Tip of the Week
Ten Table Tennis Truisms: Larry's Laws.
BREAKING NEWS - Olympics Postponed (Apparently)
Literally as I was about to post this, the following came up: 2020 Tokyo Olympics Will Be Postponed Due to Coronavirus, Says IOC's Dick Pound. So apparently the Olympics will apparently be postponed until 2021. Here's the original article from USA Today, though you may have to turn off your ad blockers to see it. "The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, likely until 2021, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told Christine Brennan of USA Today." Pound says, "On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided. The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know." However, let's wait for the official announcement from the IOC. (I've already got a flight and housing in Tokyo - I was going to do coverage for USATT and USOPC.)
Coronavirus, Table Tennis, and the Olympics
Below are some articles about the status of the Olympic Games and other events. However, much of what you see publicly is just posturing. The first article, from the Washington Post, hints at the reality, which I've heard from others involved. There's a simple reason the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is hesitating to cancel the games, or even give a deadline for when they'll make the decision. The Olympics, like most major events, is insured. The IOC has paid a lot for that, and usually it's money with no return - but this year shows why insurance is important. If the Games are cancelled, then insurance is supposed to reimburse the IOC for the huge amount of money they will lose by postponing them. (Cancelling is off the table - see articles below.) But there's a catch - to collect, the IOC has to "make every effort" to hold the Olympics. If the insurance companies can show they didn't, they don't have to pay, or they pay a lot less. So the IOC, even if they are almost certain they will have to postpone the Olympics, can't say that or they'd likely lose billions of dollars.
The good news is that, under tremendous pressure from athletes, National Governing Bodies (for sports), and from Olympic Committees from various countries (with Canada and Australia already pulling out), to set a date for when they'll make a decision. According to the insurance documents, if they are going to cancel, they must do so at least two months before the start of the Games (July 23, so May 23). Most of us thought they'd wait until May 23, but under pressure, they now say they will make the decision by "mid-April." (See for example, the last article, from The Bleacher Report.)
- Cancel the Olympics? Postpone Them? Every Alternative Has Problems. From the Washington Post. It gives the best explanation for the current situation regarding the Olympics and the factors that will determine whether they will be held, postponed, or cancelled. It also explains the public posturing by those in charge - it's all about insurance.
- Olympic officials concede Tokyo Games may be postponed; Canada won't send athletes in 2020. - Washington Post
- Shut the Olympic Games down, and do it now - Washington Post
- From International Olympic Committee. Here's COMMUNIQUE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE (IOC) REGARDING THE OLYMPIC GAMES TOKYO 2020
- From the ITTF
- Postponing of Olympics? from CNN.
- IOC considers postponing Tokyo Games but says it won't cancel them - from CNN.
- Postponing 2020 Olympic Games is a 'realistic option,' organizers say as pressure builds from athletic groups - from CNN
- IOC Sets April Deadline for Tokyo Olympics Decision amid Coronavirus Pandemic - from The Bleacher Report.
Han Xiao and Letter to the Washington Post
Long-time USA Table Tennis Team Champion Han Xiao (also 4-time US Men's Doubles Champion) chairs the USOPC's Athletes' Advisory Council. He's been quoted a lot in some of these articles, including the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Olympics Everywhere. (Some of these may require subscriptions.) He's been one of the primary voices calling for the IOC to set a date when they'd make a decision, more transparency, and other issues. (I've been messaging with him on these issues - he started out at my club when he was seven, and is now 34.) Here is a letter Han wrote to the Washington Post.
Hi Barry [Washington Post Reporter],
We don't have an official vote or position, but based on what we are hearing from athletes we know the following about postponement/cancellation in general:
1. Athletes do not support the Games being canceled.
2. More and more athletes are open to the Games being postponed, especially as their training has been severely impacted with the closures of facilities and their competitions have been cancelled.
3. Athletes who have yet to qualify for the Games are concerned about how they will qualify for the Games given that many qualifying events are likely to be postponed or canceled in the near future.
