February 27, 2017

Tip of the Week
Forehand Follow-Through Back into Position.

Weekend Coaching
Well, it's finally happened . . . after a year of zealously keeping Saturdays free from coaching, I've opened it up again, and did three hours of coaching this past Saturday. But don't feel sorry for me, before I did this I cleared up my Thursday schedule so I'm now off on Thur & Fri each week. (Used to be Fri & Sat.) I'll probably gradually pick up more hours on Saturdays, one by one, until I wake up one morning and discover I'm coaching twelve hours that day. Nightmare!!! (Note that my "off days" are really just "writing days.")

Sundays I had three consecutive 90-minute group sessions, as usual. First I ran the Beginning Junior Class, where the focus was on serving, which we did for the first 20 minutes. Then we did the usual series of footwork drills. Training is one hour, then 30 minutes of games, with the group divided in two: The older and stronger players play regular games, while the younger ones play various target practice games, by far the favorite being the "Cup Game." (They stack the cups in pyramids and walls, and then line up to knock them down as I feed multiball. They are actually getting great practice doing this - shhh!)

Next came the Talent Program, which now has 22 kids, roughly 7-12 years old, all invitation only. Many of those kids are really looking good! Each of the coaches were put in charge of 3-4 kids, and led them in shadow practice footwork drills for about 15 minutes. (That was exhausting as I was doing it with them - not easy considering I turned 57 today [Monday] - yikes!) Then we did about 45 minutes of multiball, feeding one student while the others shadow practice behind them, with parents getting the balls with ball nets. Finally they went out to the table for various drills. For one drill we put quarters on the far side of the table (first short, then long), and one player tried to serve on them, then they'd play out the point.

Finally came the Adult Training Session, which I ran. We had eleven players this time, and we did the usual stroking and footwork drills. The last half hour was all serve and attack - I gave them various options to choose from, with each choosing two variations, then they'd each do 7.5 minutes of each chosen drill. One complicating factor is that we had several cases of stronger players who don't drill well, and weaker players who drill better, plus players making changes in technique which hurts their drill performance - so matching them up is tricky.

Then I raced home, and only missed the first 30 minutes of the Academy Awards. (Of the nine nominated films, I was rooting for "Hidden Figures," "Hacksaw Ridge," "Lion," and "Arrival." Oh well.)  Then I saw a 12:45AM showing of "The Walking Dead." And then it was 1:45 AM, and guess what? Rather than try to get everything done in the morning (i.e. later that morning), when I'd be exhausted, I decided, heck, let's get everything done now. So I went through unanswered emails and my todo list like a Tasmanian Devil in a basket of ping-pong balls, crossing items off like Zorro, and guess what? I got mostly caught up on things. (If I gave a complete list of all that I got done last night it'd take up most of this blog.) Even my emails are down to zero unread or unanswered. Then I did the Tip of the Week and most of this blog - and went to bed after 4:30AM. I was up against at 8:30AM, and after finishing this morning's blog, will get to the next item on that dastardly todo list, the MDTTC March Newsletter. And then it's three hours of coaching tonight. Sometime between finishing the newsletter and the 3.5 hours of coaching I have to run some errands (bank, post office), and then I might catch up on sleep - we'll see….

Cousin of USATT CEO Wins Academy Award
One of the producers of "O.J.: Made in America," which won the Academy Award last night for Best Documentary Feature, was Caroline Waterlow, who is a cousin of USATT CEO Gordon Kaye. Congrats!!! (Is this our moment of national fame?)

New Articles and Videos from Samson Dubina

How to Keep Your Wrist Loose
Here's the new article and podcast (7:46) from Expert Table Tennis.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov: We Need Less Breaks Between Points
Here's the article from Table Tennis 365, quoting the world #5 and top European.

Qatar Open
Here's the ITTF site for the event held this past weekend, with results, articles, pictures, and video.

Crazy Rally Between Marcos Freitas and Ma Long - Semifinals of Qatar Open
Here's the video (50 sec).

More News Articles
There are new articles on the USATT News Page and the ITTF page.

Pong Gear
Here's a place where you can get things like shirts and mugs with TT slogans!

Foot Countersmash
Here's the video (11 sec, with slo-mo replay)!

Table Tennis Exhibition at Tennis Tournament
Here's the video (2:35) of Don Flowers (left) and Atanda Musa (right, former Nigerian champion) on the tennis court - with a ping-ping table!

New Table Tennis Mannequin Challenge!
Here's the video (47 sec) from the Table Tennis Academy in Montreal - love the outstretched diving kid at the end! Here's an updated list of table tennis mannequin challenges that I know of, with this added at the top as the "Table Tennis Academy in Montreal."

Beachball Pong!
Here's the video (3:13) - is this our sport's future?!!!

Send us your own coaching news!