March 14, 2022

Tip of the Week
How to Learn by Watching the Top Players.

Exhaustedly Tired and Weekend Coaching
It's been an exhausting week. I had all sorts of things I was going to get done this week. But on Wednesday, I came down with what was likely 24-hour stomach flu. But the "24-hour" part isn't that accurate. It's true that I was only really sick on Wednesday - REALLY sick, 102.2 fever - but I spent the next two days (Thu & Fri) mostly in bed exhausted. I did my usual coaching on the weekend, mostly group sessions where I did a lot of multiball training. But one session on Sunday we had an odd number of players, so I was recruited to be a practice partner. It started off fine, but toward the end I was getting pretty tired. But it didn't affect my play much. Then we played up-down tables for an hour, where we'd have improvised games starting at 5-5. For example, in one set of games, the receiver had to push long to the wide forehand, the server had to loop the first ball consistently to the backhand, the then play out point. Or the same, except the receiver had to push long to the wide backhand. Again, I started out fine, and despite 20 players ranging up to about 1950 level, I quickly reached the first table.

And then . . . the combination of tired muscles  from still recovering from the flu and from the earlier drilling, and playing kids who don't understand the concept of "not so fast!") kicked in. Suddenly easy shots became like trying to lift a heavy weight while tap dancing, and I kept missing, even off high balls. The table conspicuously doubled in width, though no one else seemed to notice. The balls developed their own jet engines. Result? Right at the end I lost three of the last five games. I think the kids went from looking at me in awe (well, I can dream) to how they look at a hot fudge sundae.

I made the usual mistake of staying up too late reading on Sunday night. Adding that to the previous exhaustion, I woke up this morning with a headache and stomachache. I almost postponed today's blog until next week, but after some lunch, I finally buckled down.

As to the coaching, I think the focus this week was on speed, at least for the more advanced players. I fed faster and faster, while using shorter sessions - 70 seconds each as the players rotated - and ran them through a lot of speed drills. (Most sessions would have one player doing multiball, one player behind shadow-practicing as a mirror, and one on ball pickup.)

I also had a private session with Navin Kumar - here's a video (24 sec). We're getting him ready for the World Parkinson's Championships in Pula, Croatia, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3. At the World's Parkinson's in 2020 Navin got silver in doubles, bronze in singles. I'll also likely be coaching him in the Parkinson's events at this year's US Nationals in July.

Happy Pi Day
Yes, it's Pi Day! And here's some Pi Ping-Pong stuff! (I'm pretty sure I'm going to have some apple pie later today. Yum.)

Upcoming Schedule
I've got a really busy upcoming schedule. Here's the major items, including a few non-TT ones. (For the table tennis ones, you can enter most of them via Omnipong.) I'm sure more events will fill up my Fall schedule. 

  • Mar. 18-20, coaching at the Cary Cup Championships in North Carolina.
  • Apr. 2-3, coaching at the MDTTC Open.
  • Apr. 8-10, possibly coaching at the Puerto Rican Teams.
  • Apr. 27-29, coaching at the WTT Youth Contender (Linz, Austria)
  • May 1-5, coaching at the ITTF Hopes Camp (Linz, Austria)
  • May 27-30, panelist at the Balticon Science Fiction Convention.
  • June 11-12, coaching at MDTTC Open.
  • June 25-July 1, coaching at USA Team Trials (Fort Worth). Still no info page on this, alas. 
  • July 2-7, coaching at US Nationals (Fort Worth) - combined with the Team Trials, it'll be two weeks of consecutive coaching in Fort Worth. But still no info page or entry form for the US Nationals. 
  • July 22-30, attending "The Never-Ending Odyssey" Science Fiction Writing Workshop, as I do every year.
  • Aug. 5-7, playing and doing coverage of the World Hardbat Championships in Houston. Following that I plan a roughly five-day tour of Houston (starting with the NASA Spaceflight Center) and San Antonio (starting with The Alamo), and then a ten-day tour of the historic sites of Mexico. It'll be my second time in Mexico - the last one was circa 1990 when I coached the US junior team in a tournament there.
  • Sept. 1-4, coaching at the Global Championships in Orlando, then a day or two at Disneyworld. (I went there once, circa 1987, after the US Open in Miami or Fort Lauderdale.) Alas, this means missing the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, Sept. 1-5.
  • Sept. 30-Oct. 3, coaching Navin Kumar at the World Parkinson's Championships in Pula, Croatia. I plan to follow this with some sort of European tour. I was thinking of visiting the historic sites of Russia, but this might not be a good time for that...
  • Oct. 8-9, coaching at the MDTTC Open.
  • Nov. 3-6, panelist at the World Fantasy Convention in New Orleans.
  • Nov. 25-27, coaching at the North American Teams in Washington DC.

