA.
  • 1995 US Open, Anaheim, 28 miles from LA.
  • 2022 US Open, Ontario, CA, 35 miles from LA.

Maccabiah Games – Table Tennis

News from All Over
Since I've been away two weeks, rather than try to list every interesting article, for this blog I'll just link to some of the main news and coaching pages, and you can pick and choose.

Fan Zhendong Moments of Magic
Here's the video (9:19) from Table Tennis Central.

Tomokazu Harimoto vs Lin Gaoyuan | MS | WTT Champions European Summer Series 2022 (Final)
Here's the video (14:05).

China and Table Tennis: Inception of a Sport Juggernaut
Here's the video (12:26), from Feb. 2021. I found this video fascinating as it covers the rise of Chinese table tennis and the Cultural Revolution's negative effect on it – leading to multiple suicides. My table tennis fantasy novel The Spirit of Pong has a chapter that's sort of a flashback during the Chinese Cultural Revolution for Rong Guotuan, China's first table tennis champion, who is featured in the video.

The Kids of Austin Table Tennis Club
Here's the video (2:09) from KVUE.

Rwandan Man Chases Career in Table Tennis
Here's the article from the English News. "Didier Nzosaba, one of Rwanda's best table tennis players, is using his success to inspire more people to develop a career in the game."

Carlos Alcaraz Tries Table Tennis Amid Dominant Hamburg Campaign
Here's the article and pictures. Alcaraz is world #4 in tennis at age 19.

Commonwealth Games 2022: Tin-Tin Ho on Tackling an Eating Disorder and Sporting Stress
Here's the article from the BBC.

Little Tokyo Table Tennis Unites the Young, the Old, the Fashionistas
Here's the article from KCRW.

Clayton Kershaw To Host Annual Ping Pong 4 Purpose
Here's the article from Sports Illustrated.

Ping-Pong Hats
I bet you didn't know Amazon had so many!

Lots of Table Tennis Cartoons – in French
Here they are!

How Panda Trains for the World Championship
Here's the video (2:04)!

This Serve Can't Be Returned
Here's the video (8:31) from Pongfinity!

Mostly Non-Table Tennis
Here's my new blog on my latest science fiction & fantasy happenings, with some table tennis included. I'm always split between my TT and SF worlds!

Send us your own coaching news!

=>NOTE – Next blog will be on Monday, Aug. 1. See segment below on "Upcoming Schedule."

Tip of the Week
Contact Point on Racket When Serving.

Strategic Versus Tactical Thinking
[I was going to write about this – and then I realized I could just copy and paste from my book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers. Here are all my books – buy a few so I can afford supper!]

What’s the difference? Strategic thinking is how you develop your game. Tactical thinking is how you use what you already have to win. Strategic thinking is long-term planning while tactical thinking is short-term, usually confined to a specific match. (These are the general definitions, and they are what I will use in this book though they are not universal.)

For example, a strategic thinker with a good loop might think about what types of serves will set up his loop, and develop those serves in practice sessions. A tactical thinker might think about what serves he should use to set up his loop in a match against a given opponent. Strategic thinking takes place during the developmental stage of your game—which never ends as long as you are still practicing. Tactical thinking takes place while preparing for and playing a specific match.

Suppose you have a weak forehand attack against backspin. When an opponent pushes heavy to your forehand, you have to tactically choose whether to use your weak forehand attack (perhaps using good ball placement to make up for the weakness of the attack), or whether to just push it back. Tactically, these may be your only options. Strategically, you should note this weakness in your game and go practice your forehand attack against backspin so next time you aren’t so limited tactically.

It is the strategic thinking that leads to developing the tools needed for tactical play. But it works both ways—it is tactical thinking that makes you aware of what parts of your game need development, which leads to strategic thinking. Call it the Circle Of Strategy & Tactics, or COST.

