September 22, 2017

Moving and Stroking
I had a rather interesting session with Todd (age 12) on Wednesday. He’s played for about 1.5 years and is now pushing 1500 in our league ratings (1456), looping nearly everything on the forehand, and recently almost as much on the backhand. But there’s always been this strange problem at the start of our sessions where it often takes him 3-5 minutes before he can effectively forehand loop. It sometimes seems as if he’s forgotten how to do it.

Then I noticed something – whenever we do footwork drills, his looping technique looks pretty good. It’s only at the start of the session, where I’m blocking to one spot for him to loop that he often seems to struggle, often reaching for the ball with awkward technique and not getting much spin. So I tried something – I had him do one-one footwork right from the start, where I blocked to his wide forehand and then middle, and he moved side to side and forehand looped. Immediately he was looping really well!

Then we went back to my blocking to one spot, and his looping technique again deteriorated. That’s when it dawned on me – he loops much, Much, MUCH better when moving!!!

Perhaps he’s like the Sundance Kid, who couldn’t shoot well unless he was moving – see video (64 sec) from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” (Seven Academy Award Nominations in 1970, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won for four - Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Music – Original Song, and Best Music – Original Score. Alas, no table tennis, though here’s a picture of Paul Newman/Butch Cassidy and Robert Redford/The Sundance Kid playing table tennis doubles. Here’s another.)

I think there are three reasons why Todd (and probably others) loops better when moving.

  1. When moving to the right (he’s a righty), it puts him in perfect position to use the momentum of his movement to rotate his body into the shot. 
  2. When moving to the left, he uses the momentum of his movement to rotate his body back more so he gets a better swing.
  3. When I block mostly to one spot, he doesn’t have to move much, and so loses that habit, and so ends up not making the minor adjustments needed for each shot, and so ends up with an awkward stroke. When I move him, he gets back into that habit, and so is in position for each shot.

So all you lazy ping-pong players – here’s still another reason why you should be practicing your footwork! (See my Tip, Are You a Tree or a Squirrel?)

Is Conformity of Styles Hurting the Sport of Table Tennis?
Here’s the article from Matt Hetherington.

Forehand Topspin Technique – Chinese Technique
Here’s the article and video (16:45) from EmRatThich.

How to Play a Forehand Flick
Here’s the article from Expert Table Tennis.

The Changing Climate of Table Tennis
Here’s the article from Coach Jon.

Does Coaching Qualification Affect Our Sport?
Here’s the article from Coach Me Table Tennis.

Has Clothing Anything to Do with the Popularity of Table Tennis?
Here’s the article and pictures from Sports Flu.

Get to Know the Different Table Tennis Conversion Tops in the Market
Here’s the article from Table Tennis Spot.

Austrian Open
Here’s the home page for the event, in Linz, Austria, Sept. 19-24. 

USATT Insider
Here’s the new issue that came out Wednesday.

Our Champion for Peace: Tahl Leibovitz
Here’s the article. And here’s another.

Paddle Palace Club Host First USATT Class 11 Training and Classification Event
Here’s the article by Sean O’Neill.

Retirees Surprise Virginia Beach Kids with Ping Pong Table
Here’s the video (1:45).

Ma Long and Fang Bo Training
Here’s the video (7:56) of the world #1 and #11 players from China in training.

360 Degree View of Marcos Freitas & Stefan Fegerl
Here’s the video (67 sec) - left-click and grab and move around 360 degrees!

Who Will Win in a Table Tennis Match, North Korea vs. USA?
Here’s the article and somewhat funny video (1:39) from Sports Flu.

Waldner and Persson Chop Smashing and Lobbing Exhibition
Here’s the video (1:48).

A Little Ping-Pong Math?
Here’s the pong puzzle. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

Ball Bath and a Drink?
Here’s the picture! (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

Bouncing Ping-Pong Ball
Just a mesmerizing, hypnotic bouncing ping-pong ball. Watch it all weekend.

Pachyderm Pong
Did you know that today is National Elephant Appreciation Day? And so I give you…

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