February 24, 2017

Busy Table Tennis Week
This was one of those incredibly busy table tennis weeks. It started with the weekend, where I ran the MDTTC February Open - "The Days the Juniors Howled." Afterwards there were some corrections and lots of accounting, and of course the results sent to USATT for ratings processing - and it was processed on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I was busy all week coaching. Despite running the tournament on Sat and Sun, on Sunday night I still ran my 90-min beginning junior class (the day's focus: attacking backspin), and ran the 90-min adult training session. (My featured drill for the latter session was serving and following up on long, breaking serves into the backhand.) Afterwards there was the weekly class accounting (for group and private coaching). And then the week began, with the usual private coaching - eight hours the first three days, then off Thursday. (As noted in my "short" blog yesterday, I was up late working on Wednesday, went to bed with a headache, woke up with a headache, and spent much of yesterday with that headache. It's gone now, hopefully for good.)

In between all this was the usual USATT, MDTTC, and other work. Yesterday I wrote a letter of recommendation for Tong Tong Gong, who is applying for an internship with Senator Ben Cardin. A coach was planning a presentation at a school and I helped with that. We're running the Hopes Camp and Tournament at MDTTC this coming weekend, and there was all sorts of work on that. (I'm running the tournament and will be one of the coaches in the camp.) It's for kids born in 2005 and 2006.

On the USATT front the USATT Board (I'm on it) had an email vote on committees, and approved committee chairs for eleven committees, with several more to go. (I was going to blog about that this morning, but decided to wait for the official USATT announcement.) Most were straightforward, two were contested, and I believe three are upcoming, with various complications that postponed their vote.

On the private coaching front, let's see:

  • One student lost to a chopper at the tournament because he didn't take advantage of his serve and forehand follow in the match, often serving and following up with pushes or weak backhand rolls. I showed him how when you play a chopper who chops back your deep serves to the backhand, you get one "free" shot, and you should take it.
  • Another new student is struggling with forehand problems - she keeps reaching forward, almost lunging at the ball, and then either smacks it down into the net or over-reacts by trying to lift it, and goes off the end. We're doing a lot of shadow practice to fix this, but the main fix is for me to go "Duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh" to help time the shots, with her trying to contact the ball as I say "duh."
  • Another student is working on forehand looping, where he tends to reach forward for the ball. We're doing a lot of timing drills on this - I blogged about him previously as the one who actually does it pretty well penhold style - but he's a shakehander.
  • Another relatively new beginning girl has quickly developed a strong forehand, but has trouble with high balls, and needs more backhand work, where she tends to just pat the ball erratically. But she's getting the knack for both now.

New Articles/Podcasts from Expert Table Tennis

Dima Ovtcharov Table Tennis Backhand Tutorial
I may have linked to one or both of these before, but they are worth a second look.

Tactics for Beating a Good Junior Player
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

What It Takes To Be An Olympic Table Tennis Player
Here's the video (3:40) featuring Allen Wang.

Project Table Tennis
Here's the site. Tahl Leibovitz is the CEO/owner. Others listed on the team include Dawn Leibovitz, Mitch Seidenfeld, Sean O'Neill, Jackie Lee, Jimmy Butler, Cory Eider, and Judy Hugh. "Project Table Tennis is a team oriented company which operates nationally throughout the United States implementing, managing or supporting a series of ongoing projects centered around communities and families. Most of our projects utilize Table Tennis as a vehicle to create meaningful relationships between people. Project Table Tennis addresses Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Veterans with Disabilities, Drug & Alcohol Abuse as well as Obesity by serving seniors, youth and children." Their programs include:

  • Workshops & Clinics
  • Private Lessons & Camps
  • Exhibitions & Demonstrations
  • Pro Shop & Equipment
  • Tournaments & Competitions
  • Player Support & Sponsorship

Qatar Open
It's in Doha, Qatar, Feb. 21-26 (the first two days are qualifiers). 

IN or OUT??
Here's the video (29 sec) of the final (spectacular) point of the match between Kenta Matsudaira (JPN, near side)) Liang Jingkun (CHN), with this point winning it for Liang, 13-11 in the seventh, in the first round of the main draw at the Qatar Open. The ball didn't bounce up, just sideways and down, so it was clearly a side - but it's an easier call for us, after the fact and watching on video, then for the umpire in real time.

Longest Point in Modern History?
Here's the short version (40 sec) of this rally at the Qatar Open (10 min 13 sec, 766 shots). Here's a longer version (4:47), narrated by Adam Bobrow, with a short write-up.

Thanks For The Memories Vladimir Samsonov
Here's the article from Table Tennis 365 on Samsonov's exit from the Qatar Open.

Puerto Rican Princess Adriana Diaz "Growin' Up"
Here's the article.

National College Table Tennis Regional Championships

Trump Forehands
Here's the video (30 sec) - I have no idea why Trump seems to be stroking forehands the whole time. (Here's the picture of him looping a forehand I created long before he was elected. Here's a picture where some evil person has photoshopped Wang Liqin's head onto the picture.) I will refrain from making any political comments here….

The International Wrong Pong Association
Here's the page - I'm not even going to comment, just have fun browsing!

Non-Table Tennis - Zombies Anonymous
My short story "Zombies Anonymous" went up at Galaxy's Edge (one of the top science fiction & fantasy magazines) in January (for the Jan/Feb issue), and will stay up until March 1 (Wednesday), so you only have a few more days to read it. It's the lead story - listed first in the table of contents and the cover. It's the humorous story of a zombie math professor and the three steps to not being a zombie. It just got reviewed by Tangentonline, one of the top SF reviewers. "The year for Galaxy's Edge starts out with a piece of flash fiction by Larry Hodges. "Zombies Anonymous" is a cheerful zombie story, where Professor Wills, now a zombie, is happily devouring a family. The daughter Suzy starts to get him to start thinking about controlling his urges to eat every human in sight. It's fun and funny and nicely paced for the maximum comic effect."

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