Many years ago there were two juniors at my club. Both started out together, and by age twelve were getting pretty good. One mostly won by pushing and blocking, a winning tactic, while the other mostly attacked, using tactics to allow himself to do so. When they played in tournaments, the pusher/blocker won over and over. Then one tournament match the pusher/blocker tried to win by attacking, and lost. After the match his father yelled at him, and over the next year his father made him play tactically, both in practice and tournaments, relying on his pushing and blocking to win. The other junior continued to attack, even though he kept losing to the pusher/blocker. Then, predictably, about a year later the attacker began winning, and soon his level was much higher. This was a classic case of strategic thinking (the attacker) versus tactical thinking (the pusher/blocker). You need both.

There are also countless cases of strategic thinkers who never learn to play tactically, and so never win at the level they should win. You need to learn both strategic and tactical thinking. It’s a balance. From a mental and tactical standpoint, you should develop the mindset that you should win, and expect to win, against players at your level, and even those above. Playing matches strategically too often (and thereby not thinking tactically) may affect this winning mindset. So find a balance.

As you read these pages, think about how each topic relates to your own game—which is both tactical and strategic thinking.

My Upcoming Schedule
I'm going to be hyper-busy the rest of the summer, including a lot of travel. There will be a Tip of the Week every Monday – I've written them in advance – but no blog on July 25, and then, after doing one on Aug. 1, no more until Aug. 29. During that time I'll be traveling in Texas and Mexico – see schedule below. This Friday I'll be in a nine-day science fiction writing workshop. Do not even DREAM of asking me to do anything during that time – the workshop is all day, every day, and most nights. Here's my upcoming schedule. (Yes, my world is split between table tennis and science fiction.)

  • July 22-30 - Attending "The Never-Ending Odyssey" Science Fiction Writing Workshop, as I do every year. This is for graduates of the Odyssey Science Fiction Writing Workshop, a six-week workshop I attended in 2006. This will be my 13th TNEO, including the last ten in a row. (In the link above, you can see me in the picture, back row, third from left.) It used to be in person, in Saint Anselm, NH, but it is now online on Zoom. (Here's my Science Fiction Writing Page and Bibliography.)
  • Aug. 5-7 - Playing and doing coverage of the World Hardbat Championships in Houston.
  • Aug. 8-11 – Touring Houston (NASA Johnson Space Center and Space Center Flight) and San Antonio (Alamo, River Walk).
  • Aug. 13-27 – Guided tour of Mexico. The tour focuses on historical sites, including Aztec, Zapotec, Maya and Spanish cultures, with sightseeing in Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque, Merida, Chichen Itza, Playa del Carmen. (Link above gives detailed listing of trip. Feel free to join me!) It'll be my second time in Mexico - the last one was circa 1990 when I coached the US junior team in a tournament there.
  • Sept. 1-4 - Tentatively coaching at the Global Championships in Orlando, then a day or two at Disneyworld. (No plans made yet, however.) 

Two Upcoming Major Events You Should Attend

Maccabiah Games – Table Tennis
They are taking place in Israel right now. Here are some links.

Butterfly Training Tips

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich
He's been Busy! (See comment on first item under "VIDEO.")



New from Samson Dubina

New from Ti Long

New from Taco Backhand

New from Drupe Pong

Lower Body Circuit; Coordination and Agility
Here's the video (64 sec) from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Table Tennis Central
They have 20 new videos this past week.

New from Steve Hopkins


U.S. Table Tennis Tour Kicks off to Honor Legacy of Ping Pong Diplomacy
Here's the video (2:30). "The first leg of a special table tennis exhibition honoring the renowned "Ping Pong Diplomacy" between China and the U.S. kicked off in Houston, Texas over the weekend, marking the start of a five-city tour which aims to carry on the legacy of the historic diplomatic turning point between the two nations."


WTT Star Contender European 2022 [Felix LEBRUN VS MA Long]
Here's the video (12:42) between the French rising penhold star (world #80) and perhaps the GOAT from China.

Truls Moregard vs Wang Chuqin | MS | WTT Star Contender European Summer Series 2022 (Finals)
Here's the video (11:13) of the match between the world #5 from Sweden and #14 from China.

