January 18, 2021

Tip of the Week
Shorten Stroke on Receive.

Weekend Coaching - Not
Here's the notice at my club: "MDTTC will be closed for two weeks starting Jan. 15 due to possible COVID exposure." Yikes!!! So no coaching this past weekend. I'm told we can do limited private coaching, so I might do a session next weekend. We'll see.

Han Xiao Appointed to Co-chair Commission on the State of the U.S. Olympics and Paralympics
Below are two articles. (His co-chair is Edwin Moses.) Han, 33, is already the Chair of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Athletes’ Advisory Council. He was a long-time member of the US National Men's Team, 4-time US Men's Doubles Champion, and Men's Finalist at the 2011 Nationals. He's from my club, MDTTC - in fact, I'm the first person in table tennis to meet him, when he came in with his dad at age seven. I was owner/director/coach, and assigned him to Coach Cheng Yinghua, who had an opening an hour later. Over the years I trained with him zillions of hours, coached him at tournaments, he won every junior title and many men's titles . . . and now he's making it even bigger!!! (Xiao is roughly pronounced, "chow.") The last time I beat him was when he was 13 and over 2300, and I did that by catching him off guard by suddenly chopping at the end!

USATT Board of Directors
A strange thing happened a few days ago. I browsed over the USATT Board of Directors Page - and saw two weird things. (Skip this long segment if you have no interest in USATT matters.)

First, there were three athlete representatives listed, when our bylaws specify there are two. The rule for many years has been that at least 20% of the board and all committees must be athletes (roughly defined as players over the past ten years on National Teams to the World Championships, Paralympic World Championships, Olympics, Paralympics, Pan Ams, and Para Pan Ams). The three were Tara Profitt, Niraj Oak, and newly-added Yijun Feng. Now it so happens that there is a new USOPC rule that requires the boards and committees of all Olympic and Paralympic sports to go to 33% athlete representation - Section 5 of the Empowering Athletes Act. Here's an article on it. Here is the Empowering Athletes Act of 2020, where it says, ""(C) require that— (i) not less than 1⁄3 of the membership of the board of directors of the corporation shall be composed of, and elected by, such amateur athletes."

However, that does not override our bylaws, which are the rules USATT goes by - it means that USATT and other sports will have to change their bylaws. USOPC cannot "order" us to make the change, but they can punish us if we don't go along, including decertifying us or cutting our funding. So it's essentially 100% certain that USATT will change its bylaws, either at their next board teleconference on Feb. 1, or soon afterwards. (Bylaws require 30-days' notice, and since I'm told no notice of this has gone to the board yet, they can't do it on Feb. 1 - except that the bylaws allow the board to waive the 30-day rule if they unanimously agree.) And so, this board, with an "illegal" third athlete rep, wasn't a legal board.

I contacted the chair, Richard Char, and he agreed, and within hours the change had been made back to two athlete reps listed. Surprisingly, Niraj Oak was removed, though Yijun Feng had been the new one. But presumably, once the board does change the bylaws, Oak will be back on. They key thing is that USATT needs to change the bylaws first to allow the third rep, and then they can add the third rep.

HOWEVER - and this is a big however - there's a problem. If you add a third athlete rep, then doesn't that mean one of the other positions has to leave? Otherwise, there'd be ten board members - and then you'd have to add a fourth athlete rep, and now we're at eleven! But conveniently, one spot is currently vacant - the National Organizational position. So all they have to do is replace that with the third athlete rep, and all is well, right?

What is a National Organization? According to our bylaws, "National Organization members are those amateur sports organizations that register as a national organization and which conducts, on a level of proficiency appropriate for the selection of amateur athletes to represent the United States in international amateur athlete competition, a national program or regular national amateur athletic competition in the sport of Table Tennis."

For the last decade or more, the only National Organization we've had has been the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA). And so they've held the position. So why is it now vacant?

I'm told that USATT contests that NCTTA doesn't fulfill the requirements to be a National Organization, and that's why the position is vacant. Specifically, I'm told they argue that they haven't funded players to the World Collegiate Championships in recent years. The primary reason for this, of course, is funding. But here's the problem I see - that's not what the definition from our bylaws says. It says a National Organization member:

"...conducts, on a level of proficiency appropriate for the selection of amateur athletes to represent the United States in international amateur athlete competition, a national program or regular national amateur athletic competition in the sport of Table Tennis."

NCTTA runs the National Collegiate Championships each year, and the winners are the best college players in the country (here's a listing), which means the "level of proficiency" is obviously appropriate for "the selection of amateur athletes to represent the United States in international amateur athlete competition. (And the World University Games are obviously an "international amateur athlete competition.") Over the last few years they include big names like Lily Zhang (world #30), Yue Wu (world #31), Ariel Hsing (3-time US Women's Singles Champion), Jiaqi Zheng (2015 US Women's Singles Champion), Jishan Liang (2636, previously over 2700), Kai Zhang (2656, previously over 2700), Yichi Zhang (2623), and so on. Others who compete in the NCTTA events include US Team members Tom Feng and Adar Alguetti, and the other two Alguetti brothers (Sharon and Gal) would be except for the pandemic. (The rankings given are ITTF world rankings, not collegiate rankings.) So, yes, NCTTA easily fulfills the definition of a National Organization.

Here's where things get tricky. Since the Board has to make room for that third athlete spot, they'll be tempted to just remove another position. The easiest way to do that is to simply remove that currently vacant spot, the National Organization position, and replace it with the third athlete rep.

