Blogs

Larry Hodges' Blog and Tip of the Week will go up on Mondays by noon 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 eight books and over 1500 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 Board of Directors and chairs 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 Tips and More Table Tennis Tips, which cover, in logical progression, his Tips of the Week from 2011-2013 and 2014-2016, 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!

February 25, 2019

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Ways to Turn a Match Around.

Weekend Coaching
This past week in my two Beginning Junior Classes (Thursday and Sunday nights) the focus was on smashing. We started the sessions (which are two different groups of players) with about 30 minutes of basic stroking and footwork drills. Then came the demo and lecture on smashing. Then the players went into their groups, and either smashes against multiball, or against coaches who fished. (My assistants on Thursday are Lidney Castro and Aron Zhang; on Sundays Lidney and John Hsu.)

At the Saturday Junior League (which is half league, half coaching), we did the usual doubles and singles matches, often with improvised rules to force players to work on specific aspects of their games. For example, one segment, for the lower-ranked players, had them serving backspin to the backhand, the receiver pushed down the line to the forehand, the serve forehand looped, and they played out the point. For the advanced players, they had similar drills, such as serve and backhand loop, or serve and loop against a deep push anywhere.

At the Sunday Talent Program (more advanced juniors), as usual I did lots and Lots and LOTS of multiball in my station. (We often break them into rotating groups.) We also had them play up-down tables, except (like the Saturday league), the server served backspin, receiver pushed to forehand, and server forehand looped. Then came physical training and then Brazilians. And then I raced home to watch the Academy Awards! (I've seen every movie nominated for Best Picture and nearly every other movie nominated for anything.)

USATT Committees
Here's the USATT news item. Here's my January 28 blog on this. Alas, just when I thought I was almost done with my USATT work as a board member, I was pulled back in! I was asked to be on the USATT Committee Selection Task Force, along with Gary Schlager and Erica Wu. I now have 35 resumes and/or letters of intent to go through from an even 30 people who have applied to be chair or a member of one or more of 19 committees.

How did I get pulled into this? Oh yeah, I said yes….

I also have an excel spreadsheet with the 30 names along the left, and the 19 committees across the top, with a "c" for those interested in chairing a committee, or an "m" if interested in being a member. There are a total of 51 committee requests. Guess what I'll be doing this afternoon?

USATT Election
(I told all three candidates that I'd run links to all of their campaign items, and will run this election segment every week until the election on March 3.)

A USA Table Tennis election is taking place. I just received the USATT election email, and presumably so did all adult USATT members. If you did not, contact USATT. If USATT doesn't have your email address or your DOB, you wouldn't have received the email, so contact them and give them this info.

There are three candidates running for my current position - Mike Babuin, Bruce Liu, and Lily Yip. (As I've blogged about, I chose not to run for re-election. It's someone else's turn! I expect to stay neutral in the election.) My term was supposed to end Dec. 31, but for various reasons it was postponed, and the bylaws say I stay on the board until they finish the election. That should happen either in about a week (if one of the three gets over 50%), or about three weeks or so (if they have to do a runoff between the top two finishers).

Here is the USATT Election News Item. Here is the pertinent info from it:

  • Voting will start on February 25, 2019, and end on March 3, 2019. Voting will be on-line only.  
  • Eligible voters must have a current USATT membership that has been valid for at least 60 days prior to February 25, 2019, be in good standing with the association and be 18 or older. 
  • The ballot will be emailed to USATT members on February 25th.
  • Members should vote for only one candidate. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the eligible votes cast, then there will be a run-off election between the top two candidates who received the most votes.

Here is election info from each. They are alphabetized, but please see info on all three.

=>MIKE BABUIN

=>BRUCE LIU

=>LILY YIP

2019 ITTF Junior Circuit, Swedish Junior & Cadet Open
Here's the home page for the event held this past weekend in Orebro, Sweden. (I think it was held in conjunction with the Safir International junior event.) Team USA won one gold and five bronze:

2019 ITTF Swedish Youth Open

  • Mini Cadet Girls: Bronze Emily Tan
  • Junior Boys : Bronze Nikhil Kumar

2019 Safir International

  • Under 14 Boys: Gold Ted Li
  • Under 14 Girls: Bronze Linda Shu + Swathi Giri
  • Under 16 Girls: Bronze Sabrina Zhu

2019 Pan American Games Trial and First Adult National Ranking Event Tournament Homepage
Here's the USATT news item.

Capital Area League
The Capital Area League is for players in the Maryland/DC/Northern Virginia area. Here's the note just sent out: "Today, February 25th is the last day for the $50 Early-Bird savings. Don't miss out! If you were thinking of forming a team, take advantage of the savings and register by 11:59 pm today. You have until March 5th to finalize your player roster. If you have already submitted a team and paid your fee, thank you. Need a team? We may be able to help. Send us a note. Register now." (Final deadline is March 5.)

Pongmobile Cup
Here's the video (5:35) of the tournament highlights of the Pongmobile Cup held this past weekend in Washington DC. Here is the recorded livestream (9 hours 46 min - but you can jump around), and here are the results! Here's the Butterfly news item.

Ten Things That Require Zero Talent
Here's the picture. (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Reverse BACKHAND Pendulum Serve
Here's the article by Samson Dubina.

Table Tennis Rules
Here's the article by Eli Baraty. (And someone spent some Photoshop time getting Arnold from "Commando" into a table tennis picture!)

A Tale of Three Tournaments
Here's the article by Coach Jon. Article and video features 1949 English Open (Reisman vs. Barna), 1997 Worlds (Waldner vs. Samsonov), and 2017 Worlds (Ma Long vs. Fan Zhendong).

Talented Left Handers, Major Challengers
Here's the ITTF article that features USA cadet start Nikhil Kumar.

Table Tennis Tidbits #44
Here's the article and video (40min) from Robert Ho. "Not Losing vs Winning: At the 2018 China Championships, Wu Yang, currently the top woman chopper in the world played teammate Ding Ning, twice Women’s World Champion, and an Olympic champion.  Although they have had numerous close matches, I’m not aware that Wu has ever beaten Ding."

WAB Featured Club: NYITTC
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Backhand Serve Against a Left-Handed Player
Here's the video (2:05) from Viktor Tolkachev. The same serves work for a lefty against a righty.

The Deadly Strawberry Flip
Here's the video (3:41). (From last year, but I don't think I ever linked to it.)

Inside My Mind | Quadri Aruna
Here's the ITTF video (64 sec).

Daniel Habesohn | Behind-the-Back Master
Here's the video (60 sec). He's world #37 from Austria.

Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships
Here's the ITTF promo video (31 sec) for the event coming up April 21-28 in Budapest, Hungary.

World Rankings Video
Here's the video (59 sec) featuring the world top ten from 2016 to present.

Is China's Dominance in Table Tennis Real? Ranking History of Table Tennis (2001-2019)
Here's the video (5:37).

Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast - January 2019
Here's the video (12:55).

Birmingham Man Holds World Record in Table Tennis
Here's the video (2:20) featuring Homer Brown.

Philip and Parkinson's
Here's the video (2:23). "I made a film about my friend Philip, his battle against Parkinson's disease and how table tennis helps him through it. Not an easy watch but I hope you take a look."

Ma Long Withdraws from Marvelous 12
Here's the ITTF article.

Chinese Table Tennis Chief Will Give Up Pay for 'Poor" Games Preparation
Here's the article featuring Liu Guoliang.

Africa Signs Memorandum of Understanding
Here's the ITTF article. "Earlier in February the European Table Tennis Union signed a Continental Development Memorandum of Understanding; now Africa has followed suit."

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Ten of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "May-July 1996 Tournaments." Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

A Little Side-to-Side Footwork . . . with Paddle in Mouth?
Here's the video (1:30)! That's Egyptian Paralympic star Ibrahim Hamadtou.

Ping Pong: The Animation Opening
Here's the video (1:29).

Mirrored Pong Maneuvers
Here's the video (29 sec)!

Table Tennis Whacks Climate Change Deniers
Here's the cartoon!

How the Sport Was Named - and the Third Choice
Here's the cartoon!

***
Send us your own coaching news!

February 18, 2019

Tip of the Week
Judging the Depth of a Serve.

Offensive Clothing
At some point I'm guessing we are going to be faced with the following situation. Someone shows up at a tournament wearing something that, to some, is offensive, while to others, it is not. Before I get into this, here's the pertinent rule:

3.2.2.6, Clothing shall not carry designs or lettering which might cause offence or bring the game into disrepute.

The tournament referee has to judge this, and they will have varying judgments. So where do we draw the line? I'm fairly certain every referee will rule Nazi symbols are offensive, and not allow it. But how about someone wearing a Confederate flag? Would it make a difference if they do this in, say, South Carolina as opposed to New York? Some might find Islamic or Christian symbols offensive, so how does the referee judge this? Would he allow someone wearing a shirt with a picture depicting Allah? (It is offensive in the Islamic faith to show pictures of Allah. People, especially cartoonists, have been murdered for doing so.)

Remember the Charlottesville matches, where one group on video was chanting, over and over, "Jews will not replace us." What if someone shows up at a tournament with that slogan on his shirt? I don't think the referee would allow this. He also probably wouldn't allow, say, profanity. I once saw a player wearing a profanity-laced shirt at a one-star tournament, and the referee allowed it, saying it was free speech. But I don't think most referees would agree. I once saw a player who had the "F" word written on the front of his left shoe, and "You" on the right. Nobody complained and I don't think the referee even knew about it. If I were coaching a junior against this player, should I complain to the referee? Probably not, but only because the distraction of bringing in the referee would probably distract my player more than the opponent. But I might mention something to the player or the referee after the match.

One thing that I'm sure will happen, if it hasn't happened already - someone will show up at a tournament wearing a MAGA hat - yes, a Trump "Make America Great Again" hat. (No, I'm not going to get into the politics here, but remember that it's not the words that many find offensive, but that it's a symbol for something they find offensive.) However, this isn't really a problem as hats normally aren't allowed in tournaments, due to this rule:

3.2.2.1 Playing clothing shall consist of a short-sleeved or sleeveless shirt and shorts or skirt or one-part sports outfits, socks and playing shoes; other garments, such as part or all of a tracksuit, shall not be worn during play except with the permission of the referee

Note that hats are not part of the playing clothing listed, and it says "other garments" shall not be work except with the permission of the referee. Most referees do not allow hats, so it's likely the referee simply won't allow hats, MAGA or otherwise. Of course, someone will then wear a MAGA shirt, and someone's going to get offended. If I were the referee, I'd allow the MAGA shirt, but not the MAGA hat - but then I'd have to be evenhanded about it, and normally not allow others to wear hats either.

But what happens when, say, a bald player insists on wearing a hat? Or many-time U.S. Champion Patty Martinez, who wears a visor when she plays because the light from the ceiling bothers her eyes? Or a Jewish player who wants to wear a yarmulke, or an Islamic women who has to cover her head? Things get complicated. I know in the case of Martinez that she's normally allowed to wear the visor, but at least one referee at the Open or Nationals a few years ago wouldn't allow it. Islamic women are normally allowed to wear headgear in tournaments.

Of course, if a MAGA hat or shirt is offensive to some, what if someone shows up wearing pro- or anti- Republican or Democratic clothing? God, I hope we never get USA politics mixed into USATT politics. It could get rather heated. (I've already had my share of such heated arguments. Frankly, I'm tired of them since there is roughly a zero chance that arguing is going to change anyone's political opinion.)

I have a "Make American Smart Again" hat. If I wore that at a tournament, perhaps on the sidelines, would that offend anyone, since it's somewhat of a sarcastic response to a MAGA hat?

How about a shirt that says, "Death to America"? Or the more mild "Down with America"? Or one that shows the American flag in a disrespectful way? At one U.S. Open or Nationals many years ago, Pete May wore USA flag clothing, I think shirt and shorts, that were I think the same ones used by members of the USA Track and Field Team at the time. The referee wouldn't allow it. Others would. It's the referee's judgment. Would these shorts be allowed? Here's the US Flag Code - it specifically says:

"No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations."