Funny Table Tennis Shirts

Happy Birthday Ping Pong Cards
Here they are!

Six Seconds of Real TABLE Tennis
Here's the video! (That's Nadal on near side, I think Djokovic on far side.)

When The Boys Take Ping Pong Too Seriously
Here's the video (35 sec)! (It's from 2020, but I don't think I'd seen this one.)

Political Table Tennis Cartoons
Here are two! (Greece, Turkey, and Refugees; Climate Change)

Send us your own coaching news!

Tips of the Week
While I was in at the US Team Trials and US Nationals, two Tips went up, plus this week's Tip. Here they are!

US Team Trials and US Nationals: Coaching & Covid!
I returned this past Friday from two weeks in Fort Worth, Texas, for these two huge events. For the Team Trials, June 25 – July 1 (Men's, Women's, plus boys and girls U19, U15, U13, U11), our club (Maryland TTC) had an even ten junior players and five coaches (Wang Qingliang, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, Jeffrey Zeng, and myself). For the Nationals, July 2-7, we had 18 junior players and four coaches (Cheng had to leave after the Trials).

The last three US Opens and Nationals were run very poorly by USATT, ending a streak of well-run ones dating back to 1994. Those who attended them or who read my blog may remember all the problems and the seeming inability to learn from the past. This time they brought in a new director, Mike Babuin, and other new staff, and Craig Krum made some adjustments in Omnipong, and this time they got it right. It mostly ran on time, helped by having extra tables and better scheduling. The facility was also nice. There were still a number of problems, but listing them would seem nitpicking. I already went over some of them with Mike and Craig. After three disasters in a row, our long national nightmare is over. :)

And here are the results and video! Congrats all the champions, including Men's and Women's Singles Champions Nikhil Kumar and Lily Zhang! (It's Lily's sixth.) 

Women's Singles

Men's Singles

More Links

  • More USATT Videos - lots of coverage of the US Team Trials and Nationals
  • USATT News - lots of coverage of the US Team Trials and Nationals

I arrived on Thursday, June 23, helped run training sessions on Friday, coached on Saturday & Sunday at the Trials . . . and then came down sick. Yes, Covid. I'd managed to go 2.5 years into this pandemic without getting it, and I chose a rather bad time to come down with it.

I actually had Monday, June 27 off, since we had few players playing in the Trials that day. So that became my sightseeing day, specifically the Fort Worth Stock Yards and the Fort Worth Water Gardens. I went over early in the morning with Stanley & Kurtus Hsu, their dad, and Mu Du. Before leaving I was felling chills, but blamed it on my roommate, Cheng Yinghua, who had lowered the temperature in the room. I was tired all day, but blamed it on the 95 degree heat – we were mostly outside. I returned to the hotel in mid-afternoon – and that's when it really hit me. I was burning up. I finally went across the street, where there was a CVS, and bought a thermometer and Covid test. At 7:30 PM, my fever was 102.4, and I'm sure it was higher earlier. I took the Covid test . . . positive.

Yes, I was vaccinated and boosted. But as Dr. Hwang explained – see below – these days that mostly keeps people who get it from getting it worse, and if I hadn't been vaccinated and boosted, I probably would have gone to the hospital and been sick much longer. Fortunately, no one else from Maryland or others that I interacted with seemed to have come down with it. However, I'm told there were a few other cases.

I spent the next week quarantined in my hotel room. (Cheng had to move to another room.) I bought cereal, milk, bread, peanut butter & jelly, paper plates & bowls, plastic silverware . . . and mostly lived on that, though I also ordered some online, mostly soups since I couldn't stomach much else. The first few days were rather bad. After that, the symptoms mostly went away. I started taking a Covid test each night, but it stayed positive. The guidelines from the CDC are I had to spend at least five days in quarantine plus a negative test. I finally tested negative on Monday, July 4 – and so, after one week, I was finally able to get back to coaching!

