Larry Hodges's blog

July 18, 2017

A Typical Private Coaching Session
What happens in a typical private coaching session? It depends on the coach and the player. Some coaches are more practice partners, others do more coaching. (This also depends on the player - those with good technique need less coaching, more training.) Some coaches do only “live” hitting, while others mix in multiball training. Some coaches do the same drills with everyone, others vary the drills and personalize them for each player.

The player’s level, playing style, and goals greatly affect a session. Beginners work mostly on basics, while high-level players are mostly honing skills they already do at a high level. Players with different playing styles do different drills, obviously. But the player’s goals also make a huge difference. When working with a kid, the sky’s the limit, and coaches often train them as if they someday might be fighting to be world champion. Others might not have the coordination necessary, and so coaches focus on developing basic skills – except, if the player has a lot of drive, he might progress into high-level training. Others are only there to get in shape, have fun, or to work on a specific skill.

Here’s a typical private coaching session with me.

  1. Start. Regardless of the level, we start with a good warm-up. If the player has already warmed up with someone else, then this is rather short. For beginners, there’s a huge overlap between “warm-up” and “practice” since in both cases they are working on basics. So beginners spend a lot more time on this, doing basic forehands and backhands. We also do down-the-line practice.
  2. Attack. For most players we then progress into looping against block. For hitters and many advanced beginners, it might be smashing against my block or fishing. After the student has done this, often I’ll take a turn looping so they can work on their block.
  3. Footwork. Every drill involves footwork, but some more than others. Most often I have start off with forehand-forehand footwork, one ball to the forehand corner, one to the middle, and they do all forehands, either drives or loops. Later we will do other footwork drills – backhand-backhand footwork (ball to wide backhand, ball to toward middle); 2-1 drill (backhand from backhand corner, forehand from backhand corner, forehand from forehand corner, repeat); forehand-backhand footwork; and about a dozen other regular ones to choose from, including (for more advanced players) various random drills. These drills are often highly personalized. For example, most older players don’t do the 2-1 drill, while younger players are often worked at a faster pace.
  4. Multiball. I do at least a box of multiball in every session, usually two. This is by far the most systematic way to practice attacking backspin, as well as rapid-fire developing many other techniques. I normally start with backspin, usually fed side to side, with the player looping. We do both forehand and backhand, including side-to-side, where they alternate forehand and backhand looping. There’s also random backspin, where they have to loop forehand or backhand depending on the incoming ball. Then we get to combinations. For example, I might feed backspin to the middle, they forehand loop, and I give a quick topspin to the wide forehand, and they loop again, then repeat. Or the reverse, with the backspin to the wide forehand, topspin to the middle. Similar drills can be done to the backhand, or backhand-forehand combinations. I usually finish with random topspin to two spots – forehand or backhand – followed by full random, where I feed anywhere, including middle. Another semi-multiball drill is I serve, they push, I loop (and reach for the next ball), they counterloop (or block), and repeat. I’ll also do multiball serving so they get to work on receive – I just serve and grab the next ball, no playing out the point here.
  5. Points. Now we practice much of what we’ve done with multiball. Often this means they serve backspin, I push to either a pre-arranged spot or area (or anywhere), they loop, and play out point. (Sometimes we’ll pre-arrange where my first block goes.) But they might also use other serves in other drills, such as short serves where I flip and they attack, or they serve long, I loop steady, and they counter-attack. There are countless variations. I usually take a turn where I serve to them so they can work on the receive.
  6. Games. I often end sessions with games, either regular ones or improvised ones. An example of improvised would be the student serves backspin, I push to a specific spot or randomly (depending on their level), they loop, and we play out the point. Sometimes we play games where I mimic a style, or chop, or play as a pusher-blocker. Other times I play my regular game.
  7. Review. I generally do a short review of the session at the end, and give recommendations for what they should be working on before our next session.

Robert Ho's Table Tennis Tidbits #1
Here’s the article, which focuses on looping, with links to three videos.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

Improve Your Serve to Improve Your Game
Here’s the podcast (29:37) from PingSkills.

The Evolution of the Table Tennis Ball and How Plastic Balls Will Change the Scene
Here’s the article by Radivoj Hudetz.

Table Tennis Players Height: Short or Tall, Does it Matter?
Here’s the article from Sports Flu.

USA Para Table Tennis Young Talent - Ian Seidenfeld
Here’s the USATT article by Tina Huynh.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 19 (1991-1992)
Here's chapter seventeen! Or order your own print copies at, as well as Volume 19!

Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast - June 2017
Here’s the video (14:50).

Timo Boll Training Serve & Forehand & Backhand
Here’s the video (15:08).

Ryu Seung Min Training Forehand & Backhand & Serve
Here’s the video (26:46).

Amazing 10-year-old Kid in China
Here’s the video (7:43).

Swimming Pool Shadow Practice
Here’s the video (58 sec) – so why aren’t you doing this?

Here’s the cartoon!

Send us your own coaching news!

July 17, 2017

Tip of the Week
Sports Psychology.

Post Nationals Saturation Training
Now that the Nationals is over, it’s time to address various technical issues with some students. You don’t want to mess around with their technique too much just before a major tournament, so there have been some cases where I averted my eyes to certain things, waiting until after the Nationals.

Now it’s time for a few of them to do a bit of Saturation Training. I’ve kept notes on players I’ve been coaching, and now we’re addressing these problems. I’ve noticed a similar bad habit among three of them, who seem to have adopted backhand ready stances as their neutral stance in matches, even though they don’t seem to do so when drilling. One player has been struggling with his forehand in fast rallies – he seems to go into a backhand stance sometimes, and tries to play forehands from that position. Many top players do this, but it takes a LOT of physical and table training to get right, and we’re probably going to make some adjustments.

Two others players have similar problems – they seem to start many rallies standing in a backhand stance, and aren’t ready to attack with their forehand when they get the chance, often backhand pushing even against balls toward their forehand side. That has to stop!!! Anyway, I worked with one of them yesterday, and he’s now focused on keeping his right foot at least slightly back in his ready stance. (He’s a righty.) Note that if you stand toward your backhand side and have your feet parallel to the end-line, then you are facing the opponent’s forehand side. That’s fine if he’s about to hit a shot from there, but if he’s serving or hitting from the backhand side, then you should be roughly facing him, meaning your feet should be parallel to him, not the table.  

Other problems we’re working on with various students include the need for more spin on their backspin serves; more serve variety; ready to loop deep serves; and trying to stay at the table rather than back up the first time the opponent hits the ball harder than a push. Plus, the inspiration for this week’s Tip of the Week was the number of times at the Nationals I saw players blow 2-0 game leads. (This didn’t happen to any of the matches I was coaching, so maybe there is something to this sports psychology thing!)

