January 24, 2022

Tip of the Week
Focus on the Next Point.

Weekend Coaching
Had a pretty busy weekend coaching group sessions with my fellow coaches, Wang Qingliang and Lidney Castro. (Cheng Yinghua and Jack Huang were also there, but doing private coaching.) I had an interesting experience on Sunday. I was only scheduled to coaching one session that day, 12:00-1:30 PM. Afterwards, I went to Panera's to do some writing. I left my playing bag in the trunk of my car. It was cold out, below freezing. At 3:40PM I got a text from Wang, asking if I could come in at 4PM. The problem was that my racket was now ice cold! What did I do? I cranked the heat on full blast while driving back to the club, and held my racket in front of it most of the way! I roasted both sides, and the racket was nice and toasty by the time I got to the club. (A cold racket plays dead.)

January 17, 2022

Tip of the Week
The Most Important Reason for a Match Coach.

Junior Ratings and Rankings
One of my pet peeves is when the junior rankings include non-juniors because of database mistakes. I don't blame USATT or others for this, but I do like to see them fixed up. When I find them, I periodically email USATT to let them know, and they always fix them up. I emailed about a number of new ones on Dec. 27, and I'm sure they'll fix them up soon. But until then, here's what you find if you do an age search - and what sponsors see when considering sponsoring a junior player. (These mistakes often happen when players or tournament directors mistakenly put in the current date for DOB.) 

January 10, 2022

Tip of the Week
Take the Weird Styles Pledge.

Serving Tactics
One of the things you learn as you play more - assuming you are a student of the game - is to get a feel for what serves work at what times. Someone asked me about this, and I used as an example two serves at a key moment in an international match I recently coached at the America's Hopes in Cuenca, Ecuador. I was coaching Ryan Lin, who was the top-rated 11-year-old in the country at the time. (He's 2176 and recently turned 12.) I will call the other player "Doe." Doe was also the best of his age from his country and was rated/seeded higher. At 8-8 in the fifth, with Ryan serving, I called a timeout, both so Ryan could relax and clear his mind, and to discuss what two serves to use. (I initially wrote this calling Ryan as "John," but he and his father said I could go ahead and use his name.) 

January 3, 2022

Tip of the Week
Outcome Versus Process.

The Usual USATT Rundown
Sometimes, when I think about USA Table Tennis, I just want to cry out, "USATT, USATT, USATT!" :) Here's a quick rundown, hopefully the last one for a while, other than general news. But we'll start with the positive. (Skip ahead if not interested in USATT issues.)

=>USATT 2021 Year in Review. Here's the video (17 min).

=>USATT Athlete Elections. USATT First and Second Elite Athlete Elections Certified – Nomination Period for Third and Fourth Athlete Positions Opens.

November 29, 2021

Next Blog on Monday, Dec. 27 29
There will be a Tip of the Week every Monday, but my next blog will be on Dec. 27 29. I'm going out of town for three weeks - coaching the ITTF Hopes Camp and Tournament in Amman, Jordan, Dec. 6-15; the US Open in Las Vegas, Dec. 16-22 (where I have to adjust in one day to the ten-hour time difference between Jordan and LV!), and a family gathering in San Francisco, Dec. 22-26.

Tip of the Week
How to Get Lucky.

Christmas Table Tennis Book Shopping
Don't forget to do your Christmas table tennis book shopping!!! Below are my seven books on table tennis that are in print. You wouldn't want me to go broke and have to live and play ping-pong on the streets? (And note that "And Still More Table Tennis Tips," fourth in the series, will come out early in 2021.) Or, if you are a non-reader, skip this and move on to the sections on the Teams, the Worlds, and so on!

November 23, 2021

Tip of the Week
How to Fix a Weakness in Your Game.

Classic Hardbat World Championships
I had an adventurous weekend in Sugar Land, TX, just outside Houston, where I played in the first Classic Hardbat World Championships. It was held on Sunday, Nov. 21, just two days before the start of the "Sponge" World Championships in Houston. (Results are not yet online - they may go up later on Omnipong or Facebook.) Thirty-seven players competed, including nine over 2400. (Draw included Mario Genovese, who flew in from Malta, plus a number of players from other countries who now live in the US.) Prize money was 1st $2000, 2nd $1250, 3rd $750, 4th $500, 5-8 $150. (Here's the single elimination stage; RR group results should go up later.) 

November 15, 2021

Tip of the Week
Don't Give a Quick Player Too Many Short Balls.

MDTTC Open, Weekend Coaching, and Jordan, Oh My!
It was held this past weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, where I coach. Here are complete results, care of Omnipong. I spent much of Saturday coaching matches, including Stanley Hsu in the semifinals and final of the Open. (I wish I could blog about the tactics used, but alas, that's secret.) Here are the rating results!

I also helped coach the Novice Junior Class on Sunday, 5:30-7:00PM. Lots and lots of multiball!!! Most of it involved on player on ball pickup, one doing multiball, and one shadow-practicing behind him. I also had them do some two-person multiball drills, so two players could do multiball at the same time.

November 8, 2021

Tip of the Week
Relentlessly Reliable Receives with Systematic Practice.

Weekend Coaching and Upcoming Schedule
It almost didn't happen. On Thursday I took the Pfizer booster shot. Alas, I was one of the small minority to have a bad reaction to it. I spent much of Thursday night shaking in bed, feeling like I was freezing to death and nauseous. It wasn't helped that the heating in my house had broken down and the temperature dropped to around 50 degrees inside! On Friday, I was still nauseous and could only eat cream of wheat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (But I got the heating problem fixed.) By Saturday I was still a bit weak and slightly nauseous (cream of wheat for breakfast and lunch, then a real meal for dinner), but I managed to coach two group sessions at the club. However, having these symptoms is far better than the alternative - having the real thing!