June 21, 2021

Tip of the Week
Don't Start a Point Until You Have a Game Plan.

US Junior Team Trials
I got back late last night from four days at the Westchester TTC in New York, where they held the US Team Trials for Under 17, Under 13, and Under 11, for boys and girls. Here are some links:

  • Complete results, care of TTLive
  • Final Standings for all six events
  • Live Streaming of Under 13 from Day Three/Sunday (6hr 24min). Ryan Lin (2037) is playing at the very start (far side), with Coach Jack Huang coaching. Toward the end, at 5:29:00, you can see Stanley Hsu (2311) playing He Xianyao (2160), with me coaching Stanley (in red shirt on far right). At 6:03:00, you can see Stanley against Patryck Zyworonek (2196), with Wang Qingliang coaching Stanley, as the top two seeds in U13 battle it out.

A great thanks for setting up and running this event goes to USATT, Westchester TTC and Will Shortz, High Performance Director Sean O'Neill, Referee Roman Tinyszin, all the other volunteers whose names I don't have, and all the players, parents, and coaches! The trophies are especially nice - they weigh a ton and the kids love them. (See pictures below.)

Our contingent from the Maryland junior program at MDTTC included eight boys and four coaches (Wang Qingliang, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, and me, Larry Hodges). Strangely, we have no girls in our current junior program who were competitive in these events, and so none came to these trials. (We have some really promising ones coming up, however!) The eight ranged in age from 11 to 14. Four of them were in Under 13. All eight played in Under 17 - but since our oldest were 14, they have several years of eligibility left. I mostly coached Stanley Hsu, Mu Du, and Lance Wei.

On Thursday morning we had a two-hour practice session at MDTTC, 9-11AM. And then we all left in multiple cars for the roughly five-hour drive, meeting together halfway for lunch. We then had a 90-minute session at the Westchester TTC from 5:30-7:00PM. Play began all three days at 9AM, so we met for warmup each morning at 8AM.

Stanley Hsu (#1 in US at 12 and Under at 2311) had already made the US Under 15 Team at those Trials two weeks ago at the ICC TTC in California (finishing fifth with a 3-4 record in the Final 8 against older players). Now he was trying to make the Under 17 and Under 13 Teams - and he made both! In Under 17, he finished seventh, going 2-5 in the Final 8 against much older players. In Under 13, he finished first, going 7-0 in the Final Eight, and 11-0 overall. So he is now on three teams, Under 17, 15, and 13 Boys.

Two of our other players made the Under 13 Team, Mu Du (recently turned 13, rated 2121) and Ryan Lin (11, rated 2037). Mu Du finished third with a 5-2 record in the Final 8, and 9-2 overall. Ryan finished sixth with a 2-5 record in the Final 8, and 6-5 overall. He will still be eligible to play next year. (Ages are taken as of Jan. 1.) Under 13 Boys is our strongest age group, and or players finished #1, 3, and 6. (We also had the #8 seed, Winston Wu, 11 and rated 1973, but he missed making the Final 8 by one match - but he's still eligible next year.)

It's sometimes tempting to go over all the coaching that takes place at these tournaments, but that would be giving away secrets! But sometimes the magic works. For example, in one match, it was 1-1 in games. Between games I told the player to focus on three things - a specific type of serve he should use at least half the time and how to follow it up; a specific serve he should mostly stop using; to focus on staying at the table; and one very important rallying tactic. (I wish I could be more specific, but the opposing coach might be reading this and would recognize it!) He won the next two games by a combined score of 22-5.

I went up and back with Steve Hsu's six-passenger van, along with Stanley and his brother, Kurtus (15). On the way back Mu Du and Ryan Lin joined us - and it was video games (and some brain teasers) the whole way! It's a pretty exciting time for the three who made the Under 13 team. Meanwhile, training for the Nationals (starting July 4) started today!!! (Stanley, Mu Du, and Ryan may get a rest day.)

Since the #1 spot in each Trials is reserved for whoever wins that age event at the Nationals, the #1 finisher here is actually #2 on the team, and so on down, so Stanley is officially #8 on the Under 17 Team and #2 on the Under 13 Team, while Mu Du and Ryan Lin are officially #4 and #7. If any of the players who finish in the #2 to #7 spots here wins that event at the Nationals, they not only move to the #1 position, but everyone below that person moves up a spot. In each Trials, the player who finished #8 - and so is currently at #9 and so not on the team - would then move up a spot to #8, thereby making the team. So, for example, for Stanley to be #1 on the Under 13 Boys' Team, he will need to win that event at the Nationals. Most likely, one of the players here will win that event, and so Mu Du and Ryan will move up to at least #3 and #6.

There were some scheduling problems at the tournament that led to delays, especially on the first day, Friday, when things fell two hours behind. But as I told our kids, always remember that both sides have to deal with such problems, and whoever handles them best has an advantage. There are some things they can do to improve, and I'll be in contact with those in charge on some of these.

Westchester TTC owner, player, NY Times crossword editor, and world-famous puzzlist Will Shortz showed me his table tennis collection of books and vintage equipment, and we talked table tennis for over an hour. We may be doing some trading as I collect table tennis books!

