April 29, 2019

Tip of the Week
Rope-a-Dope Defense.

World Championships
Here's the ITTF home page for the event that finished yesterday in Budapest, Hungary, April 21-28, with results, and lots and Lots and LOTS of news articles, video, and pictures.

USA Nationals
Here's the home page for the event to be held in Las Vegas, June 30 - July 5. Entry fees go up significantly after May 6, so make sure to enter by then! Final deadline is May 20. You can see the current list of entries by player or by event. Numbers are currently low - only 219 so far - but they will likely end up with around 700 or so. I'll be coaching there, and am debating whether to enter one or two events.

ITTF World Rankings
Here they are, after the Worlds. Let's face it, the new ITTF ranking system, which rewards participation, just isn't working. Even after winning the World's (and the Qatar Open just before that), Ma Long, obviously the best player in the world, is only #5, behind three Chinese teammates who didn't do so well at the Worlds (Fan, Lin, Xu) and Japan's Harimoto, who also did poorly. On the women's side, Liu Shiwen won the Worlds and improved from #5 to #4, behind three Chinese teammates. So probably the best man and woman in the world right now are both ranked #4 just on their team!!!

Last Week's Coaching

  • I ran a two-hour Serving Seminar on Wednesday, with 21 players, as a fundraiser for the HW Global Junior Program at MDTTC. We raised $400, but with a matching donor, actually raised $800! (Here's the flyer for the event.) Seminar was supposed to be 90 minutes but we stayed an extra 30 minutes.
  • In the Thursday and Sunday Beginning Classes we focused on serving. Both classes had a mixture of beginners who were just learning to serve, and more advanced ones, so I had to cover both. We then broke into two groups, based on level. Some focused on spin serves, some on fast serves, some of the younger ones on just getting the serve on and hitting targets. After the serving practice, we did a number of other drills, including a forehand-to-forehand consistency contest. (We'll do backhands this week.)
  • In the Sunday Talent Program (run by HW Global), the focus was on playing points, so we had lots of up-down table drills, where the players had to start the rally out in certain ways - sometimes serving backspin to a specific spot, receiver pushes back to a specific spot, then attack and play out the point; or serve topspin to the backhand and then go backhand-to-backhand until the serve changes direction, either to wide forehand or to middle. Afterwards we had a coaches meeting at a local Chinese restaurant, which caused me to miss the 9PM showing of Game of Thrones, so I saw the midnight showing, and afterwards spent some time Googling and reading about it, and didn't get to bed until around 3AM, which is why this week's blog went up an hour late!
  • A couple of weeks ago I had a talk with one of our top juniors who had had a series of bad losses in tournaments. He was having trouble mentally getting into his past mode where he'd had many good wins. I told him he needed to remember his mental condition during one of those good wins - but he said he couldn't remember. So we made it a goal to remember this the next time he had a good win. Sure enough, he had a great win in a tournament. We talked about it yesterday, and now he can use that match as the one to emulate mentally. I wrote about this mental technique three weeks ago in Remember Your Best Match. It currently had 4827 reads! (But they all get about that many - last week's No More Excuses - Develop World-Class Serves with TNT has 4424. The blog itself gets about the same number of reads, with last week's at 4722.)

The 'Extreme Extrovert' on a Mission to Make You Love Ping Pong
Here's the article featuring Adam Bobrow. "Over the years, Bobrow has parlayed both his lifelong obsession with table tennis and endless, unabashed exuberance into viral fame, receiving millions of views on YouTube for goofy videos like “Enter the Snake: Twist of Fury” and “Excessive Ping Pong Celebration”. He’s also made a career out of it. As the official commentator for the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), the sport’s main governing body, Bobrow is known as the “voice of table tennis” to fans across the world."

Kanak's Deceptive Backhand in Slow Motion
Here's the video - link goes to a slow motion replay of the shot against Ma Long at the Worlds. Notice how he aims crosscourt, then at the last second, after Ma starts to move to his left, he switches directions for a clean winner? This type of shot - where you aim one way, and then change directions at the last second, are way underused by most players. 

Tennis Great Andre Agassi on Confidence
Here's the video (1:47) every player and coach should watch. "Focus on the right goal. The goal is not to win, winning you cannot control. … What you can control is your focus, determination, concentration and your discipline. … Be more prepared than your opponent."

Ouch I Lost (>.<) Learning From Losses
Here's the article by Samson Dubina.

Playing Offense With Better Defense
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Pro Table Tennis with Rowden Fullen
Here's a site with lots of useful coaching articles.

New from EmRatThich

Fan Zhengdong in Slow Motion
Here's the video (6:38). 

Difficult Start But Successful Finish in Ajmer
Here's the ITTF article on the ITTF Coaching Course taught in India by Richard McAfee.

Best of the Best--NCTTA 2019
Here's the voting page for Male Athlete, Female Athlete, Rookie, Coach, Rookie Team, Most Improved Team, Divisional Director, and Regional Director of the Year.

League Champions at Last – a Review of My League Season
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

WAB Club Feature: Atlanta International Table Tennis Academy
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

Paddle Palace Spring Open
Here's the article by Jay Crystal.

ITTF President on New Rubber Colors & More
Here's the video (28:23) from Table Tennis Daily.

Open Internacional Yucatán 2019 - Sharon Alguetti (USA) Highlights
Here's the video (7:57).

41 Fascinating Facts About the Game We Love
Here's the page.

Ma Long and His Marvel Action Figure Collection
Here's the picture. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) He just became my favorite player ever!

Table Tennis Shower Curtain
Why don't you have one???

Lily Zhang TATA Trick Shot at Budapest WTTC
Here's the video (55 sec) - she beat Ma Long! 

Table Tennis Gifs
Here's a page of them!

Ping-Pong Bandit
Here's the page about this great villain from Blazing Paddles! It's in Spanish; here's the video (link goes to the ping-pong scene). "The Ping Pong Bandit is a Western outlaw known for taking paddles away from anyone who loses a game of table tennis to him. He uses a special move called the "Bandit Slam-It" to ensure his victories. He also appears in a western "Wanted" poster, with a reward of $500 for his capture."

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