December 3, 2018

Tip of the Week
Style Disadvantage or Tactical Problem?

Weekend Coaching
On Saturday we had the usual Junior League, which is half league, half coaching. I spent some time working with many of our top juniors on doubles - I've sort of been put in charge of that. I worked with Stanley Hsu and Mu Du, who will be playing doubles together in three events - 10 and Under Boys' Doubles, Hopes Boys' Doubles, and Ratings Doubles. (If they can improve their positioning, they will do well.) In singles, we did a lot of work on serve and attack, forehand and backhand. Some of our players were following through off balance after forehand loops, and unable to get set for the next shot, so I spent a bunch of time on that, including demoing getting back into position quickly, even after a powerful forehand. Balance is key!!! (Dan Seemiller always emphasizes that, and he's right.) We also worked on attacking deep serves, and forehand attacking from the middle.

On Sunday, in the Beginning Junior Class, we ran the players through a number of footwork drills, then introduced them to the "Hard-Soft" backhand drill, which really should be called the "Hard-Medium" backhand drill. One player alternates hitting a medium backhand and then a hard backhand, while the other player plays steady. Then we did some smashing drills (one smashes, the other tries to counter or fish it back). And then games!

In the more advanced Talent Program, I spent the first hour or so feeding multiball - lots of footwork drills. Then we ran them through live serve and attack drills. We finished with physical training (ladder drills) and then Brazilian Teams. Afterwards, eleven of the coaches went out for Chinese food, where we discussed the players and future coaching plans.

Christmas Table Tennis Shopping
EmRatThich put together a nice shopping list, X-Mas Gifts for Ping Pong Lovers. I especially like the book he recommends!!! Since table tennis books are my forte, here are some choices for table tennis books for table tennis players, and that most especially includes you!!! (C'mon, help out us starving table tennis writers.) I'll start with my own books.

Want Novels?

Want Biographical?

Want History?

Want to Play Better?

U.S. Open Players
As of now, there are 555 players entered in the U.S. Open coming up in two weeks in Orlando, Florida. Alas, it's the lowest showings in many years. Why the drop in numbers? There was obviously the big change in format this year, and the change in location from Las Vegas to Orlando. The entries are now closed, but there are likely some entries received at USATT headquarters not yet inputted, and others might withdraw. But it looks like we'll have a little over 550 players. (I like 555 - the height of the Washington Monument, and a lot of other interesting properties!)

Regarding the new format, there there are two "tracks" (Elite and Performance), and rating events replaced by tiered rating events. This likely lost us a lot of players. But there are two ways of looking at it - one is that the new format isn't as good as the previous one, and that we should go back to the old way (which will continue for the U.S. Nationals). The other way of looking at it is that players just aren't used to it, and we'll get more entries as players get used to it, especially if we do some fixes on some aspects. Which is it? To be honest, I don't really want to think about this too much until after the Open, when we'll have a better idea of this. (Or at the USATT Assembly - see below.)

The other big change was going to Orlando. We had a number of very successful U.S. Opens in Florida back in the 1980s and 1990s, in Miami and Fort Lauderdale - but they were in July, and players came for the beaches. The beaches in Orlando in December are too cold, but it has other features - Disneyworld and Universal Studios. We'd hoped they would attract lots of players, but apparently not.

If you are at the U.S. Open and want to voice your opinion on this, there is a USATT Assembly at the Open on Tuesday night, Dec. 18. I'll be there.

USATT Members Who Are Actors
This weekend I learned that Navin Kumar will be acting and one of 16 co-producers of the movie Attack of the Unknown, which is currently in pre-production. You may have heard of him; he's a former student of mine (until shoulder problems led me to retiring from private coaching earlier this year) who's known as "The Bionic Man" as he has an artificial heart as well as Parkinson's. So there is now a Navin Kumar IMDB page. I wondered - how many USATT members (past or present) are actors (or related aspects such as writer, director, etc.) with pages at IMDB (Internet Movie DataBase). Here are the ones I know of (alphabetized) - comment below if there's anyone I missed, and I'll add them.

World Junior Championships
Here's the home page for the event taking place right now in Bendigo, Australia, Dec. 2-9. USA Boys' Team: Nikhil Kumar, Kanak Jha, Sharon Alguetti, Nicholas Tio; Girls' Team: Rachel Sung, Rachel Yang, Crystal Wang, Amy Wang.  Here are two USA articles.

