May 3, 2013

U.S. Open - To Enter, or Not To Enter

I'm always stuck in a quandary about whether to play in the U.S. Open or just coach. I'm going there primarily as a coach, and that's my priority. I usually enter a few hardbat events, and over the years have won a number of events. However, I often have to default out of them if there's a conflict. I've done this repeatedly in singles over the years; only once has anyone complained that I know of. In doubles, I've never had to default, but I've always let my partner know in advance that there's that chance, if there's a conflict between our doubles and a major match of a student of mine.

This year I'm considering entering Hardbat Singles & Doubles, Over 40 Hardbat, and Over 50 Hardbat Doubles. I'm one of the favorites in Over 40 (I've won it four times), and I'm pretty good at Hardbat Doubles (I've won it 13 times), plus there's Over 50 Doubles. I can do well in Hardbat Singles as well - I've won it twice, though I'm not as fast as I was when I was winning the event. But is it fair to opponents who sign up for round robin events when a player doesn't show, and knows in advance there's a decent chance he might not be able to play? On the other hand, it means other players have a better chance of advancing.

I could go all in, and enter other events where I might be competitive, such as Over 50 and Over 40 Singles and Doubles. I made the final of Over 40 Doubles at the 2011 U.S. Open. I could go pretty deep in the singles events, though of course eventually I'm going to run into Dan Seemiller or some former Chinese champion. (I'd have to do some serious tactical magic to beat them - and of course play like a maniac.)  

I'm probably not going to enter the regular sponge events - just too many conflicts, and it would take my attention away from my coaching focus. But the hardbat events? I'm leaning toward playing them, and perhaps, just maybe, entering Over 50 Doubles as well. But I'd have to drop them like a shot if there's a conflict with my coaching.

One disadvantage for me in senior events - I'm considerably better against junior players. I've been playing them for years as a coach and practice partner, and I know exactly how to play them. My overall level these days is about 2200, but against juniors, it's closer to 2300. (This does not include those days, about once a week, where I'm so stiff I can barely move, and my level drops down into the earth's mantle.)

Here's the U.S. Open home page. Deadline to enter is May 11, though you can enter through May 18 with a $75 late fee.

1996 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Coach

Recently Audrey Weisiger, the 1996 U.S. Olympic Figure Skating coach (Google her if you want more) started taking lessons with me. She started out with inverted, but about ten days ago tried out long pips on the backhand (no sponge), and liked it. (I blogged about this on April 26.) This past week she took a trip to Minneapolis, where I gave her contact info for Mitch Seidenfeld, the world dwarf champion and a professional coach. Here's a short video (27 sec., see Audrey celebrate winning a point!) of them playing, and here's a picture.

Iron Man 3

I'm taking some of our junior players to see Iron Man 3 tonight after practice. Some of them have been dying to see this movie for weeks. Confession - I've been dying to see this movie for years (or at least since #2 came out three years ago). Popcorn, cherry coke, and 130 minutes of fun coming up! Any local juniors who want to join us, we'll be leaving from MDTTC at 7PM, eating a quick dinner at a fast food place, then going to the Germantown Theater for the 8PM 3-D showing. (I'm not high on 3-D, but the kids prefer it.) 

Hong Kong Cup Highlights

Here's a highlights video (2:49) of the Hong Kong Cup, put together by long-time Canadian National Team Member (and player at the tournament) Xavier Therien.

Love and Ping Pong in New York

Here's an article that came out in December in SB National that I just saw, "Table (Tennis) for Two: Love and Ping Pong in New York."

Table Tennista

Here are the latest headline international stories from Table Tennista.

Table Tennis Clock

Here's a really nice table tennis clock. (If you can't see it there in Facebook, try this.) Anyone know where we can buy one? On March 12, I blogged about and linked to 28 different table tennis clocks. (I just added this one, so now there are 29.)

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