October 24, 2016

Tip of the Week
Winning Cheap Points.

Tournament and Coaching
On Saturday I ran the 2-star Butterfly MDTTC October Open. We had 68 players. Here are the results, care of Omnipong. Congrats to Champions Chen Bo Wen, Klaus Wood, Tiffany Ke, Sam Berry, Ryan Dabbs, Hanfei Hu, and Yunhua Gong! And to Finalists Yan Zhang, Tiffany Ke (yep, two finals), Jessica Lin, Ara Sahakian, Jackson Beaver, Jackson Beaver (yep, two finals), and Thomas Sampson!

We're running into problems with the scheduling as the number of players entering Under 15 and Under 1350 have dramatically increased, mostly due to recent huge increase in kids in the 7-11 age group. The U1350 coincides with the Open, so we ran into trouble finding tables for everyone. I finally had to seed the top three players in U1350 out of the preliminaries to save us one table, which also meant that all the groups were of four players, but two of those players weren't happy with that, wanting to play more. But the event still ran long, and then we had both Under 15 and Over 50 starting, with a lot of overlap with U1350. Anyway, we're going to rework the schedule for next year to fix this, and most likely go back to running two-day events – easier scheduling and more events.

On Sunday I coached almost non-stop from 1-8PM. With Sameer, the focus is on more forehand consistency in rallies and in ending points – he's missing too many – so we did a number of drills for that. Once interesting one is where I'd serve side-topspin serves to his backhand, he'd backhand flip to my backhand, and I'd do an aggressive backhand down the line to his forehand, and then we'd continue the rally.

With Todd, we spent a lot of time working on his backhand backswing, where he tends to flip his wrist back way too much, aiming his racket down and sideways, and making timing difficult. So to adjust for this, we spent ten minutes where he went the other extreme – we played backhand-to-backhand where he had to keep his racket aimed at me throughout the stroke. The result was a much better stroke, plus he hit 100 in a row for the first time. (Here are articles on Changing Bad Technique, where the key is exaggerating the proper technique, and on Saturation Training.)

I taught the beginning junior class from 4-5:30PM. We focused on three things: fast, deep serves; forehand smashing; and then playing up-down tables, 11-point games. Some of the younger kids had never actually played a game before, so this was their introduction. Two of them hated losing, but kept losing because they kept missing their serve, which led to a lot of tears. But now they realize the importance of serving.

We now have 18 kids in the MDTTC "Talent Program," which is invitation only. The program meets on Sundays from 5:30-7:00PM, but because of my own schedule, I'm only there from 5:40-6:20PM, where I mostly feed multiball. It's great to work with them as they are our most dedicated kids.

In the adult training class (6:30-8:00PM), we did the usual drills – two footwork drills, serve & attack, etc. But one unique drill I pulled out was having them each take a box of balls to their side of the table, and tossing each ball in the air so it was a little above table level, smashing or looping killing it. It's a great way to practice the technique and precision of the shot. Most had trouble at first, but they quickly adjusted.

And then, after doing table tennis almost non-stop for two days, I straggled home in time to watch The Walking Dead!

Tactics for Beating a One-Wing Attacker
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

Automatism and Servomechanisms: The Science of Training in Sports
Here's the new coaching article from Matt Hetherington.

What Makes a Top Table Tennis Player
Here's the article from Pong Universe.

Ryu Seung Min - The Best Footwork of All Time (Traditional Penhold King)
Here's the new video (6:32).

Jean-Michel Saive's Platform
Here's his platform, or at least an outline of it. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) He's running for ITTF President. "I want to make it clear that I am not running AGAINST anyone, I am running FOR table tennis and FOR the ITTF."

Lebesson Becomes First French European Champion Since 1976
Here's the ITTF press release. Here's the ITTF European Championships home page.

Samsonov Bows Out in 7 Set Stunner at Euro Champs 2016
Here's the video (10:18) as he loses to Robert Gardos.

Dyjas Thwarts Ovtcharovs Title Defense at Euro Champs 2016
Here's the video (7:47)

2016 World Cadet Challenge Commences Action in Shanghai
Here's the ITTF press release. Representing Team USA are Sharon Alguetti, Victor Liu, Crystal Wang, and Amy Wang.

Beetle Baily Makes Excuses
Here's the cartoon sent to me by Marv Anderson. It's dated 3-25, but I can't read the year. Here's my Sept. 28, 2016 blog where I link to all the Beetle Bailey table tennis cartoons I've found – 18 of them, including this one.

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