Tip of the Week
Be a Machine But Not Mechanical.
Weekend Coaching, an Exhausting Session, . . . and USATT or Local TT
It was another busy week at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. I had four group sessions, plus a private session with Navin Kumar. (As noted previously, I'm retired from private coaching, but made an exception for Navin, a Paralympic player. I'll likely be coaching him at the World Parkinson's Championships at the 2022 ITTF Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, 2022, in Pula, Croatia.) Head junior coach Wang Qingliang ran most of these sessions, with Coach Lidney Castro running one of them. (I used to run many or most of these sessions, but now that I'm "semi-retired," I've taken a back seat and let others be in charge while I assist.)
With the Novice group, the focus is always on fundamentals. We do a lot of shadow-stroking at the start. One interesting thing - the local middle schools require all students to do a certain number of hours of volunteer work. MDTTC had applied as an option, and so for the last few years we've had many of our junior stars helping out in such classes. This time around we had six of them (ages 12 to 15), along with Wang and I - so eight coaches/practice partners with 13 players!!! So we were able to do a lot of one-on-one hitting and multiball. In other sessions I was split between feeding lots and Lots and LOTS of multiball, and being a "walking around" coach.
In the last session on Sunday afternoon, they played practice matches to help some of them prepare for upcoming tournaments. There were 15 in the group and needed a 16th, so I became a player once again. The level in this group ranged up to about 1850. At the start, I was winning most of my games by scores ranging from 11-0 (sorry!) to 11-3. (All best of three to 11.) Then I started getting tired. Why was I tired? Well . . . perhaps it was age. No one there knew it, but I turned 62 (!!!) on Sunday. As I got tired, I made mistakes and struggled to cover the table against these way-too-fast kids, who more and more seemed like Tasmanian devils on steroids. No, I didn't lose any games, but the second half I had a number of close ones, even down 7-10 one game to a kid around 1600 (but swinging for the fences and hitting!) - but I came back. I probably need to start practicing and do some physical training if I want to stay ahead of them!
I'm going up to Princeton Pong in New Jersey to coach at a tournament this weekend. Normally, when I travel to tournaments, it's to coach our top juniors. This time, a number of younger, lower-rated kids are doing their first out-of-town tournament. I've met with some of the parents to go over various aspects of the trip. We leave sometime on Friday afternoon. These kids are enthused and can't wait!!!
With all of this local TT, and my growing disillusionment with the current leadership of USA Table Tennis, I'm leaning more and more towards just focusing on local table tennis until things get better at USATT. (One board member told me that members have always complained about USATT. My response was the key thing was whether the complaints are justified.) We have over 50 kids in our junior program, generally divided into four training groups. There are some really hard-working kids. They may not all become "champions" in table tennis, but they will all have fun, learn discipline and sportsmanship, and have a sport for a lifetime - i.e. they will all be champions.
However, it's also fun to work with the top ones. In the current rankings, in 13 and Under, we have players like Stanley Hsu (13, 2402), Mu Du (13, 2286), Ryan Lin (12, 2216), Winston Wu (2079) - the four are ranked #1, 3, 6, and 8 in the country. In 12 and Under, Ryan and Winston are #1 and #2. In 11 and Under, Riley Yang (11, 1920) is #5; in 9 and Under Girls, Audrey Yang (9, 1242) is #4. And there are many others. (It's tempting to list them all . . . lots of kids from 1800 to 2200, we have some great coaches at MDTTC!) Anyway, I'd rather work with these kids, most of whom I've worked with since they were beginners, then spend a huge amount of time tilting at windmills, i.e. dealing with USATT. I'm on the USATT coaching committee, and will continue that - though we haven't met since June of 2020.
=>ADDENDUM - Another reason for my disinterest in USATT is that, with all their problems, they are insignificant compared to what's happening in Ukraine as well as what's happened to American politics. There's a good chance our next president will be one who regularly tells us how much he likes and admires Putin and how much Putin likes him, and about a thousand other problems. I usually stay out of US politics in this blog, but jeez...
US Team Trials and Nationals
The US Team Trials (for men, women, and juniors, June 25 - July 1) and the US Nationals (July 2-7) will be held back-to-back this year in Fort Worth. So it looks like I'll be very busy coaching for two weeks! Then I'm going on vacation. Tentatively, immediately afterwards I'm taking a bus or flight to San Antonio (270 miles south) to visit the Alamo. (I'm told I was there when I was two years old, but strangely I don't remember it.) Then I'm doing something I've held off for a couple of years for some pandemical reason - I'm hoping to do a one-to-two week tour of Mexico - probably one of these. (I especially like visiting historical sites.) Some of you may remember my 7-week tour of Europe and Egypt in late 2019, just before the pandemic - here's my book in that trip, 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. (Flights from San Antonio to Mexico are inexpensive, about $200 round trip.)
Number of Events at the US Open and Nationals
I'm hearing rumors that they are thinking of once again lowering the number of events a player can enter at the US Open and Nationals. I hope this is wrong - they should go the other way and increase it. I checked some of my old entry forms, and as recently as 2015 players could enter up to ten events, with just as many or more events held as current Opens and Nationals. They lowered it to nine for the next two years, then to seven, then last year they lowered it to six. For a six-day event such as these, players want to play more, especially juniors, seniors, para players, and hardbat/sandpaper players who can play a lot of singles and doubles events. Since they had no problems with the scheduling in past years with players entering nine or ten events, why can't they do that now? The entry form will be out soon, so we'll know then.
