March 25, 2019

Tip of the Week
Advanced Sponge but No-So-Fast Blades.

USATT Committee Selection Task Force
Did your eyes glaze over just reading that headline? I'm on the task force, along with Eric Wu and chair Gary Schlager. We had three teleconferences, sometimes joined by USATT board chair Anne Cribbs and USATT attorney Dennis Taylor. The purpose of the task force was to sort through the 45 people who had volunteered for 19 USATT committees and make recommendations for the USATT board on who should chair and be members of each committee. It was a herculean task, made much easier by the herculean efforts of Gary and Dennis, who kept us updated on all the needed info. This weekend the board will meet for two days in the Bay Area in California where they will, among other things, finalize and approve the committees for the next two years.

As noted before, my latest two-year term as coaching chair ended recently, and Pieke Franssen has already been approved as the new coaching chair. I have agreed to stay on the coaching committee as a member, pending the board's approval.

Cary Cup
I'll be coaching at the Cary Cup in North Carolina this next weekend, and so no, I won't be at the USATT board meeting held 3000 miles away. I'll be in coaching four kids. This will actually be my first trip to the Triangle Club there since they were super-sized into the largest club in the country. 

Weekend Coaching
Well, it finally happened . . . again. On Saturday I put down on my todo list "6PM: coach at club," as I was one of the coaches in the Saturday junior league coaching session (it's half league, half coaching). At 5:10 I got a phone call from one of the coaches asking if I was coming in - it actually started at 5PM, as I should have known! So I rushed over and go there at 5:25PM. It's the first time I've been late for a session in about a decade, and only the third time since we opened in 1992. (Once I was late because of a huge traffic jam, and the other time I had my coaching schedule wrong.) So my record of timeliness has dropped to about 99.985%, about 19,997 out of 20,000 sessions.

I spent thirty minutes of the session coaching doubles. As usual, the focus was on good doubles serves, receives, and positioning. We emphasized attacking deep serves - too many of the kids were passively pushing back serves that were loopable. They are often playing to win, and figure pushing is safer than looping, but if they can't loop here, in practice, how will they learn to do it in a real match? Yeah, if you have trouble with a shot, you don't avoid it, you find every opportunity to practice and use it until you no longer have trouble with it - and then you keep doing so until you the best in the world at it!

On Sunday, in the Beginning Junior Class, we introduced them to looping against backspin. I'm sometimes hesitant to teach that shot this early as many of these kids are 7-10 years old and have only played for two months, often just once a week during that time in our class. But it's good for them to see the more advanced shots so they both understand the game and can work toward doing these shots. After the looping session, we had a forehand-to-forehand and backhand-to-backhand contest. This not only helps develop their basic shots, but is sort of needed - after learning to loop, most of them would tend to lift many shots off the end, and so needed to get back to the basics.

In the more advanced Talent Program afterwards we also focused on fundamentals, with lots of multiball. We also did some up-town table games where players had to serve and attack to a specific spot - and one of them was where they had to serve and attack the opponent's middle, which was relatively new to the younger ones.

Qatar Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event in Doha, Qatar, March 28-31 (with preliminaries on March 26-27).

Spanish and Oman Opens
Here are the home pages for the Spanish Open and Oman Open held this past weekend, with results, articles, pictures, and video. Here's the Oman Open Recap by Steve Hopkins.

Bruce Liu Elected to USATT Board, Savini and Hogshead Reappointed
Here's the USATT article by Matt Hetherington.

ITTF Level 1 Coaching Course - April 24-28, Flushing, NY
Here's the info page.

New from Samson Dubina

Table Tennis Short Game
Here's the article and video (7:14) by Eli Baraty.

Regional Collegiate Championships
They recently held six regional championships. They were livestreamed. Here are the results:

Four Tours, One Team: USA in Action Across the Globe
Here's the USATT article by Matt Hetherington, featuring USA players Wu Yue, Lily Zhang, Kanak Jha, Michael Tran, Amy Wang, Nick Tio, Kai & Aziz Zarehbin, Joanna & Rachel Sung,

First Appearance Of Year, United States Duo Upsets The Odds
Here's the ITTF article featuring Kai & Aziz Zarehbin.

US Para Team Lands Medal Haul in Europe
Here's the USATT article by Matt Hetherington.

Matchpoint Table Tennis Center Grand Opening a Success
Here's the article on this new full-time club in New Jersey.

Where Are They Now? Marcus "Ping Pong" Jackson
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

WAB Club Feature: Golden Link Sports
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Two Local Juniors Battle it Out at Table Tennis Tournament
Here's the article by Andre Stoner, featuring Dion Payne-Miller and Marty Stoner.

Ryu Seungmin Anticipates Close Race in Tokyo
Here's the ITTF article on Ryu's predictions for the 2020 Olympics. (Ryu won gold in Men's Singles in 2004.)

5 Reasons Why We Can't Wait for the Liebherr 2019 World Championships!
Here's the ITTF article. "Just 30 days remain until the Hungarian capital of Budapest welcomes the world's biggest table tennis stars for the Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships from 21-28 April."

Ask a Pro Anything: Georgina Pota
Here's the video (5:21) with the world #34 (formerly #11) from Hungary, with Adam Bobrow.

ITTF Top 10 | 2019 ITTF-Europe Top 16 Cup
Here's the video (4:53).

Timo Boll vs Fang Bo | Champions League 2019
Here's the video (15:17).

"I Love This Game" - Part 2
Here's the video (5:45) with lots of great shots. Here's Part 1 (6:26) from 2016. Here are more table tennis videos from MrTheportal.

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter Twelve ("1996 U.S Open Hall of Fame Banquet"), Chapter Thirteen ("Olympics - Part 1") and Chapter Fourteen ("Olympics - Part 2") of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "Olympics - Part 1." Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at 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!

Paddlestar Galactica Returns for a Full Month of Ping-Pong Madness for a Good Cause
Here's the article and video (2:08). "On April 7th, $200 will buy you a lot of dirty tricks for a good cause at 826DC’s Paddlestar Galactica ping-pong tournament. You could make your opponent play with their hand instead of a paddle, wear an eye patch, or be pummeled by ping-pong balls while receiving your serve. No, this is not your typical fundraiser–but 826DC is also not your typical DC nonprofit."

Xu Xin Smack and Catch
Here's the video (7 sec) - can you do this?

Crazy Trick Serve
Here's the video (20 sec, including slo-mo) - even in slow motion it's hard to pick it up!

Unbelievable Behind-the-Back Backhand
Here's the video (28 sec, with slo-mo replay).

Leon the Magician
Here's the video (1:52) as he does card tricks for the Japanese Women's Team.

Funniest Table Tennis Match Ever
Here's the video (5:25) of the exhibition between Jorgen Persson and Chen Weixing.

Paddle-Belly Pong?
Here's the video (44 sec) of the Saive brothers - Jean-Michel hitting and Philippe sort of standing there making faces.

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