January 29, 2018

Tip of the Week
Playing the Crafty Veteran.

End-of-Season Talent Development Program Tournament and Party
We had these last night at MDTTC. The program is made up of our strongest players up to about age 13, though most are 8-11. Because several of the preliminary groups had five players, there would be one player sitting out, and so they were assigned to practice serves, and I was in charge of coaching that section. I worked with one girl on developing her forehand pendulum side-top serve (she only could serve side-backspin and sidespin); with another on his backhand serve; with a lefty who was working on breaking his serves outside the forehand corner (against a righty), with two of them on reverse pendulum serves; and so on. I also worked with some of the younger players on more basic serves.

At the end of the session, visiting coach Chen Longcan gave a speech outlining his thoughts on what he'd observed in the tournament, with John Hsu translating. (Who is Chen? Chen won the gold medal in Men’s Doubles at the 1988 Olympics; Men’s Singles at the 1986 World Cup; Men’s Teams at the 1985 and 1987 World Championships; Men’s Doubles at the 1987 World Championships; and made the final of Men’s Singles at the 1985 World Championships, losing the final to teammate Jiang Jialiang.)

Then came the award ceremony. Stanley Hsu (age nine) won the tournament over chopper Andy Wu. Stephanie Zhang won Hardest Worker. Michelle Kang won Most Improved. And then Chen Longcan gave another speech, and then presented a "special award" for his hard work to Stanley Hsu. (I worried that some of the kids would be jealous of Stanley's success, but he's very popular with them - I hope success never goes to his head, or anyone else's.) The program, sponsored and organized by HW Global Foundation, has been very successful since it started up - as of Dec. 31, we had 6 of the top 14 players in the U.S. in 10 and Under Boys. 

Finally the one hour and 45 minute session was over - and it was party time! A Chinese banquet had been set up, with all sorts of dishes - including my favorite, Kung Pao Chicken. There were nearly 30 kids, 12 coaches/practice partners, and dozens of parents and family members.

During the party each kid and parents were taken aside, one by one, and had a conference with a coach, who went over the player's progress that season, and what he/she needed to work on. (The coaches collaborated on this for each player.)

Afterwards the kids got together on two tables and played Jungle Pong. This is a favorite of the kids, who often play this non-stop on break. You get a group together, and number themselves in order, so each player knows who he goes after. Then player 1 serves. Player 2 (and all subsequent players) have to let the ball come off the table and bounce on the floor, then he hits it back on the table, on either side, and the next player does the same. When a player fails to make a return, he’s out. This continues until you have a champion.

Ten came my "surprise." A few days ago I received the trophies for our upcoming four tournaments, and I'd gone through them, one by one, to make sure all were there and labeled correctly. They came packed in bubble wrap - and I had a brilliant idea. So rather than throwing it away, I put them in a big trash bag. Then I called the kids together and made the announcement that we had a problem - too much bubble wrap, and then emptied the bag onto the floor. Then I said, "We need every bubble popped. If I see one bubble unpopped, you all run extra laps." Guess what happens when you put bubble wrap next to 30 kids, mostly ages 8-11? It sounded like a firing range out there!!!

Several of the kids decided to play a prank. It was raining outside, and so we had towels spread out by the door for people to walk on and dry their feet. So the kids put bubble wrap under the towels, so that when people came in or out, they'd walk on the towels, and they'd go "Bang! Bang! Bang!"

$100,000 World Championships of Ping-Pong
The World Championships of Ping-Pong were held this past weekend in London. In this event, players use sandpaper rackets. Yes, for $100,000! It was an all-China final: Wang Shibo (CHN) d. Huang Jungang (CHN), 15-11, 13-15, 14-15, 15-13, 15-14. (Yes, they use a weird scoring system.) Here are the Playoff results, and here are the qualifier double-elimination results. (Alas, USA players Bin Hai Chu and Trevor Runyan didn't make it out of the qualifier.) Here's video (54 sec) of the award presentation - huge crowd!!! Here's the Final (66 min).

World Championships of Ping Pong - China About to Take Over
Here's the article from Eli Baraty.

Serving Low
Last week I linked to the video and article about TT-Serve, the serving aid invented by Samson Dubina to help learn to serve low. But how do you go about serving low? Here's my article, "Serving Low"!

New from Samson Dubina

2017 US Open Highlight Coaching Moments
Here's the article from Butterfly, by Yu Di. (It calls it the 2018 US Open, but I think that's a mistake, since that won't be until this December.)

10 Fundamental Skills for Modern Table Tennis
Here's the article from Table Tennis Store.

Call for Offers, ITTF Coach Accreditation Scheme Revision
Here's the ITTF article.

Sportfist - GeoLocation Based USA Table Tennis Club Search
Here's the article by Tej Pratap Singh.

In Form at Right Time, for Miyu Nagasaki Improvement Continues
Here's the ITTF article.

DHS ITTF Top 10 - 2018 Hungarian Open
Here's the ITTF video (4:38).

Wonderkid Harimoto Doing His Thing
Here's the video (1:45) of the 14-year-old world #11 in training.

Melton Table Tennis Newsletter
Here's the February issue from Australia, with a number of interesting article. (Here's their archive of past issues.)

USOC Coaching Education Newsletter
Here's the February issue.

Sunny Li - Table Tennis Star, Marine Sharpshooter . . . and Model
Here's the picture - that's him, second from the right. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Some of you may remember Sunny as the kid who dominated junior table tennis in the U.S. throughout much of the 1990s. He stopped when he was 18 to go to college, then became a marine sharpshooter in Iraq. And now he's in a men's clothing magazine as a model! (I don't think this is his "regular" job.)

Inside Nikola Jokic’s Pregame Ping Pong Matches vs. Nuggets Equipment Manager Sparky Gonzales
Here's the article.

Long Distance Serve
Here's the video (24 sec) of Scott Preiss doing the serve in an exhibition.

Roger Federer and Bill Gates promoting the "Match for Africa 5"
Here's the hilarious tennis video (55 sec), with Gates playing table tennis 22 sec in for about 3 seconds, as Federer as his trainer. (Congrats to Fed for winning #20!)

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