A great thanks goes to Dr. Dennis Hwang, who was great help while I was sick – even prescribing and delivering Paxlovid, a Covid medicine, and other supplies. He was there coaching his son, Nathaneal, who made the US National Under 13 Boys' Team (top eight). I've known Dennis since he was 16 and a member of the USATT Resident Training Program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, which existed from 1985-1993. I was at various times manager, director, and a coach there. Dennis was a part of it for four semesters, from Fall, 1988 through Spring, 1990 – and graduated as Valedictorian! (He's a pulmonologist, specializing in the respiratory system, i.e. the lungs.)

I'd missed the last five (out of seven) days of the Team Trials and the first two days of the Nationals, but went back into it 100%. (As a precaution, I always wore a mask.) While I was primarily there to coach, I was the defending champion in Over 40 and Over 60 Hardbat Singles. (I normally use sponge, but play hardbat on the side.) Because Over 40 coincided with some of the junior events I would be coaching, I didn't enter that, so I was only entered in Over 60. But after missing so much coaching time, and with many of our junior matches taking place at the same time as Over 60, I dropped the event. (I wonder how well I would have done after lying in bed for a week?)

This was my 83rd US Open or Nationals, dating back to my first Open in 1976, and including every Nationals and Open from 1984 to present, other than the ones cancelled in 2020. (I've also been to the US/North American Teams every year since I started in 1976.)

MDTTC had some pretty good results. 12-year-olds Ryan Lin (rated 2224) and Winston Wu (rated 2168, but recently as high as 2238) dominated Under 13 Boys. In the Team Trials, Winston came in first, Ryan fourth. (Ryan was actually in a four-way tie for second, and came in fourth based on their game records.) In the Nationals, they finished 1-2, with Ryan winning 4-3 in the final over Winston. That automatically made Ryan #1 on the National Team, so they were 1-2 in both the Nationals and on the National Team. The final of the National was a bit crazy – Ryan was up 3-2 and led 10-6 championship point. Winston fought off seven (7!) match points and ended up winning that game, 18-16. But Ryan won game seven, 11-5. Until he faced Winston in the final, Ryan had not lost a game in seven matches in Under 13. (They also played well in other events. Both of them, especially Winston, had a bunch of upsets, and Ryan had multiple match points on two 2300+ players.)

Here's Winston and Ryan, with their dads. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Here's Ryan with his medal and certificate for winning Under 13. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Here's the trophy they got for making the Under 13 Boys' National Team. (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

What does making the National Team mean? In this case, the top four will be eligible for the Pan Am Juniors. The Pan Am Under 11 and Under 13 Championships are Sept. 17-24 in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and it's likely Ryan and Winston will go on the Under 13 Boys' Team, along with Kef Noorani and Dhruv Chopra. (I might even go as coach – I've coached US junior teams in the last six months in Ecuador, Jordan, and Austria.)

Stanley Hsu (2406) teamed with Yishiuan Lin (2205) of Massachusetts to win Under 15 Mixed Doubles. (I coached all their matches.) In the semifinals, they defeated the second-seeded team of Daniel Tran/Hannah Song (2553/2187) at -4,5,6,8. In the final they defeated the top-seeded team of Darryl Tsao/Rachel Wang (2516/2272) at 6,7,11. (Lefty Daniel Tran dominates in doubles - at these Nationals he won Men's Doubles, Under 19 Doubles, Under 19 Mixed Doubles, and Under 15 Boys' Doubles - and he did so with four different partners. This was his only doubles loss. He's the best doubles player in the US among juniors, possible among everyone.) Their only close call was in the quarterfinals, where they won 13-11 in the fifth over Andrew Cao and Amber Liu.

So . . . how did they pull off these upsets? From my book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers, "Tactics isn't about finding complex strategies to defeat an opponent. Tactics is about sifting through all the zillions of possible tactics and finding a few simple ones that work." That's what happened here – they executed one simple tactic that allowed them to dominate. (It also worked in the close quarterfinal match, but in that match the opposing team found a very smart, unorthodox tactic, but it only worked in one order – and it allowed them to win games two and four, and make gave five so close. The scores tell a tale – 6,-4,6,-8,11.)  

