October 19, 2020

Tip of the Week
Sometimes Hit Twice to the Same Spot.

Weekend Coaching and Shadow Practice
I worked mostly with the youngest players on Sunday. In the 90-minute session, we spent the first 45 minutes doing multiball. For most of it, I'd feed multiball to one player, with various footwork drills, while I'd have one or two others behind him, shadow-practicing as they match the player's movements. I'd rotate them every two minutes or so. It's a great way to work with beginning-intermediate players. Here's a video example (61 sec), but not of the players I was working with, who are a little more advanced.

Shadow practice is one of the most under-utilized training techniques. Most players try to develop both their technique and timing at the same time (i.e. stroke and hit the ball in a drill), when you can develop the stroke better if you don't always have to also time it to hit the ball. You need both, of course, but if you shadow-stroke the correct technique enough, it becomes second-nature, and makes it much easier to do so in drills and game situation. Here are three Tips of the Week on Shadow Practice:

Here are some videos on shadow practice:

On Saturday I had my usual session with Navin Kumar. We're working a lot on forehand smashing, as well as turning his backhand blocking (with long pips) into something that strikes terror in the hearts of lesser and stronger players. Here's video (61 sec) near the end, where he's working on smashing against my lobs. If you look in the comment section, you'll see a long comment by me where I went over what we did in the session.

Lots of big issues this week!

USATT Board Teleconference
It was held on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 8PM. The open portion only lasted 24 minutes, and then they went to executive session to discuss legal and/or personnel matters. There were 19 people on the call (though listed as 20, with one person listed twice). Included were the USATT Board (five people), staff members CEO Virginia Sung, COO Mark Thompson, Marketing and Communications Director Chad Knasinski, High Performance Director Sean O'Neill, High Performance Manager Doru Gheorge, Director of Para Programs Jasna Rather, NCTTA President Willy Leparulo, American Youth Table Tennis Organization CEO Thomas Hu (who is running for the USATT Board in the upcoming election), and others, including me. Here's a screen shot.

First up was the CEO report from Virginia Sung. Some of the things she covered:

  1. New USTT Membership Plan
  2. Regionalization (and note the USATT Town Hall Meeting with Club Administrators. on Tuesday, Oct. 20, where this will be discussed),
  3. ITTF matters (WTT). The 2023 World Championships to be held in Durban, South Africa - first time ever in Africa. (See news item below on this.)
  4. Recertification of NGBs, once every four years.
  5. Olympics movement.

Next up was the High Performance Director Report from Sean O'Neill. Some things covered:

  1. 2020 World Championships in Busan, Korea, were originally scheduled for March 22-29, 2020, but were rescheduled for Feb. 28 - Mar. 7, 2021.
  2. 2020 World Junior Championships have been cancelled. They were supposed to have been Nov. 29 - Dec. 6 in Portugal.
  3. He discussed the China bubble for the World Singles Cup and World Tour Finals.
  4. Olympics - Team selections, coaches, alternates, and camps
  5. USOPC Grants - Stupa Analytics and Polar Heart Rate Monitors
  6. National Team Selection (from the High Performance Committee) - Trials, Team Size, and Preparation. (The HPC meets twice a month, and will be coming out soon with info on these issues. They had their own teleconference immediately after the board meeting. Minutes and info on that will likely be up this next week.)
  7. T2 Competition (Thursday Night Live) - Team Butterfly d. Team Nittaku, 6-3, discussion of Season 2.

Next up was the Auditing Committee Report, by Kelly Watson. Gist of it - USATT lost money due to the pandemic, but that was somewhat unavoidable.

New from Samson Dubina

New from Tom Lodziak

Five Ways to Improve Your Serves
Here's the video (8:08) from Joey Cochran. Check out his past instructional videos at Table Tennis Junkie!

The Science of Spin in Table Tennis
Here's the video (35:24).

Deep, Breaking Serve - Around a Target
Here's the video (29 sec). You might even consider putting the target wider, outside the corner, to practice serves that really force the receiver to reach for the ball.

Forehand Training Movement
Here's the video (74 sec) - Forehand loop, touch barrier, repeat. Note the wide stances, despite being kids and shorter than most adults.

New from Steve Hopkins

My Once a Week Hardbat Habit
Here's the article from Coach Jon.

Desmond Douglas on Race and Results
Here's the article from Table Tennis England on the former world #7 and 11-time English Men's Singles Champion.

Best of Fan Zhendong at the 2020 Chinese National Championships
Here's the video (9:11). He defeated Ma Long in the final.

6 Great Rivalries in Table Tennis
Here's the video (4:17).

Amazing Table Tennis Block shots! Who Did It Best?
Here's the video (2 min).

Amazing 7-Year-Old Hungarian Girl
Here's the video (3:08) of Lizett Fazekas. According to Jules Apatini, "It is my great pleasure to personally know Peter Fazekas, who happens to be the Father, coach, and trainer of this little seven years young lady who, if I may predict, will be a world-class Table Tennis Champion if she keeps this up!"

Top Five Tallest Professional Table Tennis Players in the ITTF TOP 100 and Their Best Points
Here's the video (5 min).

Durban, South Africa, to Host Historic 2023 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships
Here's the ITTF article. It's the first World Championships in Africa.

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

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

Pistol Paddle
How can you call yourself an Equipment Junkie if you don't have a Pistol Paddle?

Hubie Halloween and Adam Sandler's Weapon
Here's an image of Adam Sandler from the new Netflix movie Hubie Halloween. Twice Adam Sandler's character is about to fight with a ping-pong paddle as his weapon - against a werewolf and against a car driven by a headless driver. Alas, the werewolf runs away, and the paddle wasn't much help against a car.

Grunt Pong
Here's the video (19 sec) - I'm not sure if they are grunting so loud for fun, to copy someone, or if it's the latest technique!

Ping Pong Battleship: Grand Final
Here's the video (5:43) from Pongfinity!

Non-Table Tennis - UFO8
This Sunday was the Book Launch for Unidentified Funny Objects 8, the annual anthology of humorous science fiction & fantasy stories. I have a story in it, "Journey to Perfection," and so was on the online panel, which was held at Capclave, a science fiction convention. I gave a short synopsis of the story and read a 450-word excerpt. The story is a satire on self-driving cars and GPS, where a snob buys the latest model, and it takes whatever he says literally - leading to a number of crazy adventures, and his comeuppance and redemption. (One of the other authors is David Gerrold, who wrote the famous original Star Trek episode, "The Trouble with Tribbles.") There is one mention of table tennis, where I describe the main character as bouncing around inside the car "like a ping-pong ball" when the car is driving up a set of steps - from his living room to the upstairs!

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