4. We would like more certainty and transparency from the IOC in terms of the process that will be used to come to a decision and when that decision is likely to be made. Although it's correct not to speculate, the message that we are going full steam ahead is speculation. We still have no information about when the decision will be made whether to postpone, and how the IOC will make that decision. What conditions need to be met, for example, for the Games to proceed? This is the type of information that we would like in order to have certainty that athletes and the general public will be appropriately protected.
5. Athletes are in a no-win situation where they are trying to continue to prepare for the Olympic/Paralympic Games, but they are finding it more and more difficult to do so and will need to take more and more risks in order get the appropriate training. They will eventually be endangering both themselves and the public in order to prepare to compete, and it will not be their fault. The decisions the IOC is making and the way they communicate those decisions is not just affecting people 4 months in the future, it is impacting them right now. We hope that the IOC starts to acknowledge that and adjust their communication strategy.
These are just some basic thoughts. Not sure what aspects of this you're most interested in, but I'd be happy to talk later if necessary.
Online Table Tennis Games
Stuck at home, unable to play table tennis? Here are a bunch of online table tennis games you can try!
- Classic Pong
- Hypergalactic Psychic Table Tennis 3000
- Eleven Table Tennis
- Table Tennis from Giraffe Games
- Table Tennis - Ping Pong from Microsoft
- Racket Fury
- Eleven others!
Table Tennis Books
(Non-readers - skip this segment!) Now that you are all stuck at home, unable to play table tennis, here's your chance to catch up on your table tennis reading!!! Here's a listing of my current 13 books, with links to Amazon. Here are the table tennis ones that are currently in print:
- Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers - The Tactical and Strategic side of table tennis. See the huge number of positive reviews at Amazon! This has been the best-selling table tennis book for much of the past seven years.
- Table Tennis Tips - All 150 Tips of the Week from 2011-2013, in one volume, in logical progression.
- More Table Tennis Tips - All 150 Tips of the Week from 2014-2017, in one volume, in logical progression.
- Table Tennis Tales & Techniques - The best writings of Coach Larry Hodges - both humorous and interesting stories and essays on technique.
- Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook - How to make a living as a professional table tennis coach.
- The Spirit of Pong - A fantasy table tennis novel where an American goes to China to learn the secrets of table tennis. Read the first two chapters for FREE! Here's a Review at MH Table Tennis.
I also have four more books coming out in the next two months! (You can thank the coronavirus for giving me more time to work on these.) The first one below is table tennis, the next three are not.
- Still More Table Tennis Tips - ~230 pages - coming in May. This includes 150 Tips of the Week from 2017-2020. It's my third collection, following Table Tennis Tips and More Table Tennis Tips. (After today, I need four more, so the 150th will come out on April 20.)
Here is a draft of the front and back covers!
- Larry's Adventures in Europe and Egypt - 181 pages - coming in late April. The pages are done - I'm proofing them now. This covers my nearly seven weeks touring Europe and Egypt last year, July - September. It includes about 230 pictures.
Here is a draft of the front and back covers!
- Trump Tales: A Taunting - 112 pages - coming in late April. If you are a Trump fan, stay away from this! The pages are done - I'm proofing them now. This includes eleven satires I've written about President Trump, plus two cartoons.
Here is a draft of the front and back covers!
- Still More Pings and Pongs - 193 pages - coming in late April or May. This includes my 25 best published science fiction & fantasy stories from 2015-2020. It's my third collection, following Pings and Pongs and More Pings and Pongs. The stories are all ready, but have to put the pages together. The cover is mostly done.
Here is a draft of the front and back covers!
Here are some other books you might try:
- Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion, by Dan Seemiller - a great rundown of this five-time U.S. Men's Singles Champion's life.
- One Hundred Days of Table Tennis by Samson Dubina
- Ping Pong for Fighters, by Tahl Leibovitz - going from living on the streets to championship player and coach.
- History of U.S. Table Tennis, by Tim Boggan, Volumes 1-23.
- Table Tennis: Steps to Success, by Richard McAfee. As you might know, I had my own book with this title, but they did a rewrite of it with Richard, and used the same title. My version is still on sale at Amazon, but only with used copies, so I don't get any royalties on these. Someday I might go back and update this and come out with a new version, tentatively titled "Table Tennis Fundamentals."
