May 20, 2019

Tip of the Week
Recipe for Table Tennis Success. I had a little fun this week!

Virginia Sung Appointed New CEO of USA Table Tennis
Here's the USATT article. She starts work today. Here main credentials (from the article, and these are only a very brief outline):

Ms Sung founded and served as CEO of a number of large scale businesses in China, some with over 200 employees. She also holds a Bachelor of Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. As a player, she represented the USA on numerous occasions, including as a six-time member of the US World Championships team between 1993 and 2001, a finalist in the Women's Singles event at the 2001 National Championships, and the co-winner of National Champion Women's Doubles event in 1998.

I knew her from many years ago, but mostly as a seemingly very shy junior after she moved to the U.S. from China at age 14, when her English wasn't so good. (She's very fluent now, almost no accent.) She lived and trained here in Maryland for a couple of years; I had a few practice sessions with her. (She's a chopper.) She and I spoke for nearly an hour at the U.S. Open in December, and she seemed almost a different person - far more outgoing, highly savvy on current table tennis issues, and obviously very enthusiastic about the possibility of being the USATT CEO and leading our sport into a new era. (At the time she was one of many candidates applying, but she quickly moved to the forefront for many.)

It's a sad truth that she'll also face some prejudices. Not everyone will accept a not-so-tall Asian woman as a CEO. Some will try to talk over or down to her. Welcome to the darker side of human nature. But she's run large businesses so presumably she'll know how to handle this and other situations. 

At some point I may put together a list, perhaps a Top Ten list, of things I think USATT (and thereby her, as the "captain") should do to really develop the sport in this country. It's not an easy thing to do as any time someone from USATT tries to do something good for the sport, they face:

  • Politics - who'd have thunk it?
  • Highly opinionated naysayers with their own (often not so good) ideas. Hopefully not me!
  • Organizational inertia. It's hard to make major changes in a sport in the U.S. that's proven itself most resistant to change for its first 86 years.
  • Seemingly weekly "emergencies" that have to be taken care of. When I was on the USATT Board of Directors, I wanted to focus on developing the sport, but we were in an almost constant state of putting out the latest "fires," and so that was mostly the focus. Far more time was spent on this and various "fairness" issues (how to choose a U.S. Team, Codes of Conducts, etc.) than on actual development.
  • A lack of money and staff. Always a problem . . . unless the CEO or someone brings in more money. Local sponsorships are much easier to get as local businesses like to advertise locally, but getting national sponsors has proven to be very difficult for an organization that doesn't get much exposure and has only about 9000 members spread out over an area of 3.8 million square miles. (That's about 420 square miles for each member, or roughly one member for each 20 mile by 20 mile square.) Why would a big business want to sponsor a small sport like ours that gets so little exposure? Why would a small business want to sponsor a nationwide sport as opposed to something local? There are answers to these questions, but not always persuasive ones for the potential sponsors.

Here's the USATT Staff Listing - I wonder how long it'll take to get this updated to add our new CEO? C'mon, USATT, impress us! :)
***UPDATE*** - it went up on Tuesday! 

Weekend Coaching
In both the Thursday and Sunday Beginning Junior Classes, the focus was on Forehands Down the Line and on Forehand Smashing. (We'll focus more on backhand this next week.) On Friday I watched and scouted our junior players in league matches for two hours (as I did the previous Friday), and reported the results to the other coaches at our Sunday night dinner/coaches meeting. In the Sunday Talent Program, we're really focusing on basics, both strokes and footwork, as well as physical training

Final Day to Enter USA Nationals
Here's the home page for the event to be held in Las Vegas, June 30 - July 5. Final deadline is May 20 - TODAY. You can see the current list of entries by player or by event. There are currently 719 players entered. Here's my blog about this last week.

ITTF Calendar
Here's the ITTF calendar for upcoming events, such as the Thailand Junior & Cadet Open (Bangkok, Thailand, May 15-19) and the China Open (Shenzhen, China, May 30 - June 2).

Slovenia Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event held in Otocec, Slovenia, May 8-12, 2019, with complete results, news, photos, and video. Here's the article Zhang Upsets Order to Finish in Slovenia Quarterfinal by Matt Hetherington, featuring USA's Lily Zhang.

Croatia Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event held in Zagreb, Croatia, May 14-18, 2019, with complete results, news, photos, and video. Here are some links.

ITTF Level 3 Course in Akron, Ohio at Samson Dubina Academy
Here's the info page for the course, held Sept. 4-11. Here's what was posted about on Facebook - I've combined it into one paragraph:

We are delighted to announce that the NEW Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy will be hosting an ITTF Level 3 Course here in Akron, Ohio on Sep 4-11. Christian Lillieroos will be the course conductor! This is the ONLY ITTF Level 3 course worldwide in 2019 (in English) and we ONLY have 20 spots available. The early-bird deadline is June 1st, but I won't wait until then. It will likely fill up in the next 1-2 months. Register NOW This will likely be the only time during the next 5-10 years that we will offer a level 3 course here in Ohio. To be eligible for the course, you must have passed level 2 with a score high enough to take the level 3. If you have questions about your eligibility, please send me a message. See you soon at the NEW Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy in Akron, Ohio, USA.

New from Tom Lodziak

Recommending a Racket
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Breaking New Group, First for Southern India
Here's the ITTF article on the ITTF courses ran in India by USA's Richard McAfee.

Dexter St Louis, Caribbean Stalwart, Passes Away
Here's the ITTF article.

Wang Chen and Victor Liu Arbitration Demand
Here is the Demand for Arbitration (65 pages, but main document is 11 pages, the rest "Exhibits"). They are taking USTT to Arbitration over the Olympic and Pan Am Selections. I have not fact-checked this. USATT will no doubt have their own side to this, though I expect it won't go public until after the Arbitration. Here is the USATT Selection Procedures Page.

Fort Lauderdale to Host World Veteran Tour Event
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington, on the event to be held in Fort Lauderdale, Oct. 17-20, 2019.

Jenson Van Emburgh's Exceptional Performance at World's Biggest Para Event
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

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

ITTF Pilot Testing "Thickness measurement on dismantled rubbers" Project
Here's the ITTF article.

Table Tennis Tidbits #46
Here's the article by Robert Ho, "Li’l Liu", Big Bang. "At the '19 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Liu Shiwen of China, # 1 woman player in the world periodically for about a decade, finally won the Women's World Championship for the first time at 28 years of age, 5'3" tall, weighing 106 lb.  If the foregoing description sounds like that of a boxer, it's meant to be as Liu is a relentless fighter."

English Table Tennis National Junior Championships 2019
Here's the article by Eli Baraty, and he's not happy. "It's truly sad for me to say this but honesty is said to be the best policy and it pains me to say it but the foundations of English table tennis is at an all time low."

Germany in Decline? Rosskopf: Working to Revert It
Here's the article in Chinese, with an English translation (and some discussion) at

ITTF Museum
Here's a tour (4 min) of the ITTF Museum in Shanghai. Alas, it's in Portuguese, but it shows the many exhibits, including close-ups of the English explanations. Here's a pictorial.

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter 21 of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "October-December 1996 Tournaments." 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!

DHS Top 10 | Liebherr 2019 World Table Tennis Championships
Here's the video (6:35).

Unbelievable Table Tennis
Here's the highlights video (π).

Samson Dubina - Jacob Boyd Exhibition
Here's the video (42 sec).

Comedian Frank Caliendo Talks about Table Tennis
Here's the video (21:25, link should go to the table tennis, from 14:26 to 16:56). 

Backyard Cat Pong
Here's the video (13 sec)!

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