November 23, 2016

Next Blog – Tuesday, Nov. 29
I'll be eating Meleagris on Thursday, coaching at the Teams Fri-Sun, and exhausted in bed on Monday. See you Tuesday!

Coaching at the Teams
On Fri-Sun I'll be at the JOOLA North American Teams, coaching one of the junior teams from the Maryland Table Tennis Center. It's a rather big job, herding the kids to the right table, warming them up, getting the match slips filled out, scouting opponents, coaching matches, consoling tearful kids after a loss, and making sure they eat and drink properly. Fortunately, most of the kids are now "old pros," having played numerous tournaments.

It's a tough decision for many of us each year – JOOLA North American Teams in DC, or Butterfly Teams in Philadelphia? It's unfortunate they are on the same weekend, and only 2.5 hours apart, but both want the Thanksgiving weekend. For me, it's an especially uncomfortable choice, since I'm sponsored by Butterfly, but the North American Teams are practically in my back yard. Since the players I coach are playing there, I'll be coaching at the JOOLA North American Teams in DC. But I wish I could do both.

For those of you playing at the Teams (either one), here's my article, Top Ten Ways to Play Your Best in a Tournament. Unless you are playing an MDTTC Team. Then go out and party late the night before, and show up at the last minute to play – only wimps need to warm up, right?

One thing of possible great interest – at the North American Teams they will be following the new ITTF coaching rule. This means coaches are allowed to coach at any time during the match that the ball is not in play. I do not like this rule, and am not looking forward to it. Hopefully it'll be low key, and not three days of coaches screaming out instructions. But I'm sure there'll be some coaches signaling every serve.

U.S Open, JOOLA Teams, Butterfly Teams
There is no greater pastime in American than counting the number of players and teams at the various large tournaments. It's as American as grandma and Kung Pao Chicken. Sure, some of you may prefer to watch table tennis glue dry or pick up ping-pong balls during training sessions, but nothing is as enthralling as watching those online numbers as, one by one, they move up. Those of us who live and breathe this stuff hit refresh every ten seconds or so, in constant anticipation of those occasional times when one of the numbers clicks up one – and then it's pandemonium as we pump our fists in the air, screaming Olé! Okay, now you know what a boring life some of us lead, but it is fun to occasionally watch as they numbers grow. Here are the current totals.

  • U.S. Open – 816 entries, with I'm told more paper entries still to be inputted. We may end up with about 850.
  • JOOLA North American Teams – 713 players on 180 teams.
  • Butterfly Teams – 224 players on 60 teams. They are the "upstarts," starting up just a few years ago.

Table Tennis Books
(Warning - shameless commercial solicitation coming!) It's not too late to buy one of my table tennis books, or Dan Seemiller's Revelations of a Champion, for Christmas! Or just for yourself. What could be better than curling up next to the fire and reading about Tactics and Tips and Dan Seemiller's journey to the top? I've noticed a recent bump in sales of The Spirit of Pong, where you get to train (in spirit) with past champions – why not find out what all the excitement is about?

Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – at USATT Webstore
The USATT Webstore is having a big sale on these days, so make sure to shop

Rochester Coach Will Lead U.S. Junior National Table Tennis Team
Here's the article from the Rochester, MN Post Bulletin.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 18 (1990-1991)
Here's chapter 9! Or order your own print copies at

Topspin Charity Supports Youth Education in NYC with Star-Studded Table Tennis Event
Here's the USATT article.

Three Black Americans See China as Their Land of Opportunity
Here's the article from The Daily Progress.

Alton High, Marquette Square Off in Table Tennis Match
Here's the article from the Alton Advantage News in Illinois.

Private Equity Execs Raise Money With a Different Kind of Back-and-Forth
Here's the article from the Wall Street Journal – alas, you have to subscribe to read it.

Photos from the November Westchester Open
Here's the gallery from Glen Randmer Photography. Here are results, and video of the final (16:51). 

Great Exhibition Point
Here's the video (52 sec) of a point to wake you up for Thanksgiving – and it doesn't really look like an exhibition until one of the players circles the table!

Art and Ping-Pong, Together at Last
Here's the gallery, seven images. Make sure to click on Slideshow.

Boston, the Table Tennis Playing Dog
Here's the picture and short article.

Turkey Pong
This is a repeat from last year, but it's the season! I did some searching, but there doesn't seem to be any new turkey table tennis pictures since last year – apparently turkeys don't play TT much . . . those turkeys. . . .

Send us your own coaching news!