Table Tennis Update: China National Team Boycott and Giveaway
Here’s the video (8:30) from EmRatThich.

How to Read Service Spin
Here’s the article and video (7:43) from Tom Lodziak

Service Tactics
Here’s the video (2:49) from PingSkills.

How to Counterloop——Yangyang's table tennis lessons
Here’s the video (8:22).

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

USATT Announces Youth National Teams for 2017-2018
Here’s the article and listing.

Table Tennis Joins LA Mayors Inauguration Celebrations
Here’s the USATT article.

Chop Blocks by Koki Niwa
Here’s the video (57 sec). The Japanese star is #9 in the world.

Tomokazu Harimoto vs. Joo Se Hyuk
Here’s the video (8:24, time removed between points). The 14-year-old phenom from Japan, who recently turned 14, is now ranked #18 in the world! But now he’s up against the experienced chopper/looper from Korea, the men’s singles finalist from 2003.

2017 US Nationals Slo-Mo Analysis
Here’s the video (45 sec) by Cory Johnson. “Modern Defense: Rushing the Table Mistakes. Here are two examples of half-executed technique for when the modern defender should "rush the table" –– especially if one (like myself) is far too comfortable away from the table. Although I do make the "correct" decision & stroke when rushing, I nonetheless fail to finish out the point.”

Ball Bouncing while on a Vibrating Exercise Machine
Here’s the video (37 sec).

Wimblepong: Ping Pong on the Streets
Here’s the hilarious video (4:25)! “We took our Pongo Portable Ping Pong Set out on the streets and challenged random people to a game of WimblePong which is Ping Pong Wimbledon Style.”

Send us your own coaching news!

July 14, 2017

Serving Seminar at 2017 USA Nationals
At the USA Nationals I gave a one-hour serving seminar on Tuesday night. Here are the notes I used, with some explanations and links added in brackets.

  1. Can Ma Long move his racket substantially faster than you when he serves? Probably not.
    1. They smoothly accelerate into the ball, and graze with a deceptive motion.
    2. Serving is the one part of table tennis where we all start out even.
  2. How to Create Spin [Here’s a Tip on this.]
    1. Demo backspin serve back into net, curving sidespin serves.
    2. Grippy rubber and rubber cleaner
    3. Smooth acceleration with body, forearm, and wrist.
    4. Grazing
    5. High-toss [Here’s a Tip on this.]
  3. Exercises to Increase Your Spin [Here’s a Tip of this, specifically on creating heavy backspin, with info on the “Scoop” method below.]
    1. Spin and catch
    2. Scoop method
    3. Backspin & sidespin games
  4. How to Create Deception
    1. Great spin
    2. Spin/no-spin [Here’s a Tip on this. Here’s another.]
    3. Semi-circular motion [Here’s a Tip on this.]
    4. Changing axis of racket rotation [Here’s a Tip on this. Here’s another.]
    5. Illegal hidden serves [We had a short discussion of the problem.]
  5. How to Serve Low (to net and low bounce on other side) [Here’s a Tip on this.]
    1. Low contact point
    2. Graze the ball
    3. First bounce on your side near your end-line so that it approaches the net at a low angle. [This is one of the least understood parts of serving. But it becomes more obvious when demoed when players observe the lowness of the bounce here, as opposed to when the first bounce is closer to the net. It’s discussed in the Tip linked above.]
    4. Highest point as it crosses the net
    5. Practice with serving bars [Here’s a picture. John Olsen made these for MDTTC.]
  6. Depth [Here’s a Tip on controlling service depth. Here’s another.]
    1. Long, half-long, sometimes very short (mostly to forehand)
    2. World-class – about 80% short. Varies by level.
    3. Most serves – first or second bounce on far side right about the end-line.
  7. Specific Serves
    1. Forehand Pendulum, Reverse Pendulum, Scoop, Tomahawk, Reverse Tomahawk;
      Backhand Serve; Reverse Backhand; Inside-Out Backhand, Windshield
  8. How to Practice Serves [Here’s a Tip on this.]
    1. Box of balls
    2. Serving routine [Everyone should have a set routine they go through before every serve. It puts you in the proper frame of mind. Here’s a Tip on this.]
    3. Visualize each serve – always. Imagine contact and entire path and bounces of ball
  9. Placement
    1. Forehand, backhand, middle
    2. Sidespin breaking away and breaking in [Here’s a Tip on this.]
  10. Fast, Deep Serves [Here’s a Tip on this. Here’s another. And here’s one more.]
    1. First and last bounce
    2. Topspin, Sidespin, Flat
    3. Short to forehand/Long to backhand combo

I’ve Joined the Aruba TTA Board of Directors!
Well, sort of - here’s the listing!!! For reasons unknown – perhaps to add an imagined bit of credibility? – the Aruba TTA has hilariously and ridiculously put up the USATT Board of Directors listing from last year as their Board of Directors, with their president (Oscar Helmeyer) replacing then-board chair Peter Scudner at the top. (There’s a chance that at some point this weekend the page will go down or get changed – if so, I might take this segment down.) USATT has already contacted them and asked them to take this down, but the only result so far seems to be the addition of the “Sample Data” note at the top left. (I don’t think that was there before, but I’m not 100% sure.) Anyway, as a proud member of the Aruba TTA Board of Directors since (I have no idea since when, presumably after a hard-fought election?), I’m proposing we built a wall around our country and making USA pay for it, and then, inside those enclosed walls we’ll build a ping-pong paradise, where the games are to 21, we use 38mm balls, and the hidden service rule is enforced. (Here’s the current USATT Board of Directors.)

ITTF Development Magazine Available Online
Here’s the ITTF article. Here’s the direct link to download it. It’s 64 pages, including a “Spotlight on North American” on pages 52-53. “Published every four years in accordance with the Olympic cycle, released at the recent Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf at the end of May, the latest ITTF Development magazine is now available online.”

Names of Recently Qualified ITTF Blue Badge Umpires Announced
Here’s the ITTF article, and the ITTF listing. With Linda Leaf added on June 1, USA now has ten: Esther Aliotta, Ray Cavicchio, Valeriy Elnatanov, Irina Hellwig, Yelena Karshted, Linda Leaf, Kagin Lee, Michael Meier, Saul Weinstein, and Joseph Yick.

Who is the Expert?
Here’s the new article by Samson Dubina.

Ask the Coach
Questions Answered at PingSkills.

"Boomerang" Flick
Here’s the video (6:22) from EmRatThich – this is the “Strawberry Flip” that USA Men’s Coach Stefan Feth often teaches!