And yet the online gift shop for the U.S. Olympic Committee sells flag shirts. How about this jacket, which I have in my closet, which I bought at the gift shop at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs? How about Rocky flag shorts? Or how about this picture of the 2018 Olympics USA Flag Bearer, and this one of a 2014 USA Olympic Team Opening Ceremonies Outfit? The code says, "No part of the flag shall be used as a costume or athletic uniform" - and those aren't just flag patches!

Weekend Coaching
I've managed to keep our Thursday and Sunday Beginning Junior Classes in synch. In both classes this past week we introduced them to spin, and in particular spin serves. I always start the class by having them volunteer to try to return the serves, so they have a good idea of what's going on before I start the lecture and demo. Then, as I always do, I break out the JOOLA spinballs, which are half white, half orange, and allow beginners to see spin. This way I can demonstrate the various spins and they can see how they react on the table. For them, it's like a magician show as I do backspin serves that come back into the net, sidespin serves that curve about and hit targets, and topspin serves that jump.

Then I distribute the spin balls, one per player, and have them practice spinning the ball - spin and catch; spin and catch; spin and catch. The younger kids usually can't do this, and for them, I let them just bounce the ball up and down. After a few minutes of this, I collect the balls, demo some of the specific types of serves (forehand pendulum, forehand tomahawk, and backhand serves), and then do a recap of fast & deep serves (which we covered two weeks ago), and then give them the choice of working on spin serves or fast serves.

I told the class that there's no chance any of them would be able to serve with enough backspin to make the ball come back into the net. As always, someone proved me wrong - in this case, two kids were able to do it. One even managed a serve that bounced back over net to his side! (I was a witness, and he was only eight years old.)

On Saturday night in the Junior League (which is half league, half coaching) I worked with a number of players on doubles. In singles, a number of players were having trouble backhand looping so we did a number of league matches where players had to serve backspin, receiver pushes to backhand, and server had to backhand loop.

One kid stayed later to practice serves on Saturday night (yes, Saturday night!!!), and I worked with him for a time. He's a lefty and was working on breaking his serves wide to a righty's forehand. I pointed out that there are three versions of this he should learn - ones that double bounce short to the forehand, ones that bounce short but go off the side of the table very wide (so table is in the way if receiver tries to loop it), and ones that go very long, with a big break into the forehand. Different players have trouble with different ones, or have trouble if you vary these three.

In the advanced Talent Development Program, as usual I did lots of multiball. Then I got to work with a number of the kids on serves - that's always my favorite topic, along with tactics. One kid is developing a really good backhand serve, but was hesitant to use it as someone had told him he wasn't tall enough to do the serve. Paddlesticks!!! But there is some truth to the idea that some kids have trouble doing forehand pendulum serves until they are older - for them, it's better to start out with a forehand tomahawk serve. One kid was developing that serve so I worked with him on that for five minutes.

Portugal Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event that took place this past weekend in Lisboa, Portugal, with results, articles, pictures, and video. Here's the article, Major Upsets at the 2019 Seamaster ITTF Portugal Open.

USATT Sad to Announce the Passing of Former National Coach Zhang Li
Here's the USATT news item. Here's the Butterfly news item. This is very sad news. I knew her pretty well from coaching camps and major tournaments. A lot of players never realized we had a coach and former player of such high level - and a great person as well. Here's a picture of her as the USA Women's Coach at the 1993 Worlds - she's front middle. (Husband and Men's Coach Li Zhenshi is back row, second from right.) Here's the non-Facebook version.

USATT Announcement Regarding Committee Invitation
Here's the USATT news item. Here's my January 28 blog on this.

USATT CEO Position Information and Job Description
Here's the USATT news item. Want to be the next USATT CEO? Here's your chance!!!

USATT Election
(I told all three candidates that I'd run links to all of their campaign items, and will run this election segment every week until the election on March 3.)

A USA Table Tennis election is taking place, with three candidate running for my current position - Mike Babuin, Bruce Liu, and Lily Yip. (As I've blogged about, I chose not to run for re-election. It's someone else's turn! I expect to stay neutral in the election.) Here is the USATT Election News Item. Here is the pertinent info from it:

  • Voting will start on February 25, 2019, and end on March 3, 2019. Voting will be on-line only.  
  • Eligible voters must have a current USATT membership that has been valid for at least 60 days prior to February 25, 2019, be in good standing with the association and be 18 or older. 
  • The ballot will be emailed to USATT members on February 25th.
  • Members should vote for only one candidate. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the eligible votes cast, then there will be a run-off election between the top two candidates who received the most votes.

Here is election info from each.

=>MIKE BABUIN

=>BRUCE LIU

=>LILY YIP

2020 USA Table Tennis Olympic Selections
USA Olympian Wang Chen created a "We the People" White House petition about the 2020 Olympic Games Athlete Selection Procedures. As I blogged on January 7, I don't agree with them either. All three of the candidates running for my position on the board are also against them. It's unlikely they'll get the 100,000 needed, but who knows. (NOTE - I put this up a few hours after the blog went up, so initial readers might not see this.)

New from Matt Hetherington

New from Samson Dubina

  • Hired! Chance Friend is the new coach at the Samson Dubina Academy
  • Look. Listen. Feel. Learn to somewhat-predict the future

New from Tom Lodziak

Develop Your Table Tennis Belief
Here's the article by Eli Baraty.

Times Change But Some Things Never Change
Here's the ITTF article on Vladimir Samsonov - still competing near the top at age 42!

Success Cannot Be Achieved Without Failure – Lily Zhang’s Pan American Cup Reflections
Here's the article by Lily Zhang.

Banana and Strawberry Flips
Here's the video (54 sec). The ones that go to our left are the more conventional "banana" flips, while the ones that go to our right are rarer, somewhat unconventional "strawberry" flips, so-named and popularized by Stefan Feth. (A banana flip stroke goes through the shape of a banana; for a strawberry flip, Stefan just needed another type of fruit for the name!)

Table Tennis for All
Here's the new video (38:15) from PingSkills, #272.

Paddle Du Jour
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

New from Steve Hopkins

Final Call for Sports Science Congress Abstracts
Here's the ITTF article. "Staged immediately prior to the Liebherr 2019 World Championships, organized in conjunction with the University of Pecs and the Hungarian Table Tennis Association, the 16th ITTF Sports Science Congress will be held on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th April. The final submission of abstracts has been extended; the deadline date is Friday 8th March."

National Collegiate Table Tennis February Newsletter
Here's the new issue.

LI Table Tennis Phenom Estee Ackerman, 17, Eyeing 2020 Olympics
Here's the article from the NY Newsday.

Elite Table Tennis Athletes – How Do They Do It?
Here's the article from Table Tennis Spot - with a great, colorful action drawing!

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Nine of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "International News." Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

Behind-the-Back Chop-Lob That Comes Back!
Here's the video (58 sec) from Arnaud Scheen!

My Dream [Table Tennis] House
Here's the picture! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

This Ping Pong Kid Has Incredible Moves!
Here's the new video (3 min).

Three-Sided Ping-Pong
Here's the video (26 sec).

Pyramid Mini-Pong
Here's the picture! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) 

Tennis Pong
Here's the video (23 sec)!

Zhang Jike's Insane Birthday Celebrations
Here's the video (25 sec)!

***
Send us your own coaching news!

February 13, 2019

Tip of the Week
Wanting to Win Versus Hating to Lose.

Pink Eye
As noted the last couple of days, I've been sick in bed with Conjunctivitis, i.e. "Pink Eye." I'm 80% over that, and no longer look like Frankenstein's monster. There's still a lot of puffiness, I'm still going through Kleenex faster than a coach can feed multiball, and I have the energy of a smooshed ping-pong ball, but I'm back in action. Alas, my stomach seems perpetuall queezy right now. 

USATT Election
A USATT election is taking place, with three candidate running for my current position - Mike Babuin, Bruce Liu, and Lily Yip. (As I've blogged about, I chose not to run for re-election. It's someone else's turn! I expect to stay neutral in the election.) Here is the USATT Election News Item. Here is the pertinent info from it:

  • Voting will start on February 25, 2019, and end on March 3, 2019. Voting will be on-line only.  
  • Eligible voters must have a current USATT membership that has been valid for at least 60 days prior to February 25, 2019, be in good standing with the association and be 18 or older. 
  • The ballot will be emailed to USATT members on February 25th.
  • Members should vote for only one candidate. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the eligible votes cast, then there will be a run-off election between the top two candidates who received the most votes.

Here is election info from each.

=>MIKE BABUIN
Mike has produced eleven videos where he covers various USATT issues. (He told me he's recorded about 30 so far, and the rest will go up regularly over the next couple of weeks.)

=>BRUCE LIU

=>LILY YIP

USATT Teleconference
USATT had a teleconference on Monday night (Feb. 11, 7PM to about 9:30PM), which will likely be my last USATT meeting. Up until a couple hours before it began I wasn't sure if would be able to attend, or at least speak in the meeting due to my voice being a croak due to "pink eye" (see above and previous blogs). But my voice miraculously cleared up late that afternoon, probably due to the antibiotics I'd started taking the day before. Here's a rough synopsis. (I think all nine board members attended, plus a number of staff and committee chairs.)

