February 4, 2019

Tip of the Week
Straighten the Belt, and the Rest Falls into Place.

Weekend Coaching
In the Thursday Beginning Junior Class, we introduced the players to fast, deep serves, using the same method I'd used previously: I put a water bottle on all four corners of each table, and a piece of string across the table about ten inches from the end-line. The players then tried to serve and hit the bottles where the first bounce was past the string. We also did a recap on forehands and backhands. We then finished with the usual games - up-down tables for the older ones, build and then knock down pyramids of cups for the younger players.

In the Sunday Beginning Junior Class, we focused on footwork, and demoed most of the main types. Near the end of the training segment we had a forehand-to-forehand contest, where they tried to see how many they could get in a row. (I think the high-score was 82.) We finished with the same games as the Thursday class.

In the Talent Development Program on Sunday (advanced juniors), we did lots of multiball training, and then a number of table drills, followed by physical training with various ladder drills. We finished with Brazilian teams. One of the players surprised me by his improvement - when we chose up teams, I thought he was one of the weakest, but he started by scoring the first six points in a row, and was consistently the best player the rest of the game. He practices regularly with his dad, a 2000 player, and is moving up fast. Another player surprised me with how good his serves are getting. I told him I could see he had been practicing them, and he pleasantly surprised, but couldn't figure out how I knew, at first thought I must have been spying on him! I explained that a coach can always tell if someone has been practicing their serves by how much their serves are improving!!!

JOOLA MDTTC February Open
I'll be running the tournament next weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. Events often fill up by Thursday or even Wednesday, so enter early! Most events have a 24-player limit. Use the Omnipong link and enter online!!!

I probably did at least 30 hours of pure volunteer work this past week. Something has to give - it's just way too much, on top of all the other things I do. (This is one of the reasons I decided not to run for re-election on the USATT board or continue as coaching chair, with both of my terms ending around March 1.) I spent my week:

  • Editing the first draft of the USA Nationals entry form (8 pages). It'll likely be out by Feb. 15.
  • Creating the MDTTC February Newsletter. 
  • Updating the USATT coaching tests, which not only are out of date (they still have USATT Magazine listed as a USATT benefit and other things like that), but to my horror I found that some of the answers on the answer key aren't correct, and some of the questions misleading. (I inherited this - who knows how long it's been like this.) So I had to go through the 20 questions each on the Instructor, Club, and State coaching tests and do updates. Also, USATT had lost the originals, so I had to copy from PDF versions and then reformat. We are working to get away from using such open-book written tests as part of coaching certification. We have been using the ITTF coaching certification process, but USATT is also working on developing our own Coaching Education and Certification Process. I was involved with this at the start, working with HPD Jörg Bitzigeio, but he's taking the lead on this, and we hope to have something within a year.
  • Reading and emailing with USATT board members on various issues, such as the U.S. Olympic Selection Procedures and on Fund-raising. I was more active in the Olympic Selection Procedures discussion previously, but I've had my say and for now am mostly out of it. As I blogged about previously, it's not even a board decision since the High Performance Committee makes these decisions.
  • A bunch of time helping one of our coaches with college homework.
  • Working on a feature article on a Chinese coach who needs the article to help with his visa.
  • Updating and printing hundreds of flyers for MDTTC. (Many changes and updates.)
  • Updating, uploading, and printing flyers for the upcoming Hopes tournament at MDTTC.
  • Cleaning the Newgy robot at MDTTC.
  • Sorting through the 96 trophies just ordered and received for the five MDTTC tournaments this upcoming year to make sure all are correct. (Technically this isn't volunteer, since I get paid to run tournaments, but I actually have someone taking over starting in April, so it's mostly volunteer now. Training begins next weekend at the MDTTC February Open - see above. I've run 204 USATT sanctioned tournaments, it's someone else's turn!)
  • Reviewing the latest draft of a possible letter to the ITTF on enforcing the service rule.
  • Reviewing the latest draft of my recommended changes to the USATT board code of conduct, which I hope we can vote in the Feb. 11 teleconference, likely my last meeting as a board member.
  • The weekly blog and tip of the week.
  • A myriad of other small issues and emails that add up, and allow me to use the rarely used word "myriad."

USATT Election
I'm not planning on taking sides in the upcoming USATT election, where three powerful table tennis people are in a Game-of-Thrones Battle-to-the-End No-Holds-Barred Punching Extravaganza over who will get the At-Large position I currently hold on the USATT Board of Directors. (Okay, I made most of that up and they all get along fine, but they are running for the position.) The three running for the position are Mike Babuin, Bruce Liu, and Lily Yip. All have long and extensive table tennis backgrounds. I'll link to their online election items as they come up. There should be a USATT news item on this soon. If you are an adult USATT member, you will receive the ballots, presumably sometime this month. Here are some election links that just went up.

