January 17, 2017

Tip of the Week
Coaching and Playing Under the New ITTF Coaching Rule. (As explained in my Dec. 28 blog in the Tip of the Week, I'm putting up extra Tips of the Week and post-dating them for earlier in December so I'll end up with 150 Tips for the period 2014-2016. So today's Tip of the Week is dated Dec. 28.)

Cleaning the Newgy Robot
Last night I spent nearly two hours testing and cleaning our two Newgy robots. We usually have one, and one as a backup. The one we were using had recently started to jam regularly. It was reaching the point where it would do so every minute or so, and then we'd have to turn the robot off, and push the balls up through the feeder tube to unjam the balls. But that wasn't even the worst of the problems - the oscillator broke a couple months ago, so you could only aim it in one direction. Still worse, the shooting head had become loose, and so no matter where you aimed it, within seconds it would drift toward the wide forehand side. (To fix this, I began taping it in different positions with duct tape. Yes, you can fix anything with duct tape.)

As if that weren't enough, someone this past week managed to break the clamp that holds the controller to the side of the table. I'd improvised, balancing it against the net so it was workable.

Of course, we had that backup robot - except it had gone into storage because it was jamming every shot, and so was unusable. So . . . what to do?

I opened up both robots, as I'd done before, and tried cleaning the insides. But when I put them back together again, they still jammed. I also tried cleaning the area inside the hole the balls shoot out of (the head), but there are a bunch of parts in there, and even with a toothbrush I couldn't get at much of it.

Then I had a brainstorm. I got a paper clip from the office, and with that, was able to reach in and pull out clumps of dust, dirt, and grime. From years of use it was compacted under a part at the bottom of the head. Compacted, it didn't take up much room, but once pulled out it was like a huge handful of gunk! (Yes, you can fix anything with a paper clip.)

Then I put the robots back together, and both worked perfectly! Well, except for the one with the broken oscillator and clamp. I packaged that one up and will be sending it to Newgy for repairs tomorrow. So ended a day that involved about ten hours with Tim on his History of U.S. Table Tennis volume, 2.5 hours of coaching, and 1.75 hours of robot repair. And then I came home and wrote this blog late at night.

However, our many robot users (both individually and in our group sessions) will be very happy to find that the oscillator is working again, the robot isn't jamming, and the controller is once again clamped to the side of the table as it should be!

Tomahawk Serve!
Recently it seems everyone I coach wants to develop their tomahawk serve. (Here's a short video from Samson Dubina on this. Samson's in my blog a lot - see more below!) In my adult training class, one student said several players used it against him effectively in a tournament, so he wanted to learn it - and a week later said it was already working. Two others are focusing on the serve right now, to go along with their forehand pendulum serves. Last night I coached a 12-year-old (about 1700), and we were working his forehand reverse pendulum serve when he asked if he could instead develop a tomahawk serve - and so that's what he did. (He's learning a different variation, where you set up as if you are doing a regular pendulum serve, then squat down a little bit as the ball is coming down, raise the racket tip, and do the tomahawk serve.)

The tomahawk serve used to be my #2 serve as well. Here's my March 3, 2016 blog on "Winning with the Tomahawk Serve," where I go over my adventures with the serve (including how it allowed me to pulled off the second 2000+ tournament win of my career, way back in 1979, from down 15-20 match point!), and the advantages and disadvantages of the serve. (The blog also links to the Samson video above.)

Daily Update: Volume 19 of History of U.S. Table Tennis
Book is projected to be 25 chapters, 500 pages, 1700 graphics. Current status, through Monday night, Jan. 16:

  • 347 pages (front and back covers, 4 front pages, 18 chapters)
  • 1359 graphics

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 18 (1990-1991)
Here's chapter 17! Or order your own print copies at TimBogganTableTennis.com.

Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion
Five-time U.S. Men's Singles Champion Dan Seemiller recently renamed his autobiography, "Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion," so that it says "Ping-Pong instead of "Table Tennis," thinking it might connect better with the masses. If you haven't bought your copy yet, what are you waiting for?

Free Open House in Akron, OH
If you are in driving distance of Akron, why not join them in their Open House Thursday night, 6-8:30PM? "We are doing our best to grow table tennis here in Ohio, now we need your help to continue the momentum.  Please invite your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to our FREE OPEN HOUSE event at the Shaw JCC on Thursday, January 19th from 6pm-8:30pm.  From 6-7:30pm there will be open club play.  At 7:30pm there will be optional competitions including a $100 smashing competition, serving competition, and 1-point tournament.  With free food, free shirts (limited sizes), and free prizes throughout the evening, there will be $1000 in free giveaways.  Come join the action and grow the sport!"

The Mental Timeout
Here's the article by Samson Dubina.

Podcasts from Expert Table Tennis
Here are two new ones.

Vladimir Samsonov, World Class, the Facts Speak for Themselves
Here's the ITTF article.

China Prepares; a Challenge Awaits for Ma Long and Zhang Jike
Here's the ITTF article.

Clear Message: Prove Yourself
Here's the ITTF article. "Prove yourself; is that not the message being given to the players representing China at the forthcoming Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Hungarian Open?"

Happy New Year--Sign Up for NCTTA!
Here's the USATT article on the National Collegiate TTA.

Brown University Sweeps Lower New England Division
Here's the article.

Ping Pong Club Rounds Out Leasing at Philadelphia Center
Here's the article.

Table Tennis Wars: How William and Alex Nylander Helped Push Each Other Up the Hockey Ladder
Here's the article.

The Calling
Here's the video (4:24), a preview of the 2017 Worlds.

Jan-Ove Waldner Best Points of His Career of Table Tennis
Here's the recent video (16:09).

Lobbing Comeback Serves
Here's the video (32 sec) - how many can you do?

Ten-Cup Bowling Pong
Here's the video (45 sec)!

Send us your own coaching news!