  1. After roll call, we voted to approve the minutes of the October, 2018 meeting. Normally this should have been done long ago. We were supposed to vote on it in a previous meeting, but at the time it came up, we only had four board members on the call and so didn't have a quorum. There was one major point of discussion as the minutes included mention of the discussion we had of the "Board Election, and Nominating and Governance Committee." I remember this clearly, as it pertained to me since the election is about those running for my position, and several others also remembered this. But Rajul Sheth vehemently insists we never had this discussion, and so voted against approving these minutes. (This wasn't out of the blue - we've had a copy of the draft of the minutes for months, and he brought this up long ago.)
  2. We received a written High Performance Report by HPD Jörg Bitzigeio.
  3. There was an update on the CEO search. Most likely CoGeo - the firm hired to help with the search - will send recommendations to the CEO Selection Committee in about four weeks, which will then do its own evaluation, which could take up to another six weeks. So most likely the board will be voting on the hiring of a new CEO around late April.
  4. We had a financial update. There had been financial discrepancies found in USATT accounting, likely caused from the transition from our previous accountant to our new one, Chris Mauro. The main problem pertained to something like $500,000 in entry fees received in 2017 for the 2018 World Veterans Championships, making it look like we had a huge amount of money in 2017 that was then lost over the next year. To make absolutely sure, we had hired an outside accounting firm to go over the books, which they did, and nothing nefarious was found. USATT will also have its annual outside audit, which for 2018 will come out around September. (As an accounting layman, I don't know why it takes so long, but I'm assured that's normal.) 
  5. I led a long discussion on the USATT Board Code of Conduct. There are some silly things in it, as I explained. For example, it requires board members to "support" all decisions by the board, whether they voted for them or not. The problem is that "support" has many meanings. Using Webster's, the board could "weaponize" this by insisting it meant that board members had to "defend as right" and "argue for" decisions they don't agree with. Or, as I also pointed out, we could define it as meaning "to uphold or defend as valid," which is a bit more reasonable. As I pointed out, with the current wording, if a board member is asked his opinion on a decision he disagrees with, he has to lie and say that he believes the decision is right and argue for it, or he could be found in violation of the Code of Conduct! So I proposed changing board members will "Respect and support the decisions of the board" to "Respect and uphold…" Ed Hogshead disagreed, arguing that outside of meetings, the board should speak with one voice. (He and I have a fundamental disagreement here.) I also proposed a change to the part where it says that board members shall not "be critical, in or outside of a board meeting, of other board members or their opinions." I want to take off "or their opinions." There were a few other similar items I wanted changed. However, while it looks like the board will overwhelmingly approve these changes, there were some disagreements on language. So this was set aside, and board members were directed to email their recommendations to me, board chair Anne Cribbs, and USATT attorney Dennis Taylor. (So far none have been received.) I discussed this issue at greater length in my January 14 blog, in the segment on the teleconference.
  6. We received a short report on the status of a proposed General Membership Code of Conduct.
  7. There was a long discussion about a proposed "Understanding between USATT - ITTF North America and TT Canada." Tony Kiesehofer, ITTF regional director for North America, was on the call to take questions. In simple terms, the ITTF hopes to run more events in North America.
  8. We had an executive session to discuss personnel/legal issues. I can't believe that XXXXX did XXXXX to XXXXX!!! Wow!!! :) See, if you were on the board you'd get to know all about this!
  9. We discussed a proposal to change the USATT mission statement to match the new one listed in the new USATT Strategic Priorities. Surprisingly, most of the discussion here and previously (via email and our last teleconference) was over whether to use a comma or semicolon at one part. Yeah, this was, IMHO, a Dilbert moment. It didn't affect the meaning, just the emphasis, in the opinion of some, though I don't agree. I stayed out of the discussion, though previously when asked I said it didn't matter. We voted to approve the new mission statement, with the "comma" version. So, are you on Team Comma or Team Semicolon? (Or maybe Team Previous?) You decide - here are the two"versions"; I'll let you find the change. 
    "The Mission of USATT is to support, develop, grow, and inspire the table tennis community, and to provide resources that enable athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence and pursue Olympic and Paralympic success." (This was the approved version.)
    OR
    "The Mission of USATT is to support, develop, grow, and inspire the table tennis community; and to provide resources that enable athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence and pursue Olympic and Paralympic success."
    =>Here was the previous Mission Statement:
    "The Mission of the USATT shall be to enable United States athletes to achieve sustained competitive excellence in Olympic/Paralympic, Pan American or Para Pan American Games, and other international competitions, and to promote and grow the sport of Table Tennis in the United States, while creating a lasting value for our members."
  10. There was a proposal by the Ethics and Grievance Committee to make several changes the bylaws to protect USATT from obvious nuisance grievances. Few people realize that USATT board and staff spent more time over about one year on one single person than the other 8000 members combined - because this person discovered that he could use loopholes to force USATT to address every single one of about 100 nuisance "grievances" he filed. He lost on every single case, but I personally spent over 110 hours on this issue, and others spent even more. (It was one of a number of reasons I decided not to run for re-election.) It was one of the biggest wastes of USATT time and resources in modern history. I was one of the ones who asked the EGC to look into fixing this problem, and I am grateful that they have done so. I agreed with all of the proposals, but several board members still had questions on some aspects and others hadn't had time to review them, and so it was tabled until next meeting. As to the changes themselves, there were several, but one in particular was a simple solution: it allowed the EGC, in consultation with the USATT attorney, to judge whether a complaint has merit rather than being forced to go through a formal hearing, etc., that forces the accused parties to spend huge amounts of time and money on their defense. A nuisance grievance may seem like something you can ignore, but if you don't defend against even baseless accusations, you could lose and you don't get a second chance.
  11. There was a short discussion of the problem of match dumping, but that'll be taken up again at a future meeting, with possible recommendations from the tournament committee.
  12. Update on the Board of Directors Election. (See segment above.)
  13. Update on Committee membership process and status. The number of people who volunteered for USATT committees was disappointing, so there is going to be another push for such volunteers. (See my January 28 blog on this, and this news item that just went up.)
  14. We had a written Foundation and Fundraising report from Carl Danner.
  15. Chief Operating Officer Mark Thompson gave a US Nationals update. Entry form was delayed as they are trying to add some new events, such as mini-cadet teams, which I hope they can fit in. (It'll likely be out next week.) The official hotel will be the Renaissance Hotel. The tournament is July 1-6 in Las Vegas.
  16. There was discussion of the upcoming USATT board meeting, March 29-31 at the ICC club in California. This will likely be the first meeting with someone taking my place on the board.

2020 USA Table Tennis Olympic Selections
USA Olympian Wang Chen created a "We the People" White House petition about the 2020 Olympic Games Athlete Selection Procedures. As I blogged on January 7, I don't agree with them either. All three of the candidates running for my position on the board are also against them. It's unlikely they'll get the 100,000 needed, but who knows. (NOTE - I put this up a few hours after the blog went up, so initial readers might not see this.)

Portugal Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event taking place now through this weekend in Lisboa, Portugal.

USATT and ITTF News Items
Rather than redundantly link to every one of their main news items, here are their news pages. I've linked directly in segments below to many of the most interesting ones.

New from Samson Dubina

New from Tom Lodziak

New from Eli Baraty

New from EmRatThich

Creativity in Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Backspin Back Through the Duct Tape
Here's the video (18 sec, with slo-mo replay) of Matt Hetherington. I tried this once and hit the tape a zillion times on the way back before I was able to get it through one time. But seriously, this type of practice is great for developing spin and serve control. Put various targets on the table and spin your serves so the ball hits them on the way back or swerves around them. (Here's a good place to link to Matt's Coaching Blog index.)

Loop, Loop, Smash Combo
Here's the video (5 sec) - a loop against backspin, a loop against block, and then a smash.

The First Episode of ITTF's Inside My Mind, Featuring Ding Ning
Here's the video (68 sec).

Timo Boll | Training 2019 Table Tennis
Here's the video (7:12).

Training with Adrien Rassenfosse
Here's the video (13:57) of the Belgium player, from Arnaud Scheen.

DHS ITTF Top 10 - 2019 Hungarian Open
Here's the video (6 min).

Half a Century of Playing the US Open Started in a Red Mustang and a Road Trip
Here's the USATT article featuring Homer Brown, by Richard Finn. In December Homer competed in his 50th consecutive U.S. Open. (I'm chasing him - I've been to every Open and Nationals since 1984 - 35 in row for both - and every North American Teams (previously called the U.S. Open Teams) since 1976 - 43 in a row.

Royals Induct Former Broadcasters Into Wall of Honor
Here's the article on USATT Chief Operating Officer Mark Thompson as he is inducted into the Reading Royals (hockey team) Wall of Honor.

WAB Featured Club: Han-In Table Tennis Club
Here's the article on this New Jersey club, by Steve Hopkins.

Boston Bruins’ Pucks & Paddles Raises $119,000
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Eight of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "Reader's Views." Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

Let's Get More Females Playing Table Tennis!
Here's the USATT video (2:15), featuring Lily Zhang and Wu Yue.

Table Tennis, Best Of
Here's the video (7:33).

Table Tennis - "Never Give Up!"
Here's the video (5:41).

2018 Table Tennis Year Review
Here's the video (5:12) from Pong Universe.

Enter the Snake: Twist of Fury
Here's the video (2:45) featuring Adam Bobrow. It's pretty hilarious - why don't more players use this shot? My guess is it'd be pretty effective up to perhaps the 2000 level, and sometimes beyond that! You should be able to read the bounce of the ball by the way it's spinning in the air toward you, but since you are not used to seeing this shot, few players can react correctly. Strong players who are nimble on their feet and don't react prematurely can adjust at the last second after seeing the bounce - but it's tricky!

Table Tennis Challenge w/ Timo Boll | Müller vs. Hummels
Here's the video (14 min) - I'm not sure what's going on as it's in German, but it has Timo Boll, and involves "around the table" play and some sort of challenge match. Presumably Müller and Hummels are some sort of celebrities? Comment below if you have any idea of what's going on.

Sunny Bunnies Table Tennis
Here's the cartoon video (31:52, with the first 3.5 minutes featuring table tennis)!

Space and Table Tennis
Here's the cartoon!

Crazy Funny Table Tennis Ping Pong
Here's the video (2:19)!

The Funniest Moments of Table Tennis 2018
Here's the video (23:59)!

***
Send us your own coaching news!

February 11, 2019

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE - I need at least one more day off. I'm 50-50 about doing the blog tomorrow or just waiting until the next one on Monday. My voice is mostly back and so I was able to attend the USATT board teleconference last night. Left eye got better, now both eyes look only slightly reddish and saggy. Strangely, the infection seems to have moved into my lower left lip, which is now swelling and puffing out like a cartoonish snarl. I'm still going though Kleenex like former world #1 Mikael Appelgren used to go through sponge. (He was known for changing the sponge on both sides of his racket before every match.) About every half hour I go into a hacking fit as I cough up strange looking stuff. I may do an emergency supermarket run today for Kleenex and soup. Meanwhile, here's a new video: Never Give Up! (5:41).

#

Alas, I've come down pretty sick with Conjunctivitis, i.e. pink eye. It's an almost cartoonish name and I didn't know anything about it until yesterday. I came down with what I thought was a cold early last week. On Saturday morning my left eye was literally crusted shut, and all red and puffy. It was also spreading to my right eye. I was coughing up green stuff and going through boxes of Kleenex. My voice was down to a croak and my throat is on fire. Making things worse, I had to run the MDTTC February Open this weekend. On Sunday early afternoon I finally left and saw a doctor - at that point I looked like Frankenstein's monster. Assistant Director Klaus Wood took over, with help from Greg Mascialiano and half a dozen of our local juniors, who are great at data input.

I went to Medical Access, which is open seven days/week. After examining my eyes, ears, and throat, the doctor's exact words were, "Wow! It's spread everywhere." (Both eyes, both ears, sinuses, throat, lungs.) I'm now on what she called the strongest antibiotics available and some sort of anti-bacterial eye drops. So . . . does anyone want to come over and shake my hand?

Here are the results of the JOOLA MDTTC February Open - and now I'm going back to bed. (UPDATE - the ratings were processed already on Monday afternoon.) No blog today, and I'll wait until tomorrow to see if I can do it then. We have a USATT Teleconference tonight at 7PM. I'll probably attend, but my voice will be pretty bad. And here's a new Table Tennis, Best Of video (7:33).

February 4, 2019

Tip of the Week
Straighten the Belt, and the Rest Falls into Place.

Weekend Coaching
In the Thursday Beginning Junior Class, we introduced the players to fast, deep serves, using the same method I'd used previously: I put a water bottle on all four corners of each table, and a piece of string across the table about ten inches from the end-line. The players then tried to serve and hit the bottles where the first bounce was past the string. We also did a recap on forehands and backhands. We then finished with the usual games - up-down tables for the older ones, build and then knock down pyramids of cups for the younger players.

In the Sunday Beginning Junior Class, we focused on footwork, and demoed most of the main types. Near the end of the training segment we had a forehand-to-forehand contest, where they tried to see how many they could get in a row. (I think the high-score was 82.) We finished with the same games as the Thursday class.

In the Talent Development Program on Sunday (advanced juniors), we did lots of multiball training, and then a number of table drills, followed by physical training with various ladder drills. We finished with Brazilian teams. One of the players surprised me by his improvement - when we chose up teams, I thought he was one of the weakest, but he started by scoring the first six points in a row, and was consistently the best player the rest of the game. He practices regularly with his dad, a 2000 player, and is moving up fast. Another player surprised me with how good his serves are getting. I told him I could see he had been practicing them, and he pleasantly surprised, but couldn't figure out how I knew, at first thought I must have been spying on him! I explained that a coach can always tell if someone has been practicing their serves by how much their serves are improving!!!

JOOLA MDTTC February Open
I'll be running the tournament next weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. Events often fill up by Thursday or even Wednesday, so enter early! Most events have a 24-player limit. Use the Omnipong link and enter online!!!

