June 24, 2019

Tip of the Week
Learning to Win.

No Blog Next Week, July 1
I'll be away at the U.S. Nationals - see next segment.

USA Nationals
Here's the home page for the event coming up June 30 - July 5 in Las Vegas. Here's the player listing (755) by Name and by Event. Here's where they will post Results. I'll be there, primarily coaching as one of the five MDTTC coaches. (We have an even 20 MDTTC players flying across the country for the event.) I'm also playing in one event - Over 40 Hardbat on Friday, July 5. (I'm primarily a sponge player and coach, but play hardbat as well - and I've won this event five times at the Nationals or Open, along with Hardbat Singles twice, and Hardbat Doubles 14 times!) I'll also be attending a number of meetings: Monday night is the Referees Seminar (I'm only a club umpire, but sometimes when our referee is absent at our tournaments I become the acting referee), Tuesday night is the Tournament Director and Club Administrator Gala, Wednesday night is the Meet the CEO Townhall, Thursday night is the Hall of Fame Banquet, and Friday night is the Finals!

As to the 755 players competing, I like that number - not only is it how many home runs Hank Aaron hit, but it's how I remember how many backhands I hit in a row with Ben Nisbet at the 1978 Seemiller Camp in Pittsburgh - 2755!

Korea Open
Here's the home page for the event to be held in Busan, Korea, July 2-7.

Pan Am Junior Championships
Here's the home page for the event that starts today, June 24-29, in Cancun, Mexico. USA Boys' Team is Victor Liu, Michael Tran, Sharon Alguetti, and Nikhil Kumar. USA Girls' Team is Rachel Sung, Rachel Yang, Amy Wang, and Crystal Wang. Here's Victor Liu training there (21 sec). 

Top Ten Reasons You Might Not Be as Good at Table Tennis as You Could Be

  1. You don't think you have enough talent, when long-term training almost always overcomes any such lack of talent.
  2. You've mistaken your bad playing habits for playing style.
  3. You have faced really good serves and yet have made no serious attempt to learn them yourself.
  4. You are too nervous in tournament or league matches because you've never studied Sports Psychology.
  5. You have the physical fitness of a couch potato.
  6. You don't practice as much as you should - which not only would make you better, but will improve your physical fitness.
  7. You mostly play games instead of doing drills that focus on specific aspects of the game you need to work on.
  8. You are strongly opinionated about how the game is played and so don't learn from coaches and top players.
  9. You've developed playing habits that allow you to win now against players around your level, but don't work well against stronger players, and you simply can't bring yourself to change the way you play and risk losing against your peers.
  10. You have nice strokes but don't really know how to use them. See Tip above (Learning to Win), or perhaps a book on Tactics - like Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!

Last Week's Coaching and Boy Is My Arm Sore!
We had a special session on Sunday just for the junior players from MDTTC going to the Nationals. I had a simple task - they rotated about so I served to all of them, so they could work on their receive. I ended up doing this for 70 minutes straight!!! (Other coaches also served to them.) About five minutes into it I went to my bag and got the old armband I used to wear when I had arm problems, and it basically saved me - without it, my are would have been INJURED instead of SORE. (My arm is actually okay now, thanks to that armband.) The kids got great practice out of it as I gave them the full variety of serves - short, half-long (so second bounce is right near the edge), long, with lots and Lots and LOTS of variation. After that we did another interesting drill, where the player served backspin or no-spin, and I intentionally pushed back high so they could work on their put-away skills. So often us coaches have them work on attacking off good pushes that we forget that in matches they get lots of WEAK pushes, and need to be super consistent in putting them away.

In the final session of the Thursday Beginning Class, we mostly did player's choice, where the player gets to choose what to work on. In the Sunday Beginning Class, we had a general practice session, where we reviewed and did many past drills, mostly footwork drills.

Reads on Blog and Tip
I'm astounded, flattered, and humbled by the number of reads this blog now gets. Last week's blog so far has 8645 reads, while last week's Tip, Six-Step Training Progression, so far has 7028.

Recent Tribulations
Recently I've faced five huge problems. First, my car, a 1998 Toyota Corolla that I hope will last forever (or until they have affordable self-driving cars), had a number of problems, and I had to pay $900 for repairs. My computer pretty much died, and so I had to get a new one - and that was a big hassle, though John Olsen helped tremendously with advice and coming over to fix some problems. (But the nice part is I now have a HUGE 34" screen!) But I could no longer run Pagemaker on the new computer (it's way outdated), and I've been using the program for decades, and still use it for creating both Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis books and the annual program for the USATT Hall of Fame Banquet. So I had to learn a new program, Microsoft Publisher, which I used for the 2019 USATT Hall of Fame program booklet, which I finalized a few days ago and sent to the HoF president, Sean O'Neill. Then I had a number of dental problems on two teeth, one of which needed a root canal, and both needed crowns - so I've been to the dentist four times recently and spent about $1500 on this. Plus, I own a three-floor townhouse where I live on the third floor and rent out the first two - and my previous tenant left, so I had to go through a bunch of hassle finding new ones. (They moved in on Friday.) But all of these hassles are now done, and it's easy sailing forever from now on, right?

