July 12, 2013


Yesterday's focus was the backhand loop. This has evolved over the years; it used to be backhand attack against backspin, where I'd teach both the backhand drive and loop against backspin. But these days fewer and fewer players use backhand drives against backspin, and when teaching the backhand attack against backspin, most coaches now go straight to backhand looping, or at least a steady topspin roll (sort of a beginning loop). The backhand drive against backspin is just like a regular drive, except you stroke more up, with a bit more topspin. I did demonstrate this to the players, but explained that these days it's mostly used against short balls, with the loop the better shot against deep balls. (Of course, with the advent of the "banana flip," where you essentially backhand loop a short ball, that's changing as well.) Anyway, even beginners got a chance to loop or roll their backhands against backspin, and most were able to do so.

The funny part was where I ended each backhand loop against backspin session by having them hit regular backhands against regular topspin. (I'm feeding multiball.) Invariably the first few would go off the end as they lifted the ball off, since that's what they had been doing against backspin. It takes a bit of practice for newer players to learn to drive mostly forward against topspin, and more upward against backspin with a more topspinny contact. I did the same thing the day before when teaching the forehand loop against backspin, and also invariably the first few against topspin would go off the end. One of the ways to test if a player has mastered a shot is if they can do it in combination with other shots. Often I do a multiball game to 11 points where I feed a backspin ball and then a topspin ball. The player has to loop the first, and either smash or loop the second. If he makes both shots, he scores; if he misses either, I score. (If he misses the first, the second is a practice shot.)

After the mid-morning break, my group played a lot of "King of the Table." One player is the king. The rest line up on the other side and challenge, one by one. If the challenger loses the first point, he goes to the end of the line, and the next person comes up. (New person always serves.) If the challenger wins the point, then the king serves. If the challenger wins the second point, he becomes the king. (Or the queen. I told the kids to choose their own titles. One became the Shah of the Shambling Chokers of Chattanooga. We came up with creative titles.) Of great interest to me were that a number of players, when it wasn't their turn, were practicing their serves on the side table. Wanting to be king (or Shah?) brought out their best.

On break, we had a few impromptu "basketball" contests, where we'd stand about 15 feet from the basket we use to hold balls for multiball, and try to put the ball in the basket by hitting it with the paddle. From 15 feet, The scoring system is three points if it stays in the basket, two points if it goes in but bounces out, and one point if you hit the basket on the outside. I did eight in a row, with all eight staying in the basket. (My technique: a backhand chop, done high so it drops down into the basket, with the backspin keeping it from bouncing out.) The game sort of devolved when many of the kids put their paddles down and began shooting basketball style.

As noted yesterday, it was Free Slurpee Day at 7-11, and 18 of us walked over for them.

Dealing with a Short Return

Here's the video from PingSkills (2:51).

How to Overcome Lack of Response Time

Here's the video from PingSkills (3:48).

Ping-Pong, Sort Of

Want to go to Sushibar Ping Cocktails, or their neighbor Asian Pong Buffet? Or why not both for a little "Ping Pong"? Here's the picture.

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