October 22, 2018

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Ways to Be a Professional at All Levels.

Weekend Coaching
I did a lot of "scouting" this weekend. By scouting, what I really mean is I watched and studied our junior players in matches and practice and took lots of notes. Plus, of course, there was the usual weekend group sessions. Here's a rundown.

Friday. I watched our junior players in the Friday night league for 2.5 hours, getting pages of notes on a number of players. I spoke with each of the players on the issues I saw, including both strengths and weaknesses. Some problems I saw included:

  • Not using backhand loop
  • Not attacking the middle
  • Weak pushes
  • Standing in backhand stance as a ready position
  • Frozen footwork against a pips-out player
  • Lifting too much when looping instead of driving the ball more forward
  • Backhand drive too flat
  • Not enough serve variation
  • Rushing, especially when serving
  • Backs off table too easily
  • Grip problem
  • Getting too disgusted after missing a shot instead of getting determined

Saturday. I coached in the Saturday Junior League for two hours. It's not a "normal" league - it's really half league, half coaching. We did a lot of doubles the first half, so I worked with players on their doubles footwork and tactics. In singles, we had them play improvised games, such as where they score two points if they serve and attack and win the point (not necessarily on the first shot). We also played games where each game starts with the server serving down 7-9, but wins if they get both points on their serve, plus a few other variations.

Sunday. In the Beginning Class (1.5 hours), we introduced pushing. Then we did 30 minutes of regular stroking and footwork drills, followed by games. In the Talent Development Program, I did a lot of multiball and then worked with four on their serves for a time. Then we did physical training, much of it with various ladder exercises. Then all the coaches went out for dinner (Japanese food this time) where, as always, we went over each of the players. I brought my pages of notes for this.

Men's World Cup
Here's the home page, with complete results, articles, pictures, and video from the event that finished yesterday in a China-German final between world #1 Fan Zhendong and former world #1 Timo Boll. Here are videos, with time between points removed.

USA's Kanak Jha at the Men's World Cup
He became the first USA man to reach the main draw (final 16 in recent years) since Eric Boggan finished 7th in 1985. (Eric also finished 7th in 1982 and 1983, and 8th in 1980. For many years the format was four groups of four with the top two advancing to the quarterfinals, so back then players had to make the final eight to reach the main draw. Here's a USATT article that went up on Tuesday that better explains this, Kanak Jha Ends 33 Year Drought at 2018 Men's World Cup. Here's a listing of all USA Men's Finishes at the World Cup.) Ranked #67 in the world at age 18, he upset world #21 Arun Quadri. Here are two links.

Jha Reflects on Lifetime Achievement of Youth Olympic Bronze
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

New from Samson Dubina

  • Short Push (45 sec) - "When pushing short, most players error in 1 of 2 ways. They either slice it hard with wayyyyy too much energy and the push goes deep OR they simply touch the ball and it falls off their racket. You want to push with enough energy to impart spin but look to impart only spin, not speed. This creative little exercise has helped Sarah Jalli and many others to learn the short push. Check it out!"
  • Forehand Reverse Pendulum Serve (1:49).

How to Play Table Tennis Step by Step
Here's the article by EmRatThich.

Being a Table Tennis Player
Here's the article by Eli Baraty.

Dealing with Illegal Serves, White T-Shirts & Poor Lighting
Here's the article from Tom Lodziak.

University of Maryland Open
Here's the info page and entry form. It's on Nov. 4 at University of Maryland in College Park, MD. Running it is star college player Nathan Hsu, taking the directorial reigns for the first time. It's a double round robin event followed by single elimination. That means you start out in preliminary round robins at 9AM. Based on your performance there you go into a second round robin (with about seven players) at noon. Based on your performance there you go into the single elimination stage at 6:30PM.

Surveying USATT
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

National Collegiate Table Tennis Newsletter
Here's the new October issue.

Selection Procedures for the 2019 Pan American Games
Here's the USATT info page.

Butterfly Southeastern Open
Here's the results, video, and photo page.

WAB Featured Club: Wang Chen Table Tennis Club
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Future Olympians Train at Table Tennis Facility in Katy
Here's the video (1:48) featuring the Houston International Table Tennis Academy.

History of USATT – Volume 21 – Chapter 22
Here's chapter 22 of Tim Boggan's latest volume, which covers 1994-1995. Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. This chapter covers "1995 July Tournaments." Volume 21 is 438 pages with 1667 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1994-95 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

Soccer/Volleyball Pong
Here's the video (44 sec)!

Table Side Pong
Here's the video (17 sec) of Nandan Naresh! But Nandan - side balls aren't good in table tennis, so you lost every one of those points!!! (Next time you'll have to play off the edge.) Nandan, 11, is rated 2193.

Desk Pong Footwork
Here's the video (16 sec)! How could you possibly go through high school and not do this?

Disney Theme Song Challenge feat. Kanak Jha | 2018 Men's ITTF World Cup
Here's the video (2:22).

Hockey to Pong?
Todd Sweeris, a member of the 1996 and 2000 USA Olympic Table Tennis Team, has a 7-year-old son who's already a budding hockey star. A few days ago I emailed Todd the following, which in just seven steps would fix up this weird sport played on frozen water.

Todd, I need to get into hockey to fix their problems.

  1. It's played on a hard, slippery floor. They should use something grippier and softer so people don't constantly slip and hurt themselves, such as a rubberized floor.
  2. Without that slippery surface, the puck isn't much use, so they need to switch to something that bounces, perhaps a small, plastic ball.
  3. Hockey sticks are way too big and cumbersome. They should switch to smaller paddles.
  4. No one wants to lean down for a ball on the floor, so they should play on a table.
  5. To differentiate your side of the table and the opponents, they'll need a net.
  6. Scoring is way too little, so we're going to get rid of goals and simply score a point whenever someone misses.
  7. We'll turn it into an exciting, high-scoring game, played to 11. (Though going to 21 might be better.)

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