February 22, 2018

NOTE - off to do MRI on my shoulder Friday morning, so no blog that that morning. (See my Wednesday blog on this.) Wish me luck!

Help Fund Coaches to the Nationals for These Top Juniors!
The HW Global Foundation, which runs the Talent Junior Program at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, is trying to raise money to send coaches for the many kids they will be sending to the USA Nationals in July. In their words:

"We're raising $15,500 to bring the coaches that work with the kids all year to the tournament to ensure that our young athletes have the support they need to succeed in the sport they love. They will create a training camp for the kids before the tournament and coach them during the tournament."

Want to help out? Here is their GoFundMe page. There are 26 kids in the program, and I'm guessing that well over half will go to the Nationals. They are a great group to work with, and they are getting very good. (As of Dec. 31, 2017, they had 6 of the top 14 players in 10 and under boys in the U.S.) Disclaimer: I likely will be one of the coaches. (I'm in one of the pictures on the page, and think I'm just off-camera in another.) I work with them on Sundays, and coached two of their teams at the 2017 North American Teams. Over half of them started in my beginning table tennis classes.

Why should you help these kids get coaching? I'll let the page speak for itself.

Our Olympic dreams
Table tennis is one of the most popular sports in the world but is still growing in popularity as a sport in the United States - it remains one of only a few Olympic sports in which the U.S. has not medaled. The HW Global Foundation Talent Development Program, which my husband and I founded, hopes to change that. We are working to raise up new generations of table tennis players who not only excel at but are great ambassadors of the sport. Our 27 young athletes (20 boys and 7 girls) from the DC/Maryland/Virginia region train all week with their coaches and compete in local and regional tournaments year-round. They have Olympic dreams.
The next step towards fulfilling their dreams of becoming world-class Olympic athletes is for them to compete at the national level this summer. This July, many of our young athletes are looking to travel to Las Vegas for the U.S. National Championships, the biggest stage for table tennis in the country. To get the most out of the experience and maintain the team atmosphere we’ve worked so hard to create, their coaches need to come, too! The coaches have a deep impact on our young athletes - both on and off the table tennis court. Having their coaches at their sides at the U.S. Nationals will inspire our young athletes to compete with integrity and sportsmanship. 

The talented kids in our program can’t wait to show off their skills and sportsmanship at the U.S. Nationals but we need your support! We're raising $15,500 to bring the coaches that work with the kids all year to the tournament to ensure that our young athletes have the support they need to succeed in the sport they love. They will create a training camp for the kids before the tournament and coach them during the tournament. If you can help us reach our goal, you will be supporting the growth of table tennis in the United States and most importantly, inspiring our kids to reach for their dreams throughout their lives! All donors will receive a handwritten thank-you card from one of the Talent Development Program athletes and a video highlighting our talented kids. 

Shoulder Update
The shoulder started to really act up yesterday afternoon, and I had to cancel or get substitutes for my Wednesday and Thursday private coaching. (I'm still going in tonight to teach one of my beginning junior classes, with 14 students.) Later this morning I see a physical therapist, and Friday morning I get the MRI. (Probably no blog that morning.) I'll have a better idea of how things stand after these, and whether I can do my weekend coaching. If I can't, I need to notify students as soon as possible to cancel or get substitutes.

Larry Hodges Table Tennis Books on SALE!
My best-selling book is Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers, which sells faster than a Ma Long forehand. However, I have 13 books, including 8 on table tennis, and most are on sale at my Amazon page. Five of the print versions just went on SALE!!! Buy some, or The Spirit of Pong will come for you!!!

Capital Area Table Tennis League
The Capital Area Table Tennis League will be starting its next season soon. They currently have 17 teams signed up, and have room for one more. If you are in the Washington DC area (including Maryland and Northern Virginia) and would like to be on a team, or have a team ready to join, contact them at the Contact Us page.

ITTF Team World Cup
The 2018 World Team Cup starts today, Feb. 22-25, in London. Here's the news page. Follow the action!

Mastering the Backhand Smash
Here's the article and videos from Brian Pace.

Half Truths in Table Tennis
Here's the article from Coach Jon. "Table tennis is full of half truths. Players and coaches don’t mean to be misleading, but they can easily be misunderstood. … Here are a few of my favorite table tennis half truths."

What to Know Before Purchasing Used Table Tennis Tables
Here's the article from Table Tennis Spot. Or you can just use this table.

USATT Videos
Why not take a tour of the USATT Video Library? Lots of great stuff there!

A Special Tournament, Kanak Jha Grateful for Opportunities Afforded
Here's the ITTF article on the USA junior star. "Only 17 years old but Kanak Jha of the United States is a seasoned player; he has competed in four World Championships, two Men’s World Cup tournaments; now he is making his debut in the ITTF Team World Cup."

Michael Maze is Back!
Here's the ITTF article.

Doubles First, Proposed Olympic System Tested in London
Here's the ITTF article.

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

The Rhode Island Table Tennis Association is Celebrating 70 years of Continuous Operation
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Pong Road Episode 7
Here's the page, with links to all seven episodes, including #7 (11:12). They feature table tennis pro Rocky Wang.  

Navin Kumar on the Smile with Simi Show
Here's the video (36:12).

Table Tennis Stickers!
Here's a huge selection. Note that there are 28 pages of them!!!

Yea Ping Pong
Here's the video (4:58) - one of the strangest table tennis videos yet! The full title is: "YEAH PING PONG | FUNNY TABLE TENNIS FILM | TẬP 5: CHIẾC AÓ KỲ DIỆU - THE INCREDIBLE T-SHIRT."

Crazy Table Tennis
Here's the video (1:38).

Send us your own coaching news!