March 19, 2018

Tip of the Week
Your Goal Should Normally Be to Win Playing the Style You Are Developing.

Serving Backspin, Tim's Latest History Book, the Flu, and an Irritating Writing Project
Let's go in order here!

  • Serving backspin. Too many of our local kids don't really have heavy backspin serves. So I'm starting to take it on as a project to solve this problem. Yesterday I gave a short lecture/clinic to eight of them, demonstrating this, and worked with them on it. The key thing is that some have developed the habit of contacting the ball in a certain way, rather than on trying to graze the ball more and more finely for maximum spin. Once they are getting decent backspin, I'm going to introduce them to the backspin game, and then they'll all go crazy competing at it, and soon they'll all be able to serve heavy backspin. What is the backspin game? Everyone gets five or ten serves. If you serve with enough backspin that the ball comes back into the net, you get one point. If it bounces back over the net cleanly on once bounce, you get three points! (Yes, this means serving high on purpose, but that's fine since they'll be learning to put heavy backspin on the ball, and it's easier at first doing it this way.) If you serve so the ball comes back over the net but takes more than one bounce, or nicks the net in either direction, it's two points.
  • History of U.S. Table Tennis: Volume 21. A proof copy would already be in Tim's hands if not for an irritating mistake. I did all the online setup, and the files were approved, and I was about to order a proof copy sent to Tim - but the cost was astronomical, five times the normal rate! I contacted, and they identified the problem - unlike all 20 previous volumes, while setting up the interior for this volume I had neglected to uncheck the default "full color," and check "black and white," so the software thought the entire interior of the 438 page book was full color! (It's all black and white.) It also turns out that the ISBN number is linked to the type of interior, and once set, cannot be changed. After going back and forth with them on this a few times, I finally did a run-around. I recreated the volume again as a new book. The software wouldn't let me use the same title, so I changed the title from "History of U.S. Table Tennis Volume 21" to "History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 21." Notice the difference? Yes, I inserted a comma. It won't affect anything as the title on the cover stays the same. Anyway, I resent the same files for the "new" book, and should be able to send a proof copy to Tim later today.
  • Flu. It's hard to believe, but for the third time this season I came down with the flu. I felt it coming on all day on Thursday (the day Tim left), and it came on full throttle on Friday. That night my temperature hit 102.6. If it had reached 103, I might have gone to the hospital. By Saturday, it was back to around 100, and by Sunday morning the temperature is gone - but I still feel like I just boxed Mike Tyson all weekend. (And I did all the work above on Tim's book while sick.)
  • Irritating writing project. There's a certain person, who shall remain nameless, who has wasted more time with USATT this past year than just about anyone this past decade. The USATT Board of Directors has had numerous discussions about dealing with this person, who used to have several USATT positions, but no more. Over the past year he has sent out an enormous number of long, meandering emails, many of them full of accusations. Because he was in a USATT position, I've spent an enormous amount of time researching his many claims, and invariably found them groundless, with many blatantly false claims. In October I finally told him I was done responding to his emails. He got involved in still another controversy in December, and is now making up things about me and others in his latest complaints to the USATT Ethics and Grievance Committee, the ITTF, and seemingly everybody else in USATT. (Some people should not be allowed behind a keyboard.) Sadly, I have to respond. I don't know if it's sad or great that the claims about me are so easily refuted - he claims I wrote things in emails to him that I didn't write, and I have the emails to prove it. But once again I have to waste time on this person, as do others. I've spent over 75 hours on his issues, and it will break 80 very soon, time that would have been better spent, say, cutting my nails. In fact, the USATT Board of Directors has likely been forced to spend more time this past year on this one individual than on the other 8000 or so members combined - and that has to stop. I will likely write more about this after his latest complaints are officially dealt with by the Ethics and Grievance Committee and the ITTF. It's sometimes hard to stay enthusiastic about USATT work when so much of that work is wasted time putting out fires by this person. Of all the votes I've been involved with on the USATT Board, the only ones I regret are the ones that put this person in a position to do all this time-wasting damage. I was warned about him repeatedly, but I just didn't believe it as until recent times I was seemingly friends with this person and had many intelligent conversations with him in person - but once he starts sending emails, he's a different person. Alas. 

USATT Actions
The actions of the March 12 USATT Teleconference are now online. Congrats to Dan Reynolds, the new chair of the Ethics and Grievance Committee!!!

Polish Open
Here's the home page for the Polish Open, held this past weekend in Spala, POL - check out the results, news items, pictures, and video!

How to Spin the Ball Like a Pro
Here's the article from Ping Pong Passion.

Training With Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Anton Kallberg @ Dusseldorf Table Tennis
Here's the video (18:06) from Arnaud Scheen.

You Don't Have to Be a Superstar to Make Great Shots
Here's the video (3:08) of the Top Ten Rallies by Quinn Baker (rated 1916, recently 1964).

Zheng Pu Jumping Barriers
Here's the video (10 sec) - a little physical training anyone? (He's rated 2618.)

Ping-Pong for Charity
Here are the latest pictures and videos.

A Perfect Performance and Lucky Socks
Here's the ITTF article on the Oceania Championships.

Timo Boll, Age 4 and Now
Here's the video (1:44).

Serving Down the Line

Chop-Lob Receive
Here's the video (6 sec) of the ultimate in "short receive," by Adam Bobrow (far side). I do this regularly with my students!

JENGA Ping Pong Trick Shots I Pongfinity
Here's the video (2:58)!

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