May 24, 2017

Table Tennis Trick Shots
On Sunday, after running a training session, I gave an impromptu clinic on trick shots, with about a dozen players joining in. Here are twelve of my favorites, with video of some of them. Why not learn a few of these and show off at your club? Let’s have a little fun today.

  1. 50-foot Serve, where you stand about 50 feet to the side of a table, and do an overhead tomahawk serve with backspin and sidespin so it hits both sides of the table. My record is 14 times in a row. Here’s video of me doing this in an exhibition. Usually I do this directly from the side of the table, adjacent to the net, but the pole was blocking my shot so I did it from the left.
  2. Comeback Serve, where you serve with enough backspin and a bit high so the ball comes back over the net to your side on one bounce. My record here is also 14 times in a row. Here’s video of me doing this in a demo, where I’ve taught my opponent how to smash it! (Here’s earlier video of one that bounces back over.)
  3. Blowing Ball in Air, where you balance the ball in the air by blowing on it, and do so sideways by spinning the ball with your breath. Here’s an example – but I can do it much longer than this!
  4. Rallying by Blowing, where your partner returns the ball with high pop-ups, and you blow them back, and the rally continues. My record is 33 “blown” returns in a row. Here’s video of me doing five in a row in an exhibition – and winning the point! I probably do this at least once in every coaching session. 
  5. Playing Table Tennis Alone, where you rally at the side of the table with a paddle in each hand. Here’s video of me doing this at an exhibition.
  6. Lobbing while Sitting on the Floor. Here’s video of me doing this at an exhibition.
  7. Under Both Legs Serve, where you toss the ball up under your right leg, then serve under the left. Here’s video of me doing this in an exhibition.
  8. Speed Bouncing, where you bounce the ball on a table with the racket at high speeds. Recently I’ve been practicing this one a lot between sessions, and I can bounce it really fast now.
  9. Blowing the Serve, where you serve high, but then run over to the net and, as the ball crosses it, blow it sideways across the other side of the table, or even backwards into the net.
  10. Smacking Ball in Air, where you toss one ball up and smack it with another you hit with your paddle.
  11. Rapid Fire Smacking of a Bottle, where you put a bottle in the middle forehand side of the far side of the table, line up on the other side with a box of balls, and rapid fire smack it over and over.
  12. Juggling Ping-Pong Balls, either three with two hands or two with one hand.

USATT University Courses and Curriculum
Here’s the USATT info page, about the eight courses/panels to be held at the upcoming USA Nationals. (Deadline to enter the Nationals is May 31.) I’ll blog more about this tomorrow.

Should I Copy Pro's Playing Style?
Here’s the video (4:10).

First for Siliguri, End of Travels for Richard McAfee
Here’s the ITTF article on Richard’s coaching in India.

New from Samson Dubina

  • 2028 Olympic Team in Training (teaching his two daughters, ages 4 and 6, to play doubles against a robot)
  • Table Tennis Facts, with ten facts on a chart. The one about balls being hit up to 100 mph is likely a myth, however. Here’s video (67 sec – actual shot is 40 sec in) of the Guinness World Records - Fastest table tennis ball hit in competition, with the record at 116 km/hour, which is about 72 mph. Also, ITTF now has 226 member associations and territories, apparently every country or territory on Earth!

USA Masters Games Heads to San Diego
Here’s the info page for this event, for players age 21 and over. “After the inaugural event last year in Greensboro, NC, the USA Masters Games take up residence this year in sunny San Diego, CA. The Games, consisting of 24 sports ranging from Archery to Weightlifting, are considered to be The National Sports Festival for Adult Athletes. … The 2017 USA Masters Games Table Tennis Competition will be held at the After School Learning Tree facility on Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16, 2017. The Table Tennis event will consist of pool play followed by elimination rounds in age group competition for Men's Singles and Doubles Teams, as well as for Women's Singles and Doubles. There will also be ratings competition in Men's Singles in Under 1500, Under 2000, and Open categories.”

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

Major Contender: Jun Mizutani set for mighty title effort in Düsseldorf
Here’s the ITTF article.

Hong Kong focused on 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo
Here’s the article. “Hong Kong will send their youngest-ever squad to the table tennis world championships later this month as they prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games in three years.”

Xu Xin "The Terminator"
Here’s the video (4:51).

Fan Zhendong Practice with Ren Hao 2017
Here’s the video (2:23).

Head Ping Pong with Ma Long and Lin Gaoyuan
Here’s the video (73 sec)! They are ranked #1 and #40 in the world – in table tennis that is. (Lin is probably a lot better than #40 – but we’ll see.)

Send us your own coaching news!