Volunteering
I probably did at least 30 hours of pure volunteer work this past week. Something has to give - it's just way too much, on top of all the other things I do. (This is one of the reasons I decided not to run for re-election on the USATT board or continue as coaching chair, with both of my terms ending around March 1.) I spent my week:

  • Editing the first draft of the USA Nationals entry form (8 pages). It'll likely be out by Feb. 15.
  • Creating the MDTTC February Newsletter. 
  • Updating the USATT coaching tests, which not only are out of date (they still have USATT Magazine listed as a USATT benefit and other things like that), but to my horror I found that some of the answers on the answer key aren't correct, and some of the questions misleading. (I inherited this - who knows how long it's been like this.) So I had to go through the 20 questions each on the Instructor, Club, and State coaching tests and do updates. Also, USATT had lost the originals, so I had to copy from PDF versions and then reformat. We are working to get away from using such open-book written tests as part of coaching certification. We have been using the ITTF coaching certification process, but USATT is also working on developing our own Coaching Education and Certification Process. I was involved with this at the start, working with HPD Jörg Bitzigeio, but he's taking the lead on this, and we hope to have something within a year.
  • Reading and emailing with USATT board members on various issues, such as the U.S. Olympic Selection Procedures and on Fund-raising. I was more active in the Olympic Selection Procedures discussion previously, but I've had my say and for now am mostly out of it. As I blogged about previously, it's not even a board decision since the High Performance Committee makes these decisions.
  • A bunch of time helping one of our coaches with college homework.
  • Working on a feature article on a Chinese coach who needs the article to help with his visa.
  • Updating and printing hundreds of flyers for MDTTC. (Many changes and updates.)
  • Updating, uploading, and printing flyers for the upcoming Hopes tournament at MDTTC.
  • Cleaning the Newgy robot at MDTTC.
  • Sorting through the 96 trophies just ordered and received for the five MDTTC tournaments this upcoming year to make sure all are correct. (Technically this isn't volunteer, since I get paid to run tournaments, but I actually have someone taking over starting in April, so it's mostly volunteer now. Training begins next weekend at the MDTTC February Open - see above. I've run 204 USATT sanctioned tournaments, it's someone else's turn!)
  • Reviewing the latest draft of a possible letter to the ITTF on enforcing the service rule.
  • Reviewing the latest draft of my recommended changes to the USATT board code of conduct, which I hope we can vote in the Feb. 11 teleconference, likely my last meeting as a board member.
  • The weekly blog and tip of the week.
  • A myriad of other small issues and emails that add up, and allow me to use the rarely used word "myriad."

USATT Election
I'm not planning on taking sides in the upcoming USATT election, where three powerful table tennis people are in a Game-of-Thrones Battle-to-the-End No-Holds-Barred Punching Extravaganza over who will get the At-Large position I currently hold on the USATT Board of Directors. (Okay, I made most of that up and they all get along fine, but they are running for the position.) The three running for the position are Mike Babuin, Bruce Liu, and Lily Yip. All have long and extensive table tennis backgrounds. I'll link to their online election items as they come up. There should be a USATT news item on this soon. If you are an adult USATT member, you will receive the ballots, presumably sometime this month. Here are some election links that just went up.

  • Mike Babuin put out a video, Episode 1: Strategic Priorities (11:37), and said he plans to put out such videos regularly this month. (Here's the Facebook version, where you can discuss the video if you are on Facebook.) I agree with most of what he says in the video - I made many of the same arguments about the Strategic Priorities. (One small clarification - Gordon resigned as USATT CEO as of Dec. 1, 2018.)
  • Lily Yip has a news item on her running for the USATT board, which includes a link to her Campaign Statement. She's here in Maryland for a psychology seminar. She will be stopping by MDTTC this afternoon to watch our afterschool program.

Key Positions Advertised at the International Table Tennis Federation
Here's the ITTF news item. Here are current open positions - yes, YOU can work for the ITTF!!!

  • World Ranking Manager
  • Regional Director – Latin America
  • ITTF Foundation – Field Programs Coordinator
  • ITTF-ETTU Competition Manager
  • Website Editors
  • Senior Web Developer
  • Database Administrator

JOOLA Sponsors Maryland Table Tennis Center
Here's the news item on my home club. Butterfly was the MDTTC club sponsor since it opened in 1992, but JOOLA, which has been sponsoring the Talent Development Junior Program that trains at MDTTC, is now the club's official sponsor, as of Feb. 1. I'm still sponsored by Butterfly.  

2019 Pan Am Cup
Here's the ITTF home page for the event held this past weekend (Feb. 1-3) in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, with results, articles, video, and pictures. USA's Kanak Jha won silver in Men's Singles, losing the final to world #6 Hugo Calderano of Brazil, 2, -12, 3,8,10. USA's Wu Yue won Bronze in Women's Singles. Here are some links.

2019 Europe Top 16 Cup
Here's the home page for the event held this past weekend in Montreux, Switzerland, with results, articles, video, and pictures. SPOILER ALERT - Congrats to Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER), who won deuce in the seventh over Vladimir Samsonov (BEL), while Petrissa Solja (GER) came back from down 1-3 to win in seven against Bernadette Szocs (ROU). Here are three articles by Steve Hopkins:

Table Tennis Serve - Where Should the Ball Bounce on Your Side of the Table?
Here's the video (4:24) by Eli Baraty.

Backhand Loop Against Backspin
Here's the video (60 sec) by Heming Hu.

How to Prevent Injuries When Playing Table Tennis
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

Brazil's Standout Champion is Pushing the Boundaries: Interview with Hugo Calderano
Here's the interview with the world #6 from Brazil, by Matt Hetherington.

Hugo Calderano Training
Here's the video (34 sec). Great angle. Note the placements - he's going mostly to the forehand and middle here. Here's the world #6 from Brazil (the highest ranked South American player ever), and just won Men's Singles at the Pan Am Cup over USA's Kanak Jha. Now you see what Kanak was facing!

Liu Guoliang Clear the Air on Ma Long's Current Situation
Here's the article with links to video.

New from Lily Zhang

New from Samson Dubina

New from Steve Hopkins

TTTeam USA ITTF World Ranking Report - February 2019
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

Table Tennis Culture in Belgium
Here's the article by Eli Baraty.

Extrospection in Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Baggaley on Top of World Again
Here's the article on Andrew Baggaley winning the ping pong world championships for the third time. (That's a $100,000 tournament with sandpaper rackets.) Here's the home page for the event, which I linked to last week.

Thanh Banh Memorial Open
Here's the article and lots of videos.

Smash Ping Pong Bar Opens on Long Island
Here's the article and video (52 sec) from NY Newsday.

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Seven of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "Annual US Table Tennis Youth Cup, 1996." Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

Windy City LIVE -- Amazing Kids: Table Tennis Superstars
Here's the video (5:50) featuring Sid and Nandan Naresh.

Jim Butler at the Dynamic Sports Training 3rd Annual Ping Pong for Charity
Here's the video (6:52). Others there (besides 4-time U.S. Men's Champion and Olympian Butler) include Houston Astros 1st Baseman Tyler White and Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey.

Pong on the Promenade
Here's the video (1:42). Toward the end a dinosaur shows up!

Truls Möregårdh and Alex Naumi Battling on a Rather Large Table
Here's the video (35 sec) of the two stars from Sweden and Finland. It must be a hot day!

Chinese Mini-Pong Training
Here's the video (11 sec)! Can you name the players?

The Ping-Pong Man
Scott Preiss is The Ping-Pong Man. Here's a new video (69 sec) featuring him by Jim Butler. "Scott Preiss "The Ping Pong Man" is the most entertaining man in table tennis. Just recently in a tournament, he made one of the most amazing shots in table tennis. (Jim also shows this in his video.) I'm not sure what the odds are of pulling this shot off, but it's close to impossible because Scott has to guess his opponent is going to the exact spot he attempts the acrobatic shot, and all the timing must happen perfectly. What a shot!"

The Ping Pong Kid Has New Moves!
Here's the video (3 min), from George Takei Presents.

***
Send us your own coaching news!

January 28, 2019

Tip of the Week
Progressive Drills to Improve Your Rallying Skills.

Invitation to Members Interested in Committee Service
Here's the USATT news item. There are 17 USATT Committees. (Some are currently vacant and so are not listed.) The USATT news item gives a description of what each committee does. Here are the Super 17:

  • Classic Table Tennis Committee
  • Clubs Committee
  • Coaching Committee
  • Ethics and Grievance Committee
  • High Performance Committee
  • Juniors Committee
  • Leagues Committee
  • Membership Development Committee
  • Nominating and Governance Committee
  • Para High Performance Committee
  • Resource Development Committee
  • Rules Committee
  • Selection Committee
  • Technology Committee
  • Tournaments Committee
  • Umpires' and Referees' Committee
  • Veterans Committee

So why would you want to serve on a USATT Committee? Other than that it's much more fun than jamming a red-hot poker down your throat while dancing on a ping-pong table in the vacuum of outer space? Well, it's either serve on a committee or go practice, and we all know how hard it is to practice.

Many people complain about USATT, but few actually step in to help out. This is your chance to not only help out, but you can get your "I can now complain about USATT without being a lazy hypocrite" membership card. There's a good chance you are an "expert," or at least reasonably knowledgeable, about one of these 17 areas. Take your pick!!!

I've served my time, many times over. Besides being on the USATT Board of Directors, I've chaired the Coaching Committee the last two years, as well as from 1991-95. (My terms for both expire around March 1, and then I'm free to practice and swallow red-hot pokers while dancing on a ping-pong table in the vacuum of outer space. I've told USATT powers-that-be that I don't want to chair any more committees, though I may consider staying on the Coaching Committee.) I've also chaired the League Committee, Club Committee, and Resident Training Program Committee, and have been a member of the Junior, Senior, Grassroots, and Ratings Committees, as well as a member of the Coaching and Club Committees when I wasn't chair.

Much of committee work is setting or recommending policy. Other times the committee takes the lead in an activity. Some of them work closely with the full-time staff members. For example, the High Performance Committee, Coaching Committee, and Junior Committee all work closely with the USATT High Performance Director.

Committee work can be both greatly rewarding and terribly frustrating. Some of my favorite moments in table tennis have been when something from a committee became a reality that changed the course of USATT history, and with no red-hot pokers involved. We did some ground-breaking stuff in my first term as coaching chair and when I chaired the club committee. You can do the same. If you have some great idea you want to work on and develop, here's your chance!

There have been down moments as well. Once, in a USATT Strategic Meeting, we broke up into smaller groups to focus on specific areas. I was in the Full-Time Training Centers group with five others. (So technically, this wasn't committee work, but it was the same thing.) At the time there were only about five such full-time training centers in the country, the first of which was the Maryland Table Tennis Center, which I co-founded in 1992 and still coach at. I'd created a successful model that was copied by others, and I could see the future was in such centers. (I was right - there are now 94 full-time training centers that I know of.) So I could reasonably say I was an "expert" on the topic. So what happened? One person took over the meeting. We could barely get a word in as this one person, who had never run a full-time center or even a club, and literally had no idea what he was talking about, went on and On and ON about what we had to do. When I managed to get a few words in pointing out some realities that contradicted his world-view, it only got him more assertive. I finally sat back and gave up, and only sort of listened as the four others bickered with him for 60 minutes. When we reported back to the main group, the Type A Personality who had taken over the meeting gave a report on his views, and I then pointed out that these were his views, and that the others in the group had very differing views. It was a wasted meeting and a wasted opportunity.

Don't be that person.

On the other hand, I've been in committee meetings where people came prepared, they respectfully listened when others spoke, they discussed various experiences, ideas, and visions for the sport, we came up with great plans and policy, and unicorns nuzzled our hands and we played ping-pong with angels.

Be those people.

Weekend Coaching
It was a rather "easy" weekend as two of the three group sessions did season-ending practice tournaments. For these two, I ran part of the tournament while observing the players. We also had the season-ending part for the Talent Development Program, where awards were given, much food was eaten, and the kids got to play table tennis without any adult supervision, often with mini-paddles and hardbats, and with their own rules. Here's the group picture. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) You can see me in the back in the light blue shirt with a white stripe on the sleeves, toward the left.)

In the Beginning Class on Wednesday, we did forehand and backhand review, and started some on side-to-side footwork. However, the focus was on deep serves. Before the session began I cut twelve five-foot pieces of string. I also brought in a case of water bottles and a ruler. I put 24 water bottles on the four corners of six tables. Then I put the string across the end of each table, ten inches from the end-line. Then, after a demo, they spent ten minutes trying to serve and hit the bottle, with the first bounce past the string. (In the demo, I kept asking the kids if they thought I could hit the bottle, and three times we bet push-ups. I hit the bottle all three times. Our kids will have superior upper-body strength due to my serving accuracy. I can hit a bottle on the far corner probably 80% of the time with my normal forehand pendulum fast serve. ) As usual, we finished with games, with the older kids playing up-down tables while the younger ones did various target practice games, mostly involving stacked cups.