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Table Tennis Skills Faster
Here’s the article from Sports Flu, by Aditya Kumar Awasthi. The five are: Focus on FEELING, Hit by the ‘Legs,’ Fix the hitting position, Relax, Explode and Relax, and Tactics in Table Tennis. Here are more table tennis articles from Sports Flu. Alas, they aren’t dated so I don’t know which are new.

Best African Ever, Quadri Aruna Votes for Atanda Musa
Here’s the ITTF article.

2017 World Championships: Time of the Legends!
Here’s the new ITTF music video (90 sec).

10 Unexpectedly Great Benefits of Playing Table Tennis
Here’s the article by Miranda Larbi for

ITTF’s Heads-Up Challenge
Here’s the video (2:08). Lots of USA in this. (I think I posted a different version of this previously.)

Table Tennis or Quidditch?
I finally found the shirt for both my table tennis and science fiction/fantasy interests – here it is!

Puppy Pong
Here’s the video (19 sec) – Call the SPCA! They pelted the dog abused dog twice!!! (We’re going to do this at our club – a brother/sister combo often brings their dog during training.)

Send us your own coaching news!

July 13, 2017

My first Few Hours in Las Vegas
I think I had the worst first few hours in Las Vegas in the history of table tennis in Las Vegas – and I didn’t even gamble. Most people gripe about this type of thing on Facebook or to friends; I get to blog about it! So here is how my first few hours went, starting from minutes after I landed for the USA Nationals on Sunday, July 2. Skip to the other segments if you don’t want to hear my gripes!!!

  1. Right after landing I checked my email, and discovered a “poison pen” email from someone. I won’t go into details, let’s just say it was pretty ridiculous.
  2. As I went out to catch the shuttle, I got to see the shuttle leave, and had to wait for the next one.
  3. I got to the hotel at about 10AM, but the room wasn’t ready and check-in didn’t start until 11AM. So I found a comfortable spot, opened my laptop to check email and web pages . . . and it didn’t work. It was a brand new laptop, bought a week before to replace my previous one, which was about seven years old. But the new one kept freezing up and giving me “Not Responding” messages, so I wasn’t able to use it.
  4. I then got in line to check in. The line was already longer than the Great Wall of China. It took over an hour to get through it.
  5. When I registered for the hotel, I chose the Westgate over the tournament hotel, the Linq, for one simple reason – it was cheaper. When I registered by phone, they assured me there was no “resort fee,” that dreaded add on that they bilk people with. They also emailed me the hotel costs, which didn’t include the resort fee. When I checked in, they added the resort fee. I argued with them for half an hour, but they said it was “standard,” and whoever said otherwise was mistaken. I had little choice at that point, so I was bilked out of $33.96 x 6 = $203.76, which I have to pay out of my own pocket. I will be staying at the Linq next time.
  6. When I got to my room, it was about 48 degrees – I’m not exaggerating here. (If I were to exaggerate, I’d have it below freezing.) Someone had put the AC on full blast at the coldest setting. I tried changing the setting, but it wouldn’t change – the setting was jammed! I had to go to the playing hall so finally had to just turn the AC off, and didn’t use it the whole week I was there, despite temperatures outside reaching 116F. Fortunately, with rooms and a hallway covering three of the four sides, the room temperature was fine.
  7. I walked over to the playing hall, and then discovered I’d left my smart phone at the hotel room. Since I’d need it to communicate with students, I had to walk back to get it, and walk back again. Average walking time each way was 14 minutes.
  8. I got into the USATT check-in line, but so did everybody else. I spent another hour standing in line.
  9. I finally started practice with a student, but at this point I was exhausted. I’d spent over an hour standing in line at the hotel, spent nearly 45 minutes walking back and forth from the hotel to the playing hall to the hotel and back to the playing hall, and another hour in line checking in. My legs were now in full rebellion. My right knee was now bothering me, and that would get worse during the tournament - I'd start wearing a knee brace toward the end. 
  10. I got back to the hotel that night, and the brand new laptop still wasn’t working. I’d finally get it working the next day, but it would freeze up on and off all week, and often go into slow motion mode. It’s now at the Geek Squad at Best Buy undergoing a checkup.

USA Nationals Finals Videos

Kanak Jha, Lily Zhang Each Win Second Straight U.S. Table Tennis Titles
Here’s the article from ESPN.

Butterfly Presents Footwork Drills by Stefan Feth
Here’s the video (1:25). Stefan is the USA Men’s Coach and former member of the German National Team.

Strength Conditioning for Table Tennis
Here’s the articles from PingSkills

USATT Insider
Here’s the issue that came out yesterday.

Table Tennis in the Twilight Zone
Here’s the new article from Coach Jon.

Table Tennis Rabbit Hole
Here’s the article from a relatively new player who has made the plunge, but has some things to say about ratings and enjoying the sport.

Many Roles but Focus Remains Same - Ed Hogshead's Many Avenues to Help Grow US Table Tennis
Here’s the USATT article by Fatemeh Paryavi.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 19 (1991-1992)
Here's chapter sixteen! Or order your own print copies at, as well as Volume 19!

Bowmar Sports Sponsoring Alzheimer’s Fundraiser Tournament
Here’s info on the event taking place in Salt Lake City on July 29.

Matt Winkler’s 2017 US National Highlight Video
Here’s the video (4:20).

The 10 Points of the China Open 2017
Here’s the video (4:16).

Ding Ning vs Jun Mizutani Training
Here’s the video (3:11).

The Craziest Table Tennis ROLLERS of All Time!
Here’s the video (2:29).

Ma Long vs Ding Ning Funny Table Tennis
Here’s the video (4:39). It’s in Chinese and meaningless to me until you get to 1:42, where they compete to see who can knock badminton birdies off the table! Next they compete to see who can serve into a bucket. Finally, the play each other opposite-handed.

Send us your own coaching news!

July 12, 2017

USA Nationals
I’m still rather sick, and almost took today off as well. My stomach feels like there’s a hurricane and a tornado chucking 100mm ping-pong balls at each other. But I’ll try to go over briefly some of the highlights. I also have two hours of coaching tonight!!!

