February 6, 2018

Vintage Film Reels
Back on January 8-9 I flew to USATT headquarters in Colorado Springs to attend a USATT/USOC Meeting on Coaching Education and Certification. (I blogged about it on January 10.) I also wrote about my adventures in the USATT storage area:

"After the meeting Mark [Thompson] took me to the USATT storage area, and I was stunned at all the boxes of vintage stuff – film reels of vintage players from the 1930s like Viktor Barna and Lezlo Bellak; boxes and boxes of VHS tapes from the 1980s, USATT Magazines, program booklets, and so on. It was way too much to go over in the short time I had there. I may discuss having a USATT history person do a visit and spend a day going over it all."

Mark Thompson (USATT Chief Operating Officer) agreed to send the four vintage film reels I found to Scott Gordon, who is USATT's expert on vintage films, in addition to chairing the Classic Table Tennis Committee. (Here's info on both.) Below is what Scott wrote to us yesterday about them, describing the contents of the four film reels.. Scott has also agreed to fly to USATT headquarters later this year to explore the storage area, in particular the many boxes of old VHS tapes.

I finally had a chance to go through and review the reels. I'm so glad that you noticed them and thought to follow up on them, because there were some very pleasant surprises. These are all 16mm, and all in good condition.  I'll describe each reel:

#1 - probably the least interesting is one labeled "Bill Haid", which is just a series of slow-motion demonstrations of basic strokes by some young players.  I don't recognize any of them, and at some point Larry should have a look - he might recognize them.  It's silent.  Presumably it was meant as a teaching aid.  It's labeled "1982" and that looks about right.

#2 - This is a Dunlop-produced film of Barna and Szabados from the late 1940s.  I already have a copy of this one, but this reel is in better condition than mine, plus it has the missing 30 seconds from my copy.  So it's good to have (and digitize), but nothing really new.

#3 - This is a staged exhibition between Bellack and Glancz, looks like from the early 1940s, with commentary.  I've never seen this one before, and it is very well done.  A great find.

#4 - This is the most significant find.  It is a film called "Table Manners" that was heavily documented in older USTTA materials from the 1940s, but a copy had never turned up.  Accompanying it was a sheet of paper from a film transfer house stating that it was unrecoverable.  Sure enough, the first 30 seconds or so are badly chewed up.  Someone obviously tried to run it through a bad projector.  But thereafter, it is in great shape. It features Bellack, Glancz, Pagliaro, Aarons, Halliday, and Fuller. There is lengthy footage of Glancz and Aarons doing their exhibition routine, and it is even better than the footage many of us have seen from Movietone/Pathe/etc.  This is a really fantastic reel, and an important historical artifact.  Aarons is incredible on this film.

I'll work on digitizing them during spring break.

If you want to read about these past USA stars, you can visit the USATT Hall of Fame Profiles. If you want even more, buy some of USATT Historian Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis books!

Eventually, what I'd like to see is a genuine USATT Museum. We sort of have one at the Triangle TTC in North Carolina that has a number of exhibits (mostly donated by Mike Babuin), but I'd like to see a building dedicated to this, with a full-time curator, where we would collect all our vintage USATT stuff in one place for the public. It would mean finding donations to pay for it, perhaps with the donors making up the Board of Directors. I may look into this later.

Butterfly MDTTC February Open - Events Filling Up Fast
We're getting more entries than normal for our MDTTC February Open, and some events will likely fill up in the next day or two - so I suggest not waiting until the 7PM Friday deadline! In particular, there are only 7 spots left for U2000, 9 for the Open, 12 for U2400, and 14 for U2200. The U2000 could fill up in the next day or so, and the others will likely fill up before the deadline. (I'm the tournament director.)

Understanding the New USATT Selection Procedures and Points System
Here's the article by USATT High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio. Here are other documents on USATT Team Selection Procedures.

First Time Ever, All German Final at the European Top 16
Here's the ITTF article. I mentioned yesterday it was an all-German final at the European Top Sixteen; here's the ITTF article on it. "Success for the top two seeds at the semi-final stage of the Men’s Singles event at the China Construction Bank 2018 ITTF Europe Top 16 Cup on Sunday 4th February; thus for the first time ever in the history of the tournament, which started life in Zadar in 1971, it will be an all-German final."

Grant Opportunity: 2018 Sports Science Conference in Halmstad, Sweden
Here's the ITTF article. "Applications are now open for female scientists and coaches to apply for a grant in support of their attendance at the forthcoming Sports Science Conference: The Science and Practice of Racket Sports for Improved Performance and Health to be held in Halmstad, Sweden from Wednesday 25th to Saturday 28th April."

Training With Patrick Franziska and Lubomir Jancarik at Dusseldorf
Here's the video (10:43). Franziska (GER) is world #38, Jancarik (CZE) #112 (formerly #94), from Arnaud Scheen.

Table Tennis "Weight Training"
Here's the video (34 sec)! That's Hugo Calderano of Brazil hitting, Mikael Simon of France lifting weights, and me wondering why I haven't tried this.

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Re: February 6, 2018

Can you add the link to 'Weight Training' item? It's misisng now. Thanks! 

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: February 6, 2018

Sorry about that! I put in the link.