Most good coaches would have used the tactic. But that wasn't enough - the key was understanding that everything in the matches (based on the playing styles of the players) centered around this tactic. The players executed it beautifully and played great overall, and the result was they dominated against very strong opponents. (You have no idea how much I'd like to write specifically about this tactic - but then I'd literally be coaching against my own team!) 

Stanley, 13, also made the Under 15 Boys' Team, finishing sixth. He and Mu Du won Bronze in Under 15 Doubles. Both of them will be eligible again next year, with all the players seeded ahead of him no longer eligible.

Samuel Altshuler, rated 973, upset a 1373 player to get silver in Para Class 6-7. Nicholas Nash won six consecutive matches to get the bronze in Under 1900 juniors. (Due to early ratings used for eligibility, the event included five players over 1900, with the top seed rated 2027.) Nicholas lost in the semifinals to eventual winner and second seed, Ben Zhang, rated 1983. Todd Klinger/Kurtus Hsu made the quarterfinals of Under 3800 Doubles.

Besides coaching our junior players, I also coached Navin Kumar in various Standing Disabled and Parkinson's events. (This was the first time we've had Parkinson's events, a nice addition.) Navin did well – he won Gold in Para Doubles Standing (with Ilya Rozenblat); Silver in Parkinson's Under 55; and Bronzes in both Parkinson's Open and Parkinson's Class 2. Here's a happy Navin with his medals (here's the non-Facebook version), and me coaching him (here's the non-Facebook version).

2022 Classic Hardbat World Championships
Here's my article on the upcoming event near Houston. Hope to see you there!!! Here's the current list of entries, by name, rating, and event. (Look who's top seed in Over 60! But the other players in the event are scary.) 

News from All Over
Since I haven't blogged since June 20 (due to the US Team Trials and US Nationals), rather than try to list every interesting article, for this blog I'll just link to some of the main news and coaching pages, and you can pick and choose.

Sally Moyland Martial Arts
Sally, who just turned 15, won Silver in Women's Singles at the recent US Nationals. She won gold in Under 15 Girls' Singles & Doubles, and Under 19 Mixed Doubles, and won Bronze in Under 21 and Under 19 Girls' Singles. She also came in first in Under 19 and 15 Girls at the US Team Trials held the week before, as well as fourth in Women's. So, what makes her special? Hmmm . . . could it be martial arts? Here's video of her from four years ago (82 sec)!

Tears of My Opponents – Ping-Pong
Here's a selection of cups and mugs!

Here's the video (71 sec)!

Feline Forehand
Here's the video (15 sec) – if only our junior players could smash lobs so well!

Beat Me, Win $100
Here's the video (13:51) from Adam Bobrow!

World's Most Expensive Racket
Here's the video (9:15) from Pongfinity, where three players have to make their own racket – but one has a $1 budget, one has a $100 budget, and one has a $1000 budget!

Non-Table Tennis – Releasing Hitler
My story Releasing Hitler was just republished by Metastellar. What happens if, a million years from now, Hitler is paroled from Hell?

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Next Blog – July 11
I'm off for the US Team Trials and Nationals in Fort Worth, TX, June 23 – July 7, where I'll be coaching for two weeks. However, the Tip of the Week will still go up on both Mondays while I'm gone. See you soon!

Tip of the Week
1% Hesitation = 100% Miss.

I spent much of the weekend coaching at the MDTTC Open at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. Here are complete results, care of Omnipong. One nice breakthrough – after making the final in four consecutive tournaments (and losing some close finals), Stanley Hsu (US #1 in 13 and under) broke through and won Open singles, over Khoi Dinh, 8,9,5. He also teamed with Mu Du (who made the quarters of the Open) to win Open Doubles. Here's a picture of Stanley, and of Stanley & Mu Du. (Here are the non-Facebook versions – Stanley, Stanley & Mu Du.) Stanley only lost one game in singles – to Ryan Lin (US #1 in 12 and Under) in the quarterfinals. Stanley, Mu Du, Ryan, and lots of other top juniors all train together regularly at MDTTC.

