May 31, 2021

Tip of the Week
How to Play the Attacker/Blocker with Dead Rubber.

Have a Happy Memorial Day
But remember who are being memorialized. 

Recovering from Injuries - an Opportunity!!!
Recently, a top junior hurt his wrist and so his table tennis play became limited - he couldn't loop forehand or backhand without aggravating the wrist, which made things tricky, since he's a two-winged looper. But I pointed out to him and his dad (via Facebook) that this is really an opportunity! This is what I posted.

He definitely should see a sports medicine doctor and/or therapist, and take time to let the wrist heal. But that doesn't mean taking a break from training. It means he'll finally have time to really focus on the aspects that don't involve the movements that hurt his wrist. He can get himself into top-notch physical shape; work on his pushing (short and long); forehand flipping (less wrist needed than backhand flip); work on his blocking; do footwork drills where the opponent is looping and he's blocking; shadow-practice; and if the motion doesn't hurt the wrist, work on his serves. He should experiment and list all the table tennis moves he can do that don't hurt the wrist, and work on those - but be absolutely certain to avoid those that do. (It could also be a time to have a little fun and practice chopping and lobbing.) It's not lost time; it's an opportunity!!!

Weekend Coaching
On Saturday I went to the club and just got to sit around and watch. Why? They were having the Elite League, so I came in to watch our top juniors play, since I'll be coaching them this next week at the Junior Trials. (See segment below.) I had a few tips for them in helping them prepare, but mostly took notes, especially on serve and receive.

On Sunday, in our Group 3 Session (players up to 1200), I was mostly a walk-around coach. It's been an amazing year, watching these players improve - and a number of the Group 3 players from a year ago are now in Group 2. I worked extensively with one promising player who still tends to use too much arm instead of body on looping, but he picked up on it quick, after some extensive shadow-practice. (See segment below on Muscle Memory and Saturation Training.)

In the Group 2 session (players up to 2000), I spent half as a walk-around coach, and half as a practice partner. For the latter, I did two drills with each player as they rotated to my table. Either they'd serve short backspin, I'd push back deep anywhere, they loop (forehand or backhand), and we play out the point; or they serve short backspin, and I had to either drop it short or flip, they attack, and then play out the point.

For the Group 4 session, we now have seven kids in the 6-8 age group. We did a lot of serve practice, lots of footwork drills, lots of shadow practice, and then target practice games - and lots of toy frogs and cups were smacked with pong-pong missiles. (This session runs at the same time as the Group 1 session - juniors up to 2350 - but nearly all of the advanced ones started out in the beginning group sessions, where I helped develop their foundation, and still coach them at tournaments, on serves, and on sports psychology. They regularly come by to watch, nostalgically missing the simple days where the primary goal was to knock over a stack of cups.)

US Under 19 and 15 Team Trials
I'll be coaching at the US Team Trials for Under 19 and Under 15 this next week, to be held at the ICC Table Tennis Center in Milpitas, CA. (They also have Under 13 and Under 17 events.) We have seven junior players from MDTTC going (ages 12-14, ranging from an even 2000 up to 2313), along with five coaches, four of them MDTTC coaches (myself, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, and Wang Qingliang) plus Wang Cheng. We have a training camp at MDTTC today (Monday) along with a USATT info Zoom meeting at 3PM, then on Tuesday, nearly the entire contingent (including parents) fly out of Dulles at 6:35PM. On Wednesday, we train at ICC. Then the Trials begin - four consecutive days, Thur-Sun, June 3-6. Here are some helpful links.

Butterfly Bio
Here's my new Butterfly Bio! Regarding my Butterfly sponsorship, I'm often in this tricky position in that I'm sponsored by Butterfly, but my club switched to JOOLA a few years ago. They also sponsor our junior team. I have a long relationship with the owners of both. I was a one-time practice partner with both Bowie Martins (Sr. and Jr.), way back in 1979-81, and have been sponsored by them semi-continuously since that time. On the other hand, I was one of Richard Lee's coaches/practice partners when he was winning nearly every age group (singles and doubles) at the Junior Olympics and Junior Nationals back in the 1990s, and he now owns JOOLA (worldwide, not just in the US) - and as noted, they now sponsor my club and the junior program I coach at. So I'm always walking a tightrope!

USA Nationals Entries
As I write this the morning of May 31, there are only 242 entries to the upcoming US Nationals. The deadline is June 15, so they have 15 more days. As I've blogged about in the past, I think there would have been a huge turnout if they had run a "normal" Nationals instead of all single elimination - there's a huge hunger out there for a US Nationals and/or US Open, since we haven't had one since 2019. Essentially everyone over age 13 or so who wants to would be vaccinated before the tournament. The reason they went single elimination, according to the USATT CEO at the April board meeting, had nothing to do with the pandemic, saying "The reason for running all single elimination is to better manage schedule and conflicts more efficiently." 

Historically, the lowest entries we've ever had were the 335 at the 1986 US Nationals in Pittsburgh. That year was an aberration - the next lowest were the 502 at the 2011 Nationals in Milwaukee. This year, of course, is in the usual Las Vegas, where the norm is usually over 700 more. So, as the entries come in, we'll see if they can top those "magic" numbers of 335 (maybe) and 502 (highly unlikely).

Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers
Here's the review by Samson Dubina! Here's where you can buy it from Amazon (read the reviews) or Butterfly. (I didn't know about this until I saw it on his page this morning as I put this blog together.)

Top 35 Table Tennis Blogs and Websites To Follow in 2021
Here's the listing from I'm not sure if I should say, "Yes, I'm #11" or "What, I'm only #11???" Of course, this is a mixing of actual blogs, and websites with news items, which are different things.

National Collegiate Table Tennis Fundraiser
NCTTA is coordinating a National Fundraiser where all donations are doubled (thanks to a generous NCTTA Alum). Can you help them reach their goal of $200,000?

Muscle Memory Application to Tennis
Here's the article, which also applies to table tennis. It's similar to my tip, Saturation Training.

Quick Tip - How to Start After a Break
Here's the video (1:56) from Timo Boll (world #11, formerly world #1). "I hope many of you are currently returning to the halls to play table tennis. In the video you will find some short tips how to start again after a longer break."

New from Samson Dubina

New from Eli Baraty

New from Ti Long

New Drills from Huijing Wang

Transition From Underspin To Topspin
Here's the video (2:37) from Yu Di.

Stroke Chemistry & Footwork
Here's the video (1:48) from Gabriel Perez.

Seth Pech vs Jeremy Hazin Akron Barbara Wurster Memorial Open
Here's the video (7:13) with Seth's expert commentary.

New from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

How To Assemble Your Own Table Tennis Racket
Here's the video (2:09).

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich


New from Steve Hopkins

Photos by Grant Bergmann in Fort Worth, TX

Welcome to 888 (Triple Eight) Table Tennis
Here's the article by 888 TTC Director and former USATT High Performance Director Jörg Bitzigeio: "A new International training center in the Bay Area."

One Size Fits All Table Tennis
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

My Table Tennis Experience in Poland
Here's the article by Patryk Zyworonek (US #2 12 and Under, rated 2196)

Table Tennis Pins and Coins
Alexander Klimoff of Russia sent me the links to his table tennis pins and table tennis coins collections. Nice collections!

New from Edges and Nets


Gionis Panagiotis vs Jakub Dyjas | MT-FINAL | 2021 Polish Super League
Here's the video (7:49) of this nice chopper vs. attacker match.

INSANE Table Tennis Shot After Shot
Here's the video (24 sec) - Ding Ning vs. Zhu Yuling.

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

'The Butterfly Lady' of Paralympic Table Tennis
Here's the article and video (3:26) from CNN.

3-Year-Old Playing with a Table Tennis Robot
Here's the video (31 sec)! Just think, she has five more years of training before she's eight, a typical age many start playing.

Ping Pong is Life
Here's the simple shirt at Amazon!

Impossible Ping Pong Trickshot
Here's the video (8:13) from XOLAY!

Frozen Ping Pong Ball Challenge
Here's the video (5:17) from Pongfinity!

Crazy Cat Playing Table Tennis
Here's the new cat video (14 sec)!

Poochpong - Me And My Poddle Ping-Pong Play Time !!
Here's the new dog video (24 sec)!

Funniest Ping Pong Game Ever
Here's video (1:44) of this golden oldie! I ran this ten years ago when I first started this blog, but now a new generation gets to see it. Here's a new version (1:46) with sharper images.

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