April 4, 2018

Head Chinese Coach??? April Fools!
Yesterday's blog was, of course, an April Fools' joke, something I do every year on April 1. This year it fell on a Sunday, and I was off on Monday, so it came out two days late - but note that I dated the blog April 1, even though it came out on April 3! Also note that I said I'd been hired as the Head Chinese Coach on Sunday, which was April 1. And most important, read the first letter of each line (which I've now bolded), which reads out (twice), "April Fool April Fool"! It should also have been suspicious that each line had a hard break ("manual line break") instead of flowing like all the other articles - otherwise I couldn't force the starting letters. (Plus do you really think I'm going to kick Ma Long and Fan Zhendong off the Chinese team if they don't learn English? Or that China would hire an American coach due to his table tennis books?) But some emailed me believing it was true.)  Here are my annual April Fools' blogs since 2011. And now to start planning next year's! (I did "Ping-Pong for Quitters" twice - once "announcing" it as my next book, then "announcing" its completion.)

Shoulder Problems and Private Coaching
Yesterday I sent the following email to all my students. Alas, I won't be doing any private coaching for a while, just group sessions. I'll also have to withdraw as a player from the World Veterans Championships (though I'll still be there doing coverage), and I won't be playing at the Nationals (though I'll be there coaching and attending meetings). 

Dear Players and Students,

Alas, it looks like I won't be doing any private coaching for quite some time, at least until the fall. I've been undergoing physical therapy on the shoulder for six weeks now, but it's going to be a lot longer. For now, assume I'm retired from private coaching, though I'll continue to run group sessions.

On Saturday I tried doing a two-hour multiball session. Feeding topspin isn't a problem, but feeding backspin repetitively puts a strain on the shoulder, and after 90 minutes I had to cut the session short as the shoulder was badly aggravated. Even before that the shoulder had been hurting. I also tried regular hitting, and while I can do it at a slow pace, as the pace goes up and as balls spray around, it puts a strain on the shoulder, which aggravates the injury.

I saw the doctor again yesterday. I was convinced I needed surgery, but he explained why I can't yet. I have a frayed rotator cuff, plus tendonitis and bursitis, plus abnormally tight shoulder muscles. My range of motion in the various shoulder muscles are all under 50% normal. The problem is that the tight muscles are pulling at the rotator cuff (impinging it), and that's why it hurts, and why playing will further injure it. So I have to continue the therapy which is primarily aimed at loosening the muscles. Once that's done, then either I'll be able to play again somewhat normally, or that's when we may consider surgery. But surgery now, he said, would not help since the tight muscles would continue impinging on the rotator cuff.

If you are interested in working with other coaches, here is the MDTTC Private Coaching Page. (Martin Jezo hasn't been added yet.)

-Coach Larry Hodges

Youth Talents Muster Energy and Tackle USATT Training Camp Head On
Here's the USATT article by Matt Hetherington. Most of the top kids in the U.S. are in Davie, Florida this week for the big USATT training Camp, Mon-Fri. They are streaming some of it live. I watched some of it on Monday, and much of the afternoon session yesterday (78 min). They have two three-hour training sessions each day, plus physical training in the morning. (The morning sessions appear to be live practice, while the afternoon sessions are mostly multiball training.) The sessions are linked from the USATT Facebook page - I think you can go there and get the links even if you are not on Facebook. I was impressed with the coaching - they have a great team: head coach Pieke Franssen, and Dan Liu, Maggie Tian, Wei Qi, and Wang Qingliang. I was also impressed with the players - the depth and level at every level is very strong, much stronger than most past years, far stronger than it was ten years or more ago. I had a good time spying on my fellow MDTTC players (Tiffany Ke, Nicole Deng, Stanley Hsu, and Mu Du) and coach (Wang Qing Liang)! I'm jealous that I'm not down there. Here's the link to this morning's session, 9AM-Noon. (That's Matt Hetherington operating the roving camera.)

Grand Opening of Glen Head Table Tennis Center & Chess Academy
Here's their announcement - they open in Glen Head, NY, this Friday, April 6.

Ready for Action to Begin, Quadri Aruna Optimistic
Here's the ITTF article on Quadri and the Commonwealth Games.

Table Tennis Tidbits #22
The 2016 Korean Open - Championship goes (due to a) South(paw), by Robert Ho.

History of USATT – Volume XX – Chapter 22
Here’s chapter 22 of Tim Boggan’s latest volume, which covers 1993-1994. Or you can buy it and previous volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Chapter 22 covers "Mar/Apr 1994 - International Tournaments."

Young Michael Maze - Damien Delobbe 1998 YOUTH TOP 12 Table Tennis
Here's the video (8:01).

Big Paddle Pong
Here's the picture! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Yes, the paddles are bigger than the kids!

Chen Weixing's Secret Training
Here's the video (60 sec)!

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