Table Tennis Legend Liu Guoliang Elected as CTTA President
Here's the article. It was just a year or so ago that he was controversially removed from his highly successful tenure as head coach for the Chinese National Team. Is there going to be a "war" between him and the ones who removed him?  

US-Based Sport Squad, Inc. Acquires Global Table Tennis Leader JOOLA Tischtennis GmbH
Here's the article. In plain English, what this basically means is that JOOLA USA (founded and owned by Richard Lee, which was the JOOLA distributor for North America) has bought the German company, JOOLA, and its worldwide distribution. And I remember when Richard was an up-and-coming kid, training at MDTTC for years, and then winning national championships in every age group from Under 14 on up!

Tournament Play Video Analyzation
Here's the article and videos by Brian Pace. "Are you a player that really struggles in tournament play? Do you have a problem translating your training into a viable tournament performance? Have you ever had your performance analytics broken down in a way that allows you to exactly pinpoint what you did in tournament play? If these question still leave you with no answer, then the “Tournament Play Video Analyzation” program created by Brian Pace at Dynamic Table Tennis is perfect for you."

New from EmRatThich

New from Samson Dubina

  • Kids - Learn 5 reasons why your son or daughter should start playing table tennis.
  • Doubles Practice (1:29)!

Table Tennis Evolution
Here's the article by Eli Baraty.

JOOLA ASV Grunwettersbach a Crowd Pleaser on its Road to Title Defense
Here's the USATT article on the North American Teams by Matt Hetherington.
***BREAKING NEWS*** - Here are the Ratings for the North American Teams, which were processed on Monday afternoon.

JOOLA Teams Tournament Experience
Here's the article by Tahl Leibovitz.

Around The World of Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon. "I've noticed that people from different parts of the world approach table tennis in very different ways. It's possible to learn something from all these approaches. Let's start our journey in the U.S. and move on from there."

Getting Serious About Table Tennis
Here's the article by Connor Graham, from the Jewish Times, featuring the Baltimore TTC. "For the last 25 years, Goldstein has run the Baltimore Table Tennis Club out of the gymnasium at the Northwest Academy of Health Sciences in Pikesville. The club operates 11 months of the year, and when it started back up in August, it began its 49th consecutive season. Goldstein has been there since the beginning, when Fred Tepper founded the club under the auspices of the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks in 1970." (I went to this club numerous times in the early 1980s, hitching a ride with Dave Sakai.)

Peak World Rankings for Wu and Jha Display International Progress for USA
Here's the USATT article by Matt Hetherington.

Support Alexa Szvitacs, Suffering Life Threatening Illness
Here's the ITTF article.

Breakthrough 2018 Season Has Pech Feeling Good About the Future
Here's the USATT article by Richard Finn.

TopSpin Table Tennis Charity Event Set For Dec. 6
Here's the article on the event taking place at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.

WAB Club Feature: Seattle Pacific Table Tennis Club
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Pong Road
Here's Episode 08 (15:20). Here's their home page, where you can find the first seven episodes. They feature table tennis player, coach, and artist Rocky Wang. Here's their About page.

Final Countdown to the 2018 ITTF Star Awards!
Here's the ITTF video (50 sec).

New from Arnaud Scheen

Ma Long and Xu Xin Training Bulgaria 2018
Here's the video (11:01).

Ma Long Backhand Rips
Here's the video (1:28).

Incredible Rolling Shot by Chee Feng Leong at North American Teams
Here's the video (30 sec, with slo-mo replay).

Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast - October 2018
Here's the video (15:49). (It only went up on Nov. 26.)

Black Cat Table Tennis
Here's a site with lots of new videos.

Table Tennis Vlog in Missouri
Here's the video (3:42) from Keenan Southall, where he covers his recent tournament in Kanas City.

70 Side Table Bounces in 15 Seconds by Nandan Naresh
Here's the video - some are done "no look" style!

Crashing Into the Umpire
Here's the video (8 sec)!

Craziest Shot in Table Tennis on CNN!
Here's the CNN video (48 sec) as Chris Chen, sitting on floor and unable to see the ball, sticks his racket up and blocks back a smash! Here's an analysis. "Norwegian teenager Christopher Chen had no idea the can of worms he was releasing when he optimistically stuck his table tennis paddle up from the depths." (I linked to this last week, but now we have CNN and analysis.)

Big Paddle Pong
Here's the picture! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Here's my May 25, 2016 blog which has, in the last segment, 21 links to big paddle pong. While we're at it, here are three repeating gif images of big-paddle play!

Belly Pong?
Here's the cartoon! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Send us your own coaching news!