April 7, 2017

China and USA National Team Coaches
China just announced their new National Team Coaches Lineup:

  • Head Coach: Liu Guoliang
  • Men’s Team Head Coach: Qin Zhijian
  • Men’s Team Coaches: Liu Guozheng, Wang Hao, Ma Lin, Liu Heng, Ma Junfeng
  • Women’s Team Head Coach: Kong Linghui
  • Women’s Team Coaches: Xiao Zhan, Li Sun, Chen Bin, Zhang Qin, Huang Haicheng

As explained in the article, “Ma Long’s coach Qin Zhijian has been promoted to fill the role of Men’s Team Head Coach, with Liu Guoliang now overseeing the entire team. Meanwhile Xiao Zhan, Zhang Jike’s coach, has moved to the Women’s Team. The staff also sees the return of some familiar faces but in new roles. Ma Lin and Wang Hao are back in the national team, but now in the guise of coaches. Both will be looking to make their mark in this new chapter of their table tennis career.”

Much of this is a near who’s who of past championship players, as the previous generations works with the new – Liu Guoliang, Kong Linghui, Liu Guozheng, Wang Hao, Ma Lin, and others. Others were also top players, but are more notable and are being rewarded for their work with current top players, such as Qin Zhijian (Ma Long’s coach, but also 2001 World Mixed Doubles Champion and two-time semifinalist, and 2003 Men’s Doubles semifinalist with Ma Lin) and Xiao Zhan (Zhang Jike’s coach).  

USA does a similar thing. Here’s the listing of the USA National Team Coaches.

It too includes many past or current USA stars, such as Sean O’Neill, Han Xiao, Samson Dubina, Gao Jun, and Lily Yip. Unlike China (for obvious reasons), we bring in foreign stars as well, such as Stefan Feth (former German star), Teodor Gheorghe (former Romanian star), and a number of former Chinese stars.

Right now we’re between High Performance Directors – Cory, our previous one is still listed on the page, while a new one, who should be hired and announced soon, isn’t up yet. [BREAKING NEWS ON FRIDAY NIGHT - He's been hired!) Once we get the new HPD, hopefully he and the National coaches can work together so that (drum roll please!) soon we’ll, maybe, just maybe, start challenging some of those Chinese players. Our current group of cadet and junior stars is the best we’ve had in history (I’ve blogged about that a few times), and while it might be a bit much for them to start challenging the Chinese, at the least they have the potential to challenge everyone else, and then we can take a good, hard look at the Chinese.

I was one of the USA National Team Coaches for about ten years, mostly in the 1990s. (“National Team Coach” is different than being certified by USATT as a “National Coach,” which is a coaching level, but doesn’t mean you are one of the National Team Coaches. I’m certified as a USATT National Coach, but didn’t apply to be a National Team Coach.) Some of my best memories are coaching U.S. junior teams at international tournaments in Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, and around the USA. But sometimes the baton must be passed. I’m “only” 57, and yet, when I look over the listings above, I can’t help but notice that I’m older than any of the current eleven USA National Team Coaches except Teodor, and probably older than all the Chinese National Team Coaches. (Anyone know if any of them are older than me?) Besides, I'm busy enough with USATT, as a board member and recently appointed chair of the USATT coaching committee - lots of stuff in the planning stages right now!

Database of Colleges for TT People Initiative
Here’s the page. I filled it out – why not you? “The purpose of this form is keep track of college status of people involved in table tennis. This may not be entirely scientific but at least partially shows that table tennis not only helps players develop their physical capability but also mental aspect of their lives. If you are/were involved in Table Tennis - either have graduated, a current college student, or just got your admission for college, you are more than welcomed to fill the form. Please fill in the form only if you agree that we may use it to promoting the sport.”

2017 TMS College Table Tennis National Championships Day 1
Here is the livestreaming (2 tables) – the tournament begins today! Here's the results page.

How to Get More Speed and Spin on Your Forehand Topspin Attacks
Here’s the article by Tom Lodziak.

Forehand Topspin in an Awkward Position
Here’s the picture and notes by Eli Baraty. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

“Ask the Coach” from PingSkills
Here are 25 questions and answers.

Happy World Table Tennis Day Videos
I linked to eight of them in Thursday’s blog. Here are more.

2017 Butterfly Cary Cup: Bright Future for Triangle Table Tennis & Cary Cup
Here’s the article by Barbara Wei.

Ma Long Training with Zhang Jike
Here’s the video (10:17).

Ma Long Training with Yan An, Lin Gaoyuan, Joo se Huyk
Here’s the video (13:05).

Ma Long vs Ma Lin Chop Block Technique
Here’s the video (11:08).

Fan Zhendong Training at Age 11 in 2008
Here’s the video (5:03).

How to Make a Solo Mini-Table
Here’s the video (59 sec). Or you can just buy one.

Bench-Net Pong
Here’s the picture!

Hippo vs. Dog
Here’s the video (30 sec).

Snake Pong?
Here’s the video (4 sec) – yes, snakes can play!

Send us your own coaching news!