May 17, 2017

One Off Day and Everything Happens!
I take one day off (Tuesday), and everything happens in table tennis!!! But first, how did I spend my “rest” day? Well, I did get some rest, but not before spending the morning going over the USATT coaching certification process one more time. Soon I’ll be making recommendations for changes/updates to the USATT Coaching Committee, which I chair. I also made some more arrangements for the upcoming coaching seminars at the USA Nationals. I’m thinking now of doing three clinics – one on serves that I will likely run, one on either receive or looping (with a top guest coach, I’d assist), and on “How to Set Up and Run a Junior Program.”

And then my “vacation” started as I spent most of the day in my lounge chair, trying to ignore various table tennis emails. (I'd get to them all eventually.) I did the Washington Post crossword puzzle (which is actually the LA Times crossword puzzle – wish they’d print the NY Times ones from Will Shortz), then read in one looooong sitting the entire “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” (308 pages) – and yes, I’ve read the entire Harry Potter series. (Did you know the cast played ping-pong during breaks? Rupert “Ron Weasley” Grint introduced them to it, and they became pong-crazy – and Emma “Hermione Granger” Watson became the star.) I watched all the breaking Trump news on TV for a while, flipping channels and trying hard not to laugh hysterically at the contrast between how the regular media and Fox News cover it. (You don’t know how hard it is for me not to blog about that – but this is a table tennis blog. I have a master’s degree in journalism, so I know a bit about this topic.) I also watched the Orioles beat the Tigers in 13 roller-coaster innings while editing some science fiction stuff I wrote during the slow periods and between innings.

So what were all these happenings in table tennis? I had a hard time deciding the order to place them below. I wanted to blog more about the ITTF Strategic Agreement with North America, but I’m not sure how much of it is confidential at this point. As noted below, I know what’s planned and how much money is involved, and hope to be part of some of it. Some of it will likely help us on some of the issues I promised to focus on when I was elected to the USATT Board.

Then there’s the Hall of Fame Inductions – three new honorees (see below) and the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dell Sweeris - I know him!!! He’s a hugely deserving candidate. I played on his team three times at the U.S. Open Team Championships, spending Thanksgiving at his house each time! (They are now in the North American Teams.) Actually, I know, or knew, all of the honorees. It’s been a long time since we had an inductee I didn’t know well. I’ve done exhibitions with Scott Preiss, practiced five times/week with Bowie Martin Sr. for most of 1979 (when I was 19 and training at the Butterfly Club in Wilson, NC) and currently sponsored by Butterfly North America (which he co-founded and owned), and coached players in tournaments against Marcy Monasterial. The Hall of Fame Banquet will take place on Thursday night at the USA Nationals, July 6 – I’ll be there.

There’s also the Pong4Kids Grants, with one of the three going to HW Global Foundation, which runs the Talent Development Program at MDTTC, where I’m one of the coaches. There are two great coaching articles/videos by Brian Pace and PingSkills, a video on how table tennis balls are made, an ITTF article on coaching clinics in India by Richard McAfee and Christian Lillieroos, another chapter from Tim Boggan’s History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 19 (and he tells me he’s already halfway through Volume 20, which I think covers 1993-94), and then . . . five different “shot-making” videos! You decide which of these is best – Adam Bobrow’s backhand around-the-net rip receive, the “ricochet” shot, the two shot-making videos, or the incredible Rubik’s cube one1

ITTF Signs Strategic Commercial Agreement with ITTF-North America
Here’s the ITTF article. This is HUGE for USA and Canada. I’ve seen the contract, and while the article doesn’t divulge the numbers (and so I won’t), they are rather large. The article also doesn’t go over how the money will be used, which is surprising as there are a number of programs that are already planned from this. I’ll write more on this later on.

USATT Hall of Fame Board of Directors Announces 2017 Inductees and Mark Matthews Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Here’s the USATT article. This year’s Hall of Fame Inductees are Marcy Monasterial, Bowie Martin Sr., and Scott Preiss, with Dell Sweeris the Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. Congrats to all!

USATT and SuperMicro Announce First Pong4Kids Grant Recipients
Here’s the USATT announcement and video (3:01). “American Youth Table Tennis Organization (New York), HW Global Foundation (Maryland), and Westmont High School Table Tennis (California), will each receive equipment grants and other direct support from the Pong4Kids program.” I’m one of the coaches for the HW Global Foundation, whose program is described as, “Through table tennis training and competition, these children learn to master their table tennis skills, focusing on problem solving, perseverance, hard work, and sportsmanship. The program emphasizes the importance of the process; positive performances follow.”

The Art of Serving Deep
Here’s the article (with links to ten videos) by Brian Pace.

The 7 Building Blocks of Table Tennis
Here’s the video (21:36) from PingSkills.

Ask the Coach
More questions answered at PingSkills.

How Table Tennis Balls are Made
Here’s the video (8:24) from Pingsider.

Tag Team, Christian Lillieroos Hands Over Duties to Richard McAfee
Here’s the ITTF article.

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

Table Tennis Gains Popularity in Iowa City Through Multiple Clubs
Here’s the article from The Daily Iowan.

Top 10 World Champs Moments #3
Here’s the video (38 sec) - North Korea become mixed doubles champions for the very first time!

Backhand Rip Receive Around Net
Here’s the video (11 sec) of Adam Bobrow.

Pongfinity – Master Shot-Making
Here’s the video (1:48).

Hype Video | KeatBruceGoat
Here’s the video (22 sec) of their crazy shot-making. Here’s their previous longer one (1:49).

Ricochet Racquetball Pong?
Here’s the video (14 sec)!

Rubik Pong?
Here’s the video (26 sec) – yes, he solves it while rallying with it, and finishes with a smash!

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