February 28, 2017

Navin - on the Attack!
Here's video (53 sec) from my session with Navin Kumar last night. He also did a nice write-up to go with it. Many of you already know of him, either from this blog or elsewhere, as "The Bionic Man," since he has a mostly mechanical heart, as well as Parkinson's. (He gives many talks on the latter as a motivational speaker.) Here, for example, is the video The Bionic Man - Navin Kumar (9:22), and here's the USATT article, Navin Kumar: A Passion for Table Tennis.) He's mostly a blocker, with long pips (no sponge) on the backhand, often called a "pushblocker." But we've been working on his attack, especially on the forehand. The video shows his increasingly aggressive forehand. We're working on establishing it more in games.

In last night's session, after hitting crosscourt for a while (as on the video), we did a lot of down-the-line hitting, his forehand from the forehand side to my backhand. The reason is that too often players see him about to hit a forehand, and so camp out for the crosscourt shot. In practice games, I do this all the time, and Navin usually couldn't get the ball past me, since I'm just standing there, waiting.

But at the end of last night's session, we played several games, but with one twist - rather than my usual attack, I played purely consistent, trying to rally him down. I'm pretty consistent, and so can rally like this forever, but I'm playing soft so he can pick shots to attack. Navin made three discoveries.

  1. When I put the ball to his forehand, if he attacked down the line, I often couldn't even touch the ball since I was anticipating the crosscourt shot. He scored a number of points this way before I adjusted. Even if I did get to the shot, as I did more often once I realized he was going to do that, the returns were generally softer, allowing him to continue hitting.
  2. When my returns got too soft or high, rather than smash at a corner he'd smash at my elbow, the hardest place to defend, and thereby stopped me from returning ball after ball.
  3. When I got into a backhand rolling contest into his backhand, I could go on forever against his long-pips dead blocks, but since the shots I'm doing are soft, they are very hittable. Navin was able to look for the right shot to suddenly step around and smash forehands (the inverted side). Sometimes he'd set this up by moving me around, going to my wide forehand and then to my wide backhand, so I'd have to hit those backhands on the move, making them softer.

We had a lot of long rallies, and many ended with Navin smashing, and one game he made it to 9-all. (If I lost, I'd have to turn in my coach/top player union card, right? Navin was also taking advantage of the fact that I'd already done 2.5 hours of coaching when we started up, and he kept moving me around!) He still plays a mostly blocking style, but as we add more forehand smashing to the mix - as well as forehand looping against backspin, which we're feverishly working on - he might start to shock a few of his rivals.

Capital Area League
This past weekend they finished the latest season in the Capital Area Table Tennis League, for players in the Washington DC region (which includes MD and Northern VA). There were four divisions; click on the division to see the results. Congrats to the four division winners: MDTTC Lions, NVTTC One, PPG Potomac, and Rebel Alliance! Sign-ups for the upcoming season has begun; deadline is March 20. 

Pips Out, Enemies Rout: Guide to Short Pips Supremacy
Here's the article by Ying Wang.

Articles/Podcasts from Expert Table Tennis

2017 Swedish Junior & Cadet Open
Here are USA Results.

Qatar Open - Finals Summary
Here's the video (1:11).

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Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

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Here's the article by Angela Guan, featuring the Silicon Valley TTC in Milpitas, CA.

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Here's the article and video (3:31).

Nice Backhand by Toomas Libene from Estonian National Championships 2017
Here's the video (30 sec) - the rest of the rally is pretty good too!

Grit: A Complete Guide on Being Mentally Tough
Here's the article. So . . . do you have it? Want to have it? It's a hallmark of all champions!

Trick-Shot Video
Here's the video (3:40) - it's from last year, but I don't think I linked to this one.

Ice Skating Table Tennis Championships
Here's the video (54 sec) from Russia!

Sunny-Side Up Ping-Pong Table?
Here's the picture!

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