Here are some pictures taken by Steven Hsu:

Liebherr 2020 ITTF European Individual Championships
Here's the ITTF info page for the event to be held June 22-27 in Warsaw, Poland.

Coaches Who Do Video Coaching
Here's the listing! I've blogged a few times about coaches who do video coaching, and listed those who did. I finally buckled down and put together a page dedicated to this. Please email me if I there are any corrections or additions I should add. Here's the current listing:

The following coaches will analyze your videos - contact them directly. 

  • LearnPong, with Kai Zhang, Brad Robbins, Chase Bockoven, Vlad Farcas, Andrew Williams, Christian Stelting, Bjorn Stelting, and Alfred Dela Pena.
  • Samson Dubina (OH), USATT Certified National Coach and multiple Coach-of-the-Year awards, and 2009 US Men's Singles Finalist. See his web page (scroll to the bottom of the products page).
  • Cory Eider (NJ), former USATT High Performance Director and 2013 US Men's Singles finalist, 2014 Men's Doubles Champion.  
  • Kevin Finn (NJ), Peak Performance Table Tennis
  • Pieke Franssen (CA), USATT Certified National Coach and chair of the USATT Coaching Committee. See his USATT about page
  • Matt Hetherington (MD), member of New Zealand National Team, now coaching in the US, ITTF Level 2 coach. See also his web page.
  • Judy Hugh (NJ), former member of US National Team. See her USATT about page
  • Christian Lillieroos (OR), ITTF Level 3 coach. 
  • Sean O'Neill (OR), five-time US Men's Singles Champion and two-time Olympian, USATT Certified National Coach, and current USATT High Performance Director. See his USATT about page
  • Tim Wang (CO), three-time US Men's Singles Champion. See his USATT about page

The Gentleman Honorary President: Xu Yinsheng Pens New Book
Here's the ITTF page on it. It's in Chinese - I'm hoping for an English translation. He was a member of the Chinese National Team from at least 1959-1965, making the semifinals of Men's Singles at the 1961 Worlds, and winning gold in Men's Teams three straight times (1961, 1963, 1965) and Men's Doubles in 1965, with a silver in Men's Doubles in 1965. But he was better known as the ITTF President from 1995-1999, where he pioneered going from the 38mm ball to the current 40mm one. He was also the long-time president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association. Some of you may remember his son, Xu Huazhang, another former Chinese team member who lived in the US for about ten years, training at MDTTC and going to college, and at one point achieving a 2777 rating.

Vlog - The Quadruple Triple - Playoff Final
Here's the video (24:55) from Timo Boll. "Follow me behind the scenes to my fourth triple with Borussia Düsseldorf! What a fantastic journey we had this season. This vlog is about the last step, the Playoff-final vs. our toughest opponent in this season, 1.FC Saarbrücken!"

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

Videos (some overlap with the above)

New from Ti Long

New from Samson Dubina

Correcting Technical Errors
Here's the video (34 sec) from Eli Baraty.

How Harimoto Built a 3-1 Lead and How Ma Long Came Back at the 2020 World Cup
Here's the article from Edges and Nets.

True Power - Secret of China Technique
Here's the video (2:17) with Coach Li Sun.

Forehand Topspin Rotation (Loop) and Speed
Here's the video (3:42) from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

Defense vs. Attack
Here's the video (6:21) of Dimitrij Ovtcharov (world #9, world #1 in Jan & Feb 2018) training with chopper Ruwen Filus (world #35), both of Germany.

The Players Perspective
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

Review: A Late Return by William Rees
Here's the review by Tom Lodziak of the upcoming book (available Nov. 5). I just pre-ordered my copy at Amazon.

New from Steve Hopkins

2021 USATT Hall of Fame Cup Final
Here's the video (87 min) - NC International Table Tennis Club - (Kai Zhang/Jishan Liang) vs Nison's Table Tennis Club - (Mishel Levinski/Adar Alguetti/Sharon Alguetti).

Jan Ove Waldner | The GOAT of Table Tennis | Career in Numbers
Here's the video (3:27). So, who is the Greatest Of All Time (for men, anyway), Waldner, Ma Long, or someone else? Here's a contrary view, arguing for Ma Long, by Matt Hetherington. (It was written in 2018, updated in 2019 after Ma won his third straight men's singles at the Worlds.)

Jun Mizutani Discusses Olympics, Harimoto, Ito, and More
Here's the article from Sportiva.

Here's their news pagevideo page ("World Table Tennis") and home page.

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

King of the Ping Shirt
Here it is!

Romeo Ping Pong Ball and Juliet Golf Ball
Here's the cartoon!

Table Tennis . . . Literally
Here's the video (5 sec) - and yes, that's Novak Djokovic on far side against Rafael Nadal on the near side.

Table Tennis Trick Shots, Part 2
Here's the video (3:14) from Able Tennis, where he has other trick shot videos.

Funny Table Tennis Tutorial Low Budget
Here's the video (1:54)!

Ma Lin is Very Funny and Loves to Drink Beer
Here's the video (2:04) of Mima Ito talking about Ma Lin!

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