March 23, 2020

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.)

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!

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:

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.

Here are some other books you might try:

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 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.

  1. Remind your athlete this is a journey
  2. Teach your athletes a growth mindset
  3. Deal with the challenges the best you can
  4. Highlight ALL the positive things that happen 
  5. 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

USA Table Tennis Videos of the Day
They've started putting up Videos of the Day.

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel

New from Black Jack Table Tennis

New from the ITTF

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.

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