  • Mike Babuin put out a video, Episode 1: Strategic Priorities (11:37), and said he plans to put out such videos regularly this month. (Here's the Facebook version, where you can discuss the video if you are on Facebook.) I agree with most of what he says in the video - I made many of the same arguments about the Strategic Priorities. (One small clarification - Gordon resigned as USATT CEO as of Dec. 1, 2018.)
  • Lily Yip has a news item on her running for the USATT board, which includes a link to her Campaign Statement. She's here in Maryland for a psychology seminar. She will be stopping by MDTTC this afternoon to watch our afterschool program.

Key Positions Advertised at the International Table Tennis Federation
Here's the ITTF news item. Here are current open positions - yes, YOU can work for the ITTF!!!

  • World Ranking Manager
  • Regional Director – Latin America
  • ITTF Foundation – Field Programs Coordinator
  • ITTF-ETTU Competition Manager
  • Website Editors
  • Senior Web Developer
  • Database Administrator

JOOLA Sponsors Maryland Table Tennis Center
Here's the news item on my home club. Butterfly was the MDTTC club sponsor since it opened in 1992, but JOOLA, which has been sponsoring the Talent Development Junior Program that trains at MDTTC, is now the club's official sponsor, as of Feb. 1. I'm still sponsored by Butterfly.  

2019 Pan Am Cup
Here's the ITTF home page for the event held this past weekend (Feb. 1-3) in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, with results, articles, video, and pictures. USA's Kanak Jha won silver in Men's Singles, losing the final to world #6 Hugo Calderano of Brazil, 2, -12, 3,8,10. USA's Wu Yue won Bronze in Women's Singles. Here are some links.

2019 Europe Top 16 Cup
Here's the home page for the event held this past weekend in Montreux, Switzerland, with results, articles, video, and pictures. SPOILER ALERT - Congrats to Dimitrij Ovtcharov (GER), who won deuce in the seventh over Vladimir Samsonov (BEL), while Petrissa Solja (GER) came back from down 1-3 to win in seven against Bernadette Szocs (ROU). Here are three articles by Steve Hopkins:

Table Tennis Serve - Where Should the Ball Bounce on Your Side of the Table?
Here's the video (4:24) by Eli Baraty.

Backhand Loop Against Backspin
Here's the video (60 sec) by Heming Hu.

How to Prevent Injuries When Playing Table Tennis
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

Brazil's Standout Champion is Pushing the Boundaries: Interview with Hugo Calderano
Here's the interview with the world #6 from Brazil, by Matt Hetherington.

Hugo Calderano Training
Here's the video (34 sec). Great angle. Note the placements - he's going mostly to the forehand and middle here. Here's the world #6 from Brazil (the highest ranked South American player ever), and just won Men's Singles at the Pan Am Cup over USA's Kanak Jha. Now you see what Kanak was facing!

Liu Guoliang Clear the Air on Ma Long's Current Situation
Here's the article with links to video.

New from Lily Zhang

New from Samson Dubina

New from Steve Hopkins

TTTeam USA ITTF World Ranking Report - February 2019
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

Table Tennis Culture in Belgium
Here's the article by Eli Baraty.

Extrospection in Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Baggaley on Top of World Again
Here's the article on Andrew Baggaley winning the ping pong world championships for the third time. (That's a $100,000 tournament with sandpaper rackets.) Here's the home page for the event, which I linked to last week.

Thanh Banh Memorial Open
Here's the article and lots of videos.

Smash Ping Pong Bar Opens on Long Island
Here's the article and video (52 sec) from NY Newsday.

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Seven of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "Annual US Table Tennis Youth Cup, 1996." Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 22 is 469 pages with 1447 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1996-97 - 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!

Windy City LIVE -- Amazing Kids: Table Tennis Superstars
Here's the video (5:50) featuring Sid and Nandan Naresh.

Jim Butler at the Dynamic Sports Training 3rd Annual Ping Pong for Charity
Here's the video (6:52). Others there (besides 4-time U.S. Men's Champion and Olympian Butler) include Houston Astros 1st Baseman Tyler White and Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey.

Pong on the Promenade
Here's the video (1:42). Toward the end a dinosaur shows up!

Truls Möregårdh and Alex Naumi Battling on a Rather Large Table
Here's the video (35 sec) of the two stars from Sweden and Finland. It must be a hot day!

Chinese Mini-Pong Training
Here's the video (11 sec)! Can you name the players?

The Ping-Pong Man
Scott Preiss is The Ping-Pong Man. Here's a new video (69 sec) featuring him by Jim Butler. "Scott Preiss "The Ping Pong Man" is the most entertaining man in table tennis. Just recently in a tournament, he made one of the most amazing shots in table tennis. (Jim also shows this in his video.) I'm not sure what the odds are of pulling this shot off, but it's close to impossible because Scott has to guess his opponent is going to the exact spot he attempts the acrobatic shot, and all the timing must happen perfectly. What a shot!"

The Ping Pong Kid Has New Moves!
Here's the video (3 min), from George Takei Presents.

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