April 4, 2022

Tip of the Week
If You Get Caught Out of Position, Either You Made a Mistake or Your Opponent Did Something Great.

World Table Tennis Day
It's this Wednesday, April 6! Here's the ITTF Info Page and the ITTF video (64 sec)

MDTTC Open and Weekend Coaching
I spent Saturday coaching at the MDTTC Open. Here are complete results care of Omnipong. As usual, it was a wild ride - sometimes the kids play great, sometimes they don't. Lots of tactical decisions.

On interesting one - several of our juniors had to play this 2100 player with a very strong forehand loop. He varied his tricky serves, sometimes long, sometime short, and look to follow with a forehand. If you pushed the serve, he was all over it; if you topspinned it back and it was anywhere over 80-90% of the table he was all over it with his forehand. So the answer? Decide in advance to topspin every serve back to the wide, wide backhand. Since there was no decision to make, it's a lot easier. If the serve was long, soft-loop to wide backhand; if the serve is short, soft-flip to wide backhand. If the player tried to step way around to play forehand from way over on the backhand, then sometimes topspin the serve to the wide forehand. (The player is from our club, and asked me about this. He is going to work hard on developing his backhand attack off those soft topspins.)

There seemed to be a number of opponents with strong forehands, weaker backhands, so a lot of the coaching was about pinning opponents down on the backhand and going after their backhands and middle. A few opponents had seemingly good receives against most serves - until we threw every serve at them, and then they crumbled. (That was me long ago - good against any serve, but weak against lots of variation.)

Most of our group sessions were cancelled due to the tournament, but we had the Novice group (mostly ages 7-8 or so) on Sunday afternoon. Lots of shadow practice and multiball! As usual, halfway through I brought out the two "froggies" as targets. At the end, in what's become a new thing, we did five minutes of "Simon Says"! (The kids keep asking every session, "Can we play Simon Says at the end?")

USATT Coaches List
As of tomorrow (April 5), it'll be two months since I've been off the USATT Certified Coaches Listing. Why? My SafeSport certification ran out on Feb. 5. I retook it in January, and did all the other things required to stay certified - background check, USATT "Pro" membership (I'm a life member), and the $50 annual fee. The problem, I'm told, is because of the USATT software. When I received an email from SafeSport saying it was time to renew, it gave a link to where I could do so at SafeSport.com. I aced the test - but I kept getting emails afterwards saying my SafeSport certification had expired. I emailed with USATT on this, but they said they are unable to make the change in my file, and can't do so until their software is updated. And so, for two months now, I've been off their list.

I know a number of others are in the same situation - as of now, there are only 63 coaches on the USATT certification list. There were 318 when I stepped down from my second tenure as coaching chair a few years ago. I know the numbers have dropped dramatically since then, due to the SafeSport requirement and the hated $50 annual fee, and when I last checked before the software problem, there were about 90 USATT certified coaches. I've been told for weeks that the problem would be fixed in days, but other things apparently keep putting it off. Once they get around to fixing this issue, I hope they'll have the sense to postpone the annual $50 fee by however long they took to get coaches back on the list.

New School Club in Virginia with Improvised Tables, Looking to Fund New Ones
Rachel Ku, who trained as part of the MDTTC junior program for the last three years (I'm one of the coaches), discovered that her high school in Virginia (Langley High School) didn't have a table tennis club. So she and her non-identical twin sister, Katherine, decided to start one. (They are both Freshmen.) They prepared all the necessary forms, begged a school teacher to be the sponsor, and recruited several of their classmates as officers. But they didn't have table tennis tables - so they improvised! Here's a picture of how they put together classroom tables to create one. They are now raising money to buy tables. The HW Global Foundation will match any donations raised by the students for their club. (If you'd like to donate, email HW Global, Attn. Rachel Ku.) The club has now met several times, and membership has grown to 20. (Rachel Ku just won Under 15 and Under 17 girls, and made the finals of Women's Singles at the Nationals Qualification Tournament for Virginia. Her brother, Jeremy Ku, who also trains at MDTTC, won Under 13 and Under 15 Boys and got third for Under 17. Here's all three - Rachel, Katherine, and Jeremy Ku.)

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Samson Dubina

Review: FastPong Training System
Here's the review by Tom Lodziak.

New from Table Tennis Philosophy/Coach Jon

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

How to Serve Half-Long and Its Tactics
Here's the video (10:29) from Ti Long.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins

New from USA Table Tennis

New from the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association


Olympian Table Tennis Player Lily Zhang Is Hopeful About WTT World Tour 2022 Thanks to Coach Zheng Pu’s Support and Training
Here's the article from Business Wire.

When Nixon Met Mao: Ping-Pong Tables Charted a Path to the Negotiating Tables
Here's the new article from the South China Morning Post.

Free Us From Sport England's Dead Hand
Here's the article by former English star Matthew Syed. You have to subscribe to read it there, but here's a scan of the article on Facebook, and the non-Facebook version.

Olufunke Oshonaike: Why Women Need Each Other
Here's the article from Olympics.com. "Olufunke Oshonaike, Nigeria's and Africa's table tennis pioneer, waved goodbye to the Olympic Games last summer in Tokyo after seven appearances." (Here's an interview with her from February, My parents supported my table tennis career.)

2022 ITTF Para Spanish Open: Van Emburgh Wins Gold, Sarand Upsets the Odds to Win Silver
Here's the article by Vlad Farcas

Northshore Spring Open - Jimmy Butler vs. Ojo Onaolapo
Here's the video (5:13 - first 1:25 is bio info on Jimmy Butler, main video starts around 1:40) from Jimmy Butler.

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

Insane Rally
Here's the video (25 sec)!

Table Tennis Posters
Here's the page at art.com.

Saatchia Table Tennis Art
Here's the page.

Cloud Services: Take the World by Cloud
Here's the commercial (30 sec) about Accenture's cloud services, which features table tennis from 0:05 to 0:10.

My Lucky Ping Pong Shirt
Here's where you can buy yours at Amazon!

New Service Rules Explained
Here's the video (4:44) from Tom Lodziak that came out on April 1, 2022. Yes, we need to prepare for all these crazy changes to the serve rules! I still can't believe the ITTF now requires the serve to start with the ball resting freely on the flat, dry tongue. But at least they allow the server to towel off his tongue before each serve.

World's Spinniest Table
Here's the video (8:04) from Pongfinity! They covered the table with grippy table tennis sponge, plus other escapades.

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