Serve practice and selection seemed to be a key aspect of many of the matches I coached. In one close match, up 2-1 in games and at 9-9, I signaled Ryan Lin to use a serve he hadn't used the entire match. It wasn't one of his front-line serves, and he only serves it with sidespin-topspin, but looks a little like backspin. Normally, when it's close, you want to use your best serves. But in this case I was pretty sure the opponent would hesitate and pop the serve up, something he hadn't done with almost any of the past serves. And he did – a serve and easy rip, leading to the win.

I had worked with Navin Kumar a lot on serves before this tournament, especially his backhand serve, where he had a good side-top serve, but needed a fast, dead one. So he worked on the fast, dead one – and it worked! Player after player put it in the net, and he ended up winning his preliminary round robin. Ironically, he now was having trouble doing his side-top serve – but he's going to practice it to make sure he can do both at the upcoming Nationals.

I coached two players against two different lobbers, and both had difficulty. One problem with modern table tennis is that it's all centered around looping, so players generally don't smash as well as they used to. But a combination of patience, placement, and mixing in blocks enabled both players to win. One thing that helped one player was to always set up as if smashing to the wide forehand, and then, a little before contact, rotate the shoulders back and smash down the line. In general, when playing a good lobber, it's best to smash to the backhand and middle, and only go to the forehand when you see an open court. Most players are more consistent, spinnier, and have more range on the forehand lob than on the backhand lob, which was the case in the two matches I coached. They are also almost always a bigger threat to counter-attack on the forehand side. But it depends on the lobber. And, of course, it's always best if you can disguise your direction until the last second.

US Nationals Entries
Here's the apparently final listing of 752 players, which is about the norm for a Nationals. Two surprises. First, last year's winner, Xin Zhou, who would have been top seed in Men's Singles at 2771, is only playing Men's Doubles (with Aditya Godhwani). Second, for the second year in a row, Kanak Jha, rated 2767 (and world #31 and presumably the favorite if he played), who won the event four times in a row (2016-2019, with 2020 skipped due to pandemic), isn't entered. Neither Xin nor Kanak are playing in the US Team Trials either. (Team Trials are June 25 – July 1; Nationals are July 2-7; both are in Fort Worth, TX. I'll be coaching at both.)

New from Samson Dubina

5 Tips To Improve Your Reverse Pendulum Serve
Here's the video (65 sec) with Vlad Farcas.

Ti Long Corrects 9 Techniques and Guides 3 Exercises
Here's the video (25:55).

New from Taco Backhand

New from TT Shorts

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

National Collegiate Table Tennis Association June Newsletter
Here it is!

New from Steve Hopkins

New from Butterfly/Bowmar

New from USA Table Tennis

A U.S. Table Tennis Tour Honors the Legacy of Ping Pong Diplomacy
Here's the video (2:48).

How Many Table Tennis Players in the World
Here's the article from PingSunday/EmRatThich.

New from ITTF

Comparison of dynamic elasticity between two types of new material plastic table tennis ball: taking DHS D40+ and Nittaku 40+ as an Example
Here's the paper from Research Square. Just some light summer reading.

Joo Sae Hyuk, From Defense To Offense
Here's the video (37 sec).

Extreme Ping Pong
Here's the video (4:45) – with one of the strangest and funniest commentaries on the game I've ever heard!

Ping Pong Gun Game 4
Here's the video (8:54) from Pongfinity! Where they take on challenges with sandals, skateboards, irons, a jar of peanut butter, a racket with a huge hole in it, boxing gloves, motorcycle helmets, basketballs, spoons, and giant kids' toy car!

Belly Pong?
Here's the video (13 sec)!

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