September 20, 2021

Tip of the Week
A Good Warm-up.

Weekend Coaching
It was a busy three-day weekend for me - it looks like I'll be doing group sessions every week on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. The 51 kids in the Maryland TTC junior program are divided into four groups. I work with Group 1 ("Select," 15 kids from about 1800 to 2350, ages mostly from 11-15) in all three of their weekly sessions; once a week with Group 2 ("Progress"); and with Group 4 ("Novice") in their one weekly session. Other coaches/practice partners include head junior coach Wang Qingliang; Cheng Yinghua; Jack Huang; Lidney Castro; John Hsu; Nathan Hsu; Matt Hetherington; and Greg Mascialiano. For their age, there are some really strong players in Group 1, including the #1, #3, and #5 in 12 and Under, and the top two in 11 and Under. They include (with apologies to those not listed - too many of you!):

September 13, 2021

Tip of the Week
A Different Measure for a Match Coach.

Pan American Under 11 and U13 Championships in Ecuador
I'll be going down to Ecuador for two weeks in October as the coach of the US Under 13 Boys' Team. There will be four teams - Under 13 and Under 11 for boys and girls. The other coaches are Qiumars Hedayatian (U11 Boys), Wei Qi (U13 Girls), and Thilina Piyadasa (U11 Girls), with Daniel Rutenberg going as Team Leader, and he fortunately speaks Spanish. Here is the USATT news item, USATT Announces 2021 ITTF Pan Am Youth Championship U13 and U11 Teams. (Hope you enjoy my humorous quip!) There are actually two tournaments, both in Cuenca ("kwen·kuh"), Ecuador.

September 7, 2021

Tip of the Week
Use Your Strengths, But Test Your Opponent.

MDTTC Open and Westchester Teams and 911 Museum, Oh My!
I had an action packed Labor Day Weekend, which can be neatly divided into three parts. Alas, Part 2 I had to write with my mouth clenched in disgust.

=>PART 1: MDTTC Open. On Saturday, I coached for half a day at the MDTTC Open. Here are the complete results. Perhaps the most interesting match was against a player with the Seemiller grip. The junior player I coached had barely beaten this opponent in a previous match one month before, but armed with better tactics, won easily three straight this time. I'm one of the few coaches left around who coached actively way back when that grip was relatively common. These days, many coaches give very bad advice on how to play this grip, leading to many unnecessary losses. Every player is different, but in general, against this type of player you:

August 30, 2021

Tip of the Week
How To Play Fast-Attacking Junior Players.

Paralympics
I believe the table tennis singles events are done - and USA won two medals, with Ian Seidenfeld winning a gold and Jenson Emburgh a bronze. Tahl Leibovitz lost 11-9 in the fifth in the quarterfinals. (Semifinalists get medals.) Here's the schedule, with table tennis scheduled for Aug. 25 - Sept. 3. Here's more info on table tennis at the 2020 Paralympics. (It's still considered 2020, just postponed one year.) Below are some links.

August 23, 2021

Tip of the Week
Forehand Position for Backhands.

New York City Sightseeing and Tim's Basement
It's been a LONG week for me - I'm exhausted! Why? Because I spent Mon-Fri last week on my feet almost continuously, touring New York City. And then, on Saturday, Will Shortz and I explored USATT Historian Tim Boggan's basement, a literal table tennis treasure trove! I did daily Facebook postings of my adventures in New York. Here's the entire report. Or, if you want to see the many comments and discussions, here are links to the Facebook postings:

August 16, 2021

Alas, no blog this week. I'm visiting New York City this week for sightseeing and some table tennis business, which I'll write about next week. I was planning to go up after doing my blog, but due to a scheduling issue I have to leave early Monday morning. But the Tip of the Week is up, The Seven Links of Table Tennis. And to tide you over, here's a new video of Roger Federer playing table tennis against a backboard - could you match this? (Here's my blog from August 12, 2019 - skip to the end and you'll see lots of links of Federer playing table tennis. Some are pretty funny.) See you next Monday!

August 10, 2021

Tip of the Week
Relax Your Arm During Backswing

US Open, Worlds Tickets, and Elevation
It's nearly mid-August and we still don't know where or when (presumably sometime in December) the US Open will be. We also don't know when or how to buy tickets for the Worlds to be held in Houston in November. We've been told they'll be on sale in August, but that's pretty vague - when in August? Or is their hesitancy about whether spectators will be allowed? If USATT has a reason why they still don't have the answers to these, then there's a simple solution - TELL US!!! USATT has a news page. Communications is a huge part of leadership, and as I've blogged before, USATT gets an F in communications. Just give periodic updates, and if good reasons for the delays are given, people accept them.

August 2, 2021

Tip of the Week
July 26: Don't "Guide" Your Loop.
Aug. 2: Practice Service Spin … on a Rug!

Writing and Table Tennis Advice
I just finished up a nine-day TNEO online science fiction & fantasy writing workshop, an annual event I go to nearly every year. (This was my twelfth one and ninth in a row.) It's nine days of total writer immersion, with story critiques, master classes, readings, brainstorming & problem-solving sessions, plot breakout sessions, and writing salons on various topics. (Think of it as a training camp for writers.)

July 12, 2021

Tip of the Week
Playing the Non-Adjuster. (There was no blog last week while I was at the US Nationals, but in case you missed it, there was a Tip - Changing the Pace.)

2021 US Nationals
I had a great time at the Nationals last week in Las Vegas, July 4-9. The players I coached did very well, and in between coaching I managed to squeeze in two gold medals myself!!! However, as usual, due to my coaching and hardbat, I didn't get to see as many high-level matches as others. (When they were playing the Men's and Women's Finals I had to go online to find out who they'd beaten in the semifinals.) A great thanks to the many staff who did an INCREDIBLE job, given the difficult parameters they had to work under.

Here are a few links: