January 25, 2021

Tip of the Week
Finding Simple Tactics That Work.

Sally Boggan RIP
Here's the online obit; she was 87. She was the matriarch of perhaps the greatest US table tennis family ever. Alas, they had to take her off life support and she passed away on Saturday, Jan. 23. She had a stroke a year and a half ago that paralyzed her on one side, but recently had a second stroke which paralyzed her other side and led to her death. Here's a picture of the Boggan clan - L-R Sally Boggan, Tim Boggan, Eric Boggon, and Scott Boggan. (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Here is the Tim Boggan in Memory of Sally Boggan GoFundMe page (created by former USATT president Sheri Cioroslan), where you can, "Assist Tim Boggan with Funeral Expenses and Support. This is a continuation of the previous fund. This will help Tim cover medical and funeral expenses for his dear wife Sally. All contributions will go directly to Tim." (Tim, as you may remember from this blog, turned 90 in September, and is still going strong - I've been emailing with him the last few days.)

Playing Different Styles
I've always believed it helps to sometimes practice other playing styles, as it not only adds new dimensions to your game, but gives you an understanding of what it's like to play that style, so you can better understand what works against it. As a coach, of course, I learned all styles, and can play just about any style almost the same level as my normal style.

One year, at the US Open Team Championships in Detroit (which are now the North American Teams in Washington DC - I instigated that move) I was a player/coach for a weaker team. I spent the morning playing players from 1800-2000, and decided to play each of them differently. We played two teams and I played six matches without losing a game. Afterwards, at the Pontchartrain Hotel, which has huge elevators, I was at the back of the elevator when both teams we had played entered the elevator, but didn't see me as I was standing sort of behind some big person. They started talking about their morning, and my name came up. Roughly speaking, this is how the conversation went:

  • Player 1: "I lost to Larry Hodges. He was forehand smashing everything."
  • Player 2: "I lost to Larry, but he was forehand looping everything really soft!"
  • Player 3: "Huh? I lost to Larry, but he's just a blocker!"
  • Player 4: "What are you guys talking about? He's a chopper!"
  • Player 5: "I lost to him, but all he did was fish and lob!"
  • Player 6: "Against me, he forehand ripped everything!"

I had a hard time not cracking up. The truth was I really had changed styles every match. I wish I had had another three matches so I could have tried a few more styles! The only style that gives me great difficulty to play is two-winged looping, since my backhand loop is awkward. I can play that way, but often end up mostly soft-spinning or just fishing on the backhand side. In the match above where I was fishing and lobbing, I think I actually started out two-winged spinning, but switched to just fishing and lobbing.

Weekend Coaching
Once again, due to the pandemic, there were no group sessions, so I only did one hour with Navin Kumar on Saturday. Focus was on blocking all over the table, so I did drills where I looped everywhere. We focused on chop-blocks on the backhand, and quick blocking and sometimes smashing on the forehand. I also chopped to him for 15 minutes. Here's video (45 sec) where I realize that 1) He's leaning to the ball instead of moving (I have to remember to remind him), and I keep seeing how much out of shape I've become after nearly a year of mostly sitting in my lounge chair.

Bernie Sanders and Table Tennis
Unless you are blind, you have seen the new Bernie memes from the picture of Bernie at the inauguration. Here are three that involve table tennis! (Here's an article on Bernie that includes a picture of him playing table tennis with his grandchildren, from the Burlington Free Press, December 2019.)

USATT Coaches Meeting
We had another USATT Coaches meeting (51 min) on Friday, at noon eastern time. Five of us attended - Host Sean O'Neill (USATT High Performance Director), myself, Samson Dubina, Mike Lauro, and Sameh Awadalla. (Here's a screenshot.) If you are a USATT certified coach, why not join us next time? (I believe Friday, Feb. 5.) Info is on the USATT Coaches Facebook page, along with other coaching info. Topics discussed this time:

  1. Welcome (each of us gave a short rundown on recent activities)
  2. Stefan Feth (hired as USATT Men's Coach)
  3. Assistant Coaches (Pan Am Junior Games - 9/10-15/21)
  4. Switcher Studio Subscriptions
  5. Stupa Android
  6. Discussion Topic: Unreal Expectations and Anxiety

A Professional Coach Makes You a Better Player
Here's the article by Dora Kurimay. "Ways a Professional Coach Can Help You Become a Better Table Tennis Player" - with three big ways given.