- Table Tennis with Timo Boll
- Table Tennis: Tips from a World Champion, by Werner Schlager
- Expert in a Year: The Ultimate Table Tennis Challenge, by Ben Larcombe and Sam Priestly
- The Next Step, by Alex Polyakov
- Breaking 2000, by Alex Polyakov
- Get Your Game Face On Like the Pros, by Dora Kurimay (table tennis sports psychology)
USATT Clubs and Tournaments Status Updates
Here's the page with links to USATT Clubs Status and USATT Tournaments Status. Or you can use the direct links to both:
Messages from USATT on the Coronavirus Crisis
Here's the video (7:34) from the USATT Staff - plus it's your chance to sort of meet them! Starring USATT CEO Virginia Sung, Marketing and Communications Director Chad Knasinksi, Director of Para Programs Jasna Rather, Marketing Specialist Tina Ren, National Team Coach/Manager Teodor "Doru" Gheorghe, COO Mark Thompson, Director of Business Administration Tammy Kuypers, Safesport Specialist Josh Dyke, and High Performance Director Sean O'Neill. "With the COVID-19 affecting our way of life, we at USATT want to express our concern for the safety of our athletes, their family and friends through this tough time. We will get through this together and we want to say to Stay #PongPositive!"
The Last Points at the Nationals
Here's the video (9:42) - from Jim Butler, it shows the winning point at Nationals going back to 1976. "Former USATT magazine editor and current editor of ButterflyOnline.com News and WAB Club Sections Steve Hopkins, chatted with me about putting together a video for great American matches. I thought to myself, "what's my favorite part of a match?" I decided it's watching match point, because of the emotions we get to see from the athletes. The USA Table Tennis National Championships made its official debut in 1976. I researched and pulled all available footage from 1976 to 2020. USA Table Tennis started doing live streaming in 2011. Finding any footage before 2011 is hit or miss. Anyone you don't see before then is because there's no available footage of that match. If National TV wasn't there doing the broadcast before 2011, then in most cases we have footage due to Sean O'Neill filming it with his personal video camera, or due to the winning athlete's parents filming it. At the end of this video our two young stars, World #25 Kanak Jha and World #28 Lily Zhang, explain why the U.S. Championship Title means so much to American athletes.
3 Steps to Learn and Develop Reverse Pendulum Serve Technique in Table Tennis
Here's the video (11:34) from Matt Hetherington.
New from Samson Dubina
Tip Tuesday | Reverse Pendulum Serve
Here's the ITTF video (2:57) - with Elizabeta Samara from Romania, world #34 (formerly #13).
Five Tips to Make Adversity Plus Failure Equal Success!
Here's the article. Here's the short version - but I suggest reading the article.
- Remind your athlete this is a journey
- Teach your athletes a growth mindset
- Deal with the challenges the best you can
- Highlight ALL the positive things that happen
- Make sure your athlete has a passion for what they do!
Coaching and Coronavirus
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.
Pandemic Ping Pong - How to Deal with Your Anxiety
Here's the video (1:46) from Dora Kurimay (sports psychologist and table tennis champion) - plus some improvised table tennis with a pot with books for a net.
US Olympic Trials Photos
Here they are! The first nine album here are all from the US Olympic Trials. The first eight albums are from Bruce Liu, which include: Women's, Men's Parts 1 & 2, The People, The Team, Liu Juan and Wang Huijing, Nikhil Kumar and Zhou Xin, and Danny Seemiller. The ninth one, titled "2020 US Olympic Trials," is by David Zhang, with 2773 photos. (No relation to six-time US Men's Champion David Zhuang.)
Back Off! – The Table Tennis Hokey Pokey
Here's the article by Coach Jon.
New from Steve Hopkins
- WAB Club Feature: Jung Table Tennis Club
- Match Point: The Biggest Moments in Modern US Table Tennis
- Pong, Flicks, and Chill
- A Table for One: Table Tennis and Isolation
USA Table Tennis Videos of the Day
They've started putting up Videos of the Day.
