June 17, 2013

Tip of the Week

Shadow Practice for Strokes and Footwork.


Starting today we have ten consecutive weeks of camps at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, each Mon-Fri, 10AM-6PM, with a 1-3PM lunch and rest break. Here's info on the camps. I'll write more about them tomorrow.

Crystal Wang at Hopes Week

Here's the home page for Hopes Week in Austria, where the best 11- and 12-year-olds in the world (outside China) gathered after qualifying in national trials. In the tournament held at the end of the camp, 11-year-old Crystal Wang (with a now outdated 2292 rating) made the final of Girls' Singles, losing to a player from Hong Kong in the final. (For some reason, the results and articles have her listed as "Chrystal.") The USA boys' representative, Victor Liu, made the quarterfinals of Boys' Singles. The two teamed up to make the final of the Team event, where they lost to Hong Kong.

Crystal is from my club, the Maryland Table Tennis Center; I've watched her develop from a beginner. Jack Huang is her primary coach. I've coached her in a number of tournaments, including the Hopes Trials in the U.S., and I've had many practice sessions and hundreds of practice matches with her. Let's just say playing her is scary; no matter what you do she keeps coming at you with heavy topspin from both wings, often right off the bounce. I don't think I've ever seen anyone that young who was so good at going after the middle or moving the ball around. She may be the best 11-year-old girl in the world outside China, though Korea and Japan might have something to say about that. (Remember that Hong Kong is a territory of China, though it's actually a bit more complicated than that.)

Mikael Andersson, the ITTF Senior Consultant - Development/Education & Training, blogged about Hopes Week in his June 13 blog, including a picture of Crystal. Here's what he had to say about her:

Best of all the Hopes in the venue – in relation to relative skill – at least in training, is the (also) 11 year old Crystal WANG from the deep gold mines of the Maryland Table Tennis Center in the USA. With her – the sky is the limit. "I am training seven times a week said Crystal when I caught her in the hotel lobby early in the week. Three of the sessions are with private coaches/ sparring partners. One is left –handed, one is defensive player and one is a pen-holder. The remaining times I join some group sessions and practice / play with the other players in the center."

No wonder – the perfect technique – the touch and the calm composure that this young USA shooting star is showing us in training.  I beg you Crystal; Spread your wings and fly as far as you can!

China Open

It finished yesterday. Here's the home page with results, articles, photos, etc.

Table Tennista - the Magazine

Here is Issue Three of their new magazine.

Top Spin: The Story of Ariel Hsing

Here's a video (11:46) that chronicles the rise of USA's Ariel Hsing. "With hard work and family sacrifice, a young table tennis champion works towards becoming one of the top players in the world -- Ariel Hsing exudes a quiet confidence and intensity that rivals any young professional athlete working hard to become a promising Olympic champion. However, Ariel's story goes beyond her personal dedication and also reveals the family sacrifices that foster her talent."

Quentin Robinot Bullet Shot at ITTF China Open

Here's the video (35 seconds) of this great counter-kill.

The Darkness of Pong

Here's another artistic table tennis artwork from Mike Mezyan. (If you can't see it in Facebook, try this.) Here's how Jim Short described it: "Wonderful artistic touches: notice how the light draws your eye from upper left to lower right, making the table the centerpiece of the work. And these elements combine to make the figure even more shadowy and mysterious, adding to the dark flair of the art."

Actress Ping Pong

Actress Chace Crawford teaches Anna Kendrick how to play, as brought to you by Table Tennis Nation.

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