March 30, 2020

Tip of the Week
Tactics at the End of a Close Game.

Larry Hodges TT Academy Opens on Wednesday - Only Coronavirus-Safe Center in the World
=>(EDIT - After two days of fun, I've added certain bolds below.)
And now it can be told! This Wednesday I will be opening the Larry Hodges TT Academy. Its
purpose is to allow players from around the world to train during these pandemic times. I've
reached out to countries all over the world, and starting Wednesday, the national teams from
Italy, Germany, China, Japan, Korea, Vatican City, Canada, and USA will start training at the
Larry Hodges TT Academy. It's the only truly safe place in the world for them to do so.

For health purposes, there will be a number of rules followed. Players must always maintain an
obligatory nine-foot separation, the length of a ping-pong table. There will be a cleaning service
on hand at all times, constantly cleaning the tables and balls with Mr. Clean's new coronavirus
liquid sanitizer. Players will wear gloves and masks at all times while playing. We will stress
safety at all times. Instead of handshakes or fist bumps, we will do paddle high-fives.

A serious problem is that the coronavirus permeates a table tennis sponge. For this reason,
players will only use hardbat or sandpaper. The ITTF has approved this drastic measure for
rackets, and for the next six months those are the only approved racket surfaces to be used
in ITTF tournaments. Many of the best players in the world, including Fan Zhendong, Ma
Long, Timo Boll, and others have already made the switch.

Fan said, "I grew up reading Larry's articles. Training with him will be a dream come true. If
only he lived in China!" USA Champion Kanak Jha added, "I can't wait to resume training - I'm
on a red-eye flight tonight. I can't wait to try out the new hardbat Larry recommends!" "Without
Larry, where would we train?" asked 11-time Vatican City Women's Champ Paril Sofol. Some,
such as World Ping-Pong Champ Andrew Baggaley, have already arrived and started training.

Coronavirus and Table Tennis, and Other News

  • Coronavirus and Table Tennis. Everything is closed, clubs are closed, tournaments cancelled, but dogs everywhere are confused but very happy. But I've gotten a lot done - I finally had time to finalize two new books, with two more coming, plus lots of other articles, tips, and short stories.
  • US Nationals. You should be receiving news soon on its status - whether it'll be run as scheduled in July or postponed. (The latter is more likely.) If postponed, then USATT has some difficult decisions to make. Should they run it in December, and cancel the US Open? Run the Nationals and Open back-to-back or in conjunction? Or find some other time this Fall to run the Nationals? Stay tuned!!! (If news comes out, I'll add it here later.)
  • New Books. I have two new books that just came out this weekend, "Still More Pings and Pongs" and "Trump Tales: A Taunting." These are non-table tennis, so see segment at end of blog. In late April I will have another book coming out, "Larry's Adventures in Europe and Egypt" (231 pages, 251 pictures, I'm currently proofing it), about my seven weeks there last Fall, with limited table tennis. In May I'll have still another book coming out - and this one's table tennis! - "Still More Table Tennis Tips," ~200 pages, third in the series that includes Table Tennis Tips and More Table Tennis Tips. Yes, I've been busy during this pandemic!
  • Spoken English and Messages. I may soon forget spoken English. In the last ten days, until yesterday, I had just one short (five-minute) phone call, a few hearty discussions at a Wendy's drive-through ("extra onions, please"), and that's it. Yesterday I had a weird experience shopping at Giant, where I had invigorating disagreements with a guy preaching outside (blaming coronavirus on gays and lesbians), and with a cashier who didn't quite understand what six feet means. Here's my Facebook posting on this. I do get lots of emails and other messages, though some of them are rather weird and/or irritating. It seems everyone in the world has something they need me to watch or read, and if I watched and read all that people send me, that's all I'd do. Some take it rather personally when I don't. Some are even insulting. I also get many dozens of emails/messages each week which are basically from someone who just wants to say "Hi" or "Hey, what's up?" and exchange small talk, which I'm not really into. It means I have to either A) sit there and go through all the small talk until it's done, with me mentally tapping my foot, or B) try to work on something else, where every minute or two my thoughts are interrupted. (I have no problem with actual questions.)
  • Physical Training. My daily training involves five minutes of shadow-stroking with a weighted ping-pong paddle, and 23 hours 55 minutes of mostly writing, editing, reading, or watching something on TV or my computer. I do go for occasional walks outside. However, this morning Maryland Governor Hogan announced that, as of 8PM tonight (Monday, March 30), no one is allowed to leave their homes except for food or medicine. So I guess that means going for walks or jogging is out!

Breaking News - Tokyo Olympic, Paralympic Games Awarded New Start Dates: July 23 And Aug. 24 Of 2021
Here's the article.

New from Matt Hetherington
Some people, when faced with spending weeks indoors, alone and isolated from the world, turn into couch potatoes and watch the latest thing from Netflix or HBO. Matt? He's taken to doing daily table tennis coaching videos!