- Ainish Dassarma (1951) vs. Charlie Wang (1925) 2018 USA Hopes Tour Regional Qualification Tournament Lily Yip Table Tennis Center, New Jersey
- 2 x US Olympian Lily Yip Speech at Westford Table Tennis Club 2020 USATT Hopes - Road to LA
- USA Table Tennis Club Highlights and Tournament Director of the Year 2018-2019
- 2018 World Veteran Championships, Men's Singles Over 50 Final, Jorgen Persson (SWE) vs Andras Podpinka (GER)
- 2019 Seamaster US Open Table Tennis Championships, Women's Semi-Finals, Lily Zhang (USA) vs Takako Nagao (JPN)
New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
- Cheng I-Ching Advanced Training! (51 sec)
- Forehand Flick | Return Topspin Serve (4:09)
- Long Pips Attack | Table Tennis Tutorial (4:10)
New from Black Jack Table Tennis
- Jan-Ove Waldner: 11 Ridiculous Skills No One Expected - table tennis legend (11:32)
- Mima Ito 10 Ridiculous Things No One Expected (11:33
- Wang Hao - An Absolute Legend (Insane RPB techniques) (10:07)
- Xu Xin : Top 11 Ridiculous Things No One Expected－ table tennis legend (14:27)
- Ma Lin : 10 Ridiculous Skills That No One Expected - table tennis legend (10:52)
New from the ITTF
- Why Mima Ito brings back memories of Chinese legend
- Wu Jiaduo, the challenger
- Liam Pitchford talks 2020 Qatar Open, Xu Xin and the next step
- Zhang Jike, the trendsetter
- Introducing Hend Zaza: Syria's 11-year-old star, bound for Tokyo 2020
- At the pinnacle of her career, is Tokyo the perfect time for Chen Meng?
- Han Sangkook, respected worldwide, passes away
- Hong Kong and China Opens postponed due to COVID-19
- ITTF update on Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
- ITTF Calendar - just about everything's cancelled
Dark Knight Rises! Lin Gaoyuan Top Shots
Here's the ITTF video (3:22).
Top Ten Points at the Qatar Open
Here's the ITTF video (6:22).
Olympian Tom Feng Steals Fashion Runway Stage
Here's the article and photo of the 2015 US Men's Singles Champion.
The Table Tennis Family
Here's the video (10:04) from Adam Bobrow.
Table Tennis Meets MAGIC
Here's the video (2:16)!
Mini-Paper Pong with a Finger Racket
Here's the video (12 sec)!
Funny Moments in Training
Here's the video (4:10)!
Beetle Baily Table Tennis
Here's their March 23, 2020 cartoon - yep, today! Here's a listing of all known Beetle Baily Table Tennis Cartoons from my Sept. 28, 2016 blog, which I've been updating as new ones come up.
Ways to Play Table Tennis During the Coronavirus Pandemic
These are great - you have to watch them all! (All are recent, no repeats.) Many are set to music.
- Toilet Paper Pong (2:49)!
- Toilet Paper Car Pong (59 sec) from Eli Baraty!
- Toilet Paper Bouncing (22 sec) with Eli Baraty!
- Sabine Winter - How to Get Table Tennis Out of Your Mind (2:02)!
- Play off a sofa cushion (27 sec)!
- Ping-Pong ball goes for a ride (31 sec)!
- The King of Quarantine Trick Shots (65 sec)!
- Relay Pong (1:23)!
- House pong (32 sec)!
- Daughter as Net Pong (51 sec)! With Liu Jia.
- Pot Pong with an Egg Net (49 sec)!
- Serve on a Round Table around Cup Nets then Smack Through Toilet Paper (14 sec)!
- Safe Table Tennis at Home (56 sec)!
- Home Ping-Pong Challenge (64 sec)!
- Insane Ping Pong Trickshots (62 sec)!
- Desk Pong (30 sec)!
- £500 eBaTT World Home Table Tennis Championships (3:26)!
- Table Tennis Training at Home (5:11)!
- Biosuit Pong! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)
Send us your own coaching news!