April 12, 2017

Interview with Larry Hodges – “The Best Table Tennis Tip…Ever”
Here’s the article and interview from Todd Lodziak at TableTennisCoach in England. I’m a bit embarrassed by it!

MDTTC Spring Break Camp
Yesterday was Day Two of our Spring Break Camp. I’m in charge of a group of seven players who are mostly beginners. The complication is their diversity - there are four boys who are all about 10-12 and about the same level; a girl about 8 who is a beginner; and two very young kids, a boy and girl, about ages 5 and 6, who struggle to hit the ball. During the multiball sessions I tend to break them into two groups, the four older boys and the other three, and go back and forth.

We’ve done a lot of work on forehand, backhand, and footwork so far. I started the younger ones on serves on the first day to give them a “head start,” and introduced the others to serving with spin yesterday. I was going to have them practice their serves, but was running out of time, so instead we had sort of a “fun” ten-minute session where they took turns trying to return my spin serves, while I called out where their return would be – “Lonely” meant to the left, where the box of balls were; “Thirsty” meant to the right, where the water fountain was; and “Net” meant the obvious. I think my favorite time in every camp is the first time I serve heavy backspin and make the ball come back into or even over the net, and see the look on the faces of the new kids, who are oohing and aahing at this witchcraft!

So today I’ll introduce them to serving these spins, starting by having them spin and catch the soccer-colored balls (so they can see the spin), and then have them try it at the table. I may introduce pushing as well, though I suspect that after practicing serves for a while they’ll want to do something more physical, like smashing. I did promise to show them how to smash high balls today, we’ll probably do that this morning.

After the camp I had two private coaching sessions. One was with Dolores, a new player who causes double-takes from long-time players due to her incredible resemblance to USATT Hall of Fame player Barbara Kaminsky from nearby Virginia. Twice already I’ve played gags on locals who know Barbara, convincing them that she was Barbara – the resemblance really is that close! But Dolores has a ways to go before she’ll have Barbara’s forehand, but we worked on it a lot, as well as backhand and pushing. Following that was a session with 11-year-old Jackson, where we focused on his gradual transition from mostly forehand hitting to mostly forehand looping, and on staying low.

USATT Announces Updates to League Ratings Processing
Here’s the USATT article. I’m happy it’s back in top form! There have been database problems that have led to a lot of time and effort by USATT to get things fixed, but hopefully all is working smoothly now. (I instigated and co-founded the system with Robert Mayer many years ago, which helped transform USA clubs from the then prevalent “winner stay on” systems to leagues. It processes more matches than the tournament rating system.)

Butterfly MDTTC April Open
My write-up, results, and pictures from my blog yesterday are now featured as both USATT and Butterfly news items. Congrats again to all those champions!

Push or Flick
Here’s the article and video (2:02) from PingSkills. (A “flick” and a “flip” are the same thing.)

Seamaster 2017 ITTF-Asian Championships
Here’s the home page, with results, articles, photos, and video. They are taking place right now in Wuxi, China, April 9-16. China just won Men’s and Women’s Teams over South Korea and Japan, respectively. Here’s the ITTF press release on that.

Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast - March 2017
Here’s the video (8:14).

Table Tennis Club 4 Fun - Some Olympic Rallies!
Here’s the highlights video (3:49).

Samson Dubina – Back in Training
Here’s the video (5:21) as he comes back after a hand injury.

Upping the Speed for Fitness Sake
Here’s the video (41 sec) of Matt Hetherington in Training.

Pingsider | 90 Years of ITTF
Here’s the video (7:45).

Exhibition at Chinese Lantern Festival in Boca Raton
Here’s the video (51 sec) of Andrew Williams and 5-year-old son Shia do the exhibition.

Classic Old TT Picture from the Turn of the Century
Here’s the picture. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

Boy and Monkey Pong
Here’s the animated video (21 sec) as the two go at it – with the Monkey doing a little multitasking. It’s reminiscent of this video (31 sec) where it’s a dog that’s multitasking!

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