March 29, 2017

Tip of the Week
Serve and Forehand Loop.

Pre-Tournament Preparation
One of the kids I coached last night is preparing to play in the 4-star Cary Cup Open this weekend. I had gone into the session preparing to really work on his looping game, both forehand and backhand. However, he was noticeably glum about this, and admitted he didn’t think he’d be looping much in rallies at the Cary Cup, that he’d mostly be looping against backspin and then hitting.

Now I could have said, “No, you have to think long-term and focus on looping more,” or the opposite, “Sure, we’ll forget about looping and worry about developing that later on.” Instead, I did something in between. I pulled out an invisible piece of paper, and wrote with invisible ink with an invisible pen the invisible words, “After the Cary Cup, I will focus on looping in rallies.” I then pricked his finger with an invisible pin, and he signed the agreement with invisible blood. And so we spent the session preparing him for the Cary Cup – looping backspin, then hitting, as well as serves, receive, and other shots. Next week we’ll focus on looping in rallies – and I’ll wave that invisible paper at him if necessary.

I also made him promise to practice his serves the day before the Cary Cup. This is one of the biggest mistakes players make, showing up at a tournament where they haven’t been practicing the shot they’ll be using at the start of half the rallies, the serve, and so end up serving mostly to just get the ball in play. Often they don’t even realize how much they are losing because their serves aren’t as low, as fast, as spinny, or as varied as they could be.

I also made him promise to arrange in advance who he would warm up with on Saturday morning at the tournament. It’s another common mistake players make, where they prepare all aspects of their game for the tournament (except often their serves – see above), and then show up and randomly hope to find someone good to warm up with. Top players almost always arrange in advance who and when they will warm up with in the morning. Those who aspire to not play their best don’t.

How to Improve the Placement of Your Attacks
Here’s the article from Tom Lodziak.

Mobile Multiball
Here’s the video (50 sec) – I may have to try this! We do so much multiball, but it’s almost all from the same spot.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 19 (1991-1992)
Here's chapter one! Or order your own print copies at, as well as Volume 19!

Premier University, Texas Wesleyan the Ideal Venue
Here’s the ITTF article.

Keep Your Eyes on the Ball
Here’s the highlights video (66 sec)!

Alex Piech Competing in the 2017 Winter Classic
Here’s the video (1:54), set to music, of the 7-year-old on his way to getting second place in his bracket!

Table Tennis Philippines vs France
Here’s the video (3:40) – but what makes this interesting is the exhibition antics of the two players!

Crazy Cat Pong!
Here’s the video (39 sec) from the fifties of a cat that really could rally! (I may have linked to this long ago.)

Crazy Table Tennis Movie!
Here’s the video (4:40) – I think it’s in Chinese, with someone apparently translating it into another Asian language, but you can follow much of the strange table tennis battle.

Crazy Chinese Pong!
Here’s video (1:47) as Chinese team members do exhibitions and rally with fans, including sit-down pong, “triples,” and around-the-table.

Monty Pong
Here are two cartoons, care of Marv Anderson.

Non-Table Tennis – Space and Time Magazine Now Out!
The new issue of Space and Time Magazine is out, with my cover story “The Many Heads of Mr. Krup.” 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.) It’s 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.

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