Tip of the Week
Tournament Experience vs. Practice.
Weekend Coaching, Larry's Six-Month Rule, and the Junior Trials in Westchester
Most of our junior training sessions are done for the season, with our summer training camps starting up on June 21. But our Group A juniors, who mostly all went to the US Junior Trials at the ICC TTC in California last weekend (for Under 19 and 15) had a make-up session. I spent most of the session just watching, especially when they played games at the end, to prepare for coaching them at the US Junior Trials at the Westchester TTC in NY this coming weekend (for Under 17, 13, and 11). I also had a session with Navin Kumar, where the focus was on fundamentals (since we hadn't had a session in several weeks) and serves. Here's video (30 sec) with a humorous finish! Overall, it's been a slow week for me, coaching-wise. (I also did a sports psychology session with one of our kids on Wednesday.) Things will pick up dramatically in the summer.
One issue that's come up quite a bit recently is Larry's Six-Month Rule. A number of our junior players have dramatically improved from training during the pandemic - and when they played tournaments, it showed, as they battled with much stronger players than before. But far too often they lost these matches, often losing in deuce or in five games. What's happening? It's simple - they are new to this higher level, while their opponent are experienced at that level, both psychologically and tactically. As I wrote above, it can take up to six months of tournaments before the improvement full kicks in - but they key words are "up to," as it can happen much quick that that.
We leave for the Westchester US Junior Team Trials on Thursday morning, after a morning session at our club (MDTTC). We also will have a session at Westchester, but just one hour - we don't want to tire them out, just get used to the facility. We have nine players and four coaches going, many of the kids the best or among the best of their age in the country. In the Under 13 Trials, we have the #1, 4, 6, and 8 seeds. (If it were Under 12 Trials, we'd have #1 and #2 in the country!)
The deadline to enter the US Nationals is tomorrow (Tuesday, June 15). Hope to see you there! I'll be there, as one of the four MDTTC coaches. We have eleven of our kids going. The schedule is good for me - most junior events start on Day 1 (Sunday) and most of our kids will be done playing by the end of Wednesday. And so I get to play the hardbat events on Thursday - Hardbat Singles (2-time champion, but that was long ago), Over 40 Hardbat (6-time and defending champion) and Over 60 Hardbat (first time and top seed!). I'm normally a sponge player, but have played hardbat on the side for years - including winning Hardbat Doubles at the Nationals or Open 13 times! (Alas, no doubles events this year.) I pulled out my hardbat yesterday for the first time since the pre-pandemic 2019 US Open (where I won Over 40 Hardbat) and hit with it some with Navin Kumar. The forehand was there but running forehands, my specialty, are back to being a work in progress.
USATT has had only two news items since June 2 on their news page, and both were on the Nationals:
- 2021 US Nationals Preliminary Rounds to Play RR Format, Masks Not Required. I put this in my blog last week one day late (since it came out the day after). I'm thankful that USATT came to its senses on this.
- Pongcast Ep7 - Round Robin at the 2021 US Nationals (12:38) with High Performance Director Sean O'Neill and COO Mark Thompson. One interesting thing - they said that two players will advance from the round robin groups. Why isn't this on the entry form or the news item above???
As I write this, there are 410 entries. This would top the all-time low for the Nationals, the 335 at the 1986 Nationals in Pittsburgh (sort of an aberration), but they are unlikely to top the second lowest, the 502 at the 2011 Nationals in Virginia Beach. (But there could be a last-minute surge, due to the return to RR format.
BREAKING NEWS - there was a last-minute surge, likely due to going to RR. As of Wed morning they were at 557, "topping" Virginia Beach. The norm in Las Vegas, of course, is over 700, but 557 is better than what it was looking like before they went back to RR. Over and over players tell me they were skipping this year, not because of Covid, but because of the original single elimination format, which was done to "better manage schedule and conflicts more efficiently." They changed that last week, one week before the deadline, but for many, it was too late, plus many don't go to the USATT news page and so don't know about the change. I'll write about this more probably next week.
Garbage on the Home and Tips Home Pages
Some of you might have noticed all the error messages at the top of the Home Page and the Tips Home Page. I'm aware of the problem - it's apparently because I need to update to Drupal 7, which turns out to be a complicated process. I will likely be hiring someone to take care of this in the next few days. But if you happen to be a Drupal expert and can do this (volunteer or pay!), let me know.
