February 27, 2014

Coaching Scams

In my February 14 blog, I wrote about a coaching scam from England. (See fifth item.) The scam has apparently expanded, and now sometimes comes from England, other times from Nigeria. The scam works as follows: you get an email that someone wants to send his son/daughter to the U.S. for coaching. They make the arrangements, and want to pay in advance. They send the check, which is for way too much - apparently an extra zero is added at the end. Then you get an email saying they made a mistake, and asking for you to send back the difference. Many people think that they can do this, since they've already received the check, but the check will bounce, and you'll be out the difference. I've been getting varieties of this scam for years. At least ten coaches have told me they received it, and I expect many more have. I think they are simply taking emails from the USATT certified coaching list. At least one coach I know of almost fell for it - he had already made out the refund check, and would have sent it except heavy snow stopped him, and then someone told him to go to the bank first to make sure the incoming check cleared. They were advised it was a bad check, and they have turned the info over to the FBI.

USATT was the beneficiary of a major scam for years back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. (One of those years I was in charge of inputting all the entries in the computer, and remember entering all those one-event Nigerians.) For several years in a row USATT received sometimes close to a hundred entries from Nigeria for the U.S. Open. Each "player" would enter exactly one event, Men's or Women's Singles. In return, USATT would send out an invitation letter. The invitation letter was apparently all the Nigerians needed to get into the U.S., and so both sides "won" - the Nigerians got into the U.S., and USATT got their entry fees. At least one year we even had arrival and hotel info for the Nigerians, who apparently arrived and then all disappeared. Not once did any show for the tournament, and so for those years Men's and Women's singles was full of Nigerian no-show defaults. Then USATT was advised by the FBI on what was going on, and told to stop accepting these entries or we'd be in violation of immigration laws. After that I believe we required entry of all or most foreign players through their national associations.

Blade vs. Racket

In my Monday blog, I wrote about the interview with ITTF President Adham Sharara, and about the apparent upcoming bounce test. In the article I inadvertently interchanged racket and blade, when the two are different. (Racket includes the covering; the blade does not.) So the article might have been confusing. I've fixed it. The bounce test would presumably be on the racket, i.e. a measurement of how high the ball bounces off a racket and covering.

Tournament Event Selection (Why you shouldn’t avoid YOUR events)

Here's a new coaching article from the OKCTT Blog (that's Oklahoma City Table Tennis). But if you page down, there are a number of other coaching articles. Here's a listing - take your pick!

  • TT Robots…  Good or Evil?
  • Don’t Overlook the Basics
  • Spin, Spin, Spin!
  • Match Play Tips (July 2013)
  • Balance, Anticipate, Move Your Feet!
  • Play a Variety of Players
  • Serving
  • Doubles vs Singles

USATT Help Wanted

Here's the position announcement for a USATT Administrative Assistant. Presumably this is to take the place of Joyce Grooms, who is retiring soon after many years with USATT. Apply by March 5.

Add ITTF Videos to Your Website

Here's a widget that'll allow you to put these table tennis videos on your websites.

Volunteers Needed at Cary Cup

Want to volunteer at the Cary Cup Open in Cary, NC, March 15-16? Here's info! (I'll be there, playing the hardbat event on Friday, then coaching the rest of the way.)

Mental Fitness for Long-Term Athlete Development

Here's a brochure on the subject - with a table tennis picture featured at the start.

22 Jump Street to Feature Table Tennis

Here's the article. The movie 22 Jump Street comes out June 13, and is the sequel to 21 Jump Street, the hit comedy from 2012. Both star Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Ice Cube. (Okay, it'll be beer pong, but close enough.) 

The Dalai Lama on Ping Pong

Here's a video (1:30, starts with 30 sec ad). He mentions playing with China's Prime Minister Zhou En-lai in the 1950s. They also discuss golf and the movie Caddyshack.

Ping & Pong: Toy Robot Players

Here's the picture - they are from the Kid Robot Dunny 2012 Series.

Pong to the People!

Here's the picture.

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