February 2, 2018

Recent Coaching . . . and Frankenpaddle!
We had week three of the Thursday Beginning Junior Class, with the focus on footwork. There are 14 in the class, ranging in age from about 7 to 12, which I run, assisted by John Hsu and Martin Jezo. We demoed various footwork drills, including forehand-forehand side to side, backhand-backhand side to side, forehand-backhand side to side, and the 2-1 drill. (Backhand from backhand side, forehand from backhand side, forehand from forehand side, repeat.) Then we went into three groups with the players alternating hitting with the coach (live or multiball), and the others hitting among themselves or doing ball pickup.

The last ten minutes were the most disgusting in table tennis history. As I explained to them, I have a pet Saint Bernard (I don't), who slobbers everywhere, so I had gathered all his slobber into a bottle . . . and if they hit the bottle, I had to drink it! Suffice to say, my appeals to common decency ("Friends don't make friends drink dog saliva!") didn't work, and I was forced to take many drinks. Usually I do this with "worm juice," but I'd left my Gatorade behind, and so had to use a regular water bottle.

In another session I was working with an older beginner (under 1000 level) who was having trouble pushing in games - kept popping them up. We figured out the problem - he regularly practiced pushing with me and others, but in games many players his level, while they can push with backspin, can't serve with much backspin. And so he was getting no-spin serves and pushing them as if they had backspin, and so the balls popped up. After warming up his push, we did a simple drill where I serve no-spin, he'd push it back by chopping more down on the ball to keep it down (and where he has to create his own spin, since there's no backspin rebounding off his racket as backspin), and then we'd continue pushing, where he had to adjust to the balls that did have backspin.

At various times over the last two nights I've brought out my new weapon - Frankenpaddle! It's an oversized racket that I covered with old sheets of Tenergy 05 on the forehand, Roundell on the backhand. (I used to use Roundell on the backhand so had lots of used sheets, but I now use Tenergy 25, though I've been experimenting with Tenergy 05.) To do so required careful surgery of the old sheets, and covering the racket like a Frankenstein jigsaw puzzle. It actually plays really well - I think I'm about 1700 with it, mostly blocking and counter-hitting, and it's incredible for lobbing. (The cracks between the sponges don't seem to affect it much.) Here are some pictures of Frankenpaddle:

I have a long history of using over-sized rackets. I have an even larger one covered with hard rubber, which I use in exhibitions, mostly chopping and pick-hitting. I'm pictured using that one in an exhibition on the cover of one of my books, Table Tennis Tales and Techniques.

USATT Affiliated Clubs and SafeSport
I blogged on Wednesday about the crisis USATT was facing in regard to clubs and SafeSport. Sure enough, we had a huge drop in USATT affiliated clubs. As Thursday morning, we had 263; by Thursday afternoon it was down to 138. As of this morning it's at 148 as apparently ten more clubs complied with SafeSport. So we're at 148/263 = 56.3% SafeSport compliance - or, seen more accurately, 100% compliance among USATT affiliated clubs, since the 115 who have not complied are no longer on the list. I'm pretty sure more will comply, but I have no idea how many we'll end up losing.

ADDENDUM (added at 11AM) - there's something wrong with the database - two problems. First, when I did a count of entries in the club listing, there are 155, not 148 as it says at the top. (At 20 listings per page, there are eight pages, with 15 in the last one.) However, as noted first by pgpg in the comment below, there are duplicates. I found eleven clubs that were duplicated, with two of them duplicated three times, one of them four times. So that means 15 duplicates in all. Subtract that from the 155 actual entries, and we have 140 affiliated clubs after dropping those that haven't done SafeSport compliance. (I'll email USATT headquarters with my list.)  

Europe Top Sixteen Cup
Here's the ITTF home page for the event this weekend, Feb. 3-4, in Montreux, Switzerland, with draws, results, articles, list of players, pictures, and video.

Butterfly MDTTC February Open
Here's info on the 3-star $2700 Butterfly MDTTC February Open I'll be running Feb. 10-11 in Gaithersburg, MD. It includes links to how to enter online, and to the entry form. There are 11 events. On Saturday: Open, U2400, U2200, U2000, Over 50, and Under 15. On Sunday: U1900, U1600, U1300, U1000, and Under 12.

Here's the great Promo Video (1:33) for the tournament, created by Mossa Barandao of PongMobile, who helps run the tournaments. Here's the Facebook version.

Table Tennis Books
Want to buy a table tennis book? Here's my Amazon page where you find mine. I sold 146 books in January, not a bad month. Why not order one and see what all the excitement is about? Or you can by Dan Seemiller's Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion, Samson Dubina's 100 Days of Table Tennis, or one of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis books.

Table Tennis, Reading Spin, or Is It the Amount of Spin?
Here's the article by Eli Baraty. "Most players can read spin; when someone cuts under the ball, they know it's backspin, when they hit the side of the ball they know it's side-spin. Only on the serve do people struggle to read what spin is on the ball, due to deceptive movements after the point of contact."

7 Common Beginner Mistakes in Table Tennis (and How to Fix Them)
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

Reverse Pendulum Serve
Here's video (67 sec) of it at regular speed and slow motion, Zhang Jike style. Not sure who the server is.

Featured Videos
Here are five featured videos from Samson Dubina.

Dominant Champions Take Top Spot at Triangle Winter Teams
Here's the article, with links to three videos.

Phoenix Chinese Week Table Tennis Open
Here's the article.

Pong Road
There are now six episodes up of Pong Road. This is the ongoing tales of Rocky Wang, table tennis star and artist, chronicling his table tennis travels. The episodes range from about nine to sixteen minutes. You can read more about it in The Story page, and about Rocky and director Mark Weismantel at the About page.

Best Ping Pong Anime
Here are links to three ping-pong anime shows. "Ping Pong is the focus of these anime. Training and competing in tournaments or championships are common themes in sports titles, as well as individual or team spirit, or being an underdog who goes against the odds to succeed."

Turn a Broken Egg into a Ping Pong Ball
Here's the video (43 sec)!

Send us your own coaching news!

Re: February 2, 2018

Re: clubs - it's even worse, there are quite a few duplicate entries on this list, I found one with as many as 4 (Sunrise TTC in FL).

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: February 2, 2018

See the ADDENDUM I added above. 

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: February 2, 2018

Yikes!!! Hopefully not too many.