August 2, 2021

Tip of the Week
July 26: Don't "Guide" Your Loop.
Aug. 2: Practice Service Spin … on a Rug!

Writing and Table Tennis Advice
I just finished up a nine-day TNEO online science fiction & fantasy writing workshop, an annual event I go to nearly every year. (This was my twelfth one and ninth in a row.) It's nine days of total writer immersion, with story critiques, master classes, readings, brainstorming & problem-solving sessions, plot breakout sessions, and writing salons on various topics. (Think of it as a training camp for writers.)

There was a discussion about when a story is done. Some writers spend way too much time trying to "perfect" a story, sometimes holding onto it for years as they keep rewriting and reworking it, trying for that absolutely "perfect" story. The result is they don't write much else (and so don't improve as a writer nor have other stories to sell), and (reality check) the story doesn't actually get much better after a certain point. I spoke up and pointed out this was similar to what happens to some table tennis players. They constantly try to fix even their best shots, trying for "perfect" technique, and so never can really groove the shot, since it's always changing. Or they play a match where they keep trying find the "perfect" tactics, rather than finding and using ones that work, and so end up losing.

You should strive for "perfection" - but there is a point where it becomes counter-productive. Find the right balance.

One small tidbit - the participants keep track of funny statements made by others in the various sessions, and they are all published at the end of the week. Here are three quotes from me - all completely out of context, of course!

  • "I was glad that Diane died early." -Larry
  • "If you put a cicada named Bob on the table, you have to use him." -Larry
  • "The fastest rejection I ever got was 4 minutes." -Larry

1800th Published Table Tennis Article
One week ago I had my 1800th published table tennis article: Don't "Guide" Your Loop. It's also published on the Butterfly page.) This is in addition to over 1800 blog entries - if you include both, it's over 3600. Overall, I've had exactly 2040 published articles in 173 different publications and 17 books. Outside table tennis, the articles include 63 non-table tennis articles on various topics, including science, writing, and 33 on the Baltimore Orioles. It also includes 119 science fiction & fantasy stories (plus 40 reprints) that I've sold. The books include nine on table tennis,, eight science fiction & fantasy (four novels and four short story collections), and one travel book (Larry's Adventures in Europe and Egypt: Seven Weeks Following Tour Guides with Little Flags and Funny Hats, and the Quest for the Elusive Dr Pepper). That adds up to 18 books because my fantasy table tennis novel "The Spirit of Pong" counts twice, as both table tennis and SF & fantasy.

Maryland Table Tennis Center Featured in Chinese World Journal
Here are the three stories published on July 21. They are in Chinese, so I can't read them directly, alas. (I did an online translation, but it comes out poorly.) They have a number of pictures. (I put this in my previous blog, but it went up several days late.)

After a nearly two-year break, the Maryland Table Tennis Center is back to running tournaments in Gaithersburg. (See the Maryland entry in Omnipong.) They will hold one next weekend, Aug. 7-8, and others in Sept, Oct, and Nov. I ran them for many years - I've run exactly 203 USATT tournaments (almost all of them two-day events), but I'm now retired from that. I trained Klaus Wood to take over a few years ago, but now he's off to college. So Coach Wang Qingliang has taken over as tournament director. I'll be there to help out if needed and to coach some of our players. (I'll probably be showing up coaching at various upcoming regional tournaments - not sure which ones yet.)

2021 US Open
It's August, and we still don't know when or where the US Open will be. It should be in December, usually the week or so before Christmas. I've heard rumors about five cities interested in holding it, but if I list them, I'll probably get a call from the USATT lawyer. :) Since I don't know if the list is correct, I'll hold off. I hope USATT decides on this soon - people do need to make plans, plus you get more entries if people know well in advance and you can keep advertising it.

Tragic 'Spy' Who Sparked China's Table Tennis Domination
Here's the article featuring Rong Guotuan, from "In 1959, Rong became China's first world champion in any sport when he won the men's table tennis title, before committing suicide in his early 30s during the country's chaotic Cultural Revolution." He was "framed as a suspected spy." (He also coached the Chinese Women's Team to their first team title in 1965.) Rong is featured in my fantasy table tennis novel, "The Spirit of Pong" - he teaches "The Mind of Pong," but extracts a heavy price in return - he forces the student to relive what he went through during the Cultural Revolution.

USA Table Tennis Olympic Coverage by Mark Thompson

Olympic Table Tennis Links

Table Tennis Links
Rather than put together a somewhat comprehensive list of all the table tennis articles and videos that went up over the last two weeks while I was away, here are links to some of the major sites that had lots of things going up during that time. Enjoy! Next week I'll go back to listing them more individually.

NCTTA’s Summer Party - Sunday, August 8th @ 8pmET!
Here's the info page for the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association party.

Coaches Corner - How to Prepare for An Important Tournament
Here's the article by Wang Qingliang.

Multiball - Elevating Your Game by Training Under Uncomfortable Realistic Conditions
Here's the video (47 sec) from Eli Baraty.

Table Tennis with an Olympic Player
Here's the video (5:16) featuring 9-time Finland Champion Benedek Olah, from Pongfinity. Some very nice drills demonstrated here, especially the ones that start with a serve.

Interview with Matt Hetherington
Here's the video (11:20) by Samson Dubina. Topic is Matt's experience with the Chinese National Team.

3 Reasons Why Table Tennis is an Awesome Sport to Watch
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

2021 USA National Championship VLOG
Here's the video (5:53) from Seth Pech.

Left-Handed Tom Forced into Retirement!
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

Table Menaces: Why do so many top-level athletes have a need to be the best ping-pong player in the room?
Here's the article from Sports Illustrated. I wish they had contacted me - I could have told them about the ping-pong battles that went on in the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse a few years ago, with three of them taking lessons from me - Brady Anderson, J.J. Hardy, and Darren O'Day.

Soon Yeon Lee: Table Tennis Star Turned Hollywood Celebrity Coach
Here's the article.

The Art and Sport of Table Tennis
Here's the video (1:48) featuring Scott Preiss.

Table Tennis Prank
Here's the video (15 sec)!

Snakeman Unleashed!
Here's the video (8:13) from Adam Bobrow!

China vs. Germany - Funny Table Tennis Stereotypes
Here's the video (8:37) from XOLAY! "We tried something different today. How do you like it? Please don´t take it too serious."

Comedy Table Tennis & Funniest Moments
Here's the video (8 min) from Table Tennis Central!

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