August 14, 2017

Tip of the Week
Attacking the Middle with the Forehand and Backhand.

Basics, Basics, Basics!!!
It seems like half my students were on vacation recently, and so they all seem out of practice. So what are we focusing on? Yes, BASICS!!! This doesn’t mean just forehand to forehand or other simple drills like that. But it means a lot of basic stroking and footwork drills. One of the things about taking time off is that when players come back, they often fall back into old habits we had spent so much time fixing. So I’m being very careful to watch for that.

For example, I have one student who used to habitually lift his elbow when he hit forehands, thereby closing the racket during the forward swing, leading to erratic shots. He kicked the habit, or so we thought – but he was right back to it in our last session. But we quickly fixed it, and did a lot of forehand drills to make sure.

Another student felt like he’d completely lost the feel of his forehand loop – nothing seemed right. We spent quite a bit of time in our session on it before it began to click. This was a case of his feeling tentative, and so he kept falling back, and so the ball was falling front of him, throwing off his stroke and timing. This led to erratic contacts, and so even when he did it “right,” he was erratic. I had him focus on positioning and contact, and soon all was well. He’s also seemingly forgotten how to smash lobs, so we focused on that, and the importance of doing a systematic one (bring racket back), two (raise the racket) and three (drive into the ball with legs, throwing upper body into the shot).

Another had had a slightly longer “break” – he had stopped playing for 40 years (!), and recently started up again. He used to have a forehand pendulum serve, but had forgotten how to do it. So we’re working on that, and it’s beginning to come back.

Update - History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 20
We “finished” the volume on Friday afternoon, and Tim drove back to New York on Saturday morning. To get it done before my weekend coaching we put in some long hours!!! The final version is 460 pages with 714 graphics. However, I put “finished” in quotes above because Tim has since emailed me about two dozen corrections he’s found, some of which will be time-consuming to fix. I’ll try to get to them today so I can get the volume sent off to, where we publish the volumes. Today’s going to be pretty busy, as in addition to this I have a noon call coming up on USATT coaching (on coaching certification and education), and a USATT board meeting at 7PM. In between, I have to also attack my growing todo list, which during Tim’s visit blossomed to roughly Godzilla size.

Multiball Champions
Here’s the article, with links to video, by Samson Dubina.

Table Tennis Basics from GT Table Tennis

New Articles from Sports Flu

  • Koki Niwa: The “Inventor” of Chop Block Shot. This is misleading as the shot has been done by players decades before Koki was even born. It’s not that common by world-class players these days, though world #1 Ma Long sometimes does it, and it was probably more common in the past. Jan-Ove Waldner, considered the greatest player of all time by many, often used it - and he won the Worlds before Koki was born. I've been doing the shot myself somewhat regularly since the late 1970s.
  • Bill Guilfoil Could Not Make It to Rio Olympics 2016 Because… In the article they mention some past achievements by USA at the Worlds, but somehow left out that we swept Men’s and Women’s Teams in 1937, our greatest achievement. (We’ve won a few other men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles events, but none since the 1950s.)
  • A New Bond Surprised Everyone – When Art Meets Table Tennis

Amazing Hopes Training in Multi-ball Session with Li Xiaodong
Here’s the video (4:04).

Who Was Better at Age 14, Ma Long or Tomokazu Harimoto?
Here’s the video (8:17) from EmRatThich

Best of Tomokazu Harimoto
Here’s the video (5:20) of the 14-year-old whiz kid from Japan, now #20 in the world.

Best of Chen Weixing
Here’s the video (10:39).

You Don’t Have to be Tall to Play Table Tennis!
Here’s the video (39 sec) of a three-year-old showing us how it’s done!

Trick Shots
Here’s another trick-shot video (3:39), set to music.

Table Tennis Squash (1959)
Here’s the video (2 min) of this other version of table tennis that didn’t quite take off! (I may have linked to this once before, long ago.) 

Reverse Engineering in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (2:15) of table tennis played in reverse.

Desk and Chair Pong
Here’s the video (68 sec) – kids, now you know what you should really be doing at school!

Sunday Comics - Blondie and Agnes!!!
This past Sunday in the Washington Post comics section (and presumably other papers) there were TWO table tennis cartoons!!!

  • Blondie – I’m putting this on the wall at my club, since this is what happens after our summer camps every year!
  • Agnes – I’m looking forward to seeing that shower of paddles, balls, and nets. But who in the world would throw out half a ping-pong table???

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