March 29, 2021

Tip of the Week
Power Player Control Shots.

Weekend Coaching
This Sunday I had three group sessions. In the first, I worked with Lidney Castro with our "Advanced Beginning Junior" group. It was an easy session - we had a practice tournament! Afterwards, I gathered them and quizzed them on what they had learned regarding their strengths and weaknesses. I emphasized that you should work on everything, but focus on getting rid of weaknesses while developing overpowering strengths.

In the Intermediate Group (mostly up to about 2000 level), I acted as a practice partner, mostly blocking for an hour. The last ten minutes we did a drill where two players took turns returning my deep serves (mostly to backhand) and playing out points - and I gave them fits! I especially worked with them on returning my big breaking serve that breaks sharply into the backhand, with backspin or topspin, though I focused more on a fast, side-backspin serve that broke a foot. I also had a discussion with one of our really promising players, who has great power. I pointed out that because his shots have such hop and power, most he plays now can't block them back - and so he often doesn't need to worry about placement. But placement is a skill you need to develop, and if he doesn't develop it now, by the time he plays players who can block them back, he'll be way behind. So I told him that even if the opponent can't block his loops, he should really focus on placement - not only going to wide corners and middle, but also knowing when to go where. 

I also had a session with three beginning girls - usually there are four, but one was away. Introduced them to spin by lending them a "spin ball" (with two colors), and had them practice spinning it off their rackets. That's the first step toward teaching spin serves!

Plagiarized Book
Last week I wrote about Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers being plagiarized on Amazon. On Monday, I contacted Amazon and filled out the online paperwork. On Tuesday, they responded, asking for more info, which I gave them. You'd think it would be a quick thing - a glance at the Amazon page showed it was identical to my book, including both the book description and the interior (much of which you can see using the Amazon "Look Inside" tool - just click on the book's picture). Anyway, whoever plagiarized it got to continue selling until Saturday, when Amazon finally took it down. I begrudgingly ordered a copy, both as evidence and as a souvenir.

There were actually TWO plagiarized copies of my book, both going up on Jan. 17, 2021. Both had preposterously unwieldly titles. The first one was this one:

Notice the typo in the title, "Ans" instead of And"? Once you publish on Amazon, you can't change the title. So whoever did this realized his mistake, and redid it under another unwieldly title:

Both books were almost exact duplicates. There were three main differences. The covers were of course different. For some reason, both versions left out the Introduction. And for some weird reason, neither had page numbers. I'm a little baffled by all this - if they got a PDF copy of my book, then it would have the page numbers, not to mention the Introduction. The pages (and especially the pictures) look to sharp for them to have been photocopied from a printed copy of my book. But somehow they must have gotten a PDF version but somehow without page numbers, and for some reason without the Intro (or they left that out on purpose for some reason). The two author names are no doubt made up. I did Google them and table tennis, but nothing comes up.

Dan Seemiller Books
Dan's third book, "Smash! Moments, Memories and Tips," is done! You can order it directly from Amazon. Or you can wait until circa April 8-10, when Dan will have a large quantity available, and then you can order autographed copies directly from him. Full info is on the Dan Seemiller Book page, where you can order this or his previous two books.

Larry Hodges Books
While you are busy buying plagiarized books and Dan Seemiller books, don't forget to order copies of mine! Here are all of my books - nine on table tennis, eight science fiction & fantasy, and a travel book!


  • USATT Board of Directors Seeks Applications for Open Position with Clubs and Leagues Committee
  • USATT Board of Directors Seeks Applications for Nominating and Governance Committee
  • USATT Coaches Meeting. Here's the video (61 min) of the Zoom meeting we had on Friday. (I arrived 13 minutes late - something came up.) They are every Friday, normally at noon eastern time. There was a lot of discussions of the regional qualifiers for the Nationals, US Junior Team Trials, and various other topics. All coaches are welcome - you don't have to be USATT certified. Info is posted in USA Table Tennis Coaches page on Facebook.
  • USATT Bylaw Proposals. On March 23, USATT put up a news item with the proposed bylaw changes, with a deadline to comment of March 30 - but when you go there now (and yesterday) and click on this news item, you get "Access Denied." (I linked to it in my March 22 blog a day late.) I also paged through the USATT news items, and this news item about the proposed bylaws is no longer there. So, for unknown reasons, they took it down yesterday, on March 28, two days early. In its apparent place, this morning they put up this notice: USA Table Tennis Board of Directors Statement on Proposed Bylaw Amendments. There are serious problems with the proposed bylaws, including many that were just put out there with no rationalization given. (Most of them involve board tenures and elections.) Yesterday, former USATT Rules Chair Kagin Lee sent a rather blunt email to the USATT board about the problems with the proposed bylaws, including bylaws they are already breaking. For now, he said he'd rather just keep it between him and the board, and so I'm not going to post his letter. (Addendum: I've heard other prominent USATT people have also sent notes to the board, opposing the proposed bylaws.) 

    In the new statement, it seems to come to an end where it is "signed" as "The USATT Board of Directors," followed by "End.21 03-26a" (note the "End"), with no mention that the updated proposed bylaws are online. Then you go through a bunch of blank space, and then the USATT name, logo, and address. If you keep paging down (and you have no reason to do so), through more blank space, you will find the updated proposed bylaws. When I first wrote my blog this morning, I didn't see them, and I'm guessing neither did most people, since there was no reference to them being below the statement, or any link to them in the statement. (I had to do some rewriting of this blog when I discovered them.) At this point, since so many others are dissecting them and pointing out the problems, I might not have to. (Wouldn't that be great?) But if anyone does have comments that they put online, let me know and I'll likely link to them, either this week (as an addendum) or in my blog next Monday. 

