November 7, 2013

Health Checklist, Sheeba and Me

Today I can say we're both a mess. Here's our checklist.

ME: I just came down with a cold (again!!!), though it's a minor one. (I'm living on Nyquil.) Both of my knees are bothering me, so I'm wearing knee braces when I play. And remember how I hurt my arm a month ago and had to take a week off? Yesterday it was hurting again whenever I played backhands with students. I iced it last night, and today I'm going to have to go easy on it. My weight, which regularly fluctuates between 180 and 190, is at the high end right now, so I'm going to have to diet. However, to any students reading this: I'm ready to take you on!!!

SHEEBA (my dog, who's 3/4 corgi, 1/4 some sort of hound): She'll be 16 in February, which is about 76 in human years. I've had her since she was four, when I got her at the local dog shelter. She has arthritis in her back legs, and so has great difficulty walking up and especially down stairs, and no longer can go for walks. She's completely deaf - I can clap my hands together right behind her head as loudly as I can and she won't even react. She's also nearly blind, and regularly walks into doors and walls. She normally weighs around 23 pounds, but she's been losing weight rapidly this year, and is down to about 17 - she just won't eat much anymore. Here she is a few years ago.

I'm not the only one with health problems. As noted in a blog last week, my 5PM Wednesday student (Daniel) hurt his arm, and is out for month. My 6PM Wednesday student (Matt) had an apparent concussion (hit by a door in school!) and was out for a week, but came back last night. Since my 7PM Wednesday student (TJ) was away and my 8PM student (Doug) only comes in twice a month and was off last night, that meant that last night I only had one student - so I gave him an extra 15 minutes, and then spent some time watching the players I'll be coaching at the upcoming USA Nationals as they trained (Nathan Hsu and Derek Nie).

"About Time" Table Tennis

Yesterday I saw the movie "About Time." While technically a time-traveling SF movie, it wasn't really a SF movie, and more of a relationship movie as a man learns to accept the world as it is rather than constantly trying to change it for the better. Along the way were several table tennis scenes. Early on they show him talking with his dad as they play table tennis. Later the dad, played by Bill Nighy, gives a humorous speech while he plays about the greatness of his and his son's play, as if they were in some championship match. (I hope to see this on youtube someday.) They mention table tennis several other times, including the dad at his son's wedding giving a speech where he jokingly says how bad his son is at ping-pong. (Spoiler Alert!) After the dad has terminal cancer, the son appears to often travel back to the times they played ping-pong to visit with his dad when he was healthy - including one last time when, because of the rules for time travel in the movie, he can't do it again.

U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Fame Program Booklet

Yesterday I started work on this year's U.S. Hall of Fame Banquet Booklet. (What, you thought those things made themselves?) This will be the fifth consecutive year I've done this for them. This year's inductees (as noted previously in my blog) are Todd Sweeris (who I've known and sometimes coached since he was 13) and Terese Terranova, with Yvonne Kronlage getting the Lifetime Achievement Award.

ITTF Monthly Podcast

Here's this month's edition (12:03), covering ITTF events in the month of October.

Waldner-Grubba Point

Here's video (54 sec) of a great point from twenty years ago at the 1993 European Top 12, between greats Jan-Ove Waldner of Sweden and Andrzej Grubba of Poland.

Celebrity Table Tennis

  • Gael Monfils: Here's video (1:31) of tennis star Gael Monfils playing table tennis. He's currently #31 in the world, formerly world #7. He seems to play a driving forehand and a chopping backhand. They are using what appear to be sandpaper or cheap plastic blades.
  • Jamie Foxx: Here's video (1:23) of actor Jamie Foxx playing table tennis with table tennis star and model Soo Yeon Lee.
  • Deron Williams: Here's a picture of NBA star Deron Williams getting coached by 2009 U.S. National Men's Singles Champion Michael Landers.

Table Tennis Stats as Animated Gifs

Here they are!

Lots of Bouncing Ping-Pong Balls

Not sure what's going on here, but that's a bunch of balls bouncing around in what appears to be a bathroom with two woman who are oddly dressed for ping-pong.

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Re: November 7, 2013


You seem to have accumulated a lot of injuries over the years: back, knees, arm, shoulder, oh my! If you don't mind, allow me to make a recommendation.    You really should check out a book called Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training by Mark Rippetoe.   I have a really bad knee, so bad in fact that some days I could hardly even walk without the support of a $1000  knee brace. To be honest,  I thought my table tennis days were  over.  But since I've read the book and implemented the program within, my knees are feeling so much better and I'm actually considering playing table tennis this weekend without the brace.  I know from reading your blog that you've expressed an interest in moving away from training on machines and into barbell training, so I thought I'd share this with you.  I actually think every serious table tennis player should lift weights.


Here's a link to the book.  It has a 5 star rating on Amazon:

Here's a link to the official Starting Strength website:


My advice to you would be to read the book, check out the website, and then schedule an appointment with a Starting Strength coach to work on your form.  From what I hear, there's some really good coaches over in Westminster, MD, specifically Beau Bryant.

Good luck, Larry. Í'm only 29 but I know what it's like when injuries bring you down and get in the way of your TT.

By the way, this is Daniel Ring.  You messaged me before over in the Orioles Hangout.  Go O's!

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: November 7, 2013

Hi Daniel, after I get over this silly cold I might consider it. I've been trying to get the incentive to start going to the gym again to do the weight routine I used to do, but these days my todo list is longer than Santa's list. (Side note - on Tuesday afternoon I'm coaching Darren O'Day again.) 

Re: November 7, 2013

omg, did you see the uberpong gif of the "average return trajectory"?!  lol, i hope my opponents in the potomac open this weekend return like that!...but i bet they won't.  :(

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: November 7, 2013

They did seem a bit high. Maybe I should work on smashing with all my students this week.