July 12, 2017

USA Nationals
I’m still rather sick, and almost took today off as well. My stomach feels like there’s a hurricane and a tornado chucking 100mm ping-pong balls at each other. But I’ll try to go over briefly some of the highlights. I also have two hours of coaching tonight!!!

  • Here are the Nationals Results.
  • For the first time since they adopted the new ITTF coaching rule last year, I coached a match where the opposing coach signaled every serve! They followed the rules; there were no serious delays. The girl he was coaching would look back as she walked to the table each time, or would very briefly look back as she was about to serve, and he’d signal. Late in the match they got “lazy” and the coach started calling them out in Chinese (as verified by some Chinese players nearby), since neither I nor my student know Chinese (although he didn’t really know that, did he?). I considered watching the coach and deciphering his signals, or having a Chinese player sit near me and translate his coaching later on, but there was no point as there’d be no time to signal my player what the serve was going to be.
  • USATT ran eight seminars at the Nationals. Turnout, alas, wasn’t great. I taught two of them. Only one person showed for the “How to Set Up and Run a Junior Program,” which was disappointing – but he got a real personal session on it as I went through the 19-page presentation I put together. (I may put it online at some point.) The Serving Seminar I ran had seven players. Topics covered included:
  1. Can Ma Long move his racket substantially faster than you when he serves? Probably not.
  2. How to Create Spin
  3. Exercises to Increase Your Spin
  4. How to Create Deception
  5. How to Serve Low (to net and low bounce on other side)
  6. Depth
  7. Specific Serves
  8. How to Practice Serves
  9. Placement
  10. Fast, Deep Serves
  • At the Hall of Fame Inductions on Thursday night, Dell Sweeris was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Bowie Martin Sr., Marcy Monasterial, and Scott Preiss were inducted into the USATT Hall of Fame.
  • I won Over 40 Hardbat for the fifth time. (I’ve won Hardbat Singles twice and Hardbat Doubles 13 times – but Ty Hoff and I, who have won it nine times, lost in the semifinals this time, to Dan Seemiller/Patty Martinez.) I normally use sponge, and hadn’t touched a hardbat racket since last December, but it’s like riding a bicycle – once you know how to do it, it never completely goes away. (Well, there was that 1.5-year period where I kept losing and nothing felt right, and then discovered I’d inexplicably changed my grip!) I’m not going to go into my matches here, but I did have one interesting tactical choice that was counter-intuitive, and yet worked.

    Because I like to attack every serve with my forehand (not easy at age 57), players often mix in short serves to my forehand and long ones to my backhand. This puts great strain on my footwork as I have to make an instant decision on which way to go. My counter-intuitive solution? When receiving, I stood an extra step away from the table, and a bit more to my left. This way I had little distance to go to cover the long serves to my backhand, and so could focus on the short serves to my forehand – meaning I got a very quick start in that direction. This more than compensated for the longer distance to get to them. I still had to strain to cover them, but this allowed me to receive more forehand than if I stood in a more conventional receive position.

    However, the physical strain of trying to cover the table with my forehand, when receiving, when serving, and during rallies, left me exhausted for days afterwards, and may have weakened me to the point of making susceptible to whatever is making me sick right now. Because it was so tiring I also went easy on practicing – but it was interesting that while other hardbat players were practicing strokes, I was on the back tables with a box of balls practicing my serves!

  • Due to my Over 40 Hardbat Final and coaching, I was at the playing hall late on Friday, and so missed the Men’s and Women’s Finals. Congrats to Kanak and Lily!!!

USATT and ITTF News Items
While I’ve been away, the USATT and ITTF news pages have had a zillion new items, so why not browse over them?

My Quest for Olympic Games 2020 - Kanak Jha
Here’s Kanak Jha’s funding page. He just won his second straight U.S. Men’s Singles title.

New Articles and Videos from Samson Dubina
Here are three new ones – I really like the “Footwork Detective” video, and you should browse over the 26 videos from his camp!

Table Tennis Coaching – Tips for Parents Part 4
Here’s the new installment from Expert Table Tennis.

Here’s the new article by Coach Jon. And I have a shirt that matches his coffee mug!

Forehand Drive Technique
Here’s the article and video (2:39) from EmRatThich.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills – lots of new entries.

USOC Coaching Newsletter
Here’s the July edition.

9 Reasons Why Table Tennis is the Best Sport in the World
Here’s the article from Tom Lodziak.

Tom's Table Tennis Newsletter
Here’s the new one from Tom Lodziak.

Pong Universe Point of the Week
Here’s the video (25 sec) of Vladimir Samsonov vs. Chuang Chih-Yuan.

Ask A Pro Anything - Chen Meng
Here’s the ITTF video (5:55) from Adam Bobrow.

Thailand Game Show
Here’s the video (15:36) where a kid demos table tennis tricks on something like “Thailand’s Got Talent.”

For Sale: Ping Table
Here’s the cartoon!

Send us your own coaching news!