March 24, 2017

USA National Team Trials
They had the preliminary qualifier yesterday, with the main Trials today through Sunday. Tournament is at the Triangle TTC in North Carolina. Below are links. Livestreaming  starts at noon today, Eastern time. I wish I were there!

USATT Team Funding Week
USATT has a funding page, Friends with Paddles, where you can “directly fund USATT’s National Team programming, including coaching, travel, training, participation in international tournaments, and direct athlete support.” Over the course of a year, funding comes in gradually, and it really helps. But we’re always short of funding.

I’m thinking of creating a “USATT Team Funding Week.” This would be an annual event where we direct all our efforts into raising funds for USA Teams. We’d solicit funding via all the media outlets and connections USATT has - USATT Insider, USATT News Page, direct email, USATT clubs, and ask regular table tennis bloggers everywhere to join in. We’d also ask “celebrity” members and contacts to help spread the word. This would dramatically raise awareness of the event. We’d also publish the names of the donors (unless anonymity is requested), and donors might receive some sort of USATT memorabilia (as they do with Friends with Paddles). 

Once the week is over, rather than struggling to support our national team members with limited funding, maybe for once we’d be able to instead struggle to figure out how to best use all the extra funding? I’ll run the idea by the USATT CEO and the Resource Development Committee. Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions on this, comment below or email me.

Table Tennis Book Battles
I spent a bunch of time the last two days in a pair of “Book Battles.” First, I had to get the 25 chapters of Tim Boggan’s Volume 19 of History of U.S. Table Tennis into shape for online publication at USATT, as they’ve done with the previous 18. This involved taking one huge file - about 500MB at the start, 200MB after some reducing in Photoshop - and breaking it into 25 parts, and then having to go to about half of them in Photoshop to reduce them to under 10MB each, since the software USATT uses can’t handle anything larger for online publication.

Then I had another little battle with the cover of More Table Tennis Tips. Though it’s been on sale for over a week, I had only proofed it online. I finally got my copy yesterday, and decided that the cover picture of me was too dark, that it blended into the background. So I lightened it, and resubmitted to, where I publish most of my books. (The front and back covers, as well as the spine in between, are submitted as one wide file.) When I got the digital proofs this morning, the front cover was fine, but for some reason the bar code on the back cover, which places, cover slightly overlapped the text. So I moved some of the text away from that, and resubmitted it again this morning. If all goes well, it’ll be finalized later today. (If you buy a copy now, it won’t go out until the new version is ready, so no need to wait. If you already have a copy, don’t worry, the only change is my picture on the cover is slightly lighter. UPDATE: New version went live at 7:40 PM Friday.)

Meanwhile, More Table Tennis Tips just got its first Amazon review:

"A very nice collection of tips that famed table tennis coach Larry Hodges has included in his blog postings over the past 3 years. Aimed at the intermediate and up player (or perhaps a rapidly advancing advanced beginner), it doesn't focus on the mechanics of the basic table tennis strokes, but instead how to improve your play generally. It ranges from tactics within points (sections on serve, receive, rally tactics) to more general game strategies and even how to do things like developing practice partners or what to do when you're playing in an unfamiliar tournament. It'a an invaluable supplement to table tennis lessons which tend to concentrate on stroke improvement but not on what you should do with your newly improved strokes! This is a stand-along volume - my favorite of his earlier books is his 'Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers'."

Dimitrij Ovtcharov Unhappy with New ITTF World Ranking System
Here’s the article from Table Tennis Daily. As he points out, with this new system (partially based on the tennis system), Timo Boll (for example) would drop from #12 to #44 in the world, and #6 in Germany, neither of which makes sense.  The change is meant to encourage more activity, but when the results don’t make sense, you should go back and make adjustments.

How to Smash
Here’s the article from Pingpoolshark, with links to five videos.

Short Ball Then Loop
Here’s the video (53 sec).

National Collegiate Table Tennis Association Articles

Maccabi USA Announces the Paralympic Table Tennis Athlete for the 20th World Maccabiah Games
Here’s the article - Congrats to Tahl Leibovitz.

William Henzell; Athlete to Academic
Here’s the article from the ITTF.

Integrity after a Bad Call?
Here’s the Facebook posting, and here’s a direct link to the start of the very nice point in question (at 5:21), at 8-10 in the fifth. Make sure to watch the next point. (The return was clearly a side, though it's a tough call from where the umpire was sitting.) 

Ma Long Backhand Against a Chopper
Here’s the video (62 sec).

Ping-Pong for Charity
Here’s the new video (31 sec) from the Table Tennis Charity Foundation.

World Champs Top 10 Moments: Xu Xin & Yang Haeun Win Gold
Here’s the video (54 sec) from the ITTF.

Rockies Ping Pong Tournament Gets Heated with Heavy Action on Vinny Castilla
Here’s the article and video (1:35)!

Some Serious Doubles
Kids vs. Seniors! (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

The Moon Table Tennis Olympics?
Here’s the picture! (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

Octopus Pong - in German?
Here’s the cartoon. My online translator says the caption is, “You've won again - 21 to zero. And now I have no more pleasure!” And since we’re on the topic of Octopus Pong, here are other Octopus links, from a previous blog. (The first one may be my favorite table tennis video ever!)

Non-Table Tennis - Cover of Space and Time Magazine
Here’s the cover for the upcoming Spring issue of Space and Time Magazine - look at that name on the cover!!! It’s my 20th “cover story” in the science fiction & fantasy world, that other universe I attend when I’m not doing TT. (Here’s my bibliography there.) My story, “The Many Heads of Mr. Krup,” is a time travel story about (spoiler alert!) the world’s greatest female hunter/greatest hunter period (there’s some argument about that in the story), who is forced to hunt the ultimate game - herself! Sorry, no table tennis, though lots of kills! Space and Time will be on sale nationwide at Barnes and Noble.

Send us your own coaching news!