=>ADDENDUM - Jasna from USATT posted, "From what I understood at the task force meeting, it seems it will be allowed for up to 10 events for athletes to enter." Another person from USATT had told me they were "considering" going to only five events, but presumably that was vetoed. (Another person also mentioned this to me, though not sure if it was a prediction or they'd also heard it, possibly from same source. It's quite possible the idea of going to five events was privately discussed but not brought up in official meetings and subsequently dropped. It would be an easy - and bad - partial solution to the recent scheduling problems.) If so, that's a good decision. Now, let's just run it on time and deal with the other problems raised from the last three US Opens and Nationals.
Ping-Pong on Space Force
I've been watching Space Force, the satirical show on Netflix, which recently released season 2. In Season 2, Episode 4, at 10:40, one of the scientists, Dr. Chan, is described, "Did you know that at age ten, Chan was actually a table tennis champion." There's a picture of him as a child holding a paddle. (The series stars Steve Carell and John Malkovich.)
=>ADDENDUM - Matt Hetherington informs me of the following:
"That picture of Dr Chan in SpaceForce is actually a real picture of Jimmy O Yang, the actor who plays him. Jimmy played table tennis in Hong Kong at a young age and his father took him to competitions in Guangzhou sometimes. He's mentioned it in his standup shows a couple of times, I sent him a new racket last year so here's hoping we can get him on a table a little in 2022!"
USA Table Tennis News
- USATT Third and Fourth Elite Athlete Elections Certified. They are Tahl Leibovitz and Niraj Oak.
- 2022 US National Table Tennis Team Trials to Be Held in Fort Worth. They will take place June 25 - July 1, just before the US Nationals, July 2-7.
- USATT Board Seeks Applications for High Performance Committee Member
- First 2022 Tournament, First Medals in France
- The 57th St. Joseph Valley Open
Butterfly Training Tips
- Backhand Backspin Loop (50 sec) with Tian Ye
- Short Forehand Attack (67 sec) with Tian Ye
- Forehand Footwork and Backhand Recovery (57 sec) with Darryl Tsao
- Forehand & Backhand Stroke Chemistry Exercise (61 sec) with Taiwo Adeyinyka
- Random Forehand Underspin loop (76 sec) with Wang Hui
- Backhand Close & Far (66 sec) with Taiwo Adeyinyka, commentary by Brian Pace
New from PingSunday/EmRatThich
- Ma Long Slow-Motion Forehand Analysis
- Ma Long Equipment and Playing Style
- How to Practice Chinese Method Power from the Ground
- How to Make Your Rubber Sticky Again
- Darko Jorgic Equipment and Playing Style
- Emmanuel Lebesson Equipment and Playing Style
- About Borussia Dusseldorf Club
- 19 New Videos in the Past Week!!!
Seth Pech vs Sharon Alguetti 2022 Presper Financial Architects Open
Here's the video (9:48) with Seth's expert tactical analysis.
New from Samson Dubina
How to Serve Ghost 4 Easy Levels
Here's the video (9:29) from Ti Long.
New from Table Tennis Philosophy/Coach Jon
- How to Keep Your Table Tennis Rubber Clean (Including Tacky Rubber and Pips) (9:45)
- "Cheap Chinese Rubber" - Booster- and The Good Stuff (Choosing the right table tennis rubber) (7:22)
- How Frequently Should You Adjust or Change Your Table Tennis Racket??? (4:56)
- Why Are There So Few Top Table Tennis Players Using Pips or Anti Spin? (5:46)
- Forehand Loop....Speed or Spin? (4:48)
- Taking Your Table Tennis Questions...Every One Of Them (2:56)
New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis
- Ping pong: basic serve (16 sec)
- Table Tennis: Fundamentation training (2:32)
- Table tennis: Dreams come true with discipline (2:32)
- FastPong: table tennis training system (1:22
New from Matt Hetherington
- How to deal with a ghost backspin lob for a guaranteed point (14 sec)
- Lily Zhang 🇺🇸 hits a bomb of a forehand counter at an exhibition in Canada! (11 sec)
- Kids Play with Hungarian Table Tennis Legends Gergely, Klampar and Jonyer in Budapest WTTC (51 sec). Playing on the left is Gabor Gergely; the guy in all blue standing behind the kid is Istvan Jonyer; the guy in all black behind the kid on the right (with his back to us at the start) is Tibor Klampar. These are the "Three Hungarians" who beat China in the final of Men's Teams at the 1979 World's. Jonyer was also the 1975 World Men's Singles Champion.
- Not getting any younger, but still keeping at it (13 sec)
- Finally after weeks of heart and cardio issues post-omicron, I can do forehand footwork (15 sec)
Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.
New from Steve Hopkins
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- Europe Top 16: Top Four Men Advance
- TTBL Update: With Backs Against the Wall, Ochsenhausen over Neu-Ulm
- Steven Joel Moreno Rivera Champion U-13 World Table Tennis Youth Contender in Metz, France
- Ted Li – Swedish Open Tournament Highlights (91 sec)
- ITTF Announces New Dates for Chengdu 2022 World Championships
- Anna-Carin Ahlquist announces retirement
- A hybrid model of the Participation Program proven to be successful
- Get Ready to Celebrate the 2022 World Table Tennis Day with ITTF Foundation
- Europe Cup Celebrates Golden Jubilee
- 2022 ITTF Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, 2022, in Pula, Croatia
New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here.
Fix Un Foxi
Here's the 1995 German comic book!
Here's the picture!
Here's the video (18 sec) - and look what they use as a net!
Pole Pong with Persson
Here's the video (17 sec) as 1991 Men's World Champion Jorgen Persson battles the ball, a pole, and a punching bag!
Here's the video (48 sec) - this is hilarious!
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