New from Samson Dubina

  • Skype Lessons - " As a service to the table tennis community, I'm going to be doing some FREE Facebook Live Q & A sessions as well as offering discounted skype lessons!  Want to join us for the facebook live?  ...join us every Monday at 1pm Eastern Time through the Samson Dubina Table Tennis Academy Page!  Want personalized coaching?  Try out a SKYPE!"
  • Fitness Friday (16:38)
  • 10 Ways to Perfect Your Serve
  • 11 Ways To Improve at HOME

Daily Table Tennis Workout with Eli Baraty
Here's his Youtube page - they start TODAY at 6PM UK Time (1PM US Eastern Time)

Dora Kurimay
She's a Sports Psychologist, or more formally, a Mental Performance Consultant. She's also a professional table tennis coach and former professional player!

Attitude is Everything
Here's the article by John Hsu.

Forehand Short Push | Return Backspin Serve
Here's the video (4:28) from the Malong Fanmade Channel.

Table Tennis at Home
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak, with links to video.

New from eBaTT

Exploring the Tomahawk Serve
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

USATT Interviews

USATT Club Features

Jenson Van Emburgh Emphasizes Positivity and Friendship Midst these Times of Uncertainty
Here's the USATT article by Michael Reff.

New from Steve Hopkins

New from the ITTF

New from PingSunday

How Many Athletes Just Lost Their Shot At Olympic Glory?
Here's the article from It turns out that table tennis has one of the highest rates of returnees.

Flatten the Coronavirus Curve - Ping-Pong Style
Here's the image! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Apparently, we need less lobbing and more looping!

2020 World Table Tennis At Home Day!
Here's the ITTF Info Page. "In light of the global spread of COVID-19, World Table Tennis Day – the annual celebration of the sport, taking place on 6th April 2020 – will be taking on a very different form to previous years. Instead of the traditional social gatherings, casual table tennis activities and charity events taking place around the world, this time people will be engaged in the sport like never before via special initiatives planned on social media."
"The longest rally in history?! Create history and contribute to the longest table tennis rally! In true World Table Tennis Day spirit, anyone can take part! All you need to do is respond to this social media teaser by sending in your video of hitting a table tennis ball. One hit is enough, but be creative! You can use any random objects that you can find around the house to hit the ball, or why not perform a trickshot! Whether you’re in your bedroom, the kitchen, living area, garden, garage, or even outside, you can film your video from anywhere! The craziest, funniest video clips will be combined to create the longest ever rally online, which will be published on ITTF and ITTF Foundation social media channels on 6th April 2020."

Table Tennis Sports Betting Taking Over
Here's an article from Trib Live, Online Sports Bettors Turn to Pingpong as Leagues Postpone Seasons. "For bettors in Pennsylvania, that left pingpong, known professionally as table tennis, and Australian rules football." ... "Table tennis also dominated bets cast through that app, accounting for 79% of the total sports betting handle Sunday, the statement said."

Here's an article from ESPN about how, with casinos closing and sports events cancelled, they are starting to bet on table tennis. "U.S. sportsbook have begun offering odds on table tennis and sumo wrestling, among other sporting events. In Pennsylvania, online sportsbook reported the TT Cup Men's Singles table tennis tournament was the most-heavily bet event offered Sunday."

Here's a Pennsylvania page where they are gambling on Men's Singles events in Russia! As explained in an email to me by Ron Klinger, "In case you are not familiar with betting terminology, if it's a negative number, you have to bet that amount to win $100. If it's positive, you need to bet $100 to win that amount. So for example, if it's -148, you have to bet $148 to win $100. If it's +105, you have to bet $100 to win $105. What's interesting about this is that they also have "in-game" betting odds, so you will notice that for the games currently being played, the odds change with each point that is scored!"

1960 Junior Table Tennis and 1959 Table Tennis Championships
Here's the video (4:38). It's hard to believe that those kids are now sixty years older.

Crazy Table Tennis - Sharon Alguetti
Here's the video (8:12).

Houston TTA
Here's their new feature video (1:55).

Wang Chen's Physical Training with Son
US (and formerly Chinese) table tennis star Wang Cheng has adjusted nicely to training at home during these pandemic times. Here are a series of videos where she does her physical training with her son!

Kevin Hart and Keegan Michael-Key Do Multiball Training with Matt Hetherington and Nikhail Kumar
Here's the video (15 min, but link should take you to 11:32, where they do table tennis for three minutes).

Nandan Naresh Shows Off His Ball-Bouncing Skills
Here's the video (15 sec)!

New from Pongfinity

River Pong
Here's the video (13 sec)!

Four-Chair Footwork Pong
Here’s the video (37 sec)!

Living Room Pot Pong
Here's the video (44 sec) to music!

Mini-Table Dog Pong
Here's the video (39 sec - but jump about 6 sec in).

Crazy Rally Shots
Here's the ITTF video (23 sec)! It's also a contest - send in your own entries!

Guy Uses Random Things To Play Ping Pong With
Here's the video (31 sec)!

Funny Table Tennis
Here's the video (4:24)!

Non-Table Tennis - Two New Books
I have two new books out, both coming out over the weekend. They are both short story collections. Hope you'll buy one or both! They are:

  • Still More Pings and Pongs, 192 pages. This is a collection of the best 25 science fiction & fantasy stories I've sold from 2016-2020. It is the third in the series, after Pings and Pongs and More Pings and Pongs. Alas, table tennis only shows up sporadically in these stories!
  • Trump Tales: A Taunting, 112 pages. This includes 11 SF & Fantasy stories I've written that satirize Trump, seven of them previously published, four new. If you are, somehow, a Trump fan, stay away! 

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