May 1, 2017

Tip of the Week
Strive to Make Every Shot a Memorable One.

Exhausting Weekend!!!
It was a long one. On Saturday I had four hours of private coaching, from noon to 3PM, and 5-6PM. Normally I have a 3-5PM multiball session with two players, but they couldn’t come in, so I had a two-hour break. Then I had the 5-6PM session, and then I’m done, right?

Wrong. We had a group of 40+ people who come in annually for a ping-pong party. They are from a church, and this is the third straight year they’ve rented to the club on a Saturday night for a ping-pong party, 6:30-10:00PM. None of them are what we’d call “serious” players, but a number were good “basement” players. I do exhibitions and demos for many parties, but for this one my only job was to watch over the club for 3.5 hours. I did spend 15 minutes doing an impromptu trick-shot demo, where I did the 50-foot serve, the bounce-back-over-the-net serve, demoed that I could force opponents to return my spin serves where I wanted them to, did the blow the ball in the air trick, speed bouncing on the table, tossing balls in the air and smacking them with another, and my latest trick – having someone toss my Gatorade bottle into the air and I smack it with a ball. I also rescued the table tennis robot from a kid who apparently mistook it for a toy to be broken – and he managed to break off the on-off switch before I stopped him and took down the robot. (Getting that fixed is on my todo list today.)

But during most of those “free” hours (3-5, 6-10PM) I worked in the back on my laptop, getting a bunch of science fiction writing (my sideline) done. I mostly finalized a rewrite request from my publisher for my new novel, and finalized two short stories I’ve been working on. I have several table tennis writing projects coming up which I hope to get to soon.

Recently my students are more and more into serving (yes!), and so I’ve been coaching that a lot. I worked with one student on fast, deep serves, and he picked it up so fast it was scary – fast ones, big breaking sidespins, fast no-spin. After the session he stayed late to practice them on his own. Others are focusing on spin serves, which are more important. (Fast serves are normally variations to catch an opponent off guard. Overused they become less effective.)

Sunday is my busiest coaching day, with almost non-stop coaching from 11AM to 8:30PM. First up was private coaching to 3:45PM. Then from 4:00-8:30PM were three consecutive 90-minute classes. 4:00-5:30PM is the Beginning Junior Class I teach, with John Hsu assisting. Yesterday’s focus was on spin serves. Because we spent so much time on that we finished with some very physical footwork and smashing multiball.

Then came the Talent Development Program, 5:30-7:30 PM, our advanced junior class (ages 7-12), invitation only. (Officially the class goes to 7PM, but they rarely leave the tables until about 5-10 minutes after that, and then they do physical training.) Normally I’m assigned three players to work with – there are 23 players and eight coaches/practice partners. But one player was missing, so I only had two, so they got 50% more attention each. The entire camp started with lots of shadow practice, then came serve practice, then multiball, then table training. I always have to stop about five minutes before 7PM to teach my adult training session.

Because of the Capital Area League the day before, several of our regular players were resting, and a couple of others were out of town, so we only had eight players in the session. Since we were missing most of our “top” players, I focused on the basics, and on often under-practiced down-the-line shots. One “new” players is Joanna, who I blogged about a couple of times. She was apparently a strong junior player from Poland many years ago, then stopped for 30 years. She started up two months ago, taking private coaching from me. At first, I could see she had good strokes, but her shots were wild, going all over the place. But things quickly changed – and now she drills like an 1800 player. I’m not sure what her level is now in games as she is only practicing now, but we’ll soon find out. She might be pushing 2000 level soon if she starts playing matches.

Recently I’ve upped my private coaching hours, and I’m now back to coaching six days a week. I usually try to have two days off per week to rest, but it just isn’t happening. And now I’m beginning to pay for it! I was exhausted at the end of Sunday, and woke up this morning with every muscle sore. The hard part each day when I’m this tired is getting started each session. Once I get going it’s easier. Then on Thursday I have a light schedule – just one hour – and Friday I’m off. (I keep getting requests to coach on Friday, and I’m desperately fighting them off!)

Tom Lodziak Newsletter
Here’s the new edition, with links to numerous coaching-related articles – including one by me, and my recent interview there.

Emotions at the US Nationals: Problem and Solutions
Here’s the new article by Samson Dubina.

Table Tennis Tournament Knock Up
Here’s the article from, which gives three elements to maximize your chances for success in tournaments.

Ask the Coach
More questions answered from PingSkills.

A Coach’s Dozen: An Update on Building Healthy, Strong, and Resilient Young Athletes
Here’s the article and chart.

Wiggle Wobble Table Tennis - Like a Boss!
Here’s the new video (2:48) from Brett Clarke.

Qualifiers Emerge at 2017 ITTF North American Hopes Trial
Here’s the USATT article by Matt Hetherington, with a link to video of the boys’ final. Here’s the home page with the results from this past weekend.

Young Officials Take Center Court at Hopes Trial
Here’s the USATT article by Matt Hetherington.

Capital Area League
The Capital Area League (Washington DC area) had their second meet of the season, this time at the SmashTT club in Virginia. (Click on the division for results.)

Vladimir Samsonov Receives Order of Honour from President of Belarus
Here’s the article.

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

108 Countries Set to Compete at 2017 World Table Tennis Championships
Here’s the ITTF article, and the home page for the event, to be held May 29 – June 5 in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The Contenders: 2017 World Champs
Here’s the ITTF video (28 sec).

Best Table Tennis Tables 2017
Here’s a site that reviews tables.

Pong Universe Point of the Week
Here’s the video (30 sec).

Epic Attack vs. Defense at the Slovenian Open!
Here’s the video (1:46).

Ping Pong Trick Shots with Dude Perfect
Here’s the video (7:16)!

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