December 4, 2017

Tip of the Week
How to Mess Up Your Opponent When Forced to Make a Weak Shot.

Weekend Coaching
Here are some highlights.

  • In the junior group session on Saturday we let them play Brazilian Teams for nearly an hour – but with one catch: whoever served had to serve and attack. If the server pushed the return, he lost the point. (Here’s where I blogged about the rules for Brazilian Teams and other table tennis games.) Too many of our kids at the North American Teams had played too passive on their serve, and so this was both the “penalty” and reward (since they love playing Brazilian Teams).
  • On Sunday, to teach some of the younger players to arc the ball with topspin when they loop, I spent about half an hour feeding multiball to eight different kids using the adjustable serving bar. (John Olsen made this for us.) I had to feed backspin under the bar – tricky to do! - while the kids had to loop over it.
  • After the Sunday session we had a party, with pizza and lots of other food. The coaches also met with the parents and kids, one by one – I think 28 of them – and went over our notes about their kids – where they’ve improved, what they need to work on, etc. I met with I think six of them, mostly ones I’d coached at the North American Teams.
  • In private coaching, I did something some might consider unlikely – I taught Serguei, a man in his 70s, to loop in rallies! We’ve been working on it for months, but for a time the stroke was ragged, awkward, and constantly changing, and so erratic. But in our previous session it began to really come together, and during the session on Sunday he had basically mastered the shot (in drills), looping over and over very smoothly, without backing up too much (which he used to do). He now can loop really well, against backspin and against block, in drills. The next step is incorporating this more and more into match play. 
  • In other private coaching, we're now really focused on footwork with Todd, age 12. He has a tendency to fall back on his heels, so we're focused on keeping his weight more on the balls of his feet. After playing a forehand he isn't always ready to play a backhand, so that's another footwork thing we're working on - lots of random drills. He's rapidly gaining confidence in his looping, both forehand and backhand, but still sometimes falls back into "guiding" the shot rather than just letting it go. Another thing we're going to really focus on now is serves - he gets good spin on his serves, so now we're going to work more on deception. 

Tomokazu Harimoto in Training
How did this Japanese whiz kid reach #16 in the world at age 14? Here are two training videos showing his techniques in slow motion.

New from Samson Dubina

Serve Placement
Here’s the video (6:43) from PingSkills.

Impact of Footwork and Balance On Making Contact With The Ball Part 3
Here’s the video (12:43) from ITTF Coaching Education by Joze Urh. It includes links to parts 1 and 2, which I previously linked to.

Training With Timo Boll and Coach Jörg Rosskopf at the 2017 World Cup
Here’s the video (15:55).

USOC Coaching Education Newsletter
Here’s the new December issue.

New from EmRatThich

2017 World Junior Championships Highlights: Xue Fei vs Truls Moregard (Final)
Here’s the video (4:06). USA’s Kanak Jha lost 4-3 in the round of 32 to Moregard. Here’s the home page for the World Junior Championships, which finished yesterday, with full results, articles, video, etc.

2000 World Veteran Championships
Here’s the article (by Tim Boggan), and yes, you read that right – the 2000 World Veterans, in Vancouver, Canada, the last time it was held in North America. It’s from the July/August 2000 issue of USA Table Tennis Magazine, back during the twelve years I was editor. Here’s the home page for the 2018 World Veterans in Las Vegas, the next time it’ll be in North America!

History of USATT - Volume XX - Chapter 5
Here’s chapter five of Tim Boggan’s latest volume, which covers 1991-1992. Or you can buy it and previous volumes at

Under 15 Boys Training at Swat Table Tennis Academy
Here’s the video (50 sec).

Table Tennis Anyone? The Sport’s Growing and Paddle Palace Is a Popular Spot to Play It
Here’s the video (1:51) from KATU 2 News.

Timo Boll vs. Kenta Matsudaira – Around the Net
Here’s the video (27 sec) where they have a great rally that includes Timo’s around-the-net counterloop – but it takes more than that to score against Kenta!

Ma Long – Ding Ning Exhibition Play
Here’s the video (49 sec)!

Solo Pong
Here’s the video (55 sec) – which Romanian does it better, Cristian Pletea or Adina Diaconu?

Send us your own coaching news!