August 3, 2017

Moving to the Wide Forehand, He Zhiwen, and Update on History of USATT, Vol. 20
Most of my students have figured out that while I can still move quickly to my left (i.e. to step around my backhand to attack with my forehand), I don’t move very well to my right anymore. And so they take great glee in finding chances to go that way. I actually encourage it – I want them to develop good tactical habits, and so the last thing I want them to do is develop a habit of holding back when they see the right tactical move. If I leave my forehand side open during a rally, they should jump on it, making it a habit that will carry over in real matches.

This problem with moving to my right has been true for a number of years, but for the last month or so I’ve been having problems with my right knee, which made it far worse. At the USA Nationals, where I was mostly coaching and attending meetings, I did manage in my free time to win Over 40 Hardbat Singles, but most players didn’t realize just how much trouble I was having moving that way – and I used a variety of tactics to cover for it. A knee brace really helped.

I aggravated the knee again during my recent writing workshop vacation – while carrying my bags upstairs to my room! And so I spent much of the nine days there hobbling about with the knee brace, which I always wear now when I coach.

What’s scary is that I had problems last year with my left knee. What happens when both go down?

I blogged about He Zhiwen on Tuesday. Yesterday I got to spend the night coaching on adjacent tables with him. I secretly spied on him during a session with one of our top juniors. Though he normally uses pips-out, he was coaching with inverted (since that’s what most players use). He spent a lot of the session on serve and receive. I think he spent 15 minutes just serving to the kid, without playing out the point. He doesn’t speak English, but does know Spanish – he’s played there and represented them for a few decades – and so I spoke with him briefly with my very limited Spanish. (“Dos anos Espanol en mi escuela. No muy bien – un poco.”)

Meanwhile, Tim Boggan and I started on his next volume a few minutes after 10AM, and managed to do the front and back covers, the intro pages, and the first four (of 28) chapters – 57 pages total plus the covers. However, these chapters were shorter than usual, so I expect we won’t get this much done most days. I haven’t counted the graphics, but probably about four per page, so probably over 200. It was a long day – we finished around 5PM, and then I went off to coach. (Note that most of the pages were scanned as a page, where Tim had cut and pasted them into one-page sheets – old style! – and then Mal Anderson scanned them, and I fixed up the photos and fitted them to the page.)

Five Years since Grand Slam, Fans Call for Zhang Jike Day
Here’s the ITTF article.

Ask the Coach
Questions answered at PingSkills.

2017 Edgeball Chicago International Table Tennis Tournament - August 12-13
Here’s the info page.

The Strange Case of Table Tennis at SCAD
Here’s the article by Coach Jon.

Some Sort of Vietnamese TT Exhibition?
Here’s the video (2:42).

Table Tennis Physical Training
Here’s the video (3 min) from last year’s USATT’s Supercamp, with many of the top juniors in the U.S. in attendance. If you watch closely you’ll see me in several shots.

Think Table Tennis is Not a Real Sport?
Here’s the video (2:35) – some great shots and sequences!!!

Ma Long vs Ding Ning Funny Show
I may have previously linked to the first one.

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