Upcoming International Events

Hungarian Open
Here's the ITTF page for the event held in Budapest, Jan. 15-20. (I linked to it last week.) Here are three new links:

Japanese Championships
Here are two articles and video of the men's final. (Note - in the original posting there were two incorrect links that went to articles on the Japanese Championships in 2017, which led to an incorrect summary of results.)

$100,000 World Ping-Pong Championships
Here's the home page for the event held this past weekend in London, where they players use sandpaper rackets. Congrats to Andrew Baggaley (ENG), who defeated defending champion Wang Shibo (CHN) in the final to win for the third time.

2019 US Table Tennis Hall of Fame Nominations Open
Here's the USATT news item by Hall of Fame Chair Sean O'Neill.

The Tactical Mindset: Post-Tournament Analysis
Here's the article by Samson Dubina. "Just like any other table tennis skills, developing a tactical mindset takes discipline."

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pro at Table Tennis?
Here's the article by EmRatThich. "Let's learn the secret to be a very good player in table tennis."

Table Tennis Balls
Here's the article by Eli Baraty. "How important are table tennis balls and do the characteristics and different ball companies, truly affect your game?"

Beyond Stereotypes
Here's the article by Coach Jon. "Every now and then a lightning bolt of an idea strikes."

Four Killer Serves to Destroy Your Opponents
Here's the video (11:37) with Craig Bryant, from Tom Lodziak.

Backhand Serve Deception
Here's the video (16:35, in Japanese, with English subtitles).

"Ghost Serves" by Patrick Franziska
Here's the video (17 sec) of the world #15 from Germany as he does backspin serves that bounce back into the net.

Kanak Jha, Aiming to Add to Pan American Success
Here's the ITTF article. "Winner last year of the boys’ singles title at the Pan American Junior Championships in Santo Domingo, four months later the same record of success at the senior version in Santiago; even though only 18 years old Kanak Jha of the United States heads the challenge from north of the border at the forthcoming Universal 2019 ITTF Pan America Cup."

Kumar's Table Tennis Passion Lifting Him to New Heights
Here's the USATT article by Matt Hetherington. "When it comes to the battlefield of life, Navin Kumar is a warrior. The Bionic Man has faced more than his share of challenges, but has the attitude of a winner and a big passion for the sport of table tennis." (I was Navin's coach until I hurt my shoulder last year. He has Parkinson's and a partially artificial heart.)

Japanese Table Tennis Star Ai Fukuhara Awarded
Here's the article.

Table Tennis to Feature at Paris 2024 Paralympic Games
Here's the ITTF article.

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Five and Chapter Six of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis. They are subtitled "The Old and the New" and "March - April Tournaments." Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

Sofia Polcanova | Ask a Pro Anything
Here's the ITTF video (4:42) with the world #16 from Austria and Adam Bobrow.

2018 Pan American Junior Championships - Sharon Alguetti Highlights
Here's the video (4:15).

WAB Club Feature: Denver Table Tennis Alliance
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Wausau Table Tennis Club Breathes New Life into Wausau Center Mall
Here's the article and video (2:38) on this Wisconsin club.

Time to Bounce: The Port City Ping Pong Throw Down is Back
Here's the article and videos featuring the Wilmington TTC in North Carolina.

The Jolly Green Giant Plays Table Tennis
Here's the video (1:45)! Also playing is his apprentice, The Little Green Sprout.

Novak Djokovic Plays Table Tennis
Here's the video (2:14)! He uses both a ping-pong paddle and a tennis racket; hits under his leg; imitates John McEnroe; and demonstrates "The Fantasma"!

Trump Shuts down USA Table Tennis
Here's the video (3:06)! (Can you figure out who he is? Hint - he's rated about 2000, has been rated as high as 2387.)

Non-Table Tennis - "Christmas GI Joes"
The story just went up at Factor Four Magazine. (Alas, you have to buy a subscription to read it.) What happens when there is an alien invasion, and there's only one person with the distribution system to get the needed weapons to everyone to defend Earth? He didn't want to do it, but after calls from the presidents of every major country begging for his help, Santa Claus gave in and instead of toys, distributed AK-47's and Glocks to the world on Christmas eve. . . and one other thing.

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January 21, 2019

Tip of the Week
The Grinding Mentality - How to Play It and Against It.

Sunday Coaching
I ran two group sessions on Sunday. The first was Week #2 of this season's Beginning Junior Class. (Lidney Castro and Aron Zhang are assistant coaches, with Todd Klinger a practice partner.) We did forehand review for 20 minutes, and then the focus was on the backhand. As usual, we finished with games, with half the class playing "King of the Table" (no girls there so we can use the "King" title), and the other half (the younger kids) building the usual pyramids and walls out of paper cups on the table and then knocking them down as I fed multiball.

The advanced junior program at MDTTC is the Talent Development Program, which is run by the HW Global Foundation, using mostly MDTTC coaches. Normally John Hsu runs groups 3-4, but he was out of town this weekend so I ran them. It was mostly a multiball session, where we went through a series of nine different drills. Most of the groups were of three, where one player did the drill while the other two stood behind, shadow-stroking and shadow-moving. Then we did ten minutes of serve practice, and then Brazilian Teams. Then we had a big meeting, where the 30+ kids voted for "Best Teammate." I've never been thrilled with this type of vote as those who don't get votes may feel left out, and it's basically a popularity contest between the stronger kids. But the winners here were deserving - Stanley Hsu came in first, Stefanie Zhang second, Hanfei Hu third.

Afterwards the coaches, as usual, went out for dinner where we discussed the players. I excitedly told them about one of the players in the Beginning Class who likely will be in the Talent Program soon. And there are other possible ones as well. One six-year-old already mimics the top players in his stance and strokes, and it won't be long before he develops consistency to go with that.

USATT Statement on 2020 Olympic Selection Procedures
Here's the USATT statement. I blogged about the 2020 Olympic Selection Procedures extensively in my Jan. 7 blog, and more in my Jan. 14 blog (about the USATT teleconference). I am not happy with these Procedures, nor was I too happy with one part of the USATT Statement. (I'll get to that.) However, there's not a whole lot that can be done about the Procedures. According to the USATT Bylaws, the responsibilities of the USATT High Performance Committee (HPC) include:

9.16.c.1: Approve selection Procedures or other policies as needed for national teams and international events, or the operation of the High Performance Program

So even if the USATT board were to vote against this, it would be meaningless as the bylaws make it clear the HPC has this authority, not the USATT board. (Changing that would require a bylaw change, which requires 2/3 of the board, which has zero chance of happening.) As I noted before, I'm on the USATT board and never saw these procedures until after they were published.

The HPC seems pretty set on staying with the current procedures, even though it means there's a good chance that we might end up with four out of six members of the 2020 Olympic Team selected by committee. I've already blogged about that and am not going to rehash it here. (If you do have questions or comments, you should politely contact USATT High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio and/or the HPC - see the USATT Committee listing.)

Here's the part about the USATT statement above that bothered me. It includes the following statement: "…those raising concerns would prefer that more, or all of the team positions be filled by the Olympic Trial result only." (I bolded the word "only.")  I want to make it absolutely clear that this is NOT what I've argued for, and that the USATT response is NOT a response to what I've argued for.

This same statement was made in the USATT teleconference on Monday last week, and I very vehemently explained that this was NOT what I (and many others) have been pushing for – the word "only" completely changes the meaning of the USATT statement. In my blog, for example, I wrote:

"But if we believe they [top USA players] are good enough to have earned their spots, doesn't that imply they have earned that right by showing they are medal contenders by their international performance? So why not simply put it in the pre-qualifying rules that whatever it is they did to earn that right means they pre-qualify?"

I also wrote:

"I envision a future where we have trials for only one spot because the other spots are all taken by players who prequalify by being medal contenders. But we haven't reached that spot yet."

What I have argued for is that, if we get six players (3 men, 3 women), that at most only one player per team be selected by committee. That leaves two spots on each team by pre-qualifiers AND Trials, and we could adjust the pre-qualifier rules so we are assured that our best players make the team. They would, of course, likely be selected anyway by the committee, but this gives the committee more leeway in the final selection, including taking doubles into account. At no time did I say anything like "Olympic Trial result only."

I emailed the four signees to the letter, and I was assured that the USATT Statement was NOT a response to me, but to the numerous others who have voiced objections. I just don't think that the "only" part of the USATT statement accurately reflects the arguments made by a lot of people, including me. It's only one word, but it dramatically changes the meaning of the statement.   

USA Table Tennis Sets New Strategic Direction Through to 2024
Here's the new USATT Strategic Priorities. Originally this was the USATT Strategic Plan, but I pointed out that in its current state, there are no plans, just a listing of priorities and goals, and I refused to vote for it. So it was renamed "USATT Strategic Priorities." I do commend those who put in the time in coming up with these. However, I have misgivings on two areas here. First, listing priorities and goals are extremely easy; creating implementable plans to achieve them is the hard part. Many think we've accomplished a lot here, but it's like taking the first step up Mount Everest and then celebrating. In my mind, nothing has been accomplished until we actually have plans to implement. Second, there are too many things listed, practically a laundry list of priorities. It would be better to focus on fewer and do them well. (I blogged about past USATT Strategic Meetings in my Oct. 29, 2018 blog. So far - and let me emphasize the so far - they are falling into the exact same traps as all past USATT Strategic Meetings. I'm assured this time it will be different, but I was also assured that in past ones when I raised the exact same objections as I have done here. C'mon, let's break the cycle!)

Hungarian Open
Here's the ITTF page for the event this past weekend Budapest, Jan. 15-20, with results, news, video, and pictures. Here's the Day Four review (1:42), covering the finals.

ITTF-PTT Level 1 Coaching Course: March 18-22, 2019, Tigard, Oregon
Here's the USATT info page.

New from Matt Hetherington

New from Tom Lodziak

New from EmRatThich

Why Having a Table Tennis Coach is So Important
Here's the article by Eli Baraty.

Barrier Forehand Coaching Technique
Here's the video (43 sec) as Gary Fraiman uses a barrier to get a student to stroke forward and up, to put topspin on the ball.

Jim Butler Interviews Timothy Wang, Daryl Morey, and Niraj Oak
Here's the video (3:51).

Serendipitous Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon. "If serendipity is a chance occurrence in a happy or beneficial way, table tennis appears to be a very serendipitous sport. Even if you remove all the nets and edges, there are times when players are just in the right place at the right time."

Ma Long Injury "more serious than expected"
Here's the ITTF article. "Over five months have passed since Ma Long last completed a match of international Table Tennis: his round of 32 defeat to Liam Pitchford at the ITTF World Tour Bulgaria Open on 16 August 2018." … "When Ma Long injured his knee last year, at first he did not realise that it was especially serious. He thought that he would be able to make a quick recovery."

Sharath Kamal
Here are two articles about and by the great Indian champion.

New from Steve Hopkins

National Collegiate Table Tennis January Newsletter
Here it is.

A Ping-Pong Robot at CES 2019 Made Me Wonder: Could I Go Pro?
Here's the article. "CNET's Katie Collins gets a glimpse of the elite sporting career she might have had."

Three Month Suspension for Zhou Yu
Here's the ITTF article on the world #61 (previously #11) from China.

Jamaica Building a Base for High Performance
Here's the ITTF article by Richard McAfee.

Raising the Bar to Reign Supreme
Here's the article by Johnathan Humbles on Canadian stars Eugene Wang & Mo Zhang in Mixed Doubles at the Canadian Championships.

Picture This: Willy Leparulo's View at the US Open
Here's the article.

LRTTC 2019 Winter Giant Round Robin
Here's the article and pictures by Mike Lauro.

Table Tennis Tidbits #42: Stockholm Syndrome 11-1—4-18
Here's the USATT article by Robert Ho.

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Four, subtitled, "Readership offered two magazines." (The second option? Table Tennis World, a new independent magazine I started that lasted three issues.) Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

Jimmy Pelletier Takes a Ping-Pong Bath
Here's the picture! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Adam Bobrow vs TableTennisDaily's Dan!
Here's the video (14:54).

