May 30, 2017

NOTE - the Tip of the Week will go up tomorrow.

Prepping for a School Club Tournament
Here’s something I’ve never done before – “dumbed down” my play so a student would be better ready to face such competition at his school! The student, who just started a club at his Middle School, was worried about their grand opening, since they were running a tournament on the first day. Everyone knew he was the big star who trained regularly, but he’d seen some of them play, and despite being about 1900 level, he was somewhere between worried and outright scared of losing to one of these basement players.

The problem was that several of them were very experienced and high-level basement players, who used cheap paddle (i.e. hardbat or slow, dead inverted), and either kept the ball in play with dead balls, or swatted in winners. They also – and most scarily – served fast serves right out of their hands, which of course is illegal, but the student didn’t want to sound like a crybaby on day one by complaining about them.

As long as he has his own racket – which he will – I don’t think there’s any way he would lose to anyone – none of his potential opponents have had training before. There is a long history of experienced tournament players finding themselves in some basement environment where they are forced to use the local cheap sponge/hardbat/sandpaper paddles that they are not used to, against basement “stars” who are, and so losing. Scott Gordon, who chairs the USATT hardbat committee and plays with a hardbat in tournaments (rated about 2000) told me this is why he originally got into hardbat, after losing to some basement player because he had to use the local equipment, and so he learned to play with other surfaces.

So after a brief warm-up, I used a cheap inverted racket for the session, with the usual forehand-to-forehand, backhand-to-backhand, and other drills. When we played points, I’d either dead-block or swat in shots. I also did multiball serving, where I served fast, all over the table, right out of my hand, over and over, until he was comfortable with that. Then we played lots of games where I did lots of funky dead-ball blocking, quick hits and swats, and a steady diet of out-of-my-hand serves.

I won the first game, but he soon adjusted, and he barely pulled out game two. After that he began to dominate – the rubber I was using was 2/3 of the way toward being antispin. I was tempted to switch to chopping and pick-hitting, where I could probably win, but he’s not going to face any choppers, so I ditched that. Also, did I mention that in the new club, they only have about four feet on each side?

I don’t think he had any trouble winning the tournament – I trained him well in the ways of the basement star!!!

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

Team USA Prepare for WTTC in Papendal, Netherlands
Here’s the article and picture.

ITTF Presidential Election
I’m told it takes place on Wednesday – tomorrow. So by tomorrow we’ll know if Weikert continues as president or if Saive replaces him. Meanwhile, here’s a new article on the topic, “Saive claims support from all over the world in bid to become ITTF President.” And here’s Saive’s new election video. (I’d put up Weikert’s if he had one, but I don’t think he has one.) I blogged about the election, with other links, on May 19. I’m told it’s going to be a close election. Here’s a video from EmRatThich (12:49) that discusses the election.

Kong Linghui Suspended as Head Coach of Chinese Women's Team!
Here’s the article. This is a shocker – the news came out as I was about to post this blog. Apparently he is “being sued $327,600 by a Singapore casino over alleged gambling debts.” There’ll likely be more on this tomorrow. We’ll see. (Here’s the ITTF article that just went up.)

China Team World Championship Song
Here’s the video (4:17). At the next Worlds, maybe Team USA can put together something like this? I remember the 1994 World Youth Cup Championships where every team was required to put on some sort of skit, and so the USA Junior Team quickly rehearsed and did a rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”!

Up Close and Personal, Liebherr World Championships Television Production Best Ever
Here’s the ITTF article.

British Airways Meltdown Leads to Cancelled Flights, Including to World Table Tennis Championships
Here’s the story. Midway through it there is this:

On Sunday morning, Welsh international table tennis player Chloe Thomas, whose 7.30am flight from Heathrow to Germany for the World Table Tennis Championship in Düsseldorf was cancelled at the last minute, described chaotic scenes.

“It’s chaos, people are running about all over the place trying to rebook,” she told Press Association. “There’s no one to help, no leadership. There are lots of people everywhere. There’s nowhere to sit, so people are just lying on the floor, sleeping on yoga mats.”

Media, Coach and Player
Here’s the ITTF article on Matt Hetherington, Digital and Social Media Manager for USA Table Tennis.

Zhang Jike, Did One Point Change His Career?
Here’s the ITTF article.

Working on Navin’s Backhand Kill
Here’s the video (15 sec). He normally uses long pips (no sponge) on backhand, but we’re working on flipping to the inverted to smash. (Yes, Navin is “The Bionic Man,” as noted in many articles and videos, such as this USATT new item. He has Parkinson’s and an artificial heart.)

Inward and Outward: Reactions to Points Won and Lost
Here’s the article by Samson Dubina.

Ask the Coach
More Questions Answered at PingSkills.

5 Tips on Balancing an Olympic Career With College, From Table Tennis Player Lily Zhang
Here’s the article.

10 Common Injuries in Ping-Pong and How to Avoid Them
Here’s the article (with links to video) from PingPoolShark. (This is from February, but I don’t think I linked to it.)

5 Ways to Mentally Prepare For Your Next Race
Here’s the article from Running Competitor. Though it’s specifically for runners, the principles apply to table tennis and other sports.

Ma Long & Zhang Jike Training Serve - Table Tennis Serve
Here’s the video (5:41).

Who is Azeez Jamiu?
Here’s the video (3:42). The Nigerian star has recently been living in New York and competing in U.S. tournaments.

Why You Should Never Play Your Spouse in Table Tennis
Here’s the article from Coach Jon.

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

Nine New Videos from EmRatThich
Here’s his video page.

World Champions of the Past
Here’s the video (1:57), Pong Universe’s Video of the Week.

Judah Friedlander: Greatest Soccer Interviewer Ever
Here’s the video (2:23). While the focus is on his “interviews” with soccer players, they play a lot of table tennis. Judah is rated 1607 – I used to coach him!

The Many Faces of Ma Long
Here’s the gif image, with five repeating pictures (though it only repeats three times for some reason)

Colin Kaepernick Visits Ping-Pong Crazy Seahawks
Here’s the article and pictures.

Sticky Sponge!
Here’s the video (7 sec).

Behind Back and Between Legs Lobs
Here’s the article and video (61 sec) by Teodor Alexandrov of Bulgaria at the Worlds.

Awesome Japanese Skills in Pong
Here’s the video (2:18)!

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