September 14, 2020

Tip of the Week
A Trick to Beat a Tricky Pusher.

Breaking News - US Nationals Postponed to July, 2021 in Las Vegas
Here's the news item - added on Tuesday.

Weekend Coaching
On Sunday, I worked with Group 3 of our Junior program. Most of the group did a practice tournament. However, two of the players weren't really ready for matches, and so I worked with those two the entire session. Focus was on fundamentals.

I came up with what will now go down in history as the greatest table tennis joke, to be retold through the ages. (But you have to pay me $1 every time you use it.) I asked one of the kids how many hands he has. He said two and held them up. I said I have four hands. He didn't believe me, so I shadow-practiced my forehand and said, "See, these are my four hands." (Here's the reaction.)

On Saturday, as usual I did a one-hour session with Navin Kumar. (I'm retired from private coaching, but made the one exception for "The Bionic Man." He has Parkinson's Disease and Congenital Heart Disease - his heart is mostly artificial - and he won two medals at the World Parkinson's Championships last year, bronze in singles, silver in doubles.) Here are two videos of the session:

ITTF Annual General Meeting and Japanese Proposal to Require Ball Toss Over Head
Here's the AGM Meeting Page, which will be held online on Monday, Sept. 28. Here's the ITTF AGM Working Document. The Japanese Proposal, "Proposition 16," is on page 108:

"Proposition 16 – Effective 1st January 2021 (3/4 majority required) Proposed by the Japan Table Tennis Association. To amend 2.6.2: The server shall then project the ball near vertically upwards, without imparting spin, so that it rises at least 16cm above their head height after leaving the palm of the free hand and then falls without touching anything before being struck. Rationale: To make clearer the point of decision on fault services. But this rule will not apply for players of elderly person or players of age below 9 years of age, different rule shall be applied."

This is an interesting idea, but doesn't really help with the main problem in illegal serves, which is hidden serves, where the ball is often tossed behind the head - and so the ball already goes over the head. There's a separate problem they may not have thought about - if there is no longer a six-inch toss rule, only that the ball must be tossed "above their head," then a player could simply lower his head down to table level and get away with almost a zero-inch toss. For example, here is Dmitriv Ovtcharov doing his backhand serve. Under the new rules, with some adjustment, he could serve with almost no toss at all! (The picture is from video of his first serve against Fan Zhendong at the 2020 German Open.)

Blog Reads
As I write this, the number of reads for last week's blog is 22,746, a new record. The blog was averaging about 17,000 reads each when the pandemic hit. Apparently, unable to play table tennis, players lost interest in reading about table tennis and the numbers dropped to about 11,000/blog for a time. They've been picking up again now that we're back to table tennis playing. I think part of the reason for this is that a lot of people used to go to the USATT news page for table tennis news. However, USATT has dramatically lowered the number of news items they do each week - other than links to their newsletter, they have been averaging just one per week recently. So people are going elsewhere for their table tennis news - thank you USATT! :)

I have offered to let USATT use my Tips of the Week (for free) as news items to attract readers to the USATT web page, but after running one, they stopped doing that. They also wouldn't run the interview of me that Kevin Nguyen did a month ago, telling me that they thought it would be best for my own website and social platforms to promote my personal brand. Well, I guess I could just do that! (They seem to have switched from trying to attract lots of readers to the news page to mostly running only USATT-specific news items, I presume with the idea that they want to focus on their own "brand.")

I don't get paid to do this blog - it's volunteer. (It does help some with book sales, but not nearly enough to make the time spent worthwhile.) In the past I have run paid ads on the left side of the blog, but the three current ones are non-paid ones that I do in return for favors. But now I'm thinking I really should take paid ads. But I'm not interested in running around trying to sell ads just for some extra money that I don't really need right now. But here's an offer to anyone reading this - if you want to become a ad executive (or whatever else it is called), you can have 33% of all ad revenue. (I'm not interested in the hassle of negotiating that, so that's set in stone.) Contact me if you are interested. (Ads on the left are all 200 pixels wide, 100 tall. I previously charged $1/day for ads, or $250/year. But there are more reads now, and frankly, I have no idea how much the ads are worth - not my area of expertise.)

Timo "Magic" Boll's Take on the Evolution of Table Tennis Through the Ages
Here's the article. "From the size of the ball and the material it’s made of to the design of the rubbers and the set-up of the blades, table tennis has continually evolved throughout its 32 years on the Olympic programme. Few people have adapted better to these changes than three-time Olympic medallist Timo Boll, who will travel to Tokyo for his sixth shot at gold."

Timo Boll Interviews Ma Long
Here's the video (13:12) - yes, the former world #1 from Germany (and currently #10) interviews the reigning (three straight times) men's world champion, who was #1 in the world for most of 2010-2017, and is currently #3.

The Future of Table Tennis
Here's the video (one hour) featuring Christian Lillieroos. (The first half is sort of a TT history romp.)

New from Samson Dubina

Rapid-fire Random Multiball Table Tennis Training
Here's the video (3:37) from Lily Zhang, current and five-time US Women's Singles Champion.

How to Lob Like a Pro (in 4 Steps)
Here's the article by Alex Horscroft at Expert Table Tennis.

Tischtennis Shakehands GmbH
Here's a German page that features videos in both English and German.

Ball Control: Practicing Rollers
Here's the video (10 sec). "Practicing rollers to enhance touch and feel."

Welcome to PandaPong
Here are the first two videos from Brian Gao.

New from Steve Hopkins

USATT's Missionary Position
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

USATT Continues Thursday Night Live
Here's the info page. It's every Thursday at 9PM Eastern Time.

They no longer prioritize their news page, which has had only two news items in the past week. Other than links to Insider, they recently have been averaging only one news item per week.

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

New from the ITTF
Here's their home page and news page.

2020 NBA Playoffs and Ping-Pong
Here's the article by Shashin Shodhan.

39 Funny Ping Pong Vector Images from iStock
Here's the page.

I Just Really Like Ping-Pong, OK
Here's the shirt at Amazon!

Beetle Bailey: "Get Moving!"
Here's the cartoon from last Monday, which proves table tennis is a game of movement! Here are all 28 Beetle Bailey table tennis cartoons that I know of.

Semi-Pro vs. World no. 7
Here's the video (11:52) from Adam Bobrow.

WTF Moments in Table Tennis (furious and funny moments)
Here's the video (2:58)!

The Ping Pong Kid's Journey of Doing Trick Shots
Here's the interview (19:16) with Nick Rudd, from Kevin Table Tennis. They're both trick-shot kids!

Ping Pong from Level 1 to 100
Here's the video (4:43) from Pongfinity!

Send us your own coaching news!