February 5, 2018

Tip of the Week
Speed and Power are Easy with Good Technique, but Good Technique is Difficult.

The Three Types of Backhand Flips
It was another busy weekend of coaching, though not as busy as some weekends - two students were out of town, and with the Superbowl, we didn't have the adult training session. In the Beginning Junior Class we introduced them to pushing, and then the second half it was all footwork drills. At the end, they split into two groups, the older and stronger kids playing up-down tables (games to 11), while the younger ones built huge towers and walls from paper cups, and then we knocked them down with multiball. In the advanced Talent Program I mostly coached serves and fed multiball.

Perhaps the most interesting session was with a player who wanted to attack short backspin balls with his backhand. There are really three types of backhand flips, and he's the type that wants to know about everything, not just the techniques he works on. So I went over with him all three types. Many players and coaches lump the first two types of flips together, but comparing a regular backhand flip to a topspin backhand flip is like comparing a regular drive to a loop - one is light topspin, the other great topspin, so they aren't really the same.

  • Regular backhand flip. This is just a regular backhand drive with perhaps a shorter stroke, where you stroke up a bit more to compensate for the backspin, and put a light topspin on the ball. This is the easiest and most common below the higher levels. It's how I learned originally and still mostly flip, though I can do all three.
  • Topspin backhand flip. This is basically a mini-loop, where you really topspin the ball by using forearm and wrist, and grazing the ball more. The extra topspin gives greater difficulty to the opponent and allows a more consistent aggressive flip. The difficulty is the table is in the way, so it's difficult to lift short, heavy backspin. Many top players do both this and banana flips, using the topspin flip against balls that aren't heavy backspin, and especially against side-top serves that they can basically flip away by spinning almost on the top of the ball.
  • Banana backhand flip. This is the modern way, done by nearly all top players, where instead of trying to lift the ball up directly against the backspin, you approach a bit from the side, and put both topspin and sidespin on the ball. This way you aren't fighting the backspin directly, and you can backswing a bit to the side, so the table isn't in the way so much. Here's a video of Ma Long (3:25) demonstrating his backhand banana flip - not how he backswings from the side.

Kanak Jha Overcomes Intense Battle to Claim World Junior Circuit Gold
Here's the USATT article by Matt Hetherington on Kanak winning the ITTF World Junior Circuit Final in Luxembourg. Here's the ITTF article.  Here's video (28 sec) of a great point from the final. Here's the home page for the event, with results, articles, pictures, and video.

Europe Top Sixteen
Here's the ITTF home page for the event, which was held this past weekend. Last year's champions, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Li Jie, both lost in the finals. Congrats to new champions Timo Boll (first all-German final in history) and Bernadette Szocs! Here's the ITTF article on the finals.

Tom Lodziak Newsletter
Here's the newsletter, with links to a number of coaching tips.

New from EmRatThich

Planning Your Year
Here's the article from PingSkills. "So we have reached the end of January.  What would you like to achieve in 2018 with your Table Tennis?  … The first thing is to set yourself some goals for the year."

Long Island Ping Pong Prodigy Hopes to Make It to Compete in the 2020 Olympics
Here's the feature article and video (2:43) on Estee Ackerman.

Westchester Table Tennis Center January 2018 Open Singles Final
Here's the video (21:45) as Sharon Alguetti defeats Nuo Xu of China.

Taipei Elementary School Regional Championships
Here's the video (52 sec) from Adam Bobrow. "…almost 4,000 competitors and one of the 10 -year-olds beat me when he was 9...and he was runner up (just FYI). 48 tables and every match had an umpire in uniform and it seemed that every player had a coach."

History of USATT – Volume XX – Chapter 14
Here’s chapter 14 of Tim Boggan’s latest volume, which covers 1993-1994. Or you can buy it and previous volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com.

Craziest Chinese Table Tennis Points
Here's the video (12:24).

How to Measure a Net
Michael Levene asked on Facebook: Ever need to adjust a Table Tennis net but don't have a net measure to hand? Of course many people answered you could use a dollar bill, or even a racket (which almost always is 6" from tip to where the handle starts). Here was my answer.

"Just balance 8 pennies on top of each other, edge to edge. That's how I always do it, but it takes a few hours to balance them - it's so irritating when you balance seven and then it falls over before you get the eighth, and it sometimes takes me a week to get all the nets at my club measured. I usually end up gluing the pennies together, and then you have exactly six inches. Wait, I could have used a dollar bill???"

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