February 16, 2018

Yes, it's Usa Team Zelection (UTZ*) Day, the day I start looking into how USATT chooses its National Teams. I blogged about this on January 22 blog, where I wrote, "However, right now I'm just too busy to look into it too much, but I plan to do so in February, probably after I run the MDTTC February Open (Feb. 10-11)."
[*Our High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio and our long-time National Men's Coach Stefan Feth are both German, and in really bad movies the Germans always pronounce "S" words with a Z, so I'm going with "Zelection" here. And I'm suddenly craving potato chips. Yeah, it looks more like a Pringles, but close enough.]

Now, While Hodges Yielding a Mesmerizing Editorial (WHYME) on this, where I rip into any little thing I don't like, may be entertaining, that's not gonna happen. Instead, I'm going to hedge a bit here as while Hodges Endeavors this Day to Grok Everything (HEDGE), that doesn't mean I'm going to hash it all out in public, as some would like to see it done. After I've gone over all the materials, I'll either agree with it completely; find some small recommendations; find larger problems and make recommendations; or come up with my own plan that I'd recommend to the USATT High Performance Committee. But after Hodges Evaluates Long-term Plans and Makes Evaluations (HELPME), I'll first share anything I come up with to our HPD (Jörg) for comment as a first step. So no, I'm not going to Try to Tackle This In a Public Skirmish (TTTIPS). I will Study Every Regulation In Our Usatt Schemes (SERIOUS) to see if there are ways I think we can improve. (Yes, this is a serious issue, but allow me my fun.)

This Is Probably Our First Time Hodges Ever Will Examine Every Key (TIPOFTHEWEEK) to our National Team Selection, where he looks at all Team Rituals that Usatt Might Plan to Lead our Inevitable Escalation to Stardom (TRUMPLIES). (Hey, that was just a coincidence! Really!)

Some, like Bruce Liu (from Bay Area Table Tennis) and Rajul Sheth (also Bay Area, ICC Director and USATT board member) have approached me about our team selection process, and so I'm now starting the Hodges Initiative for Bruce and Rajul to Unite in our Common Endeavor (HIBRUCE). I hope to work fast and Find A Solution Today (FAST)!

Feel free to post below your own silly acronyms on this topic. Please don't make me read them. (But I will.)

House Update
As I blogged previously, coaches Ruichao Alex Chen, Wang Qing Liang, and Wu Jiachen moved in with me a few days ago, with MDTTC renting the first two floors of my townhouse for them. (I live on the third floor.) I had to do a lot of costly things to get the place ready for them.  Costs so far: Cleaning: $457; Handyman: $796; Locksmith $120; plumber $332. I've agreed to spend $1000 on new carpets. So total costs for me (so far) are about $2700. Next week: replacing two windows, probaby about $300. 

Thursday Beginning Junior Class
Yesterday's session had 14 players, with coaches John and Martin assisting. We divided the hour into three parts. Part 1 was serve practice, where I gave a short demo (we've covered this already), and gave them the choice on whether to work on fast serves or spin serves. Part 2 was smashing. After a demo, they went out on the tables and did this, mostly three at a time (others practiced or picked up balls) where the coach fed multiball - one to wide backhand, one to middle, one to wide forehand - and then rotated back while the others took their turn. Part 3 was games, where the players had their choice on either playing King of the Table or trying to smack my infamous Gatorade bottle of "worm juice" as I fed multiball (3 shots per player, rotating) - if they did, I had to drink it. As it happened, every player wanted to make me worm juice (despite my admonitions that "Friends don't make friends drink worm juice"), and so there was no King of the Table. I drank much worm juice.

World's Worst Ping-Pong Excuse?
On Wednesday I was coaching a kid (age 12) who normally works very hard. But this time he seemed distracted when doing footwork drills, and kept stopping to stretch and to examine his leg. I finally asked him why he wasn't trying harder, and this is what he said: "There's no blood in my leg." I think I've heard it all now.

Learning to Whip My Forehand with Eli Baraty
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak. "One of my team-mates Daniel Hearne-Potton (a rapidly improving cadet player) recently said to me, 'Tom, you’re quite good at table tennis, but your technique is terrible.'"

How To Improve Your Speed In Table Tennis
Here's the article from Table Tennis Store. "We have all heard of fast and slow twitch fibers in muscles — in almost every sport the secret to improving your athletic skill is to make your muscles not only stronger but also faster. Fast muscles give you a big advantage in almost all sport related skills but especially in fast reaction sports."

Defending Table Tennis Serves
Here's the article by Coach Jon. "What makes a great serve? For a lot of players the answer is a variation of what once was used to identify obscenity; 'I know it when I see it.'"

Cal Table Tennis: Road to NCTTA Regionals and Nationals!
They are doing a fundraiser to send Cal Table Tennis to the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA).

USATT Insider
Here's the issue that came out Wednesday.

“I will try to win the title next year”: Dimitrij Ovtcharov looks back on Montreux display
Here's the ITTF article on Ovtcharov's thoughts on failing to win his fourth consecutive Europe Top 16 title (losing the final this year to teammate Timo Boll).

Table Tennis England (Current State of Affairs)
Here's the article by Eli Baraty. He's not happy.

A Plucky Paralympic Point
Here's the video (43 sec, from 2014) - if he can get this many balls back (from the floor), why can't you?

Down-the-Line, Around-the-Bottle Serve
Here's the video (18 sec)!

Under 12 Finalists at the Butterfly MDTTC Open - Animated!
Here are five photos of the top four finishers - animated! (May take a few seconds to load.) L-R: Kay O'Hara (3rd); Mu Du (1st); Lance Wei (4th); and Andy Wu (2nd).

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