December 8, 2017

Physical vs. Mental Stiffness, USATT &USOC Coaching, Sidespin/Backspin Serves, the Christmas Rush, and I Do Not Have A Cold

  • Here’s an insight that many don’t understand. Some players are physically stiff, especially as they get older – I’m one of them. It can lead to stiff shots, and make the player look, yes, stiff. But that’s completely different than mentally playing tight. You can have the stiffest muscles in the world and still be mentally loose and relaxed. I know, because I have the stiffest muscles in the world – 10,000 on the Vickers hardness scale – and yet I’ve always played relaxed and mentally loose, even if I don’t look it. I’m always warning my students not to copy the stiff, mechanical nature of my strokes (except perhaps for my forehand smash, which is pretty textbook), and to instead copy some of our 2600 coaches/practice partners, especially their looping strokes. But don’t mistake physical stiffness with the mental side, where anyone can learn to play relaxed and loose.
  • Yesterday at 2PM I was on a teleconference with USATT and USOC people about setting up a USATT coaching education and certification program. I have meetings about it at the U.S. Open, and will be flying out to USATT and USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs in early January for two days to work on this. (USOC is paying for it.) I’m working closely with USATT High Performance Director Joerg Bitzigeio on this. Ultimate plan – a USATT Coaching Academy.
  • I had a lot of fun yesterday demonstrating one of my trick serves to students who were trying to develop spinny serves. It’s a forehand pendulum serve from the forehand side of the table, served crosscourt, about 3/4 backspin, 1/4 sidespin, where if I do it just right, I can get the ball to stop just short of the opponent’s end-line and break right, and just roll along the table, parallel to the end-line. Here’s an example (32 sec) I found online. Instead of cups, I put a ball net along the far side of the table, near the edge, and make the ball roll between the net’s handle and the end-line.
  • The Christmas rush has officially begun! In the first week of December I’ve sold 93 of my books. As usual, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers leads the way with 63 copies sold.
  • I do not have a cold. I Do Not Have A Cold. I DO NOT HAVE A COLD. (The power of positive thinking…) 

Coaching Articles
There don’t seem to be any new coaching articles since yesterday – how will we survive the weekend? I know – why not browse over some of the nearly 350 weekly Table Tennis Tips? Or just buy the books, Table Tennis Tips and More Table Tennis Tips – a Christmas present to yourself!!! (Wow, what a shameless plug for my books!) Or check out the archives for others, such as MH Table Tennis.
(BREAKING NEWS - shortly after I put up this blog, Samson Dubina posted three new articles/videos, on In and Out Footwork, Table Tennis Nutrition, and Dynamic Table Tennis Warm-up. I'll link to them again on Monday.) 

T2 Grand Finals
Here’s their home page, with links to the matches. The Championship playoffs started yesterday, and continue to the Finals on Sunday. Today’s matches start at 6PM GMT, which is 1PM Eastern Time in the U.S. Playing today:

  • Timo Boll vs. Jun Mizutani
  • Yang Haeun vs. Suthasini Sawettabut
  • Chen Chien-An vs. Joo Saehyuk
  • Strangely, the schedule shows these three playing a second time, six matches in all, but I think that’s a mistake.

Final Publication, Ma Long Concludes at Top of Order
Here’s the ITTF article on the newest world rankings. Here are the Men’s Rankings, Women’s Rankings, and links to other ranking lists.

Ever Present, Just Not the Same Without Him
Here’s the ITTF article on the upcoming ITTF World Tour Grand Finals, Dec. 14-17 in Astana, Kazakhstan, featuring Chinese Taipei’s Chuang Chih-Yuan.

Olympic Table Tennis Champ Wang Chen to Open Jersey City Club
Here’s the article.

Timo Boll Reflects on the Greatest Shot Ever Played in the T2 Cavern!
Here’s the video interview (67 sec) where they talk about his incredible opposite-hand counterloop (33 sec), which I linked to yesterday.

Interview with Jenson Van Emburgh
Here’s the video (2:24) with the USA Paralympic player, who came back from down 0-2 in the semifinal singles match at the 2017 ParapanAmerican Championships in Costa Rica. (Alas, I can’t find a results page so don’t know how he did in the final.)

Final of Spin & Smash Open in Ohio
Here are the videos of each game between Chen Bowen and Samson Dubina.

Olivia Stack Reading Up on Her Favorite Topic.....Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!!!
Here’s the video (78 sec) as she pages through and gives valuable insight on Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers. The picture she’s talking about halfway through is of Joo Se Hyuk chopping. I think she thought it was her dad!

Football vs. Ping Pong
Here’s the video (4:27) where the compare the two, with athletes from each competing. That’s soccer for us Americans! (This is from 2016, but I don’t think I ever linked to it.)

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