  • Here are the Nationals Results.
  • For the first time since they adopted the new ITTF coaching rule last year, I coached a match where the opposing coach signaled every serve! They followed the rules; there were no serious delays. The girl he was coaching would look back as she walked to the table each time, or would very briefly look back as she was about to serve, and he’d signal. Late in the match they got “lazy” and the coach started calling them out in Chinese (as verified by some Chinese players nearby), since neither I nor my student know Chinese (although he didn’t really know that, did he?). I considered watching the coach and deciphering his signals, or having a Chinese player sit near me and translate his coaching later on, but there was no point as there’d be no time to signal my player what the serve was going to be.
  • USATT ran eight seminars at the Nationals. Turnout, alas, wasn’t great. I taught two of them. Only one person showed for the “How to Set Up and Run a Junior Program,” which was disappointing – but he got a real personal session on it as I went through the 19-page presentation I put together. (I may put it online at some point.) The Serving Seminar I ran had seven players. Topics covered included:
  1. Can Ma Long move his racket substantially faster than you when he serves? Probably not.
  2. How to Create Spin
  3. Exercises to Increase Your Spin
  4. How to Create Deception
  5. How to Serve Low (to net and low bounce on other side)
  6. Depth
  7. Specific Serves
  8. How to Practice Serves
  9. Placement
  10. Fast, Deep Serves
  • At the Hall of Fame Inductions on Thursday night, Dell Sweeris was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Bowie Martin Sr., Marcy Monasterial, and Scott Preiss were inducted into the USATT Hall of Fame.
  • I won Over 40 Hardbat for the fifth time. (I’ve won Hardbat Singles twice and Hardbat Doubles 13 times – but Ty Hoff and I, who have won it nine times, lost in the semifinals this time, to Dan Seemiller/Patty Martinez.) I normally use sponge, and hadn’t touched a hardbat racket since last December, but it’s like riding a bicycle – once you know how to do it, it never completely goes away. (Well, there was that 1.5-year period where I kept losing and nothing felt right, and then discovered I’d inexplicably changed my grip!) I’m not going to go into my matches here, but I did have one interesting tactical choice that was counter-intuitive, and yet worked.

    Because I like to attack every serve with my forehand (not easy at age 57), players often mix in short serves to my forehand and long ones to my backhand. This puts great strain on my footwork as I have to make an instant decision on which way to go. My counter-intuitive solution? When receiving, I stood an extra step away from the table, and a bit more to my left. This way I had little distance to go to cover the long serves to my backhand, and so could focus on the short serves to my forehand – meaning I got a very quick start in that direction. This more than compensated for the longer distance to get to them. I still had to strain to cover them, but this allowed me to receive more forehand than if I stood in a more conventional receive position.

    However, the physical strain of trying to cover the table with my forehand, when receiving, when serving, and during rallies, left me exhausted for days afterwards, and may have weakened me to the point of making susceptible to whatever is making me sick right now. Because it was so tiring I also went easy on practicing – but it was interesting that while other hardbat players were practicing strokes, I was on the back tables with a box of balls practicing my serves!

  • Due to my Over 40 Hardbat Final and coaching, I was at the playing hall late on Friday, and so missed the Men’s and Women’s Finals. Congrats to Kanak and Lily!!!

USATT and ITTF News Items
While I’ve been away, the USATT and ITTF news pages have had a zillion new items, so why not browse over them?

My Quest for Olympic Games 2020 - Kanak Jha
Here’s Kanak Jha’s funding page. He just won his second straight U.S. Men’s Singles title.

New Articles and Videos from Samson Dubina
Here are three new ones – I really like the “Footwork Detective” video, and you should browse over the 26 videos from his camp!

Table Tennis Coaching – Tips for Parents Part 4
Here’s the new installment from Expert Table Tennis.

Here’s the new article by Coach Jon. And I have a shirt that matches his coffee mug!

Forehand Drive Technique
Here’s the article and video (2:39) from EmRatThich.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills – lots of new entries.

USOC Coaching Newsletter
Here’s the July edition.

9 Reasons Why Table Tennis is the Best Sport in the World
Here’s the article from Tom Lodziak.

Tom's Table Tennis Newsletter
Here’s the new one from Tom Lodziak.

Pong Universe Point of the Week
Here’s the video (25 sec) of Vladimir Samsonov vs. Chuang Chih-Yuan.

Ask A Pro Anything - Chen Meng
Here’s the ITTF video (5:55) from Adam Bobrow.

Thailand Game Show
Here’s the video (15:36) where a kid demos table tennis tricks on something like “Thailand’s Got Talent.”

For Sale: Ping Table
Here’s the cartoon!

Send us your own coaching news!

July 11, 2017

Sick as a Dog
I was supposed to start blogging again today, but when I woke up this morning my throat was on fire, my nose was completely stuffed up, and I felt as sick as a dog - and you know that I'm pretty sick when I use a cliché like that rather than come up with something more creative. I feel horrible about this, but I feel even more horrible on the inside. I'm going to need at least another day before I can start blogging again. However, here is the Tip of the Week, Learn Control First on Receive. (This was inspired by Stefan Feth's Return of Serve clinic at the USA Nationals.) 

June 30, 2017

Last Blog Until Tuesday, July 11
I leave for the USA Nationals early tomorrow morning (Sunday), returning next Sunday. As always, I don’t blog when I’m traveling – so next blog will be the Tuesday after I return, July 11. Until then, Pong On! (While I’m gone, why not browse the news pages at USATT, ITTF, and my sponsor, Butterfly?)

How You Can Support Table Tennis
There are a lot of ways you can help support our sport. Why not join in? Below are 15 ways you can do so. (Much of it is focused on USATT-related issues, but not all – and the same ideas apply locally or in other countries.)

  1. Donate to USA Table Tennis. “100% of the monies raised through the ‘Friends With Paddles’ program will be used to directly fund USATT’s National Team programming, including coaching, travel, training, participation in international tournaments, and direct athlete support.” If you are not a member of USATT, why not join?
  2. Donate to USATT Hall of Fame. “Interested in helping the Hall of Fame continue to fulfill its mission to honor the greatest players and contributors of the game?”
  3. Become a Certified Coach. What can be greater than passing on your years of knowledge? Plus, you learn when you teach!!! Note that the certification process is undergoing changes that will likely go online next month. ITTF Levels 1, 2, and 3 will likely be used for USATT State, Regional, and National coaching levels. Here is my recent USATT news item, Upcoming USATT Coaching Courses and Seminars, which includes info on upcoming ITTF courses in the U.S. and seminars at the USA Nationals. Here’s the Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook and Instructor’s Guide to Table Tennis. (I wrote both of these. At some point I’ll likely update and expand both.)
  4. Become a Certified Umpire. Here’s info on the various levels and requirements.
  5. Run Tournaments. You get to be in charge!!!
  6. Run a Club. Then join the club listing!
  7. Open a Full-Time Table Tennis Center. Ninety-three others have done it, so why not you? The Club Development Handbook might help.
  8. Run a League. Take your pick, a singles or a team league, rated or not rated.
  9. Run a Junior Program. I’m running a seminar at the USA Nationals, How to Set Up a Successful Junior Program. If you can’t make that, there’s info in my Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook.
  10. Recruit and Welcome New Players. Many new players show up at a club and nobody wants to talk to or hit with them – they are beginners!!! Well, we all were once.
  11. Volunteer with USATT. Here’s the USATT Committee listing.
  12. Blog or Send out Press Releases. The more exposure we get, the better. Let me know if you have something online, and I’ll likely link to it here.
  13. Buy Table Tennis Books. It’s a great way to support the table tennis writing community! Here are mine. Here are other recent ones by Dan Seemiller, Samson Dubina, Tahl Leibovitz, Tim Boggan, Guido Mina di Sospiro, Donn Olsen, and Ben Larcombe.
  14. Become a Big-Spending Equipment Junkie with USATT Sponsors.
  15. Participate as a Player. Most of you are probably already doing this, but the more you compete in tournaments, the more you help the organizers with needed funds – while improving your own game, winning prizes, and going up in rating!!!

