June 28, 2013

Last Blog Until After U.S. Open

I'm off soon to the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, returning on Sunday, July 7. As usual, I don't blog when I'm at tournaments - just too busy. I'll start up again on Monday, July 8. (It'll be a hectic time as I also have a new Mon-Fri training camp starting that morning.)

U.S. Open

It looks like a record number of entries. There are currently 913 players listed as entries for the U.S. Open, but this does not include entries to the ITTF U.S. Open World Tour. (The actual U.S. Open doesn't include Men's or Women's Singles or Under 21 Boys or Girls, which are part of the ITTF World Tour.) The ITTF U.S. Open World Tour Page shows 181 entries, but there are overlaps between that and the regular U.S. Open entries. However, it looks like there'll be more entries in all than the 1000+ from the 1974 and 1975 U.S. Opens in Oklahoma City and Houston. However, the 1990 U.S. Open in Baltimore included the World Veteran's Games and a special Junior Championships, and in all had something like 2700 entries if I remember correctly, though I may be off. (Anyone have better numbers for 1990?)

You can follow the action of the World Tour events at the U.S. Open at the ITTF U.S. Open World Tour Page.

MDTTC Camp, My Back and Foot, Fortune Cookies, and White House Down

Yesterday's focus was the backhand loop. I gave a short lecture on that as well as on the backhand drive against backspin and the backhand smash, and used Roy Ke as my demo partner. I also introduced the beginners to returning serves, mostly with a return serve game where they'd line up and try to return my serve. If they did, they stayed until the missed. Then I explained the way to return the various spins I was giving them. If I told them in advance what the spin was, most were able to return the serve about half the time. I also gave them fast serves (they did not like those!) as well as my infamous backspin serve that bounces back over the net to my side. (I let them do a takeover when I do that. Top players see it coming and smack it in from the side of the table.)

Unfortunately, my back hasn't gotten much better. I tried giving a private lesson, but after hitting two minutes I went to multiball, and then brought in Raghu Nadmichettu to do the last 30 minutes. The problem is the back has really stiffened up, and when I try hitting, I'm like a block of granite. Worse, this put a strain on the rest of me as I compensated - and in those two minutes I managed to aggravate the back problem as well as hurt my foot. Yes, I'm limping now. But I've got substitutes for my coaching sessions today and this weekend so I'll have three days off (Sat-Mon), other than one session with a six-year-old on Sunday where hopefully I'll survive.

For lunch, I created another fake fortune that I snuck into my fortune cookie, which said, "A giant panda will sit on you and crush you." The day before I had one that said, "A giant wolverine will eat you today." Previous ones included "A meteor will kill you in five minutes" and "A ping-pong player will kill you this afternoon." Today's says, "Today you will be shot, electrocuted, burned, drowned, eaten, and a giant squid will choke you. Have a nice day." I create these in Photoshop, and have mastered the art of surreptitiously opening the plastic around a fortune cookie, breaking the cookie in half, replacing the real fortune with the fake one, putting it back together again so it looks unbroken (with the fake fortune sort of holding it together), and sneaking it back inside the wrapper. I think the kids are getting suspicious!

After the camp finished at 6PM I took five of the players (Derek Nie, Roy Ke, Leon Bi, Raghu Nadmichettu, and Allen Lin) to see the 7PM showing of White House Down. (Three others - Crystal Wang and Princess & Tiffany Ke - went separately and I believe saw Monsters University.) It went over really well - a nice action movie. As an amateur presidential historian, I loved the White House scenes, including recognizing all the presidential pictures and statues.

How to Cut Table Tennis Rubber

Here's a new article from Paddle Palace on this.

Pong XT - Europe on Fire

Here's a great new video (4:05) set to music that showcases the best points from the 2013 World Championships. Edited by Canadian star Xavier Thérien!

Saving Norman

Here's a great short film just out (10:30, actual movie is about 9 min) on table tennis, starring Willem Dafoe. It actually takes table tennis seriously. Spoiler Alert! It's about a former table tennis star who missed his big chance at the World Championships 25 years before, who's become a recluse, and how someone helps him resolve these issues - and how it all affects his parrot, Norman. From a serious table tennis player's point of view, the actual table tennis scenes are pretty weak - the first one because the level is obviously very low with poor technique, the second because the computer special effects are poor and obviously fake, as are the actors attempts to fake real table tennis strokes.

Ping-Pong Ball Mouth Juggling

Here's a video (1:04) of a guy setting the record for the most consecutive pong-pong ball juggling with his mouth - 212.

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