May 2, 2017

Lack of Injuries and Why They Are Gone
I’ve been pretty much injury free for a while now. I don’t understand it – I’m playing an Olympic Sport 25 hours/week, and I’m not falling apart??? (That’s different from merely being exhausted all the time from all the exertion and other work.) Here’s a summary – it’s strange how injuries come and go. Let’s see:

  • Knee problems. I had lots of them for many years, and had to wear ace knee braces (sometimes on both knees) for a decade. Then the club went from cement to rubberized floors, and the knee problems went away. I still keep the ace knee braces in my bag, but I don’t know why – I haven’t used them in about a decade.
  • Arm problems. I’ve had arm problems since playing baseball when I was about 12, due to poor throwing technique. It caused havoc with my game in the 1980s, and then, after mostly going away for 20 years, started up again about ten years ago. And then I discovered the BandIT Therapeutic Forearm Band – and no more problems! (I wish I’d had this back in the 1980s. I coulda been a contenda!)
  • Shoulder problems. Every time I hurt my arm I’d adjust my stroke to accommodate – and every time this led to shoulder problems. First I’d hurt the front area. Then, adjusting for this, I’d hurt the back area. But with the forearm band (see above), no more arm problems, and so no more shoulder problems.
  • Back problems. I’ve had periodic upper-back problems, which come about because my right side is so much stronger than my left (gee, I wonder why?), and so the muscles of the upper back literally pull my spine out of alignment. I’ve missed a lot of sessions because of this. But then a physical therapist showed me a simple stretching exercise that loosens those muscles – and no more back problems. (The picture shows the person stretching the upper left side; I do the opposite way, for the upper right side.) I’m supposed to do this stretch regularly, but I’ve discovered that I don’t need to – I can feel when the back muscles are beginning to tighten up, which leads to the back problems, and so when I feel that, I do the stretching regularly for a few days, and it goes away.

Having said all this, there are other health risks to table tennis, such as:

  • About once a year, while following through on a forehand loop, I smack myself in the head. Someone said this explains a lot about me.
  • Spending many hours in table tennis shoes can lead to occasional foot problems. I’m lucky that I don’t have major problems this way, but sometimes on weekends after ten hours at a table, my feet and I aren’t on speaking terms.
  • On Saturday I had several free hours at the club where I did some writing on my laptop. I brought a small (7.5 oz) Mountain Dew with me to drink while writing, but forgot to put it in the refrigerator. So, to cool it faster, I put it in the freezer – and forgot about it. On Sunday I remembered it, and brought it out, and it was, of course, solid ice. So I decided to sip it slowly while coaching as it melted. Three things came from this – 1) I had a nice, sugary drink while I coached that took about two hours to finish; 2) I poisoned myself with this nice, sugary drink; and 3) I learned that when you freeze and then melt a Mountain Dew, it goes flat, so I was left with a flat, sugary drink. (I normally drink water while coaching, and try to limit myself to one 7.5 oz Mountain Dew per day.)

Fan Zhendong Backhand Flick & Forehand Technique
Here’s the video (11:31).

Table Tennis Exercises to Improve Footwork
Here’s the video (9:54) from EmRatThich.

Ask the Coach
More questions answered at PingSkills, including (over the last two days):

  • Backspin and sidespin service           
  • Is it important for serves to have sidespin
  • Service secrets while playing doubles
  • Topspin return on underpin serve
  • Attacking sidespins
  • Shakehand shallow grip
  • Backhand sidespin flick off serve

A Little Serving Target Practice
Here’s the video (23 sec). This is great practice for your serves as long as you use full spin. Many players, when using targets, ease off on the spin, making the practice counter-productive. Instead, learn to serve with full spin and still control the ball’s path – which you should see in your head before serving.

Stuttgart Revisited, Jörg Rosskopf Wins Legends Tour in Metz
Here’s the ITTF article. Here’s the home page for the Legends Tour.

Zagreb Open
The Zagreb Open in Croatia starts today and goes through Saturday, with the qualification rounds today and tomorrow, and the main draws starting on Wednesday.

DHS ITTF Top 10 - 2017 Korea Open
Here’s the video (5:19).

Great Point: Timo Boll vs. Tiago Apolonia
Here’s the video (18 sec, no sound).

Ping-Pong Posters
Here are some great ones!

Ping-Pong in Space
Here’s the video – link should take you to 13:16, where she says, “We’re going to play a little ping-pong…, but it’s kind of space ping-pong because we’re going to use a ball of water as our ball.” What follows is perhaps the most mesmerizing, action-packed table tennis ever seen in outer space. (You can stop watching after he swallows the ball at 14:12.)

Animated Pong – Hippos and Dogs and Cats!
Here’s the video (1:35) – I think that’s a hippo and a dog playing doubles against a pair of blue cats! About 2/3 of the way through it gets more interesting as something happens to the poor hippo.

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