SuperMicro USA Nationals
Here’s the home page for the event taking place July 3-8 in Las Vegas. Here’s where you can see the events, players, and results (which will go active when the tournament starts – until then you’ll need a password!). Follow the action on the USATT New Page! I’ll be there – if you see me, stop by and say hi!

Australia Open
Here’s the home page of the event to be held July 4-7 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Preliminaries are July 2-3.) There are already a number of news items.

PongMobile for Ratings
Want a better, faster way to check your rating and search for others? “PongMobile is a web search software for USATT players, ratings and tournament histories. It is the companion application for the avid table tennis competitor. PongMobile allows for an intuitive, quick and easy search experience. Get a free account today, add your favorite players and begin following their progress.”

Two Brothers
Here’s the video (13:45). “This is the story about two brothers . . . they’ve always been competitive in everything, career, women, money, but nothing as much as the game of ping-pong.” (See two cartoon movies below, near the end.)

Improve Your Serves with Some Solo Service Practice
Here’s the article from Tom Lodziak. Includes diagrams.

Yangyang Jia Table Tennis Lessons
Here are 14 video lessons. These have all gone up over the past month.

How to Play Competitive Ping Pong
Here are six steps from WikiHow.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

Chinese National Team Boycott: The Story So Far
Here’s the video (5:29).
BREAKING NEWS (added Friday night) - new video from EmRatThich: Will Ma Long be banned? (11:44).

US Olympians Kanak Jha and Lily Zhang Back to Defend Singles Crowns
Here’s the article by Richard Finn on the Upcoming USA Nationals.

Perusing the Paddle Palace Catalog
Here’s the article from Coach Jon.

DHS ITTF Top 10 - 2017 Japan Open
Here’s the video (4:53).

Videos from EmRatThich
Here’s his page, with new ones going up almost daily.

Adrian Crisan vs. 11-year-old Jason Li
Here’s a great rally (23 sec)! Crisan is a 5-time Olympian from Romania. Jason is rated 1775.

Attack vs Defense
Here’s the video (6:39).

Hungarian #4 Peter Fazekas
Here’s the video (14:10, a sequel to yesterday’s), where he is interviewed by Tahl Leibovitz, and plays Alexis Perez and Nicolas De Francesco. Videotape by Jules Apatini.

Ping-Pong Socks
Here they are!

Piano Pong Paddle and Other Pong Stuff
Here’s the picture, with lots of other ping-pong merchandise underneath from Pinterest.

Ultimate Table Tennis
“To play like a champ, learn from the Masters.”

Table Tennis is a Family Affair in the Jun Mizutani Household
Here’s the video (45 sec) of him watching as his wife (I presume) hits with their baby girl on the table. He’s ranked #6 in the world, the baby somewhere in the top 7.5 billion.

Man and Baby Pong – Another Family Affair
Here’s the picture, taken at MDTTC a few days ago by Carolyn Klinger.

Trick Shots

What's in a Ping Pong Ball?
Here’s the video (3:43) from HobbyKids. They do a bunch of weird table tennis stuff.

Spookiz Best Ping Pong Match Ever
Here’s the video (89 min). It’s a crazy kids’ cartoon that features table tennis. I browsed through it quickly, and the wild table tennis scenes take place in the first 30 sec, from 1:07 to 3:30, from 41:24 to 41:52, and from 42:31 to 45:00.

Sunny Bunnies Ping Pong Hero
Here’s the video (3:30 – link takes you 22 sec in, past the opening credits). It’s a series of short cartoons for kids, over 48 min long, but only the first features table tennis, the first 3:30.

Crazy Ponger
Here is the cartoon image – I wouldn’t want to play this guy!!!

Send us your own coaching news!

June 29, 2017

Table Tennis Game Variations
At the end of our camp yesterday the top juniors all got together and played a variation of Brazilian Teams I’ve never seen before. The normal rules for Brazilian Teams are simple – see below. But as I watched, a player lost a point – but stayed at the table. I asked why, and it turned out they had invented “Deuce Brazilian Teams,” where you play from deuce, i.e. have to win by two. So everyone gets to play at least two points on their turn, and it’s easier to stay up longer. It got me thinking about other game variations. Here are a few.

