May 11, 2020

Tip of the Week
Five Ways to Take Away an Opponent's Big Shot.

This is the 450th Tip of the Week I've posted since I started putting them up every Monday starting Jan. 11, 2011, except for a few times when I was out of town. (This is in addition to 177 I did for USA Table Tennis before that, which were published as part of Table Tennis Tales & Techniques.) The first 150 went into my book Table Tennis Tips; the next 150 went into More Table Tennis Tips; these last 150 (ending with today's) make up Still More Table Tennis Tips, which comes out on June 1. The advantage of getting them in book form? I put them in logical progression, by topic, rather than in a random fashion as a weekly tip, plus you get them all right in front of you, making it easy to browse, refer to, and even make notes in the margins. Or you can download them onto a kindle, and also have instant access in logical progression . . . though no margins to scribble in!

Ping Pong Playa
On Saturday night I finally watched Ping Pong Playa (96 min), the table tennis movie that came out in 2008 - somehow I missed it that year. Here's info on it from imdb.

The central character, Chris "C-Dub" Wang, is basically a self-centered airhead, perhaps 18-20 years old. He thought he was a basketball hotshot because he dominated in games against younger, smaller kids on a shortened basket that allowed him to dunk, though he wasn't so good against older, better players on a regular basket. His parents run a table tennis store, with his mom and older brother teaching a table tennis class. The brother was a table tennis champion, and by winning the local tournament each year, it brought them students. But he and his mom injure their wrists in a car accident and (for reasons that don't make sense) can't teach the class, and (also for unknown reasons - too busy at the store?), the father can't teach the class - so the self-centered basketball-playing brother takes over. He's a mess - he doesn't really teach, choosing instead to hustle the kids for money, who worship him as a hero. But he finally turns things around, and ends up training himself, where he has to win the local tournament to save their class. The players are actors with awkward strokes, with the ball put in by computer, as it was done in Forrest Gump.

I thought it was funny, though I'd have liked to have seen the table tennis training a bit more serious, and the trash-talking central character was a bit too much of an airhead for me, even after he supposedly turned things around. I was hoping the father, who was coaching Chris, would give some real tactical advice, like, "He has a good forehand, so serve short and low to his forehand to bring him over the table, and then attack his backhand." This would make sense even to non-table tennis players.

The Indian kid who can't play but reads about and analyzes everything? That was me at that age . . . and probably still is. Okay, I can play some.

A number of prominent table tennis players show up in the tournament scenes toward the end, including former US Team member Barney J. Reed (the lefty who, at one point, rallies with a racket in his pants), Diego Schaaf (often hitting with Barney), Adam Bobrow (now the Voice of the ITTF), Wei Wang (1990 US Women's Champion), Biba (the tournament committee woman on far left), and Ichiro Hashimoto (sitting in the stands).

Ping Pong Playa and Balls of Fury are the two top table tennis comedies - since we're stuck at home, why not watch both? Here are some other table tennis movies. Here's an article I wrote that was published in Fantasy Magazine back in 2009, The Table Tennis Fantasy Tour, which also talks about table tennis in movies and TV.

New from Samson Dubina

New from EmRatThich/PingSunday

Multiball and Shadow-Practice Training
Here's the video (29 sec). 

Living Room Multiball
Here's the video (28 sec) - why don't you create this set-up? It only takes a box of balls and a blanket or sheet hung from the wall or ceiling! (Plus someone to feed the balls!)

Top 10 Serves
Here's the video (2:23) of Mishel Levinski. Here's his Youtube channel where you can see videos of many of his matches.

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here!


USATT Pong Positive Interviews
Here they are - 20 as of this posting. The latest are of Donna Sakai, Tahl Leibovitz, Nick Tio, Kai Zhang, Elna Garcia, and Jishan Liang.

USATT Minutes of the May 4, 2020 Board Meeting
Here they are, though there's no news on whether the Force was with them on that date. Here are all USATT minutes.

New from Steve Hopkins

JOOLA Medical
Here's the video (3:20). A Montgomery County Maryland company is turning the tables on their business plan to help citizens and hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Almost Essential Table Tennis Workers
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Instagram Live Takeover | Kanak Jha & Hugo Calderano
Here's the video (48:31) as the two chat on Instagram on various table tennis-related topics, including how coronavirus is affecting them.


New Record for Bouncing Ball on Paddle
Here's the video (5:21:30)! Dan bounces the ball for 5hrs 21 min 8 sec, breaking the old record of 5hrs 2min 37 sec. Here's where he misses!

Man Plays NBA Theme Song Using a Pingpong Ball, Pots, Pans and Determination
Here's the video (38 sec)!

Table Tennis's 10 Funniest Moments
Here's the video (7:21)!

Timo Boll - Top 3 Best Points - Lego Table Tennis Animation
Here's the video (2:02), with Adam Bobrow doing the play-by-play in the first and third points!

Shaun The Sheep Table Tennis
One of the best animated table tennis videos ever is the "Shaun the Sheep - Championsheeps" (see below). That came out in 2014. I just found out they did another one in 2018 - "Ping Pong Poacher"!

Pongfinity Game Battle
Here's the video (5:05) from Pongfinity!

Beetle Bailey - "I Won the Tournament!"
Here's the Beetle Bailey cartoon for May 9, 2020 (Saturday)! Here are all 27 Beetle Bailey cartoons that I know of that feature table tennis.

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