January 31, 2017

How to Play Practice Matches with a Weaker Player - an Example
It's always a bit disconcerting to go to the USATT News page and see a big picture of yourself! (And it'll stay there until another news item goes up.) Here's the direct link to my Tip of the Week (from yesterday) as a USATT News item.

Here's an interesting example of this. Back in the 1990s we had a junior at MDTTC, Sunny Li, who was dominating several age groups. At one point he won Under 14, 16, and 18 at the Junior Nationals. But as he moved up in level and faced even stronger players, a problem began to show up. He had among the best serves in the country, and easily the best serves among juniors, and often devastated opponents by serving long and watching them flail away at these big, breaking deceptive serves (with spinny-looking no-spin mixed in) - and if they returned them weakly, he'd pound the return, forehand or backhand. But against stronger players, you can't get away with serving long as often, and his short serves were merely good, not great like his long serves. He also hadn't really developed a good short game, and against short serves mostly flipped or pushed long.  

So what did we do? He was assigned to play practice matches with me, over and over, where he couldn't serve long, and had to drop my short backspin serves short. Like most others, I struggled with his deep serves, but I'm very good against short serves, and so even though I was only pushing 2300 at the time to his 2500 level, with these adjusted rules, I was able to beat him many times as he worked on his short serves and short game. It paid off as he got dramatically better at these things. (Though, alas, he quit table tennis at 18 to go to college, right when he was about to really hit the big-time and perhaps make the U.S. National Team and more. He later became a sharpshooter in the U.S. military in Iraq. I believe he now teaches sharpshooting to others in the military.)

USATT Hall of Fame Member J. Rufford Harrison Passes
Here's the USATT obit.

6 Mistakes You Probably Make When Practicing Third-Ball Attack
Here's the article from Table Tennis University.

Devastate the Top Dog
Here's the new article by Samson Dubina.

ITTF on a fresh start in 2017 with a new approach to marketing and sponsorship
Here's the ITTF article where "Steve Dainton, ITTF Marketing and Commercial Director discusses in length the four-year deal with Seamaster, the new approach to marketing rights which are back in-house, recent technological advancements and much more."

Hu Melek feeling positive about her chances in Antibes: “I hope I can do well”
Here's the Butterfly article on the reigning European Women's Champion.

Ping Pong and Table Tennis
Here's the video (64 sec) - "Andrew Baggaley's reign as World Ping Pong Champion is over, but he's been speaking to the BBC about the differences between ping pong and table tennis."

Loop Grunt vs. Chop Grunt
Here's the video (30 sec) as Ruwen Filus and Ricardo Walther have a "grunt off." (Turn the sound up.)

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