September 12, 2017

Tip of the Week
Make Adjusting a Habit by Playing Different Players.

USATT Board Meeting
It was an extremely hectic weekend – I’m learning that coaching and attending board meetings don’t always mix well. On Saturday I coached from 10AM to 4PM, then drove over to the USATT informal meeting/get-together on Saturday night in Washington DC. On Sunday I left my house at 6:30AM, attended the meeting from 8AM to 2:30PM, drove to my club, and coached from 4PM to 8:30PM. After spending all day sitting in a chair, my back stiffened up while coaching and began to hurt. (I’m doing back stretches before it gets worse.) Here’s a rundown of the USATT meeting.

On Saturday night we all met at Gary Schlager’s large house, with its even larger basement, for informal games, meetings, and dinner. (Gary recently joined the USATT Board of Directors – his financial background is a huge plus.) There was ping-pong, pool, darts, and air hockey. I spent several hours taking on challenges with my clipboard (I didn’t lose a game, no comment on my opponents), and gave impromptu lessons to some of our non-table tennis guests. I played a little pool (I’m a novice) and some darts (used to very good, had a dartboard in my dorm room in college, but that was circa early 1980s). Around the dinner table and afterwards we had some informal discussions on various issues, and perhaps solved all the problems of table tennis in this country.

The official meeting began on Sunday morning at 8AM at Gary Schlager’s offices in DC. He criminally had the place supplied with pastries (curse you Gary) as well as healthy fruit, plus water, coffee, and soft drinks. We started with a few administrative tasks – roll call, asking if there were conflicts of interest, and so on. Then we went over the June and August teleconference minutes, made a few corrections, and then approved them. (I made the motions for both – see how hard I work?)

Next we went into executive session, i.e. a closed meeting to go over issues that pertain to personal, legal, or other confidential stuff. Alas, I can’t go into this part. (But you may note that shortly afterwards, various news agencies reported the new sanctions against North Korea.)

Next we had committee reports. To save time, rather than have each committee give a verbal report, we just accepted them and asked if there were questions. (I read them all, and hopefully others did as well, and had a few questions.) One of the committee reports was my coaching report, which I put in my blog on Friday. Some of the other reports included ones from the Club, High Performance, Junior, Nominating and Governance, Umpire and Referees, Veterans, and Tournament committees. I believe these reports will eventually be put online at the USATT site.

Next was a teleconferencing Audit report of our financial situation. All’s well – we made money this past year and are well over budget on the positive side. The audit report will eventually be posted on the USATT Financial Reports page, where past tax disclosures and audit reports are posted.

Next came a rather long, roughly 1.5 hour board training segment with Melanie Lockwood Herman from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. This included lots of discussion of the actual roles of board members. One thing that kept coming up, which is somewhat obvious and yet not always considered, is that individual board members have essentially no authority. It is only as a group that they have ultimate authority. I’m looking back and hoping that when I’ve emailed USATT staff on various issue that they haven’t misconstrued that as me acting like I have any authority over them, which I don’t, as opposed to working on specific issues on which I’m involved.

We had a working lunch, which included our new High Performance Director, Jorg Bitzigeio, giving his report, followed by much discussion on high performance issues. We discussed issues ranging from why our juniors tend to be good early on but fall behind their international peers as they age, why so many drop out when they leave high school and what we can do about it, and issues such as team and coach selection, including questions on the team selection for the upcoming World Junior Championships.

The meeting was scheduled to go to 4:20PM, but the first meeting of my new Beginning Junior Class was at 4PM (18 new kids), and since I’m the head coach for it, I had to leave at 2:30PM. Items on the agenda that I missed were the 2018 USA Nationals update and discussion (I caught the start of this); SafeSport; Fundraising (with Gary Schlager); and a legal update. I was filled in briefly on these topics afterwards. The more detailed minutes of the meeting will be published in a month or so. 

ITTF Level 2 Coaching Course - New York Indoor Sports Club
Here’s the info sheet. The course is Oct. 13-15 and Oct. 27-29, taught by Richard McAfee.

Mastering Ball Placement
Here’s the article (with links to numerous video) by Brian Pace. “One of the biggest conceptual obstacles is creating a true agenda with regards to the shots that you have in your arsenal. Most players are consumed with making sure that they are executing the correct mechanics with regards to the shots they have developed. Where your game can become stagnant is when the approach does not shift. Most players in this situation are focused on executing technical shots when they are in a competition environment. One of the best concepts that you can implement that will shift your focus and make you more competitive is Ball Placement.”

The Learning Stages - Learn the Recipe For Success!
Here’s the article by Samson Dubina. "Learning a new skill in table tennis takes time.  Some skills take about a month to develop, but most take about 2-3 years to fully master.  In this blog, I’m going to talk about the steps to perfection.  It is vitally important to go step-by-step, even if it takes a long time.  You can apply this theory to ANY stroke; however, I’m going to use the backhand loop against block as an ILLUSTRATION."

15 Table Tennis Tips To Improve Your Game
Here’s the article from Ping Pong Boss. "Need to raise your game to new heights? Here are 15 of the best table tennis tips you can use to dominate your adversaries."

Are You an Aggressive Player in Competition?
Here’s the article by the Table Tennis Guy. "When I started playing table tennis, one of the things that I struggled with was the very act of competition."

Table Tennis and Your Diet – Becoming a Lean Mean Hitting Machine
Here’s the article from Epic Table Tennis. "Balance. It is the first word out of any nutritionists lips. The problem is for most people balance is at different points. A balanced diet for a bodybuilder will be different than that for a professional cyclist. The key to a diet that is effective for table tennis is to work out where on the line the sport falls and what needs to be included in the diet to attain balance."

1st Lesson in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (6:32) from EmRatThich. “If you are a new player (beginner), the first lesson that you should learn is how to hold the racket correctly. It's the fundamental of your techniques. If you have a bad grip, it will become your bad habit and it's very difficult to change later. You need to master these basic skills.”

The Ping Pong Project
Here’s the article and video (2:47). “The Ping Pong Project started as a way to raise awareness for the need of public ping pong tables. We decided to put together a film showing just how much a community can benefit from having public tables. The video is intended to be shared with your local government and community to show just how great public ping pong tables can be.”

Role Models in Table Tennis
Here’s the article and photos from Leon Libin at the U.S. Press Agency.

USATT Announces Team for 2017 World Junior Table Tennis Championships
Here’s the article and listing.

History Shattered, Will China Find Redemption in Markham?
Here’s the article on the upcoming Women’s World Cup.

ITTF Articles
Here’s their news page – there’s been a lot since last week, so why not browse over them?

DHS ITTF Top 10 - 2017 Czech Open
Here’s the ITTF video (5:20).

Five Types of Fair Play in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (4:07).

Amazing Ping Pong Trick Shot: "Lucky Edge Shot"
Here’s the video (37 sec) of Ding Ning’s shot.

Ducks and Chicks Playing Table Tennis

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