December 6, 2017

Knowing When to Change Serving Tactics
In the German Open Men’s Final (4:42) on Nov. 12, Timo Boll faced Dimitrij “Dima” Ovcharov in the final. Timo had already defeated China’s Lin Gaoyuan in the quarterfinals and Korea’s Lee Sangsu (who had defeated Xu Xin in the quarterfinals) in the semifinals. Dima had defeated China’s Fan Zhendong, world #2, in the semifinals, and so it was a rare non-Chinese final – in fact, an all-German final in the German Open. At the time Dima was world #4, Timo #5, but both moved up one spot since.

Dima went up 3-2 in games, and took a 4-0 lead in the sixth, with Timo to serve. Up until then Timo had been serving I believe all forehand serves. So what does he do? He switches to a rarely-seen backhand serve for his next eight serves. Here’s the video (17:36) starting at 0-4 – note how surprised commentator Adam Bobrow is at this. The umpire stops the point on the first serve and warns Timo on his toss, which is apparently too low – he’s probably not used to using this serve often. He increases his toss and gives a low, no-spin serve, and follows with a winner, 1-4. He again serves backhand, has a shot, but misses it, 1-5. He then scores the next two points on Dima’s serve, 3-5. Timo continues to serve backhand, and wins the next six points on his serve in a row with it to win 11-7 – with Dima missing three of the last four outright!!! The lesson here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to try out new things against an opponent if other things aren’t working.

However, the other lesson is that sometimes you can overuse that new thing. Timo continues to backhand serve in the seventh game, but is less successful. His first five serves are backhand serves, and he loses four of them. The points at 0-2 at 2-5 for some reason aren’t shown, but you can see them in the full video (50:15), where time between points is taken out. Here’s the backhand serve at 0-2, and here’s the backhand serve at 2-5 – and this is a surprise, it’s a reverse backhand serve that wins the point! Strangely, he never uses that serve again, but probably because it’s just a surprise serve that probably wouldn’t work a second time. He serves backhand again at 4-6, loses the point (now losing all four points when he used his regular backhand serve this game), and that’s when he finally switches back to his normal forehand serve – and loses that point, 4-8. He wins the next two points on Dima’s serve. At 6-8, Timo serves backhand again twice in a row, and loses both, and Dima wins the game and match, 11-6.

So in the sixth game, when serving backhand, he wins seven of eight points, including the last six in a row. In the seventh game, excluding the winning reverse backhand serve, he serves backhand six times and loses all six, but also loses the point when he uses the forehand serve one time. The backhand serves were mostly no-spin, with some backspin ones as well.

And just for fun, check out the clapping green dinosaur at 4-2 in the seventh!!!

How Do You Control Your Nerves at Big Tournaments?
Here’s the article from Pong Universe. “Being nervous is okay, but only a little. Nerves is an ever-present thing, whether you're the best in the world or a developing athlete. This is something everyone should understand and learn to deal with. If you allow yourself to get too nervous or too excited right before or during a competition, then your muscles will tighten up and you'll perform poorly. We asked some professional Table Tennis athletes - How do they deal with nerves at big tournament? Here's what they had to say:”

Heavy Backspin Serve and Control
Here’s the video (15 sec) – can you do this? If you can’t, then you need to practice your serves!

World Junior Experience Builds on Long-term Plan for Team USA
Here’s the USATT article by Matt Hetherington. “While no medals came home with team USA from this year's World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Riva Del Garda, Italy, a stronger and more united team came back from Europe than that which had left. The team performed exceptionally to make the quarterfinals in both the Boy's and Girl's team events, with the boys narrowly missing out on a guaranteed medal in the deciding game against Romania.”

Future Olympians on Show at Upcoming North American Youth Olympic Games Qualifier
Here’s the USATT article by Richard Finn. “While you will need to wait almost two more years to enjoy the pageantry and excitement of the next Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, you only have to wait until later this month to get an early look at some possible future Olympians. Sixteen of America’s most promising boys and girls under the age of 18 including 2016 Rio Olympian Kanak Jha and Canada’s top teenagers will gather for the North American Continental Youth Olympic Games qualification tournament on Sunday, December 17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.”

2017 US Open Final Table Celebration to be Held at SLS Casino and Hotel
Here’s the info page. Here’s the home page for the U.S. Open. Here are listings for players and for events (which show who’s entered in each event) – make sure to set “2017 US Open” in the dropdown menu. There are 843 players entered.

USATT Umpires and Referees Committee Safesport Memorandum
Here’s the USATT article by Joseph Yick, chair of the USATT Umpires and Referees Committee.

Different Styles, Germany Leads the Way
Here’s the ITTF article on the upcoming ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, Dec. 14-17 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Ruwen Filus's Chops are Incredible!
Here’s the video (59 sec).

Peace . . . Love . . . Ping Pong Clock
Here’s the Zazzle page to buy one!

Waldner’s Shoe Pong
Here’s the video (26 sec) – that’s some great defense and offense!

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