March 14, 2017

USATT Teleconference and Snow
We had it last night. I’ll blog about it tomorrow. Meanwhile, it's snowing here in Maryland, and my coaching (and the Tuesday night League) is cancelled for the day. So I'll get a lot of work done!!!

When was USA Table Tennis Team Strongest?
I’m referring here to the strength of our National Team, and their results at the World Championships in Men’s and Women’s Singles, Doubles, and Teams. (Our results in other events such as Paralympics is a separate issue.) I was asked recently when we were at our best. The answer is probably in the late 1930s.

  • In 1936 we won Women’s Singles and Men’s Doubles, and made the final of Women’s Teams.
  • In 1937 we swept Men’s and Women’s Teams, Women’s Singles, and Men’s Doubles. Easily the best year ever for us.
  • In 1938 we won Men’s Doubles and made the semifinals of Women’s Singles.

By comparison, we won only two titles in the 1940s – Mixed Doubles in 1948 and Women’s Teams in 1949, and one in the 1950s – Mixed Doubles in 1956. (We did have some pretty good performances both decades.) As to the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s . . . less said the better. (I believe Gao Jun, former world #3 from China, after emigrating to the U.S. made the quarterfinals of Women’s Singles at the Worlds one year.) Oh, and Tybie Sommers, who won Mixed Doubles in 1948 (as Thelma Hall) is our last surviving World Champion, and sometimes shows up, medal around neck, at the U.S. Open or Nationals!

Below are a list of World Titles won in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, plus notable performances (semis or better in Singles, finals or better in Teams and Doubles). Note that due to World War II, there were no Worlds held from 1940-1946, which of course cost us a number of titles. But nothing compared to what we did in 1937.


  • 1936 World Women’s Singles Champion (Ruth Aarons)
  • 1936 World Men’s Doubles Champions (Jimmy McClure/Robert Blatner)
  • 1937 World Men’s Teams Champions
  • 1937 World Women’s Teams Champion
  • 1937 World Women’s Singles Champion (Ruth Aarons)
  • 1937 World Men’s Doubles Champions (Jimmy McClure/Robert Blatner)
  • 1938 World Men’s Doubles Champions (Jimmy McClure/Sol Schiff)

-Other 1930s Notables:

  • 1936 World Women’s Teams Finalist
  • 1938 World Women’s Singles Semifinalist (Betty Henry)


  • 1948 World Mixed Doubles Champions (Dick Miles/Thelma Hall)
  • 1949 World Women’s Teams Champion

-Other 1940s Notables:

  • 1947 World Women’s Doubles Finalists (Mae Clouther/Reba Monness)
  • 1947 World Men’s Teams Finalist
  • 1947 World Men’s Singles Semifinalist (Lou Pagliaro)
  • 1949 World Men’s Singles Semifinalist (Marty Reisman)
  • 1949 World Women’s Singles Semifinalist (Thelma Hall)


  • 1956 World Mixed Doubles Champions (Erwin Klein/Leah Neuberger)

-Other 1950s Notables:

  • 1951 World Women’s Singles Semifinalist (Leah Thall)
  • 1959 World Men’s Singles Semifinalist (Dick Miles)

Serving Low
Here’s the Serving Low Tip of the Week from July 16, 2012 – but it’s still one of the most under-developed skills in table tennis.

Ma Long Best Points Marvellous 2017
Here’s the video (4:51).

Rachel Sung Takes First International Title in Italy
Here’s the USATT article by Matt Hetherington.

2017 Smash TT Winter Challenge 2 Star Open
Here’s the article. Chen Bowen, Lidney Castro, and Tiffany Ke are all from my club!

Landmark, records broken, World Table Tennis Day bigger than ever
Here’s the ITTF article.

Novak Djokovic Surprises Fans With Ping Pong
Here’s the video (38 sec).

Super-Fast Animated Table Tennis
Here’s the repeating gif image.

Unreturnable Spin Serves
Here’s the video (14 sec).

Fast-Action Balloon Pong
Here’s the video (29 sec)!

It’s Pi Day!
Yes, today’s date is 3.14. Here is some pi related table tennis products.

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