However, there's a problem with that. According to the Ted Stevens Act (officially the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act Amendments of 1998), under Eligibility Requirements,

"An amateur sports organization is eligible to be recognized, or to continue to be recognized, as a national governing body only if it—
   (11)  provides for reasonable direct representation on its board of directors or other governing board for any amateur sports organization that—
      (A)  conducts a national program or regular national amateur athletic competition in the applicable sport on a level of proficiency appropriate for the selection of amateur athletes to represent the United States in international amateur athletic competition; and
      (B)  ensures that the representation reflects the nature, scope, quality, and strength of the programs and competitions of the amateur sports organization in relation to all other programs and competitions in the sport in the United States;"

So USATT seemingly is required to have the National Organization position, and presumably why the position is there at all.

So what can USATT do? There's a simple solution. EXPAND THE BOARD!!! Right now there are nine positions. Go to eleven or twelve. With eleven, you would include all nine of the current positions, plus two additional athlete reps. With twelve, you could add either a third At-Large Representative elected from the membership, a Junior Rep, or some other position. (And the USATT board historically had eleven members for most of its history.) But whichever way they go, the Feb. 1 meeting will have some interesting discussions.

Other USATT News

Everyone Wants to Pay Me Big Money for My Table Tennis Domains!
I've been offered $8000 for my domain, tabletenniscoaching.com! And it's not my only table tennis site that others are feverishly trying to buy. I also own tabletennisparlor.com - and have separate offers of $15,000 (!) and $2036 for it! Golly!!! Alas, as pointed out to me by John Olsen (who not only is rated over 2000, but knows a thing or two about computers and online scams), it is a scam. (I've never used tabletennisparlor.com, but if anyone wants to buy it, let me know. At Godaddy.com, it says, "Table tennis" is a high value keyword that has an average sale price of $2,036.00.")

New from Samson Dubina

Working on Some Counter Topspins with Justin Kwan
Here's the video (42 sec). I've blogged about this type of drill before - it gives a much more realistic practice against an opening loop against backspin than what most players do, which is just off-table counterlooping. This is a standard drill when I'm coaching players beyond the beginning stage.

6 Types of Forehand Flicks That Attack Opponent's Spin
Here's the video (12:12) from Ti Long.

3 Phases of a Table Tennis Stroke
Here's the video (3:51) from inMotion Table Tennis.

Reverse Windshield Wiper | Fast Topspin
Here's the video (7:35) from Joey Cochran.

Multiball Training with Bernadette Szocs
Here's the video (88 sec) with the world #26 from Romania.

One of the Most Effective Services in Table Tennis
Here's the video (1:42) featuring world #48 Matilda Ekholm of Sweden.

Best Points Of The Decade
Here's the video (37 min) from Table Tennis Destiny. I recognize many of them!

Top 3 Defensive Table Tennis Players
Here's the video (8:37) featuring Ruwen Filus (GER, world #42), Panagiotus Gionis (GRE, world #49), and Joo Sae Hyuk (KOR, 2003 World Men's Singles Finalist).

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

New From Steve Hopkins

Getting High On Balsa
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Betterplay: Artificial Intelligence for Better Table Tennis Experience
Here's the page for Betterplay, including About and How It Works pages. "Choose the full match/set/practice video(s). The tool breaks a game down to the rallies. Breaking rallies into elements will be enabled in the future versions." (Using artificial intelligence to analyze techniques seems to be the new "in" thing. See the segment on Stupa Analytics in my November 23, 2020 blog.)

Table Tennis Transfers
Here's the online platform "designed to help the sport and change how people in table tennis interact. It connects all table tennis players, coaches, clubs & academies, professional and nonprofessional, simultaneously in one place. If you share our vision, help us reach as many table tennis people as possible and sign up. Currently there are users from 96 countries."

Matchroom Launches $102,000 World Ping Pong Masters
Here's the news release on the Sandpaper event to be held Jan. 23-24 in the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, England. This sort of takes the place of the annual World Championships of Ping Pong in London, also a sandpaper event, which was cancelled this year due to Covid. (One of the strange things about these big "Ping Pong" events is that they downplay that they are sandpaper-only events.)


David S. Cohen, Deputy Head of the CIA and Table Tennis Player
Here's the New York Times article, which says, "Mr. Cohen is also an enthusiastic table tennis player, dominating games at C.I.A. charity fund-raisers, according to an official."

Child Hand Multiball
Here's the video (43 sec)!

What is the perfect Age to Start Playing Table Tennis, a Robot Ad . . . and a Budding Acting Career?
Here's the video (74 sec) featuring Titus Dubina, who is embarking on his professional table tennis, acting, and endorsement career!

Monica and Mike Ping Pong Table Tennis Challenge from TV Show "Friends"
Here's the video (71 sec)! (It's an old clip, but I think it just went online.)

Pig Pong Board Game
Here's the ad (30 sec) from 1986!

Cat Tail Pong?
Here's the video (15 sec)!

Cat vs Ping Pong Ball
Here's the video (1:32)!

Paddle in the Face
Here's the video (11 sec)! That took some deadly accuracy. (While practicing, I once did a forehand pendulum serve with so much force that the racket flew out of my hand and broke a window!)

Funny, Unstoppable Rally
Here's the video (30 sec)!

Table Tennis Comics and Cartoons
I usually put up new ones as they come out. However, many of you may have missed some of the classics of the past. So here is what comes up when you Google the following, under "Images"!

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