February 26, 2024

Tip of the Week
Be the Lawnmower.

Table Tennis Doubles for Champions
Last Wednesday I sent the draft of the book to the Editorial Board. They are supposed to get back to me by Monday, March 11 with any edits, suggestions. They bring a wide range of talents to the job, from table tennis to editorial expertise.

Who is this Super Seven? Stellan & Angie Bengtsson, Mark Dekeyser, Sean O'Neill, John Olsen, Dan Seemiller, and Dennis Taylor. That’s a pretty nice group. (Edit- it's now the Great Eight, with Dell Sweeris joining the Editorial Board.)

February 19, 2024

Tip of the Week
The Laziness of Simple Serves.

USATT’s Illegal Chair, USATT Assemblies, and Those Pesky Bylaws
I sent another email to the USATT Board regarding this. (I blogged about the issue last week, including a link to my previous email.) Just to be clear, I have zero expectation that anything will come of this – too many enablers on the Board. The point is they can no longer deny knowing about it. This abuse of power, as well as policy issues, will be among the big issues in the Fall USATT elections. The facts speak for themselves. The primary “defense” against this is the assertion that Char’s term started on Jan. 1, 2021 – but it’s argument by assertion, with no facts or logic backing it up. But there’s little accountability in USATT these days, and so they can do pretty much get away with anything. Normally the lawyers report to the CEO and Board, and the CEO reports to the Board which oversees everything, but these days it’s pretty much reversed.

February 5, 2024

Tip of the Week
Types of Topspin Contact.

Weekend Coaching, Doubles Book, and USATT, Oh My!!!
I split my coaching weekend between feeding multiball (yes, lots and Lots and LOTS of footwork drills), and as a practice partner at the end. I used to be in charge of running these group sessions, but now that I’m semi-retired others have taken over, and I get to just coach. My primary function in most sessions is feeding multiball, where I put them through a series of drills while working on their technique. Different players are rotated to me (the multiball station) throughout the session, so I work with a lot of the players.

January 29, 2024

Tip of the Week
Start With Your Trickiest Serve.

Three Big Things to Happen to USA Table Tennis Since I Started
I started playing table tennis and joined USATT in 1976. Since that time, I would say there are three BIG things that have happened in our sport, specifically in the US for two of them. (If I’d started five years earlier, then I might have put Ping-Pong Diplomacy as a fourth.) They are:

January 22, 2024

Tip of the Week
Court Tricks.

Weekend Coaching
Only did one group session this past weekend – other coaches needed the hours more than I did! I did multiball for about an hour and thirty minutes as a practice partner. (There were 18 in the group. We have over 70 in our junior program, so have to have different groups based on level.) The multiball focus was lots and Lots and LOTS of fundamentals, focusing on topspin drills and footwork. While one player does multiball, another shadow-strokes behind him, matching his shots and imagining hitting the ball each time. Another player does serves, while another does ball pickup. As a practice partner, we again did lots of footwork drills. We also did a rather intensive shadow-practice session at the start, going through lots of stroking and footwork drills without the ball. I spent much of the time yelling, “Turn your shoulders!” as many kids get lazy and go for rapid-fire but poor arm strokes – but not on my watch!!!

January 16, 2024

Tips of the Week

2023 US Open
The 2023 US Open seems ages ago – it was held Dec. 15-22 in Ontario, California, near LA. But since I’ve been traveling almost non-stop this is my first blog since then. (I’m back to blogging every Monday, except when sick or out of town.) Here are a few tidbits – with more in the next segment about USATT. I had more to write about, but since it’s been a month, I’ll keep the segment short.

December 11, 2023

Next Blog: January 15
I’ll be out of town Dec. 15-27 for the US Open and then Christmas, and again Jan. 2-10 for the $36,600 Ping Pong World Cup in Mexico City (plus some sightseeing afterwards). So next blog will be Monday, Jan. 15. There will be a Tip of the Week on Monday, Dec. 18, and Monday Jan. 8. Have a great holiday season!

Tips of the Week
Dec. 11: Why Aren't You Pushing Heavy?
Dec. 18: Are You Too Backhand Oriented?

December 4, 2023

Tip of the Week
Fake-Outs.

USA Table Tennis Election
This is it, the final week for USATT members to vote – voting ends at 7PM Eastern time on Friday, Dec. 8. If you don’t vote, you cannot gripe about ANYTHING that USATT does for the rest of posterity. (Worse, you may be fined 100 rating points.) On Monday, Nov. 6, at 11AM eastern time, if you were a USATT member for at least the previous 60 days and are age 18 or over, you should have received the election email. Open it and VOTE!!!

November 28, 2023

Tip of the Week
Forcing or Adjusting Your Game.

North American Teams
I just completed another North American Teams, my 47th in a row. (It would be 48 except they skipped 2020 because of Covid.) My first one was in 1976, where I played with Mike Shapiro and Jackie Heyman. I was a player for most of those years, then a player/coach, but in modern times I’ve only been coaching. Let’s see, 47 Teams, three days each, that’s 141 days at the Teams! (Almost five months.)

This year I think I set two records that will never be broken. Over those three days I coached 102 matches, going 61-41 in all. Has anyone every coached that many matches in a tournament? I coached 46 matches on Saturday, which has got to be a record for one day. On that day I coached from 8AM until 11:40PM, even eating meals while coaching. In several of them I coached two matches at the same time. (I normally only do that with lower-rated teams, where coaching is a bit simpler.) When one team finished a team match, I’d move to another. On Friday and Sunday I coached 28 matches each day.