New from Samson Dubina

New from Joey Cochran

How to Do the Reverse Pendulum Serve
Here's the video (3:51) from PingPonged TV.

Forehand Loop Against Underspin with Ex-Cadet Team Members
Here's the video (10:16) from PandaPong.

Block Like Legends Waldner and Fan Zhendong
Here's the video (8:38) from Ti Long.

How I Practice Table Tennis
Here are three videos from Ohio 2400+ star Seth Pech:

Looeelooee Table Tennis Lessons Q and A - Why Good Rubbers Suck
Here's the video from Louis Levene (15:35). A key thing here, for me, is it is the harder sponges (such as Tenergy Hard) that I wouldn't recommend except for advanced players. But the softer versions, such as regular Tenergy and the even softer Tenergy FX, I would recommend. I find it's good for players to go to more advanced sponges early on, but not the hard versions, and not on a fast blade. (You have to swing much harder for the harder sponges to be effective, which only advanced players should be doing on most shots.)

32 Seconds of Xu Xin Multiball Footwork
Here's the video - have you done your footwork today?

Why Table Tennis is the Most UNDERRATED Sport
Here's the video (9:42).

Tomokazu Harimoto vs Mizuki Oikawa
Here's the video (29:45) of the big quarterfinal upset at the Japanese Championships, as Oikawa (world #63) upsets Harimoto (world #5, #1 in world outside China) and goes on to win the title. (See article below on this from Steve Hopkins , 2021 All-Japan Finals: New Era Rising?)

New from Steve Hopkins

New from USATT

$102,000 World Ping Pong Masters
Here's the home page for this sandpaper event held in Coventry, England, this past weekend. Alexander Flemming (GER) defeated Andrew Baggaley (ENG) in the final. The page gives the exact prize money listing, news, and complete results. Here's a video (8:25) of the final, but the quality isn't that good. Here's an article from Table Tennis England. 

With Six Months to Go, the Tokyo Olympics Are Swimming Against a Tide of Doubt
Here's the article from the Washington Post, about whether the Olympics will be held this year or not. Table tennis is mentioned twice.

Medal Winning Table Tennis Star and Author Mathew Syed on What Makes Him Tick
Here's the article from The Scottish Sun.

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

Here's their home page and news page.

Psychedelic Penholder Girl
Here's the picture! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Would You Play Ping-Pong on Ice?
Here's the video (16:30)!

Ping Pong | Actin' Funny
Here's the video (13:53) - the level of play is low, but it's pretty funny!

Behind-the-Back Counter-Smash
Here's the video (49 sec, including slo-mo replay)!

Vying for the Kingdom of My Ping Pong Garage
Here's the video (51 sec), featuring Adoni Maropis!

Another Year of Ping Pong
Here's the video (10:53) with some really great stuff from Adam Bobrow!

Mostly Non-Table Tennis - Interview About Pinning the Egg
Here's the interview (9:18) with me about my science fiction story, Pinning the Egg, which appeared in the SciPhi Journal a month ago. The focus of the first seven minutes is about how I developed the two main characters for the story, but the last two minutes he asks me about table tennis! (Here's the story description: "When a Murt egg lands on Earth, it's up to the resident Zinh to stop it before it hatches and destroys all life, as part of the galaxy-wide war between the malicious Murt and the Zinh defenders, with the taunting as nasty as the fighting. The story starts with a Go game with Emperor Qin in China 2200 years ago and then moves to England, where even Excalibur makes an appearance."

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