  • Brazilian Teams. Three or more to a team (though you can play with two). One player from each side goes up and plays a point. The winner stays, the loser goes to the end of his team’s line and the next player goes up. New player always serves. Games are generally to 31 or even 41 or more. Sometimes, if there’s a player stronger than the rest, you limit the number of points a player can win in a row and stay at the table. If you sweep the opposing team (or score 4 in a row), you are a hero. If you sweep them twice (or score 8 in a row), you are a superhero. Variation – Deuce Brazilian Teams, where instead of playing one point, players start out at deuce, and have to win by two, with the winner staying.
  • Up-Down Tables. Players pair up on the tables. They all play one game to 11, with no deuce – 11-10 wins. Winners move up, losers move down. Goal is to reach table #1 and stay there, or as close to that table as you can. If there’s an odd number, the loser on the last table practices serves the next round. This is great for all ages at camps. Sometimes, to quicken the pace, you play shorter games, perhaps to 7, or even start at deuce (have to win by two).
  • King of the Table. One player is “king,” others line up on other side. Challenger serves. If he loses the point, he goes to the end of the line and the next person comes up. If the Challenger wins the point, the King serves. Challenger has to win two points in a row to become King. Another variation the younger kids prefer is you only have to win one point to become King – so the King changes faster. Also, while it’s generally called “King of the Table,” we often call it “Captain” or “King or Queen” of the table or the girls rightfully object. How about Dictator of the Table?
  • Backspin Service Game. Players get five or ten serves each. You serve heavy backspin, usually high. If the ball bounces back into the net, you get one point. If it bounces back over the net and back onto your side on one bounce, without touching the net, it’s three points. If it bounces back over the net but takes more than one bounce, or nicks the net in either direction, it’s two points. This is my personal favorite, and all of my students learn this.
  • One-Shot Pong. This is for when you have a top player against a relative beginner. The stronger player has only one shot to win the point – he must win the point outright on his serve and on his serve return. If the beginner returns the serve, or returns the receive against his serve, he wins the point. (Another variation – all the beginner has to do is touch the receive of his serve! Generally the stronger player can loop or flip at wide angles for aces.) Other variations, depending on the difference in level, is the stronger player gets to serve and do one shot, and/or receive and one shot.
  • Doubles. Or, if you want to get creative, Triples!!!
  • Opposite Hand and/or Opposite Grip. Self-explanatory.
  • Mini-Tables and/or Mini-Rackets. Self-explanatory.
  • Hardbat and Sandpaper. Self-explanatory.
  • Cell Phone Pong. Self-explanatory.
  • Jungle Pong. This is a favorite of the kids, who often play this non-stop on break. You get a group together, and number themselves in order, so each player knows who he goes after. Then player 1 serves. Player 2 (and all subsequent players) have to let the ball come off the table and bounce on the floor, then he hits it back on the table, on either side, and the next player does the same. When a player fails to make a return, he’s out. This continues until you have a champion.
  • Cup Game. This is more for kids. They stack paper cups into pyramids or walls – “The Great Pyramid of Egypt” or “The Great Wall of China” – then they line up and knock them down as I feed multiball, 2-3 shots per player, taking turns. A variation of this is to stack ten cups in a pyramid and everyone gets up to ten shots to see how many they can knock over.
  • Frog Game. Another one for kids. I have a giant rubber frog I keep at the club – “Froggy” is the club’s unofficial mascot. I put him on the table, divide the kids into two teams, and as I feed multiball, they try to hit poor Froggy, keeping score. You can use just about anything as a target.
  • Worm Juice. Another one for the kids, though adults often join in this one. You put a bottle of Gatorade or similar liquid on the table, and say it’s squeezed worm juice. Kids take turns trying to hit it as you feed multiball. If they hit it, you have to drink it. Best part – you get to mock them as you feed the balls!!! (But they get the last laugh when they hit it.)

China Open Chinese Player Withdrawals and Aftermath

  • Chinese Men's Team Withdrawn from Australian Open, from ITTF. “It is unfortunate that the decision was made to withdraw the entire men’s team of Zhang Jike, Fan Zhendong, Xu Xin, Yan An, Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan from the Australian Open, despite only two of the players (Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin) being involved in last week’s incident at the China Open.”
  • Table Tennis Authorities Remind Players Who is Boss, from SupChina. “After China’s sports authorities relieved much-loved national table tennis team coach Liu Guoliang of his coaching duties in a sideways promotion to become vice president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association, three players protested, walking out of their matches at the World Tour China Open in Chengdu on June 23. The action caused a nationwide outcry online — many people criticized the “Soviet” nature of China’s sports administration that prioritizes the system over individual talent, although a few commenters accused the three protesting players of putting politics above sports.”
  • China Seeks Ping-Pong Diplomacy to Defuse Coaching Row, from Reuters. “The removal of China's top table tennis coach has stirred up rare tensions in the country's sporting world, prompting a backlash from leading players and fans, and drawing the gaze of the country's censors. Fans of table tennis, China's unofficial national sport, flocked online to vent their anger over the removal of the national team's popular head coach, Liu Guoliang, who stepped down from his position last week.”

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

Agility Training for Table Tennis
Here’s the video (90 sec).

USATT Insider
Here’s the new issue that came out yesterday.

Jennifer Yue Wu Featured in Metro Sports
Here’s the article with pictures of the two-page spread for July/August. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

Across the Net: Melton Table Tennis
Here’s the newsletter from this Australian club.

Harimoto Tomokazu's Birthday (14 Years Old) at T2Apac Event
Here’s the video (2:45) – it’s in Japanese (I think), but with some English sub-titles. The Japanese whiz kid’s birthday party was attended by just about everyone – Jiang Jialiang, Ovtcharov, Samsonov, Persson, Maze, Mizutani, Ding Ning, and many more. They even sing Happy Birthday – in English!

Ping-Pong vs. Table Tennis
Here’s the video (2:33). It’s set to music, with French subtitles, but it’s mostly visual.

Hungarian #4 Peter Fazekas vs Paralympic Champion Tahl Leibovitz
Here’s the video (10:05), from Jules Apatini. Lots of slow motion replay.

England vs Greece Cheerleaders Routine
Here’s the video (2:27) – cheerleaders for table tennis?!!!

Novak Djokovic Playing Table Tennis
Here’s the new video (5:10). He’s using a hardbat. Can you imagine some of his topspins if he had, say, Tenergy?

How to Water a Plant via Ping-Pong Balls
Here’s the video (1:35) of a Rube Goldberg device that features lots of ping-pong balls.

Send us your own coaching news!

June 28, 2017

Equipment Reviews and Why I Don’t Do Them
Recently USATT has started doing “USATT Equipment Reviews,” by Matt Hetherington. Here are the first two:

Here are some other good places for equipment reviews. I’m sure there are others – feel free to comment below.

Some may have noticed that in 6.5 years and about 1500 blogs, I’ve almost studiously avoided doing equipment reviews. I’ve talked about equipment in general a number of times, but very rarely discuss the specific brands. I think there are only two times where I’ve actually done anything resembling equipment reviews. On Oct. 14, 2015, I had an entire segment on Emulating the Equipment of the Top Players, where I wrote about whether we should use the equipment used by the top players, and used Tenergy 25 (which I use on my backhand) as an example of a sponge not used by many top players but which many should probably be using.

On March 23, 2017, I wrote about my equipment, and also extolled on the virtues of Tenergy 25 and why more should use it, despite the lack of world-class players using it. I wrote:

“While I don’t write about specific equipment in the Tips, I can blog about my own equipment. For the record, I use a Butterfly Timo Boll ALC FL blade, with Tenergy 05 black 2.1 on forehand, Tenergy 25 red 2.1 on backhand. Tenergy 05 is great for looping, and makes it easy for me to loop over and over with power even at age 57. I use Tenergy 25 on the backhand because, while it’s also easy to loop with, it’s great for counter-hitting and blocking. Few world-class players use Tenergy 25 because it’s not designed for players who take a big swing at the ball, as most world-class players do, but for players under 2000, and really well beyond that, unless you loop all-out on the backhand, I’ve always thought Tenergy 25 was the best one.”

