April 19, 2018

Tip of the Week
If You Miss a Practice Session, You Will Know. (This normally goes up on Mondays, but I was away on Mon and Tue, and had so much on Wednesday that I decided to postpone it one more day.)

USA Nationals
It's that time of year again - time to enter the USA Nationals! You can enter online or with a paper entry form. They are in Las Vegas, July 2-7.

There are 91 events this year. They include:

  • Men's and Women's Singles, Doubles, and Mixed Doubles.
  • 18 junior events, ranging from Under 10 to 21 and Under, for boys and girls, with singles and doubles, plus Junior Teams for Boys' and Girls'.
  • 34 senior events, ranging from Over 30 to Over 80, with both singles and doubles, for men and women.
  • 17 rating events, from Unrated and Under 1000, to Under 2400, including the ever-popular Under 2200 tiered Super Round Robin (lots and lots of matches!). Most of them are divided into Adult and Junior rating events, so adults can avoid those way-underrated kids, and kids get to play other kids.
  • Under 4200 and Under 3200 Doubles, plus the new Adult ABCD Doubles with four divisions and lots of play!
  • Ten hardbat and two sandpaper events.
  • Two Paralympic events for Classes 1-5 and 6-10.

But the Nationals is much more than just playing and competing. You also get to mingle with your friends and peers from around the country, as well as perhaps a contingent from your club - a built-in cheering section when you play. (But make sure to cheer for them when they play as well!)

You get to spectate as the best players in the country battle it out, with you right there at courtside. You can follow your favorites around like a groupie! (Okay, go easy on that.)

There's also the equipment booths. It's like the Garden of Eden for table tennis players as the various manufacturers and distributors exhibit their stuff on huge, seemingly endless tables - Butterfly, JOOLA, Paddle Palace, Newgy, and more! There will be unending rows of sponge, rackets, shoes, balls, clothing, books (including mine!), robots, playing bags, and all sorts of knick-knacks from towels and racket cases to mini-paddles and keyrings. Plus there's the "shirt shop," where all players get a free US Nationals t-shirt, which (for additional cost) you can upgrade to something really nice. (I always do.)

There's also the Hall of Fame Banquet on Thursday night (July 5) - I hope to see you there, considering I'm winning some award! Come and see Li Ai, Dhiren Narotam, Norm Bass, Henan Li Ai, and Doru Gheorghe as they are inducted into the USATT Hall of Fame. (I blogged about this yesterday.) You'll get to meet and hobnob there with the greats of our sport - Dan Seemiller, Sean O'Neill, Insook Bhushan, the Sweeris's, Sakai's, Tim Boggan - heck, seemingly half the people from the USATT Hall of Fame will be there! (Here are links to the annual Hall of Fame program booklets from 1979 to 2017, which show that year's inductees and their credentials, etc.)

If you want to be pampered, for just $50 you have access to the Players' Lounge: Unlimited snacks, drinks, Wi-Fi, Games, and a place to relax between matches. Or the VIP package for $99, which includes the Player's Lounge plus a personalized locker and a Finals ticket.

There are also other reasons to go to Las Vegas, something about gambling and shows, but I wouldn't know about that as I'm always at the hotel or playing hall, or traveling from one to the other - well, mostly.) This year I plan on doing a bit more sightseeing, perhaps doing a Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam trip ($142 - I'm planning on going on Sunday, July 8, the day after the Nationals), or visit the Mob Museum or the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium.

There's also a USATT Board meeting during the Nationals - feel free to show up and watch as we solve the problems of our sport (or don't)! I'll be attending that and other meetings, as well as coaching. I'll also likely run a USATT coaching clinic, tentatively on Serve and Receive Tactics. I won't be playing due to shoulder problems.

Now admit it - you are either going, or you are thinking about going. C'mon, you're a table tennis player, you don't want to miss the Nationals!!!

Attacking the Half-Long Ball in Table Tennis
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

Dog Eat Dog Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

4 Quick Picks: Table Tennis Flicks
Here's the article, which features Balls of Fury, As One, Top Spin, and Ping Pong Playa. "If you are a lover of all things ping pong, these are the movies for you."

National Collegiate Table Tennis
They have five new articles!

Wie Love Ping Pong: Michelle Wie Raises Money for Hawaii Junior Golf
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins. "The celebrity participants included Michell Wie along with LPGA compatriots Danielle Kang and Paula Reto. … Other celebrity participants included actor Daniel Dae Kim, from the CBS series Hawaii Five-O, Miki Ueoka a doctor at Queens Medical Center, Jerry Foltz of the Golf Channel, and Hawaii News Now weather man Guy Hagi."

Raincoat Boat Pong
Here's the video (24 sec)!

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