May 28, 2019

Tip of the Week
Why You Should Develop a Backhand Loop.

USATT Leaders and Editors
I've just spent an incredible amount of time compiling three lists. It involved going through the USATT Minutes, going through piles of old magazines and Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis (especially Volume 17, 1989-1990, page 272, which had lists of USATT presidents and editors), and getting info from Tim Boggan, Sheri Cioroslan (formerly Pittman), and Doru Gheorghe. If you find any corrections, please email me!

As a clarification, Presidents and Board Chairs are unpaid, volunteer positions. They mostly preside over the Board of Directors, including setting much of the agenda. Executive Directors and CEOs are full-time, paid employees, usually working out of USATT headquarters in Colorado Springs, who run the sport on a day-to-day basis.

The three lists are:

  • USATT Presidents and Board Chairs. Starting in 1934, we've had 29 Presidents (including three who had two tenures), through 2007, and since then four Board Chairs (one person had two tenures). The longest tenures were by Sol Schiff (10 years in two tenures), Sheri Pittman (8.5 years), and Elmer Cinnator and Dan Seemiller (five years each). All of the presidents were table tennis players, but only one of the Board Chairs has been.
  • USATT Executive Directors and CEOs. We've had 16 (the first in 1977), but this counts Doru Gheorghe twice (two tenures), and includes Bob Tretheway (who technically was only Program Director, but in reality acted essentially as Executive Director during much of his tenure), and includes a few who had "Acting" or "Interim" appended to their titles. Of the 16, 7 were table tennis players.
  • USATT Editors. This is my favorite list, since I'm on it! We've had 51 editors. Tim Boggan did the most issues, doing an even 100 in his two tenures. I am second with 71, also in two tenures (1992-1995, 1999-2007). Next up is Steve & Marie Hopkins (46), Otto Ek (32), and a bunch who did 20-30. Think it's an easy job? Look at the tenures of all the editors who came just before and just after me!

So . . . how many of these people have you met? Count 'em up! If someone you know has multiple tenures, you count each one. If there are two co-editors and you know both, you get one; if you only know one, you get 1/2. I know or have met 15 of the 33 Presidents/Chairs, 15 of the 16 EDs/CEOs (never met Haid), and 23 of the 51 editors, for a total score of 53. I'm guessing I'll have the highest score of anyone under the age of 60 (I'm 59). 

My Weekend

  • On Thursdays I teach a Beginning Class, 6:30-7:30PM. We had a big thunderstorm last Thursday, and when I arrived to set up for the class around 6PM I discovered the power at the club had been out since around 3PM - no lights! So I called up everyone in the class and let them know we'd have to cancel. I hung around for a bit, and then, as I was leaving around 6:20PM, the power came back! But it was too late to start the class up again.
  • I spent the weekend at Balticon, a science fiction convention in Baltimore, where I was a panelist and did a book signing. Signing right next to me was Dr. Gregory Benford, who (if you read any SF) you might know! Let's just say his line was longer than mine. I also shared a panel with Elizabeth Bear, and sat next to her - the panel was on "Characters with Agency," i.e. characters that do what they should do, not what the plot calls for. (The subject of the last few episodes of Game of Thrones came up quite a bit, where characters did what the plot called for, often seeming to act out of character.)
  • I was interviewed by China Daily. They are doing a feature on Table Tennis in America, and have also interviewed Cheng Yinghua, Dell & Connie Sweeris, Navin Kumar, and others.

Oceania Cup
Here's the home page for the event held May 25-26 in Bora Bora, French Polynesia, with results, articles, pictures, and video.

China Open
Here's the home page for the event to be held in Shenzhen, China, May 28 - June 2.

3 Weeks. 3 BIG Events. 10 Things You Need to Know!
Here's the ITTF article on the upcoming China Open (May 28 - June 2), Hong Kong Open (June 4-9) and Japan Open (June 12-16).

Chinese-American Lady to Head USA Table Tennis
Here's the article on USATT's hiring of Virginia Sung as CEO, from Xinhuanet.

The Importance of Small Steps in Table Tennis
Here's the USATT article by Wang Qingliang. (I helped with some editing. He's a coach at my club and one of the USATT National Team Coaches.)

3 Steps To Master The Backspin GHOST SERVE
Here's the video (8:40) from Table Tennis Daily. I do this serve regularly in my beginning classes to demonstrate backspin, and to more advanced players as an exercise they should do to develop extreme spin on their serves.

New from Tom Lodziak

New from Samson Dubina

International Table Tennis Training Camps
Here's the article by Eli Baraty.

Dealing With Frequent Table Tennis Frustration
Here's the article from Coach Jon.

Players at the USA Nationals
Here's the final list of all 756 players, by name, and by event. Here's the home page for the event, June 30 - July 5 in Las Vegas.

US Table Tennis Schools
Here's the home page. "USA Table Tennis School site is your resource guide to find table tennis school teams, clubs, etc… We are here to help provide you the tools needed to create a table tennis school program in your area. We are here to collaborate with all the schools, school districts, local communities, organizations, administrators, and students to introduce this wonderful lifetime healthy sport to the masses. Click on your state below to find current programs in your area."

Player and Coach Alex Tan Zhuolin Passes Away
Here's the USATT obituary.

New from Steve Hopkins

ITTF Steps Up Measures Against Boostering
Here's the ITTF article. "Boostering"? I've always known it as "Boosting."

History of USATT – Volume 22
Here is Chapter 22 and Chapter 23 of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "1996 U.S. National Championships" Parts 1 and 2. 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!

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran | Ask a Pro Anything Presented by Andro
Here's the ITTF video (5:31) featuring the world #24 from India, with Adam Bobrow.

Two of the Best Table Tennis Rallies You Will Ever See
Here's the video (68 sec)!

Best of Mattias Falck | WTTC 2019
Here's the video (7:31). The Swede has short pips on the forehand and made the final of Men's Singles at the recent Worlds.

Kalinikos Kreanga vs Laurens Devos - 2019 Belgium League Super Division
Here's the video (15:32) - Kreanga was, for years, the most spectacular player in the world! He didn't have the deadly efficiency of players like Ma Long or Zhang Jike, but everything he did seemed highlights worthy with the big swings from both wings.

New from Arnaud Scheen from the Legends Tour 2019

United by Ping Pong, These Players Find Community in a New York Park
Here's the article and video (15:08) from National Geographic.

Sidespin Backhand Loop Around Net Through Duct Tape Tube
Here's the video (13 sec, including slo-mo replay) of Matt Hetherington!

Ping Pong Dash
Here are at least 39 issues of this Japanese Manga table tennis comic book, on sale at Amazon. They are in English!

You're Not Taking This Policy Meeting Seriously Enough
Here's the cartoon!

This Board Meeting Will Come to Order!
Here's the cartoon!

Me at Practice, Me at Tournament
Here's the cat cartoon! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Non-Table Tennis - Tales from the Old Black Ambulance
This anthology featuring stories of the dead came out just today, and includes my story, "Ded Society." (Yes, "Ded.") It's the story of a dead kid living in a graveyard society that doesn't know about the living or where they came from. He's 12-year-old Charles Darwin, who in this reality died at age 12 (as he almost did for real) . . . and now he's searching for the origins of the Ded! It's the longest story I've ever sold (other than four novels) - just under 10,000 words (about 40 double-spaced pages in 12-point Times).

Send us your own coaching news!