ITTF Table Tennis Stars do the 10 Year Challenge!
Here's the ITTF video (53 sec)!

Crazy Roller by Fan Zhendong
Here's the video (24 sec, with slo-mo instant replay). The best part is the expressions on their faces! (Fan of China is world #1; Simon Gauzy of France is world #32, but was as high as #8 in March of 2018.)

Bowling Pin Pong
Here's the video (32 sec) - they make good targets!

Literal Table Tennis
Here's the video (20 sec) of playing table tennis . . . with a table!

Jean-Philippe Gatien Having Fun at a Ping-Pong Bar!
Here's the video (44 sec) of the 1993 World Men's Singles Champion goofing off.

Music Ping-Pong Show
Here's the video (3:39), featuring French stars Jacques Secrétin, Patrick Renversé, Francois Farout, Patrick Mozola, and Jean-Marc Boiteux.

Non-Table Tennis - My 100th Science Fiction Sale!
Last week I sold my 100th short story! "Confederate Cavalry on a Plane" sold to the Space Opera Libretti anthology, which will come out this fall. It's a humorous SF romp through physics, time, and alternate universes, about a physicist on a Boeing 737 who claims that, with essentially infinite universes, anything you can imagine happens somewhere. So his student bets him there is no universe where there are Confederate cavalry running down the plane's aisle. Um . . . yes there is! The story is 4700 words long, about 22 pages double spaced. (Sorry, no table tennis.) I've also sold four novels. Here's my science fiction page.

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January 14, 2019

Tip of the Week
If You Can't Do It Without a Ball, How Can You Do It With the Ball?

USATT Teleconference
We had a USATT Board of Directors Teleconference last night, from 7-9:20PM. Alas, only five of the nine USATT board members were able to attend. On the call were board members Anne Cribbs (chair), Gary Schlager, Carolyne Savini, Erica Wu, and myself; plus (in various capacities) Dennis Taylor (USATT lawyer), Carl Danner (chair of HPC), Jasna Rather (USATT Director of Para Programs), Gordon Kaye (former CEO, asked to be available on certain issues), Jörg Bitzigeio (High Performance Director), Mark Thompson (COO/Interim CEO), Chris Mauro (USATT Accountant), Han Xiao (Chair Of U.S. Olympic Committee Athletes' Advisory Committee), Roger Dickson, and Sebastian di Francesco.

We were supposed to review and approve the minutes from the October meeting, but we only had four board members at the start - there might have been a mix-up as I think we had all five at that time - so no vote was taken, and since the meeting went long, we never got back to this. So they'll likely be voted on at the Jan. 22 teleconference, though that one is supposed to be dedicated to financials. (If not, then they'll be voted on at the Feb. 11 teleconference.) Once approved, they can be posted publicly so you can see what took place in the meeting.

Next up was the High Performance Update by Jörg, covering the recently completed physical training camp in Colorado Springs (see article below by Matt Hetherington); Hopes Tour; Pan Am Cup; and Pan Am Games Trials. That was followed by a Para High Performance Update by Jasna Rather.

Then came the CEO Search Update by Anne and Carolyne. We have eight applications from the table tennis community, and are still debating whether to spend a lot of money on a CEO search firm. One option I pointed out here (and previously) was going with such a search firm, but postponing it for a few months, with Mark Thompson as Interim CEO, with the savings in CEO salary going toward the CEO search. But I'm no expert in this, and will await the report of the CEO Search Task Force.

There was a discussion of the upcoming ballot for the USATT election - there should be an official announcement on this any time now. (I know who is on the final ballot, but I really should let USATT make the official announcement - I'll add it here when they put the news item up.) There was also discussion of Committee Member Selections and an upcoming Invitation to Prospective Committee Members, which will be posted soon as a USATT news item. There was also discussion about three prospective candidates for the fifth position on the Nominating and Governance Committee, but that was tabled as most board members didn't really know the candidates and wanted more info and possibly a recommendation from the committee.

There was a long discussion of the Board of Directors Obligations and Responsibilities. I was involved in this one quite a lot. At issue were some apparent negative things said about the association by a board member. While I wasn't a "target," I know some were not happy about my blog last week about my disagreement with the current 2020 Olympic Selection Procedures. The gist of the problem is difference of opinion in interpreting the five-page Board of Directors Code of Conduct. (This was a new one, created in 2017, which I and others signed in December, 2017.) Here are some excerpts (bolds are mine):

  • "As a member of the Board I will respect and support the decisions of the board, including in instances where I voted against a particular decision/action."
  • "As a member of the nonprofit Board I will not be critical, in our outside of a board meeting, of other board members or their opinions. This does not restrict me from disagreeing with another board member."
  • Under "Board Social Media Policy": "Personal opinions about individual board members, specific board decisions, etc. are not appropriate. Once the board has taken action on a particular issue, the board speaks with one voice - even if a particular Board member's vote on an issue was a dissenting opinion.

In the first bullet item, it says board members must "support" the decisions of the board. But as I pointed out in a board meeting over a year ago (when we all signed this new version), the word "support" has multiple meanings and so is ambiguous. Some seem to think it means you literally have to openly be for whatever the board decides - for example, if someone asks my opinion on the 2020 Selection Procedures, a policy I disagree with, I'd have to say I support them. As I pointed out, using Webster's, there are several definitions of "support," and the one I prefer is, "to uphold or defend as valid." So yeah, I agree the 2020 Olympic Selection Procedures are valid, as in they were passed legally and will be used unless overturned, but I don't agree with the policy. If I say I "support" them, that's subject to misinterpretation because of the multiple definitions. Also, think about the implications - with this Code, members know that board members may be forced to "support" things they don't really support, and so can't trust what those board members are saying.

In the second bullet point, it says we cannot be critical of the opinions of other board members. Really??? That's downright silly, and is basically contradicted by the next sentence. As I pointed out in the meeting, it is my opinion that the 2020 Olympic Selection Procedures are not a good policy, and if anyone on the board criticizes my opinion, they are in violation of the Code of Conduct. The board of directors is essentially the Legislative branch of USATT, and to say that legislatures must agree to "support" that which they really don't "support" is just wrong. (I'm using the quotes because, as noted, the word has different meanings.)

In the third bullet point, it says that we can't post our personal opinions on "specific board decisions." Sorry, that's just wrong, and is again contradicted by the second part of bullet point #2. The idea that the board "speaks with one voice" is a historical way for the majority to force the minority to publicly agree with decisions they do not agree with. The board does not speak with one voice - but it does act as one. So while I disagree with the 2020 Olympic Trials Procedures, that doesn't mean we don't act as one in implementing them, since they are the legal rules at this time. (Technically, they have never come up for a vote as they were created by the USATT High Performance Committee and High Performance Director, and approved by the USOC.) What is important is that board members, when voicing disagreement with board decisions or the opinions of others, are respectful in so doing, as I was in my blog last week.

I asked a rhetorical question to a few people (outside the board meeting): What would happen if someone were legally elected to the USATT Board, but refused to sign the Code of Conduct due to the problems listed above? Can you imagine, for example, explaining to a judge that you won't let him on the Board of Directors unless he'll sign something saying he'll support policies he doesn't support?

I volunteered to make suggested wording changes to these, working with USATT lawyer Dennis, and will bring the new wording for a vote at the Feb. 11 meeting.

There was a closed session titled "High Performance Retention Effort," but I can't go into details on that. It lasted about half an hour. During this session non-board members had to get off the phone (other than High Performance Committee Chair Carl and lawyer Dennis).

There was a short discussion of the Strategic Priorities by Anne. Next came the Foundation and Fundraising Report by Carl. There was a financial report by accountant Chris, but they needed an extra week on this, so we'll be discussing this more at length in the Jan. 22 teleconference.

There was a very long discussion of the 2020 Olympic Selection Procedures. I gave my arguments for why I don't think we should have a scenario where, if we get the maximum six spots for USA, four of them would be selected by committee. Player Rep Erica gave a report on feedback from players, who seem mostly against this, and she gave the many reasons voiced. (Alas, I didn't take notes and don't want to write about it piecemeal.) She also agreed that she thought only two (one man, one woman) of the potentially six players should be selected by committee. Jörg and Carl gave arguments for why they believe the Procedures should stay as they are. (Many of those reasons I gave in my blog last week. But if they want to make their arguments public, they should do so on their own - and I will link to it from my blog. Or, if it's not too long, I could make it a segment of this blog.) At this point I think the Player Reps and the High Performance Committee should be discussing this, with any proposed change coming from them. Board member Rajul, who is outspokenly against the procedures, is in India and wasn't able to make the call. (Note - The 2020 Olympic Selection Procedures were created by the High Performance Committee, as authorized by the USATT bylaws. The USATT Board of Directors never saw them until they were published.)  

Next was a report on the status of the upcoming Nationals - Mark is the lead on this. We finished with discussion of the location of the next in-person board meeting in April, which will either be in Denver or Washington DC (with Gary arranging the latter).

Snowy Weekend
I was scheduled for three group sessions this past weekend, about 5.5 hours, but we had just over 12 inches of snow at the Maryland Table Tennis Center and they were all cancelled. With school cancelled on Monday, I'm guessing a lot of our kids switched from pong to building snowmen and sledding. (I'm tempted to post all the table tennis stuff I worked on since last week, but that would take about a week to write up.)

Hungarian Open
Here's the ITTF page for the event in Budapest, Jan. 15-20. Here's the promo video (30 sec).

How to Get Explosive Forehand Power – with Paul Drinkhall
Here's the article and video (5:44) by Tom Lodziak.

USATT Playlist
Here's the USATT Video Playlist Library. Why not explore this?

Why is Boll Strong? #5
Here's the article and video (3:32, in English)

How to Play Forehand Against Backspin - Ma Long
Here's the video (11:27).

New from Samson Dubina

New from EmRatThich at PingSunday

New from Matt Hetherington

Table Tennis Bad Boys and Bad Girls
Here's the article from Eli Baraty.

Signing Off On a Table Tennis Report Card
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Unified Korea at the Worlds?
They are planning a joint team at the upcoming Worlds. They did this at the 1991 Worlds - there's even a movie based on it, As One. (It's also the source for this hilarious outtake.) Here's an article and video on the plans for 2019.

Fan Zhendong, Seeking High Note Start to Year
Here's the ITTF article.

Six Months, No Titles, the Dragon is Breathing Fire, Ready to Roar
Here's the ITTF article on Ma Long.

Raising Awareness, Parkinson's Disease a Focus for World Table Tennis Day
Here's the ITTF article.

What's Your Idea for Bringing Positive Social Change Through Table Tennis?
Here's the ITTF article.

A Look Inside the Challenging and Misunderstood Sport of Table Tennis
Here's the article. "When you think of table tennis, also known as ping-pong, what comes to mind? Middle school gym class? Forrest Gump? Your grandparents' basement?"

WAB Featured Club: The TopSpin Table Tennis Center
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Where Are They Now? Wilson Club Series #2
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Table Tennis Tidbits #41: Teens and Twenties Triumph
Here's the article by Robert Ho.

Truls Moregard | Ask a Pro Anything
Here's the ITTF video (4:48). Moregard of Sweden is world #3 in Under 18, #164 in Men. Learn about his "Hercules" pose!

Bouncing Ball on Edge of Racket
Here is 13 seconds of U.S. Minicadet Star Nandan Naresh bouncing the ball of the edge of his racket 27 times in a row.

Table Tennis Girls MAIKO
Here's the video (2:36)! It's only at the end that you find that the two Japanese Maiko's are (SPOILER ALERT!!!) . . . Miu Hirano (world #9) and Hina Hayata (world #43)!!! 

Incredible Serving Trick!
Here's the video (13 sec)! How many tries did it take to get this right?

3T Trick Table Tennis: Best of 2018
Here's the video (59 sec)!

Freestyle Table Tennis
Here's the video (3 min) starring Sabrine Winter of Germany (world #55, formerly #36). This video is incredible - they spent a LOT of time putting this together!!!

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January 7, 2019

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Things to Remember in Doubles.