Singapore Smash
Here's the ITTF home page for the event, March 7-20, with results, news, and lots of video. There are some great matches (browse over them), but the one we all want to see is USA's world #30 Kanak Jha's upset of world #4 Tomokazu Harimoto of Japan, -7,9,9,3 in the round of 64. Here's the video (8:24). (Alas, Kanak lost next round to world #31 Anton Kallberg of Sweden, -10,8,6,9.) See also Steve Hopkin's coverage of the event below, in particular Kanak Jha Upsets No.4 Harimoto. Here are two articles from World Table Tennis that cover Kanak's upset, Singapore Smash Delivers Drama on Day 2 of Action and Timeout: Jha's Butterfly Tactic.

NCTTA Announces Call for World University Games Coach
Here's the info page. The event takes place in Chengdu, China, June 25 - July 7. I was asked if I could do it, but since this coincides with the US Team Trials and US Nationals (literally the exact same dates), I had to turn it down. (I was also asked if I could coach some paralympic events overseas, but again, I was too busy, plus these days I focus more on local TT.)

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Samson Dubina

New from Dora Kurimay

New from Matt Hetherington

New from Table Tennis Philosophy/Coach Jon

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from Ti Long

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Average to Pro Backhand in 7 Days
Here's the video (11:20) from Table Tennis Daily.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins

2022 WTT Youth Contender Vila Real: A Memorable Experience
Here's the article by Isabella Xu.

New from USATT

New from ITTF

"This Is Not Ping Pong" says Zelensky
Here's the quote from Ukrainian President Zelensky. The full quote is, "Listen, we have a war! We do not have time for all these signals. This is not ping pong! It's about human lives! We ask once again: Solve it faster. Do not shift the responsibility, send us planes." [Here's the video from last week's blog of Zelensky playing table tennis (43 sec).]

Colorado Suspends Betting On Russian & Belarusian Sports In Response To Invasion Of Ukraine
Here's the article and video (2:18) from CBS Denver. "Two years later, table tennis’ popularity still stumps St. Clair, who said it consistently ranks in the top ten sports bet on in Coloradans. 'Colorado has wagered $181.7 million on table tennis,' St. Clair said. 'It’s been one of those interesting scenarios where people can’t explain it.'"

New from Jimmy Butler

Janova Paddle Brings Performance-Tracking Smarts to Table Tennis
Here's the article and video (1:57), along with Kickstarter.

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

Calories Burned Playing Table Tennis Calculator
Here's the article from Fitness Volt. But I don't think this can possibly be accurate. It gives the only variable as your weight. But players will burn vastly different amounts of calories in a given time based on their playing level, style, and whether you are playing games or doing footwork drills.

Four-Player Ping-Pong Table
Here it is! You can get it at Amazon for $268.

The Man, The Myth, The Ping Pong Legend
Here's where you can buy the shirt at Amazon! And here's Hermann Luechinger, The Man, The Myth, the Ping Pong Modeling Legend!

Three Consecutive Crazy Shots
Here's the video (7 sec)!

Extreme Ping Pong Set-Ups
Here's the video (5:01) from Pongfinity!

Send us your own coaching news!