  • US Nationals. I've heard that the entry form will be out by today (Monday), so we'll see. USATT has had me proof every US Nationals and Open entry form since the December 1999 Nationals. (I do it as a volunteer and always get back to them the same day they send it to me.) Including the 2020 Nationals (which I proofed before it got cancelled), that's 42 in a row. Typically I find dozens of small mistakes, and often a few big ones. Proofing is one of my particular set of skills - I'm the type who will notice something on page 200 that contradicts something said on page 10. I haven't seen this year's yet - at this point, perhaps they have others proofing it, and it'll go online today or soon afterwards. (When it goes live, I'll post a note here.)
    UPDATE1: They did send it to me, it's proofed, and will likely go up within a day. 
    UPDATE2: US Nationals Entry Form is up! You can enter via Omnipong. (The big change - all events are single elimination and no doubles.)
  • USATT Coaches Licensing Fee. As of today, we are down to just 47 certified coaches in the entire US. Just 3.5 years ago we had over 400, including 77 who had qualified at the National level. The pandemic had brought us down to 138 certified coaches, including 29 at the National level. There are now only ten coaches certified at the National level, and three of them are USATT employees or contractors. This huge drop is a serious problem we needed to address. As I pointed out at the time, I think it was a mistake to do this in the middle of a pandemic, when coaches are going through the hassle of annual SafeSport testing and background checks (many didn't realize it was an annual thing), and without advanced coaching classes yet offered.

    However, the term of office just ended for the previous coaching committee and there will be some changes/additions. When the new group is approved by the USATT board (presumably including me, who agreed to continue), I'll approach them with the idea of reconsidering this - at the least, it should be postponed until later, and with a lower annual fee. To be certified, coaches are required both to join USATT at the annual $75 "pro" rate and pay the new $50 annual "licensing" fee - so $125/year for most. Between this and SafeSport, the market has shown that few are willing to do this. We can't help SafeSport, but we should be focused on fixing the problem of losing so many coaches rather than aggravating the problem.

    Stellan Bengtsson, Dan Seemiller, the entire professional coaching staffs at MDTTC, Lily Yip TTC, Westchester TTC, ICC, World Champions TTA, Samson Dubina TTA - none are USATT certified coaches any longer. There are now zero certified coaches in many states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, and Massachusetts, and only one in Maryland (an inactive coach), New Jersey, and Nevada. Of the 47 who are certified, some are full-time coaches, but many are part-timers or "hobbiests," i.e. those who earned their certification and wish to continue it, but are no longer coaching much on a regular basis. I was told the point of this licensing fee was to get the "serious' coaches, not the hobbiests - but we seem to be getting mostly the reverse. Of course, some coaches will become certified again before the Nationals in July, not because of anything new offered by USATT, but because USATT will likely require it to coach at the Nationals. (I hope that my naming names above won't lead to a witch hunt where USATT coerces coaches into paying the $50 licensing fee - if USATT can't convince them on the merits, then we have to rethink the program.)

  • Kanak Jha vs. Fan Bo Meng - TTBL Selected (5:54)

New from Samson Dubina

Coaching Tip on Mentality
Here's the article by USA Team Member Crystal Wang

Seth Pech Vs Dan Liu 2021 10,000 Dollar Invitational
Here's the video (8:18), with Seth's point-by-point analysis. "Table tennis match between Dan Liu 2600 player vs Seth Pech 2450 player."

New from EmRatThich/PingSunday
He's been active!

New from Ti Long

Rachel Yang - Defensive Specialist - Drill #1
Here's the video (1:18).

How Dimitrij Ovtcharov Solved the Lin Yun-Ju Problem at WTT Doha
Here's the article, with links to a number of short videos of specific points. Lin (TPE) is world #6; Ovtcharov (GER) is world #9 and former #1.

Crystal Wang Interview With Rachel Sung
Here's the video (2:50). Just a few weeks ago it was Crystal interviewing Rachel (3:06)! Both are on the US Junior Girls Team.

US Opens and Nationals Results
Here are all available results, 1931 to present! Vince Mioduszewski, who created and maintains the web page, is still hunting down some results, but the huge bulk are there.

New from Steve Hopkins

Table Tennis – Members Only??
Here's the article from Coach Jon. "Jon’s Table Tennis Training has survived the pandemic. While 2020 earnings were cut in half from 2019, people are starting to ease back into training. As COVID cases have gone down, interest in table tennis has gone up."

Table Tennis Player Wins Eighth State Crown
Here's the article featuring Steve Emmons, West Virginia Champion.

New from the ITTF

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

I Will Strive to Win More than Gold - I'll Raise Awareness of Para Sports
Here's the article from Tokyo 2020, featuring Koyo Iwabuchi of Japan. "With no search results of 'para table tennis video' showing up on the web, I decided to make one myself, and launched my YouTube Channel."

12th Paralympics Anime Short is Team Futari Novel's 1st Anime
Here's the article.

Meet the Talented Quincy, a Ping-Pong Playing Cat
Here's the article and video (36 sec). I linked to a video of Quincy last week, but this is a longer version.

You Just Got Served Table Tennis Shirt
Here's where you can buy it on Amazon!

Pingpong Lucu
Here's the video (7:11) - it's in Chinese, but still interesting and funny to watch!

The Love of Table Tennis
Here's the video (2:32)!

Funny Ding Ning and Chen Meng
Here's the video (1:25)!

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