I Have a BUSY Travel Schedule Coming Up

  • June 30 – July 5: Coaching at the U.S. National Championships in Las Vegas
  • July 6: Visiting Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon
  • July 13-14: Readercon Science Fiction Convention in Boston
  • July 15-18: Touring the sites of Boston - Freedom Trail, JFK Library, the Museums of Fine Arts and Science, New England Aquarium, Franklin Park Zoo, USS Constitution and Bunker Hill, and perhaps even one or more of the three full-time clubs in the area - Boston TTA, Boston TTC, and Massachusetts TT and Badminton Club.
  • July 19-27: My annual 9-day Science Fiction Writing Workshop vacation in Manchester, NH
  • Aug. 10-11: Helping to run the Maryland Open (though Klaus Wood and Greg Mascialino are now the directors)
  • Aug. 13-14, 20: Touring Ireland
  • Aug. 15-19: World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin, Ireland
  • Aug. 21 – late September – once-in-a-lifetime tour of Europe – England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Poland, Austria, Greece, Egypt. Will visit lots of historical sites, but also plan to stop by ITTF headquarters and perhaps a few table tennis clubs, and maybe a Bundesliga match in Germany. I've been to Asia a number of times as a table tennis coach or writer, but embarrassingly, I've never been to Europe or Africa (of which Egypt is a part). But I've been to all 50 U.S. states! Someday I'll have another "Once in a lifetime trip" where I'll finally visit South America, Australia, and maybe even Antarctica. I wonder if I'd be the best table tennis player ever in Antarctica?
  • Oct. 3 - Back to coaching group sessions at MDTTC!

Hitler's Last Secretary and Ping-Pong
I recently read Hitler's Last Secretary, the memoir of Traudl Junge, who was his secretary the last two and a half years of his life. I read the book both as research for a science fiction time travel alternate history mind transfer story I was writing (SF is my outside TT interest - I have four novels and have sold 103 short stories), but also because I'm a history aficionado. Hitler's a major character in the story, but don't worry - it won't end well for him! In fact, there's a great scene near the end where Hitler, Stalin, and Chairman Mao are all in a room together and . . . well, you'll just have to wait until I sell it and it gets published to find out what happens!

On page 91, she talks about the most embarrassing thing that happened to her during her time as Hitler's secretary. In 1938 Hitler had a summit at The Wolf's Lair (where he ran much of World War II from), with King Boris of Bulgaria, Marshal Antonescu of Romania, Reich Regent Horthy of Hungary, and President Tiso of Slovakia. Thinking the events for the day were over, she entered from a back door and into the main hall, only to find she had burst right into the middle of a ceremonial procession of Hitler and his guests! She wrote of it, "I was holding an apple I'd just bitten into in my right hand, and two ping-pong bats in my other hand. My mouth was full too, so there was nothing I could say or do. Hitler and his guests looked at me in some surprise, but not unkindly, and I hurried off to my room feeling embarrassed. When the Führer greeted me before dinner that evening, I apologized and he said, in very friendly tones, 'Don't worry, child, kings are only human too.'" So from this we learn that they must have had a ping-pong table there!

New from EmRatThich

The Easiest Way to Instantly Improve at Table Tennis
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak, which features ball placement.

Between Points
Here's the article on what you should and should not think about between points, by Samson Dubina.

Training Video: Coach Li of New York International Table Tennis Center
Here's the article and video (1:31).

Alternate Ways of Training for Table Tennis
Here's the video (60 sec) with various types of physical training for table tennis.

ITTF Coaching Courses in the U.S.
Here is the listing. There are four coming up:

Reading the Game
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

China's Xu Xin
He's #3 in the world, former #1, and seems to be in the news a lot recently.

Japan Open Highlights

Wu Hopeful to Lock Down Elusive Title
Here's the article on Wu Yue, by Matt Hetherington.

Seeking One Step Higher, Sharon Alguetti and Amy Wang
Here's the ITTF article on the two USA stars.

Hopes Selection Camp Marks Beginning of Hopes 2.0 Pathway
Here's the ITTF article on the Hopes camp held in Shanghai, China, June 4-11. Two USA kids qualified and attended, Nandan Naresh and Emily Tan, and USA Coach Ma Tianyue was one of the eleven coaches.

Incheon Provides Excellent Preparation for Pan Am Juniors
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington on the training camp held in Incheon, South Korea. "Along with National Team Coaches Gao Jun and Qi Wei, the 8 players from the USA joined with players from Canada and top Korean juniors from their national team to prepare."

The LA Club Where Table Tennis Never Sleeps
Here's the article on the LATTA, by Matt Hetherington.

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

National Collegiate Table Tennis June Newsletter
Here it is.

National Senior Games
The table tennis portion was held last week, June 19-21 (Wed-Fri) in Albuquerque, NM, with 464 players! Here are complete results, care of Omnipong. I trained two of the players, John Olsen and Kevin Walton, with two hours of multiball training on Saturdays for about two months before the tournament, and they did pretty well - they got the bronze in 50-54 Men's Doubles, and John got a silver in 60-64 Mixed Doubles (with Ergita Maclaughlin). Kevin finished fifth in 50-54 Men's Singles. (Note - you can play down in doubles, which is why John could play in 50-54 Men's Doubles.)

The 2019 Endeavor Games
Here's the article on the tournament in Edmond, OK, by Christian Lillieroos, with results and photos.

Denver Table Tennis Alliance’s 5th MENSUAL Tourney
Here's the article and results.

Ping Pong Diplomacy: Korea United
Here's the video (10:02).

Ping-Pong Literacy
Here's the video (4:24) - this seems to be an animated ping-pong playing sheep that teaches children things like how to safely cross the road, about the five senses, shapes, about animal sounds, and so on.

Tiny Dinosaur or Lefty Iguana?
Here's the latest ping-pong playing dinosaurian reptilian - not sure which - by Mike Mezyan. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) So who would win between this newcomer and the reigning Iguana Champ?

Cheating at Table Tennis
Here's the cartoon!

Most Hilarious Match Ever Between Jörgen Persson & Timo Boll
Here's the video (1:45)!

Serves That Cannot Be Returned
Here's the video (32 sec)!

Ping Pong War
Here's the anime cartoon (66 sec)!

New ITTF Method for Increasing Ball Size Again.
Here's the video (15 sec)!

Send us your own coaching news!