July 14, 2017

Serving Seminar at 2017 USA Nationals
At the USA Nationals I gave a one-hour serving seminar on Tuesday night. Here are the notes I used, with some explanations and links added in brackets.

  1. Can Ma Long move his racket substantially faster than you when he serves? Probably not.
    1. They smoothly accelerate into the ball, and graze with a deceptive motion.
    2. Serving is the one part of table tennis where we all start out even.
  2. How to Create Spin [Here’s a Tip on this.]
    1. Demo backspin serve back into net, curving sidespin serves.
    2. Grippy rubber and rubber cleaner
    3. Smooth acceleration with body, forearm, and wrist.
    4. Grazing
    5. High-toss [Here’s a Tip on this.]
  3. Exercises to Increase Your Spin [Here’s a Tip of this, specifically on creating heavy backspin, with info on the “Scoop” method below.]
    1. Spin and catch
    2. Scoop method
    3. Backspin & sidespin games
  4. How to Create Deception
    1. Great spin
    2. Spin/no-spin [Here’s a Tip on this. Here’s another.]
    3. Semi-circular motion [Here’s a Tip on this.]
    4. Changing axis of racket rotation [Here’s a Tip on this. Here’s another.]
    5. Illegal hidden serves [We had a short discussion of the problem.]
  5. How to Serve Low (to net and low bounce on other side) [Here’s a Tip on this.]
    1. Low contact point
    2. Graze the ball
    3. First bounce on your side near your end-line so that it approaches the net at a low angle. [This is one of the least understood parts of serving. But it becomes more obvious when demoed when players observe the lowness of the bounce here, as opposed to when the first bounce is closer to the net. It’s discussed in the Tip linked above.]
    4. Highest point as it crosses the net
    5. Practice with serving bars [Here’s a picture. John Olsen made these for MDTTC.]
  6. Depth [Here’s a Tip on controlling service depth. Here’s another.]
    1. Long, half-long, sometimes very short (mostly to forehand)
    2. World-class – about 80% short. Varies by level.
    3. Most serves – first or second bounce on far side right about the end-line.
  7. Specific Serves
    1. Forehand Pendulum, Reverse Pendulum, Scoop, Tomahawk, Reverse Tomahawk;
      Backhand Serve; Reverse Backhand; Inside-Out Backhand, Windshield
  8. How to Practice Serves [Here’s a Tip on this.]
    1. Box of balls
    2. Serving routine [Everyone should have a set routine they go through before every serve. It puts you in the proper frame of mind. Here’s a Tip on this.]
    3. Visualize each serve – always. Imagine contact and entire path and bounces of ball
  9. Placement
    1. Forehand, backhand, middle
    2. Sidespin breaking away and breaking in [Here’s a Tip on this.]
  10. Fast, Deep Serves [Here’s a Tip on this. Here’s another. And here’s one more.]
    1. First and last bounce
    2. Topspin, Sidespin, Flat
    3. Short to forehand/Long to backhand combo

I’ve Joined the Aruba TTA Board of Directors!
Well, sort of - here’s the listing!!! For reasons unknown – perhaps to add an imagined bit of credibility? – the Aruba TTA has hilariously and ridiculously put up the USATT Board of Directors listing from last year as their Board of Directors, with their president (Oscar Helmeyer) replacing then-board chair Peter Scudner at the top. (There’s a chance that at some point this weekend the page will go down or get changed – if so, I might take this segment down.) USATT has already contacted them and asked them to take this down, but the only result so far seems to be the addition of the “Sample Data” note at the top left. (I don’t think that was there before, but I’m not 100% sure.) Anyway, as a proud member of the Aruba TTA Board of Directors since (I have no idea since when, presumably after a hard-fought election?), I’m proposing we built a wall around our country and making USA pay for it, and then, inside those enclosed walls we’ll build a ping-pong paradise, where the games are to 21, we use 38mm balls, and the hidden service rule is enforced. (Here’s the current USATT Board of Directors.)

ITTF Development Magazine Available Online
Here’s the ITTF article. Here’s the direct link to download it. It’s 64 pages, including a “Spotlight on North American” on pages 52-53. “Published every four years in accordance with the Olympic cycle, released at the recent Liebherr 2017 World Championships in Düsseldorf at the end of May, the latest ITTF Development magazine is now available online.”

Names of Recently Qualified ITTF Blue Badge Umpires Announced
Here’s the ITTF article, and the ITTF listing. With Linda Leaf added on June 1, USA now has ten: Esther Aliotta, Ray Cavicchio, Valeriy Elnatanov, Irina Hellwig, Yelena Karshted, Linda Leaf, Kagin Lee, Michael Meier, Saul Weinstein, and Joseph Yick.

Who is the Expert?
Here’s the new article by Samson Dubina.

Ask the Coach
Questions Answered at PingSkills.

"Boomerang" Flick
Here’s the video (6:22) from EmRatThich – this is the “Strawberry Flip” that USA Men’s Coach Stefan Feth often teaches!

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Table Tennis Skills Faster
Here’s the article from Sports Flu, by Aditya Kumar Awasthi. The five are: Focus on FEELING, Hit by the ‘Legs,’ Fix the hitting position, Relax, Explode and Relax, and Tactics in Table Tennis. Here are more table tennis articles from Sports Flu. Alas, they aren’t dated so I don’t know which are new.

Best African Ever, Quadri Aruna Votes for Atanda Musa
Here’s the ITTF article.

2017 World Championships: Time of the Legends!
Here’s the new ITTF music video (90 sec).

10 Unexpectedly Great Benefits of Playing Table Tennis
Here’s the article by Miranda Larbi for Metro.co.uk.

ITTF’s Heads-Up Challenge
Here’s the video (2:08). Lots of USA in this. (I think I posted a different version of this previously.)

Table Tennis or Quidditch?
I finally found the shirt for both my table tennis and science fiction/fantasy interests – here it is!

Puppy Pong
Here’s the video (19 sec) – Call the SPCA! They pelted the dog abused dog twice!!! (We’re going to do this at our club – a brother/sister combo often brings their dog during training.)

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