2020 USA Olympic Selection Procedures
The 2020 Olympic Games Athlete Selection Procedures went live a month ago on the USATT Selection Procedures page. Although I'm on the board of directors for USATT, that was the first time I saw them. They were created by the USATT High Performance Committee (HPC) and the USATT High Performance Director (HPD). 

They are our designated experts on these topics, and so in most cases, even though I would probably be considered an "expert" on these topics as well, I normally defer to them on these matters. However, in the case of the procedures planned for choosing USA table tennis players for the 2020 Olympics, I simply can't agree. 

The procedures are a bit complex. However, in simple terms, the most likely scenario is that we will have six Olympic spots, with a committee selecting 4 of those 6 spots, and the other two spots going to the winners of the Olympic Trials (one man, one woman). The committee that would choose the rest of the team would be made up of the HPD; the chair of the HPC; two USA National Team Coaches; and one of the Athlete Representatives on the USATT board of directors.

To get all six spots, USA has to beat Canada in an upcoming team match, one for men, one for women. (I'm assuming no USA player will prequalify, which would mean reaching top 25 in world rankings or the quarterfinals of men's or women's singles at the upcoming Worlds.) 

Here are the main arguments for having so much of the USA Olympic Team selected by committee instead of mostly be an Olympic Trials. 

  1. Trials can be erratic - a weaker player may get hot, while a stronger player has an off day or is sick or injured. So if you want your best team, you should bring in your best experts to select them.
  2. Trials favor those who play against players from their own country, who they are used to playing against. If we want to challenge other countries, we need to send the players who do best internationally.
  3. Doubles is now part of the Olympic Team Competition, so choosing the team based on singles play ignores the doubles aspect.

Now putting aside the fairness aspect, and arguing strictly on the idea of maximizing our chances of winning medals, these are all good arguments. But much of this goes against our sense of fairness. Heck, experts are often wrong - I've been told by multiple sources that Deng Yaping, arguably the greatest women player of all time, was sent home from the Chinese National Team three times because the coaches didn't think she had the potential to be great, due to her short height and unconventional playing style. Many thought Eric Boggan's playing style wouldn't work past the junior stage, and he became the highest ranked USA male player in the sponge era (#17 in the world).

USATT adopted the policy a few years ago of using more selections and less trials in its team selections. Besides some of the reasons above, the core principle was that to develop a really strong team, we needed to bring in a very good High Performance Director (and we seem to have one in Jörg Bitzigeio), and then give him the freedom to do his job - which often meant choosing many of the players he thought have potential, as well as which players would gain the most from playing internationally on a USA team and which ones should stay home at that time to focus on training, and similar aspects. (And he and others have taken a LOT of flak for this.)

This does makes more sense at the junior/cadet/mini-cadet level, if the sole goal is to develop teams for the future. However, I've never been completely comfortable with this, preferring players directly earn their spots on the team with perhaps 25% of the team made up of coach's picks. But I've gone along with it, especially since the top coaches from other countries assure me it's the way to go. I had a long discussion with Stellan Bengtsson on this, and he also agreed with this. Who am I to argue with Stellan??? (1971 World Men's Singles Champion, then a world-renowned coach for Sweden, now coaching in San Diego and a member of the USATT High Performance Committee.)

But for the Olympic Team? The arguments fall apart there. Let's suppose we believe that Kanak Jha on the men's side, and Wu Yue, and Lily Zhang on the women's side have earned the right to be on the Olympic Team. Kanak is world #51, Wu Yue is world #46, and Lily Zhang #95 (previously #53). But if we believe they are good enough to have earned their spots, doesn't that imply they have earned that right by showing they are medal contenders by their international performance? So why not simply put it in the pre-qualifying rules that whatever it is they did to earn that right means they pre-qualify? Why not, for example, simply have it that the top two USA players with rankings at least, say, the top 50, 75, or 100 pre-qualify, for all but the final spot? If players know this well in advance, they know what they need to do to qualify. (Even if you do it all by Trials, it's overwhelmingly likely these three would make the team anyway . . . unless someone better comes along.)

And since this gives incentive for them to do more international play, they all get better by this very international experience. Nobody I know of has complained about pre-qualifying, only about a committee choosing players, in particular possibly choosing 4 of the 6 members. (This gives an advantage to players who can afford to travel the world, playing internationally, in addition to playing on USA teams. But to prove yourself internationally, you have to play internationally - and playing internationally will make you better, period.)

I envision a future where we have trials for only one spot because the other spots are all taken by players who prequalify by being medal contenders. But we haven't reached that spot yet. (Maybe I just gave our players incentive to prove me wrong!)

When we are in contention to win medals, then sending those medal contenders is the top priority. But until we reach that point, we shouldn't be selecting by committee which non-medal contender should go over another. It defeats the argument that we are trying to win medals by using committee picks that don't affect our medal outcome, and only affects which non-medal contender gets to be an Olympian and which non-medal contender stays home.

I'm not 100% against any committee selections. There could be a compromise where the final player on each team is selected (so two make each team by Trials, assuming no pre-qualifiers), so we can make sure we get our "best" player to the Olympics, in case he has a bad day at the Trials, or is sick or injured, or in case the coaches want a doubles specialist. We could also have two Trials, with perhaps the two winners making the team. This takes out the problem of a player being injured, sick, or just having a bad day. But setting it up so that we will likely select by committee 4 of the 6? I don't agree with that. This is the OLYMPICS, the biggest sports event in the world, and players should directly earn their right to be on that team.

Another problem we face in having so many committee selections is the simple reality that the players involved are hesitant to complain about the procedures for the simple reason that it would give the appearance they don't trust the ones making the selections (who also created the selection procedures), and so could influence whether they would be selected. This is NOT a criticism of the committee's integrity in any way, but a simple reality that would be true no matter who was on the selection committee. It's a natural concern. I've already had four players tell me they are afraid to speak up for this reason, and others have told me they have heard the same thing. My suggestion is they go to the player reps to voice their concerns, but ask to be kept confidential.

One argument that comes up is comparing our sport to others to see how other sports select their team. Most Olympic sports seem to go mostly or all by Trials. But comparing us to a sport that's not a one-on-one competition (whether singles, doubles, or teams) isn't really the same thing. In track and field, or weight lifting, or similar events, you can measure a player's performance by their results directly, and rank them accordingly. But table tennis is style-oriented, and so how a player does against a player from his own country that he's used to playing isn't quite the same as playing internationally, against players you aren't used to. So comparisons should only be made with similar type sports - such as tennis, badminton, boxing, wresting, judo, etc. (Here's a listing of the Summer Olympic Sports, if anyone wants to investigate how other sports like ours do their selections.)

If you have a strong opinion on this, either for or against, and especially if you are a top player who might be trying out for the 2020 USA Olympic Team (or the coach of one), feel free to contact the USATT Board, especially the player reps (listed at the end), High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio, the High Performance Committee (contact info in the USATT Committee Listing), or the USOC Ombudsmen (contact info at the end of the 2020 Olympic Games Athlete Selection Procedures.

USATT CEO Search
USATT is currently doing a search for a new CEO. (Here's info on that - see last paragraph. We have a CEO search task force already set up.) I jotted down what I considered to be the most important qualities in a table tennis CEO, and then did some Googling of "Qualities of a CEO" and "Qualities of a Leader." I then did some rewriting, and eventually came up with the following "Qualities I'd Like to See in a USATT CEO." (I wanted to get it to ten, but couldn't come close.) In no particular order:

  1. Passion for the job (favors a table tennis background)
  2. Drive to develop the sport
  3. Integrity
  4. Great communicator
  5. Open-minded and willing to listen
  6. Able to think outside the box
  7. Able to learn from the past
  8. Common sense decision-making skills
  9. Able to work with and read people
  10. Able to assemble and inspire a great team
  11. Understands and creatively embraces new technologies and ideas
  12. Understands and able to organize key constituent groups
  13. Able to generate revenues
  14. Looking to turn USATT into a strong brand and lead it in the right direction
  15. Able to compartmentalize and deal with criticism and political battles
  16. Not using us to build a resume and then move on

USATT Teleconference
We had one on Thursday, Jan. 3, for a little over an hour. Topics were the CEO search, Strategic Priorities, and a personnel matter. The Strategic Priorities will likely be voted on at our Jan. 14 teleconference, and then published. (We usually have only one per month, and three in-person meetings per year.) It was initially our Strategic Plan, but I refused to approve it as a "plan" since, at this point, there is no plan in it, just a list of priorities and goals. So we changed it to "Strategic Priories." I'm assured that plans will be added later.

Weekend Coaching
We started a new ten-week Beginning Junior Class on Sunday, 4-5:30PM. There are 14 in the class, with John Hsu and Lidney Castro assisting. I've been teaching these classes for years. U.S. #1 in Ten and Under Boys (and ten and under champion at the Nationals and Open) Stanley Hsu started in my class, as did many others. For the first session, the focus was on grip, ball bouncing, stance, and forehand. Then we finished with games, with the class split between Up-down tables and building the Pretty Good Wall of China out of paper cups on a table, and then taking turns knocking it down as I fed multiball.

From 5:30-7:15 we had the advanced juniors. I fed multiball for half the session, then worked with four of them on serves. One of the kids I worked on made a huge breakthrough - out of nowhere, he suddenly is getting great spin on his backhand serve! After the session ten of the coaches went out to dinner, where we discussed each player.

USATT Coaches of the Year 2018 Announced
Here's the USATT announcement. As coaching chair, I chaired the selection committee. I abstained from voting in the Developmental Coach of the Year category since Coach Wang is a co-coach of mine from MDTTC. One thing that came up was that the only award for Para coaches is at the elite level, for Paralympic Coach of the Year. There was some discussion of having co-Developmental Coaches of the Year. I suggested we simply add the category of Para Developmental Coach of the Year, and it was unanimously agreed - and so we now have a new category. Congrats to:

  • Coach of the Year: Kanak Jha's Coaches Team: Jörg Bitzigeio, Stefan Feth, Dirk Wagner
  • Mark Nordby Developmental Coach of the Year: Wang Qingliang
  • Para Developmental Coach of the Year: Sean O'Neill
  • Paralympic Coach of the Year: Gary Fraiman
  • Doc Counsilman Technology Coach of the Year: Samson Dubina
  • Volunteer Coach of the Year: Mike Lauro

Books I Read and Movies I Saw in 2018
For those with a rabid interest in what I do in my free time, here's a listing of the 84 books I read and 130 movies I saw in theaters in 2018. I'm always amazed at how few books American read. But I'm guessing most of you are more amazed at the 130 movies I saw! Yes, I'm a movie buff, and saw many late-night movies, often after coaching. But many of them were close to free, due to MoviePass (which worked for half the year) and volume bonuses. However, I'm guessing most of you spent more time watching TV than I did movies! I just like the movie experience - always with a popcorn and Mr. Pibb. (They don't have Mountain Dew at the regal Germantown Theater, which is three minutes from me.)

Gordon Kaye Appointed ITTF Managing Director of Product Innovation
Here's the ITTF announcement of their hiring of the former USATT CEO. Gordon resigned to take this job - we're going to miss him!

New from Samson Dubina

  • Facebook Live Q & A Session. "On Saturday, Jan 12th at 5pm, I'll be doing a Facebook Live Session answering your table tennis questions."
  • It Ain't Piano. "If you ever took piano lessons, you probably know that there is a very systematic approach for beginners."
  • 20 Different Opponents! "Playing the right tactics is one of the vital keys to winning your next match.  In order to know which tactics to play, it is often helpful to label your opponent as a looper, chopper, lobber, blocker, etc.  Once you have placed him in a category, then you can begin making a game-plan."
  • 5 Levels of Communication. "To reach your highest potential, you and your coach must communicate on a detailed level realizing that communication is a two-way street."

Powerful Backhand like Jon Persson
Here's the article and video (5:23) from EmRatThich.

New from Steve Hopkins

New from Eli Baraty

Why is Boll Strong? #4
Here's the article and video (3:36).

Team USA Trains with Boxing Coach
Here are the videos!