I’ve done a few Tips of the Week on equipment in general, such as:

But these covered equipment in general, not specific types. So why don’t I do more equipment reviews? There are four reasons.

  1. Conflict of Interest. I’m sponsored by Butterfly. I don’t want to turn this into a Butterfly equipment column, but at the same time I don’t want to be reviewing equipment by companies that are rivals to my own sponsor. Plus, if I give a good review to Butterfly or a bad review to non-Butterfly, there will always be that suspicion of bias.
  2. Not Knowledgeable about non-Butterfly. It’s a simple reality that I know most of the Butterfly sponges, but not non-Butterfly. Sure, I could spend time trying them out – I’m guessing the major companies would even send them to me for free in return for reviewing them. But I just don’t have time to add more things to my todo list. I’ll let Matt and others do equipment reviews.
  3. Not Really Good at Them. You have to do something a lot before you become good at it. Since I don’t do regular equipment reviews, guess what? I don’t think I’d be very good at them. I’d have to do a lot of them before I’d really have a good feel for the specific types of equipment and how they differ. It’s like table tennis itself – you can’t be good at it without doing it a lot. I fear my equipment reviews would be like a basement player trying to tell the pros how to play table tennis!!! Okay, I’m probably not really that bad at equipment reviewing, but besides practice, you have to be really interested in something to do well at it, which brings us to. . .
  4. Lack of Interest. Anyone who knows me knows that I pride myself on being able to play at a high level with just about anything – hardbat, sandpaper, a clipboard, cell phone, whatever. I’ve even beaten people using a towel (you have to hold it really tight), an ID card, and an ice cube!!! (Use glove or it’ll melt too fast.) There’s no question that I’m better with Tenergy on both sides than some less bouncy sponge, but I find it far more important to develop a strong foundation to your game than to spend huge amounts of time trying to find that “perfect” sponge. I’ve always advised players to try out what’s out there early in their careers, find what they like, and then generally to stick with it. In my “Suggested Equipment” Tip above, I wrote:

“Beginners and others not that familiar with what's out there need to go through a period where they try out the various rubber and rackets just so they know what the choices are.”

“Once you find something that fits your game, generally stick with it unless your game changes or there's a major equipment breakthrough.”

There will always be EJs (Equipment Junkies), and I have no problem with that. However, if the goal is to improve, that should always be secondary to developing a strong foundation to your game. Great equipment is like special effects in a movie – it can enhance a good movie, but it can’t make a bad movie good.

Excitement Continues to Grow as T2 APAC Player Selections Revealed
Here’s the ITTF article. “Which side has your backing? Are you TeamJJ, TeamMaze, Team Rossi, or TeamPersson?”

  • Team JJ: Jiang Jialiang, Vladimir Samsonov, Tomokazu Harimoto. Chuang Chih-Yuan, Wu Yang, Jeon Jihee, Matilda Ekholm.
  • Team Maze: Michael Maze, Timo Boll, Feng Tianwei, Chen Chien-An, Alexander Shibaev, Yang Haeun, Hina Hayata.
  • Team Rossi: Jörg Rosskopf, Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Elizabeta Samara, Cheng I-Ching, Georgina Pota, Shang Kun, Paul Drinkhall.
  • Team Persson: Jörgen Persson, Ding Ning, Bernadette Szőcs, Suthasini Sawettabut, Jun Mizutani, Joo Saehyuk, Mattias Karlsson.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

USATT Establishes Youth Ambassador Council to Promote Grassroots Programs
Here’s the USATT article.

Commanding Display from Kanak Jha Closes Out Proceedings in Buenos Aires
Here’s the ITTF article.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 19 (1991-1992)
Here's chapter fourteen! Or order your own print copies at, as well as Volume 19!

2017 SuperMicro US National Championships "Final Table Celebration" Bounces into Silverton Casino Hotel
Here’s the USATT article by Richard Finn on the location of the Men’s and Women’s Finals at the upcoming USA Nationals.

Wu Aims for First National Championship Singles Title
Here’s the USATT article by Matt Hetherington.

Dima's Wild Win
Here’s the ITTF article on Dimitrij Ovcharov’s crazy (6-10 down match point) win at the China Open.

Mixed Doubles World Champions Eye 2020 Olympic Games
Here’s the ITTF article featuring the Japanese pair Kasumi Ishikawa and Maharu Yoshimura.

2007 China Open – Ten Years Back
Here’s the article by Shashin Shodhan, with a link to a video (2:52) of Ma Lin vs. a teenaged Dimitrij Ovtcharov at the China Open.  

China Open Highlights

Inflatable Sumo Ping-Pong
Here’s the video (7:23, though actual ping-pong doesn’t start until about 4:40).

Vladimir Samsonov vs. Tomokazu Harimoto: The Rematch – by Phone?
Here’s the video (62 sec) of the Battle of the Cell Phones, with Japan’s whiz kid Harimoto (who turned 14 yesterday) on left against 41-year-old Samsonov on right (who Harimoto upset at the China Open), with 1985 & 1987 World Men’s Champion Jiang Jialiang playing doubles with Samsonov.

Send us your own coaching news!

June 27, 2017

Hours Spent in Table Tennis
How many hours have you spent on table tennis? Some say it takes 10,000 hours to really develop a skill. Have you done your 10,000? I got to thinking how many hours I’ve spent on this sport. It turns out an insane number – apparently enough to perfect my table tennis skills, oh, about ten times over. So . . . how many hours? Let’s find out. There’s going to be a lot of rounding and estimates, but I think the figures at the end are pretty accurate. (Feel free to skip ahead to other segments if you find this boring.) 

I started in 1976, so I’m in my 42nd year. I practiced a huge number of hours my first few years. Here are estimates:

  • 1976-1981: About four hours per day, six days/week, so 24 hours/week, 50 weeks/year, for 6 years.
  • 1981-1992: About two hours/day, six days/week, so 12 hours/week, 50 weeks/year, for 12 years.
  • 1992-2007: About 1.5 hour/day, six days week, so nine hours/week, 50 weeks/year, for 16 years.
  • 2008-2017: Not so much – just coaching. Perhaps 1000 hours, most of it in the early part.

Now comes the single greatest coincidence in the history of anything. After I wrote the above, and doing the arithmetic, I discovered that the first three segments each added up to 7200 hours!!! Okay, these are just estimates. There were stretches where I put in far more than the above, but I was also injured a few times and had to take time off, so it events out. Anyway, 7200 + 7200 + 7200 = 21,600 hours of practice. Let’s average that up to 22,000.