National Collegiate Table Tennis Fundraiser
NCTTA is coordinating a National Fundraiser where all donations are doubled (thanks to a generous NCTTA Alum). Can you help them reach their goal of $200,000?
USATT Minutes for June 7 Meeting
Here are the minutes from the USATT Minutes Page. Lots of interesting stuff - I'd love to know what the four cities are that are bidding for the US Open in December. (Why is that a secret?) One thing of note - see the section titled, "Athletes Advisory Council – First and Second Athletes – Third and Fourth Athletes." It says: "The USOPC also noted that the USATT Bylaws are currently in violation of the Ted Stevens Act with respect to the selection of the First and Second athletes and that USATT’s Bylaws must be revised to ensure two separate fair elections of (i) the First and Second Athlete; and (ii) the Third and Fourth Athletes." I've blogged about this problem so I'm glad it's being fixed.
Kanak Jha - Nikhil Kumar Footwork
Here's the video (10 sec) of the two USA Olympians, with Kanak blocking on the left. You can watch the ball hypnotically go back and forth, or you can watch their looping and blocking technique and learn from that. But the thing you can learn the most from, and the first thing good coaches will look at, is their feet. Study it!
The Chinese Drill
Here's the video (3:11) from Timo Boll. "Today we're going to talk about an exercise that I learned when I participated in the Chinese Super League. This exercise is always part of a classical Chinese training session. It is one of my favorite drills."
New from Samson Dubina
New from Tom Lodziak
- Adapting your table tennis game as you get older
- Review: A Late Return by William Rees (new TT book coming Nov. 5)
Top 5 secrets of Chinese Table Tennis on Forehand Topspin Forward
Here's the video (4:58) from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.
Table Tennis - Irregular footwork (In & Out)
Here's the video (52 sec) from Eli Baraty.
When Good Beats Great
Here's the article by Coach Jon.
Off-Season with PechPong Vlog!
Here's the video (3:03) from Seth Pech, and set to music. "A fun video about how I spend time during breaks or vacations to stay in shape and rest my mind to come back and practice twice as hard as I did before!"
New from PingSunday/EmRatThich
- Comeback Serve
- Ding Ning Activities After Retirement
- Dirty Serve in Table Tennis (study case)
- How to Win with Your Playing Style
Videos (some overlap with the above)
- Win with your playing style (5:50)
- Fan Zhendong: the era of the new king (3:30)
- Japanese team uniform for Tokyo Olympics (2:30)
- To ban or not to ban (comeback serve) (4:18)
- Xu Xin vs Zhou Qihao (3:01)
New from Steve Hopkins
- WAB Club Feature: Central Florida Table Tennis Club
- PongNow: Ian Seidenfeld (10:19)
- USATT’s T2 Season 2 Finals
- T2 Challenge Season 2 Results
- Fakel Gazprom 2021 Russian League Champions
- Ovtcharov’s Gazprom Team Advances to Russian League Final
- Swedish Championships: Moregardh and Kallberg Headline
New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here!
Five Nations Interested in Hosting 2024 World Table Tennis Championships
Here's the article from Inside the Games. "Sweden, South Korea, Portugal, Argentina and India have all entered the race to host the tournament."
Great Britain Table Tennis Squad Named for Tokyo 2020
Here's the article from Team GB - and yeah, they are calling it Tokyo 2020, though it was postponed to 2021.
1 Hour Ping Pong Challenge
Here's the video (14:57) from Pongfinity! "We invited Finnish YouTube Star @Roni Back and Pop Star @Robin Packalen to compete in the first ever Pongfinity Showdown match! How good did they get after a 1 hour coaching session by Emil and Miikka and who was the champion?"
Is That The Longest Table Tennis Serve In History?
Here's the video (5:14) from XOLAY!
Ping Pong Stereotypes!!!!
Here's the video (3:51)!
Alive For Table Tennis
Here's the video (21 sec) - and this is just weird!
Here's the cartoon!
Here's the cartoon!
King Pong Shirts
You know you want one - and you have ten choices, each with a different design!
- King Pong 1 (Amazon)
- King Pong 2 (Amazon)
- King Pong 3 (Amazon)
- King Pong 4 (Teenavi)
- King Pong 5 (Busted Tees)
- King Pong 6 (SpreadShirt)
- King Pong 7 (Chalk Talk Sports)
- King Pong 8 (Busted Tees)
- King Pong 9 (Busted Tees)
- King Pong 10 (Etsy)
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