Strawberry Flips . . . Forever!
Here's the video (47 sec) of this extremely deceptive shot. Stefan Feth popularized and coined the term "strawberry flip." It's the opposite type of sidespin on a banana flip, and he told me that he needed another fruit to call it, so came up with strawberry! (A banana flip is called that because the forward swing of the stroke is banana shaped.) The player doing it here is Romain Ruiz of France.

China's Liu Guoliang on Japan's Tomokazu Harimoto
Here's the video (6:16) with English subtitles.

Table Tennis Training Methods in China
Here's the video (8:10) from Table Tennis Destiny.

Exclusive Interview: Brazilian Table Tennis Star - Hugo Calderano!
Here's the ITTF video (7:14). He's the world #6 from Brazil.

Interview with Coach Jack Huang
Here's the interview by Ayan Bagchi on my fellow Hall-of-Fame coach at MDTTC.

Peace. Passion. Pride. Unified Korea!
Here's the ITTF article on the unified Korean team that will compete at the 2018 Worlds. Includes link to video (14:38).

Time For a Table Tennis Tune-up
Here's the article by Coach Jon. "Well, 2019 is here and it’s time to make some table tennis resolutions. I’m always willing to make a few suggestions as to how you might have a more successful year playing your favorite sport."

Teen Wins Table Tennis Gold While Observing Jewish Fast Day
Here's the article featuring Estee Ackerman.

This Cincinnati Table Tennis Club is Known Worldwide
Here's the article.

2018 West Coast Teams in Newark
Here's the article and pictures from Shashin Shodhan.

Best Table Tennis Shots in Vietnam
Here's the video (3:54).

ITTF Top 10 Table Tennis Points of 2018
Here's the ITTF video 6:40) from DHS.

Around-the-Net Backhand Loop Roller
Here's the video (41 sec, including slo-mo replay).

Pianist Pong
Here's the podcast - Dec. 31 broadcast, Show 262 (table tennis is from 19:20-19:40), featuring Tristan Parody, a 17-year-old pianist from Burbank, California. (She's introed at 15:10.) "I know you're on the tennis team. I hear you're a vicious competitor at the ping pong table as well." "Many people I play in ping pong I learn from.  Each person I play I learn from them and then, I destroy them."

Ping-Pong Kid Trick Shots
Here's the video (76 sec)

Catch the Spin!
Here's the video (13 sec).

Ponginfity - Best Ping Pong Shots of 2018
Here's the video (5:02)!

Panda Pong Ad
Here's the ad (15 sec) from Cox Communication for their ping-pong game played as pandas, with Gigablast Internet.

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December 31, 2018

Tip of the Week
The Next Point is the Biggest Point of Your Life.

U.S. Open
Wait, was a U.S. Open going on while I was coaching at the U.S. Open? Because I'm busy coaching, I rarely actually see the "big" matches at major tournaments, this this year's U.S. Open was no different. However, I did see the Men's and Women's Singles Finals, and they were incredible! Before I go further, here are a few links:

Many thought the Men's Final would be an execution, with the way Wang was playing - could anybody beat him? (He's previously won the U.S. Open in 2012 and 2013.) But Kanoya of Japan went up 3-1 in games. And then, a seemingly innocuous occurrence apparently changed everything. On the second point of give five the umpire, apparently correctly, faulted Wang for not tossing the ball up at least six inches. Wang has a habit of following the ball up with his tossing hand, and according to most referees, there must be six inches of clearance between the hand and the ball. (Here's video, and here's discussion at Mytabletennis.net.) But Wang may have used this for incentive, because for the next 2.5 games (including an 11-1 game six thumping) I don't think anyone on Earth could have beaten him, not Ma Long even Fan Zhendong. Then, down 3-8 in the seventh, Kanoya ties it up 9-all. Wang leads 10-9 and finally wins 12-10 in the seventh!  Final scores were 9,-12,-11,-9,7,1,10. On the women's side, it was Liu Juan over Lily Zhang, -4,12,7,-8,5,12.

As to coaching, Coach Wang Qingliang and I were coaching the Maryland contingent, with Stanley Hsu easily winning 10 and Under Boys' Singles, winning in the quarters, semis, and finals by scores of 7,3,6,6,4,6,6,6,5. He and Mu Du won 10 and Under Boys Doubles, going 5-0 and 15-2 in games. The two are #1 and #3 in the country now in 10 and Under Boys with ratings of 2129 and 1989. I was pretty happy about the doubles as I've been working with them once a week for about 45 minutes for the past two months, and it's paying off - their doubles play has really improved, especially in their positioning.

My table tennis books were on sale at the Butterfly booth, and several sold out. I think I signed over 20 copies during the Open. You can buy them at Amazon or Butterfly.

After the Open I spent a day at Universal Studios, where I bought Batman and Dr. Seuss pens (I sort of collect SF & fantasy-type pens), and rode the following rides: Men in Black, Simpsons, Harry Potter, Hogswarts Express, Jurassic Park water ride (got wet), Spider-Man, Shrek, and the extremely scary Hulk roller coaster. During the Open I spent my nights eating pizza and reading in the hot tub.

And I almost forgot - HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

U.S. Open Meetings
I didn't take careful notes during the USATT board meeting, held most of Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-16, but the minutes of the meeting should go up sometimes probably in January, after they are approved by the USATT Board. Here's a very quick rundown of what was covered: Review of September meeting minutes; Status report of U.S. Open; High Performance update; Committee reports - I have the Coaching Committee report, and there were others from the Club, Juniors, Rules, Tournaments, and High Performance Committees; Foundation report; Proposed bylaw amendment to create Paralympic High Performance Standing Committee; Tournament Update Ideas; Discussion of Strategic Plan, now renamed Strategic Priorities (because I refused to approve it as a "plan" since it is not, at this point, a plan); CEO search plan; SafeSport audit; Financials; and Planning for USATT General Assembly.

We had the USATT Assembly on Tuesday night, Dec. 18, from 7:00-8:42PM. I counted 33 attendees, including four USATT board members; myself; Ed Hogshead, who ran the meeting; Deepak Somarapu; and Gary Schlager. Also attending were USATT staff members Mark Thompson (COO); Chris Mauro (accountant); Jörg Bitzigeio (High Performance Director); as well as former CEO Gordon Kaye, who had resigned as of Dec. 1. Also attending were committee chairs Carl Danner (High Performance), Linda Leaf (Nominating and Governance), Ed Hogshead (Clubs) and myself (Coaching). Other luminaries were USATT attorney Dennis Taylor and long-time official Wendell Dillon.

The meeting began with a video of our High Performance athletes. Next Gordon read an election statement from Mike Babuin, who is one of three know people running for the At-Large spot I currently hold. (As noted previously, I'm not running for re-election - too busy. Others who are planning to run include Bruce Liu and Lily Yip.) Then came a thank you plaque to former CEO Gordon Kaye; discussion of our upcoming elections and committee openings; finances; SafeSport; Membership numbers; CEO search; Strategic Priorities; USATT tournaments; Ranking tournaments (especially Hopes); and Hardbat. On a side note, five of the seven people I know of who have expressed interest in being our next CEO were in attendance, but I'm not going to give out those names at this time.

I made a proposal at this meeting, which I've also discussed with others. For many years, we held team events on the first day of the U.S. Open - Men's and Women's, Junior and Cadet Boys and Girls. But sometime in the 1990s they stopped running them. Jörg Bitzigeio (HPD) and I are discussing bringing them back. It gives added incentive for foreign countries to send their players, plus it's international experience for our players without having to travel internationally. At this year's U.S. Open, on the first day, Sunday, Dec. 16, we had all of the tables set up, but only a fraction used for the two events run that day - Paralympic events and the Ranking tournament, so players without ratings could establish their level for seeding purposes. I proposed that we do two additions. First, we add the team events. Second, we run all the hardbat events on that day, with the option to run some finals on following nights. This way there's no conflict between hardbat and sponge events, so players can play both. (At this Open you mostly had to choose, with Hardbat getting its own "track," where you played only hardbat.) We have lots of tables, so why not use them this way?

Upcoming USATT Meetings
We have a USATT board teleconference this Thursday at 7PM eastern time, where we'll be discussing the CEO search, Strategic Priorities, and personnel matters. The next day, Friday at 9:15PM, the Coach of the Year Committee meets to go over this year's nominations.

Shoulder Update
As readers here know, I retired from private coaching in March due to shoulder problems. Since that time I've run lots of group sessions, and did simple demonstrations, but no serious play. But the shoulder is probably 90% better now. During the Open I was a practice partner each morning for our kids, and had no problems. A couple of days ago I volunteered as a practice partner during our Christmas Camp, where I spent 90 minutes not just blocking for someone, but did the drills myself - especially looping and footwork drills. I'm pretty stiff, but the shots are still there, and I can still do long rallies in a drill. My guess is I've got a ways to go before I can play games that well. However, regardless of the shoulder, I am retired from private coaching. But there's a good chance I'll play some events at the U.S. Nationals in July in Las Vegas. 

USATT Opens Applications for Chair of Coaching Committee
Here's the USATT news item. Yep, after two years as coaching chair (and a previous four-year term), I'm stepping down as coaching chair - just too busy. So why don't you apply for the position? My term ends on March 1. Information is in the link.

New from EmRatThich/Ping Sunday

New from Samson Dubina

New from Eli Baraty

3 Tips for Developing 'Feeling' in Table Tennis
Here's the article from Ben Larcombe. "Have you ever heard a fellow table tennis player described as having great 'feeling'? It's clearly a good thing, but what does it actually mean? And how do we improve our table tennis 'feeling'?"

Create Confusion by Using Disruptive Shots
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

New from Coach Jon

ITTF Reviews 2018

USATT, ITTF, Butterfly News
I've been gone three weeks, and there's been a LOT of new items up on these three sites! So why not browse over them?

Table Tennis Serves
Here's are links to a huge number of videos of top players and their serves.

Wang Hao Slow Motion Footwork
Here's the video (3:20, from August) of Wang Hao, the 2009 World Men's Singles Champion and 3-time Olympic Men's Singles Silver Medalist.

WAB Club Feature: Maryland Table Tennis Center
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins on my club.

History of USATT – Volume 22
USATT has started to put up Tim Boggan's latest volume, which covers 1996-1997. Here is Chapter One and Chapter Two. Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. These chapters cover "International happenings" and "Member Interactions." Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

Season of Giving--Helping College Table Tennis
Here's the article from the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association.

Liam Pitchford | Ask a Pro Anything
Here's the ITTF video (5:45).

Who Is The Best Athlete?
Here's the online poll, with athletes from six sports, including Fan Zhendong from table tennis. Alas, here are the current results, which give Fan 90 votes, or 1.1%. LeBron James leads with 3220 votes, or 39.9%.

First Look: SPIN Is a Surprisingly Fancy Place to Play Ping-Pong
Here's the article on Spin DC, which recently opened. They are having a New Year's Eve Party tonight -maybe I should visit! Spin Table Tennis now have locations in New, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle, Austin, and Toronto.

17-year-old Ping Pong Player Scores Big Wins at Table Tennis Championships in Florida
Here's the video (68 sec) featuring Estee Ackerman from News 12 in Long Island.

ITTF Posts Record-Breaking Numbers on TV, Social Media, and Online Streaming
Here's the ITTF press release.

Little Girl Feed Multiball
Here's the video (10 sec)! Who needs a paddle to feed multiball?

Scott "PingPongMan" Preiss Goes Through Security at Palm Beach
Here's the picture! (I think I posted a similar picture once before, or it might have been this one.) The security guy has no idea what to make of this oversized racket. (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Two Unarmed Players?
Here's the video (2 min)! The player on the left is a feature on Ibrahim Hamato, who has been featured many times, including this video (3:33) from last month.

Best Ping Pong Trick Shots 2018
Here's the video (5:02) from Pongfinity!

Labrador Pong
Here's the video (60 sec)!

Superhero Table Tennis Videos

Season's Greetings from Table Tennis
Here's the video (47 sec) as top players sing Jingle Bells!

Santa Claus Pong
Here's the video (60 sec)! Table tennis starts about 15 seconds in.

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