But that’s only part of my table tennis time. How about coaching hours? Since 1992 I’ve averaged perhaps 20 hours/week as a coach or practice partner, excluding camps. (I did more in the 1990s; I'm slowing down with age!) That’s about 25,000 hours. But I also coached a lot from 1979-1992 (especially 1985-1990, when I was a manager/coach/director at the Resident Training Program for Table Tennis at the Olympic Training Center), perhaps an average of 1.5 hours per day overall, but we'll call it an hour per day to be conservative, so another 5000 hours. So about 30,000 hours of coaching outside of training camps.

How about training camps? In April, 2012, I blogged about running my 150th five-day camp. Since then I’ve coached at another 50, so about 200 now, or 1000 days of camps at six hours each, or 6000 hours of camps. (Some of the camps I only coach half the sessions, but I only counted them as “half a camp,” so the numbers add up.) When I think about spending 1000 days coaching at camps I’m sort of dazzled. That’s 2.7 years!!! I'm going to combine regular coaching and training camps, which total to 36,000 hours of coaching. 

How about playing and coaching in tournaments? To keep it simple, I’ll combine these two since there’s a big overlap. I’ve been to every Open and Nationals since 1985 (and I think five before that), and the Teams since 1976. The Open and Nationals are normally five days, the Teams three, so that’s another 450 days or so. Figuring eight days at the tournament site, that’s 3600 hours. But I’ve also played in over 500 tournaments, and coached at another 200 outside the Open/Nationals/teams. So that’s another 700 tournaments. Figuring an average of 1.5 days each, at eight hours/day, that’s 8400 hours, plus the 3600 above, or 12,000 hours. I’ve spent over 1600 days at tournaments, or about 4.4 years!!!

I’ve also run 190 USATT tournaments, nearly all of them two days long. I spend at least 12 hours/day at these tournaments (plus lots of time before setting up and after doing paperwork), so figure 24 hours each, times 190, and that’s another 4600 hours or so – to keep it simple, let’s say 5000 hours. I’ve spent about 380 days running tournaments, over a year!!!

How about table tennis writing? I’ve been blogging Mon-Fri since January, 2011. I have taken time off, so I probably blog about 230 times per year for 6.5 years, or about 1500 blogs. Figuring an average of two hours each, that’s 3000 hours. But I’ve also written over 1700 articles in addition to the blogs – figure one hour each, so another 1700 hours. Then there are the eight books on table tennis. Some of these used my previous writings, and I can’t count them double. I just did a quick accounting, and I’m going to estimate I spent about 700 hours of them, including writing, editing, formatting, proofing, doing covers, etc. So writing comes to 3000 + 1700 + 700 = 5400. We’ll average that down to 5000 hours.

I was editor of USATT Magazine for 12 years and 71 issues. That was nearly a full-time job – writing, editing, soliciting articles and photos, photo work, page layouts, soliciting advertising, pre-prep work, etc. Call it 25 hours/week for 11 years 10 months, or about 15,000 hours. But I also did 19 U.S. Open/Nationals/Team Trials program booklets, 68 club newsletters, 8 Hall of Fame program booklets, 3 issues of Table Tennis World, 3 issues of USATT’s Coaches Quarterly, and 1 USATT’s Tournament Quarterly. That’s another 1000 hours. So about 16,000 hours as Table Tennis Editor.

I’ve also attended about 80 USATT board meetings, including teleconferences. I’ve been to about 50 actual meetings, averaging two days, eight hours, plus another 30 teleconferences averaging two hours, so about 860 hours of USATT board meetings. Add in committee meetings, and we’d be over 1000, but we’ll say 1000 hours.

There’s also about 500 press releases I’ve written and sent out over the years, and time spent with reporters, etc. Call it 1000 hours under Promotion.

But the above doesn’t include lots of miscellaneous things, like setting up and running clubs; cleaning clubs (I used to do that!); writing letters of recommendations for players; umpiring (many hundreds of hours back in the 1980s and 1990s), and hordes of other stuff that come out to (after 41 years) a lot more than 2000 hours. But we’ll arbitrarily call it 2000 hours, since that gets us to a nice even figure.

So where do we stand?

  • Practice: 22,000 hours
  • Coaching: 36,000 hours
  • Playing & Coaching at Tournaments: 12,000 hours.
  • Running Tournaments: 5000 hours
  • Table Tennis Writer: 5000 hours
  • Table Tennis Editor: 16,000 hours
  • USATT meetings: 1000 hours
  • Promotion: 1000 hours
  • Miscellaneous: 2000 hours.

That’s an insane 100,000 hours of table tennis! For perspective, there are 8760 hours in a normal year. So I’ve done about 11.5 years of continuous table tennis!!! I've played for a little less than 41.5 years, about 150,000 days, or about 360,000 hours since I began. So I've spent nearly 28% of my time on table tennis since 1976 (100,000/360,000) - about 6.7 hours/day. Sounds about right. In fact, at age 57, I've spent about 13% of my entire life doing table tennis!!! (It's fortunate that I only sleep about 6 hours/night so have more time for TT. I think.) 

The Ultimate Guide to Table Tennis Psychology
Here it is, from Expert Table Tennis. This came out in 2016, but I thought I’d link to it again.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

The Truth Behind the Forfeit of Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin in China Open 2017
Here’s the video (9:50) from EmRatThich. This is a really fascinating, almost hour by hour explanation of what happened, both a documentary and an opinion piece. 

Why are China’s top table tennis players protesting?
Here’s the article from SupChina. 

Kanak Jha Heads Successful US Pan American Junior Campaign with Trio of Golds
Here’s the USATT article by Matt Hetherington.

Halfway Point, Picture Emerging
Here’s the ITTF article on the World Tour. “Success in Chengdu; following his win in the Men’s Singles event at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour China Open on Sunday 25th June, Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov (800 points) is now listed is second spot on the Standings. Meanwhile, for China’s Ding Ning, the winner of the counterpart Women’s Singles event, she shares third spot alongside Singapore’s Feng Tianwei and compatriot, Wang Manyu (800 points).”

Quiz: How well do you know the World Championships?
Here’s the ITTF quiz. “The Liebherr 2017 World Championships witnessed some historic and breath taking moments that the word will cherish forever. How well do you remember those moments? Test yourself, take the quiz!”

Smile is a Robot (Ping Pong X Kalipo)
Here’s the video (4:20) – a very strange manga table tennis cartoon.

New Humira Commercial
Here’s the ad (60 sec) – from seconds 9-12 a man plays table tennis with a racket in each hand, which is his “body of proof that he can take on psoriatic arthritis.”

Penhold Ping-Pong Clocks
Here they are! (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

More Insane Trick Shots from Players at the Worlds
Here’s the video (1:59).

Domino Pong
Here’s the video (8 sec)! Though they look more like large poker chips.

Send us your own coaching news!

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