May 25, 2017

NOTE – I’ll be away Fri-Mon at the Baltimore Science Fiction Convention, where I’m on four panels (moderating one), plus a reading and a book signing. (While table tennis coaching and writing are my primary living, I’m also a SF writer with four novels and over 80 short stories sold.) So no blog on Friday or Monday. See you next Tuesday!

USATT University
USATT University is a reality! USATT will be running eight seminars at the upcoming USA Nationals. I’ve argued for about a zillion years that we should have increased programming like this at the Nationals and Open, and some of you may remember that when I ran for the USATT Board, one of the things I wanted to do was set up a “USATT Coaching Academy.” Well, that has morphed into USATT University! Special thanks goes to USATT CEO Gordon Kaye for making it happen, and to USATT staff members Andy Horn and Jon Tayler. Thanks also goes to others who will be teaching these seminars.

I think this is a great opportunity for USA Table Tennis to educate current and prospective coaches and organizers, as well as adding more “glitz” to our major tournaments as a further draw. If you have suggestions for future such panels, let me know.

Descriptions of the eight courses or seminars are on the USATT University flyer. Here’s the short version, in chronological order.

  • Mon 7-8 PM: Tournament Directors Best Practices 101 (Free, taught by a panel of experts)
  • Mon 8-9 PM: Advanced Return of Serve ($20*, taught by USA Men’s Coach Stefan Feth)
  • Tue 12-2 PM: USATT Umpire Clinic (Free, taught by a panel of experts)
  • Tue 7-8 PM: USATT Club Best Practices 101 (Free, taught by a panel of experts)
  • Tue 8-9 PM: Intermediate and Advanced Serving ($20*, taught by Larry Hodges)
  • Wed 7-8 PM: How to Set Up a Successful Junior Program (Free, taught by Larry Hodges)
  • Wed 8-9 PM: One-On-One with High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio (Free)
  • Thur 7-8 PM: OmniPong 101 (tournament software, Free, with Craig Krum)
    *Free to USATT certified coaches and USA Nationals volunteers

As you can see above, I’m teaching two of the courses. As the USATT coaching chair, I invited Stefan to run the Return of Serve clinic (after running it by the USATT coaching committee), and I will be assisting him with that. I also plan to attend the ones on Tournaments, Clubs, and the One-on-One with HPD Jörg Bitzigeio. Due to scheduling conflicts, I probably won’t be able to attend the ones on umpiring (will be both playing and coaching) and OmniPong (which conflicts with the Hall of Fame Banquet). Note that I use OmniPong to run our tournaments at MDTTC, and strongly recommend it – wish I were able to make that one.

If the courses are successful, I hope we can expand them even more at the U.S. Open in December. I’m already planning a 4-6 hour USATT Coaching Certification Clinic there, as well as possible other seminars such as ones on Tactics, Looping, Sports Psychology, Hardbat/Sandpaper, and How to Become a Professional Coach. (Note – as a USATT board member and coaching chair, I’m a volunteer, and receive no payment for these seminars or related work.)

I’ve already put together outlines for both of the seminars I’ll be teaching. The one on serves will be at the playing hall, and will be a combination of lecture/demonstration, and on table practice. I could do this one in my sleep as I’ve given such lectures and demonstrations for decades, updating them to match the change in modern techniques. The one on setting up a junior program will be in a meeting room, with a projector – it’ll actually be the third time I’ve taught this seminar, so all I have to do is update the presentation.

Hope to see you there!!!

What is Third Ball Attack
Here’s the article from PingPoolShark. Includes links to multiple videos.

Physical Fitness Training for Table Tennis Players
Here’s the article from Table Tennis Earth.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills. The only recent one is “Blocking a smash close to the table,” but they will likely be updating it over the next few days while I’m away.

World Championships
They start on Monday: May 29 – June 5 in Düsseldorf, Germany. Here’s the home page where you can get news, draws, results, photos, and video.

Liebherr World Championships Facts and Figures
Here’s the ITTF article. Includes link to video (38 sec).

Table Tennis All Over on Different Tables
Here’s the video (1:36), which I think is promoting the upcoming Worlds. Includes video of the German National Team playing on mini-tables.

Top 10 World Champs Moments #2--> Werner Schlager becomes the last non-Chinese World Champion!
Here’s the video (57 sec).

Nobler in the Mind; That is the Question at Sport Science Workshops
Here’s the ITTF article.

Georgina Pota Ties the Knot in a Princess-like Avatar
Here’s the ITTF article. Includes link to video (49 sec) of her playing table tennis at the wedding, in her wedding gown!

Great Point – Ma Long vs. Jun Mizutani
Here’s the video (53 sec) between the world #1 and #6.

Greenhouse Sport in England
Here’s the video (2 min) of this “London based charity working with inner city young people teaching them how to use the discipline of sport across all aspects of their lives.”

Big Paddle, Many Balls
Here’s the repeating gif image (4 sec)!

Floor Pong!
Here’s the video (40 sec)!

Dupamo Comic Pingpong
Here’s the video (60 sec)! Warning - you won’t be able to get this image of your head the rest of the day!

Send us your own coaching news!