October 10, 2017

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Tactical Receiving Mistakes.

Sunday Coaching and Monday USATT Teleconference
I spent Friday and Saturday at the Capclave Science Fiction Convention – see segment at end of blog. On Sunday had a 5.5 hours of coaching, mostly group sessions.

In private coaching with Todd, we focused quite a bit on serve and loop, especially backhand loop. He tends to be forehand oriented, but we’re adding more backhand attack to the mix. He’s picking up backhand loop pretty well, but sometimes tends to rush it against pushes. We also worked on moving to the wide forehand faster – but the key here wasn’t the movement itself but rather a faster recovery from the previous shot, a forehand from the backhand side. His backhand in rallies was on fire – he’s discovered he can hit winners by going after my wide forehand. Thanks a lot, age and bad knee, dang it! One problem – he needs a lot more serving practice, so I’m hoping he can increase that.

In the Beginning Junior Class we focused on footwork and serving. After an hour of practice we went to games. They divided into three groups. About half played up-down tables (i.e. real games). Several others took turns on the robot. I taught five of the younger ones the “Serving Game.” For this, one player serves ten times. The other four players stood on the other side (no rackets), with a plastic cup on the table in front of them. The server would serve and the other four would try to catch the serve. If they did, the server scored zero. If the server managed to serve so that it got past the four and hit the floor, the server got one. If the server hit one of the cups and the ball got past them and hit the floor, the server scored three. Then they’d rotate and the next player would serve.

In the “Talent Program” (advanced juniors from ages 7 to 13), I finally managed to do something I’ve strived to do for a while – memorize all their names! I always struggle with this, even though I use the normal mnemonic tricks. I had it down to two girls who I always got mixed up, but now I have that straightened out. Oh, and we did lots and Lots and LOTS of footwork practice. I worked with several of them on their transition from backhand to forehand, which seems to give some of them trouble in random situations.

In the Adult Training Session there were a number of questions about plastic balls, since we have multiple types. We ended up talking about this the first ten minutes. Then it was on to the usual drills – footwork drills early on, lots of serve & attack drills at the end. I spent some time with several of them working on specific footwork problems. One tended to keep his feet stationary between shots and so wasn’t quite ready to move when the opponent hit his shot. Two others simply hadn’t made it a habit to step to balls that they could reach by just reaching out.

On Monday we had a 7PM USATT Board Teleconference. It was a short one, just 7PM to about 8:05PM, with only one item on the agenda – CEO Gordon Kaye’s budget report. He’d emailed us copies earlier, and went over it item by item. Things look pretty good this year – we’re currently up about $52,000, with memberships and tournament participation up quite a bit. 

MDTTC Open and Promo Video
I’m running the 3-star Butterfly MDTTC Open this weekend, Oct. 14-15. There are ten events – Open, U2400, 2200, 2000, 1800, 1500, 1200, Over 50, and Under 14 and Under 12. Hope to see you there!

Here’s the MDTTC Open promo video (66 sec) created by Mossa Barandao of PongMobile.

Sunny Li Featured in Veterans Ad
Here’s the video (30 sec), and here’s the profile of him (page down to the bottom). Sunny dominated junior events I the U.S. from Under 10 to Under 21 in the 1990s, winning all of these events, and even sweeping Under 12, 14, and 16 one year, and Under 14, 16, and 18 another. He stopped playing when he was 17, rated about 2550, and went to college. After graduating, he joined the marines in 2002, shortly after 9-11. He was honorably discharged as a captain in 2009. From the article: “Sunny Li is missing a rib and has shrapnel in his body that he can still feel today. But if you ask him about these things, he’ll tell you that there is no scenario that has made him broken - these things have only made him stronger.” (Sunny was from MDTTC, my club – I probably practiced with him a thousand hours, and played him a thousand matches.)

Pretend You’re a Goalkeeper to Correct Your Table Tennis Stance
Here’s the article from Expert Table Tennis. (I also used the example of a soccer goalkeeper in my 2012 Tip of the Week, “Ready Position” – see last line. Ben elaborates on this a bit more.)

How to Serve – Forehand Pendulum Serve
Here’s the video (6 min) – it’s in German, but with great graphics that show what you need to know.

Chinese Table Tennis Super League to Exclude Japanese Players
Here’s the article from Japan Times.

Sharon Alguetti Responds, Wins in Belgrade
Here’s the ITTF article on the USA junior star.

The Three Winners of the Design a Ball Competition
Here are the winners. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

A Bar in London Just Got an Interactive Ping Pong Table That's a Giant Computer Game
Here’s the article from Business Insider.

Tomokazu Harimoto vs Jun Mizutani (2017 T2APAC)
Here’s the video (8:20) from EmRatThich.

Triples Table Tennis
Here’s the video (1:42) with a specialized table and net for this new version that’ll be demonstrated at the next World Championships.

Pong Cup Basketball?
Here’s the video (45 sec)!

Boll Bathing in Balls
Here’s the picture! Yes, that’s world #5 Timo Boll from Germany, former world #1. Caption says he’s #6, but he just moved up a spot. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.)

Really Fast Cowboy and Indian Pong
Here’s the repeating gif image!

Non-Table Tennis – Capclave Science Fiction Convention
I spent Friday and Saturday at the Capclave Science Fiction Convention. (It continued on Sunday, but I spent that day coaching at MDTTC.) As many of you know, science fiction writing (and reading!) is what I do outside of table tennis. (Here’s my Capclave bio, which mentions my being a professional table tennis coach.) I was the moderator on two panels, “Care and Feeding of Writers Groups and Critique Circles” and “Writing for Anthologies,” and was on the panel “I've Done My Research and You're Going to Suffer For It.” (There I explained how I’d inadvertently become an expert on blue whales as this kept coming up in my writing – and blue whales show up in three of my four novels!) I was also in two book signings – here’s a picture of me with my six SF books. We also had the official book launch party for my new novel, “When Parallel Lines Meet,” which I co-wrote with Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn, and comes out officially on Oct. 31. (Here's a picture of me with our book.) About 30 people came for the party, which was a joint party with two other novelists with new novels coming out. (One small irritant – at the Amazon listing above it correctly has all three authors listed for the kindle and audio versions, but for the print version, it only lists Mike Resnick. That’s being fixed.)

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