July 30, 2013


Yesterday was Day One of Week Seven of our ten weeks of summer camps. This week we have our smallest turnout, only about 20 players. Originally I was going to work only the mornings, since the turnout is smaller and because I need more time for my writing (both table tennis and fiction), as well as to prepare for upcoming ITTF seminars (one I'm attending, one I'm teaching), and other TT organizing activities. However, there are four beginning younger kids, and I was asked if I could take charge of them. So I'm working with these four in the afternoons. But it means I'm facing a time crunch. I may write more about this later - I've got a todo list that's longer than a "Game of Thrones" novel. (Thing will ease up at the end of August when our camps end and the kids go back to school.) 

One thing that jumped out among these four is that three of them have a lot of head movement when they play forehands. I'm working on minimizing that. Two of them tend to hit forehands with backspin. One has trouble hitting the ball at all. Two can't serve yet. So we've got a busy week ahead of us.

Making things worse is our table tennis robot broke. It shoots balls out erratically all over the place. I've gone to the manufacturer's web page where it explains what might be the problem, but I'm not sure yet which it is, or how to fix it. I'm hoping to turn it over to one of the engineer parents at our club, including a couple of mechanical engineers. Normally when working with four kids I'd have one on the robot, I'd work with one, and the other two would do ball pickup. We'd rotate every few minutes. Now instead I work with one, one does ball pickup, and the other two hit together. They aren't able to do drills yet, so I let the two hitting together play games. Perhaps by the end of the week they might be able to do some forehand to forehand or backhand to backhand among themselves, but right now they can only do this with a coach who can keep the ball to one spot.

Pendulum Serve in Doubles

Here's a video (1:28) from Ping Skills on the forehand pendulum serve in doubles. (Sort of a basics article.)

New Ball and Mixed Doubles System at 2015 Worlds

Here's the article from Tabletennista. "A new ball and a new pairing system for the Mixed Doubles will be implemented in the 2015 World Championships to be held in Suzhou, China." They are replacing the current celluloid ball (which is apparently too flammable) with a new plastic ball. The new pairing system for Mixed Doubles "...will allow Chinese players to pair up with members from other associations."

Top 10 Shots from the First Half of 2013

Here's the video (6:05), which came out yesterday, from the ITTF Youtube Channel.

Hockey Players Play TT for Charity

Here’s an article and two videos (55 sec and 2:08) from Table Tennis Nation on Hockey players playing table tennis to raise funds for concussion and cancer research ("Smashfest"). "Stephane Veilleux of the Minnesota Wild was the eventual winner, but plenty of NHLers were in attendance: Dominic Moore (the event organizer), Logan Couture, Martin St. Louis, Phil Kessel, Joel Ward, and many more and raised over $100,000."

The New Yorker's Table Tennis Cover

Yesterday I linked to a picture of the cover of The New Yorker, which features table tennis. Here's the story behind the cover.

Non-Table Tennis - My Novel and Short Stories

It's official - my humorous fantasy novel "The Giant Face in the Sky" will be coming out Nov. 15 from Class Act Books. I'll blog more about this as the date approaches. Time to start planning the sequel! Here's a short blurb: "The Giant Face in the Sky" is a humorous fantasy retelling of the U.S.-Soviet race to the moon in the '60s, but with sorcerers instead of astronauts. It's Hitchhiker's Guide meets the Space Race." And while we're on the subject of my science fiction & fantasy writing, here's a review that just came out of the anthology "After Death," where the reviewer lists my story ("The Devil's Backbone") as one of the three best!

Ping Ping with Vicious Seeing Eye Dog Paddle and Big Glasses

Can someone tell me what's going on here? The title above is the best description I can come up with!

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