May 23, 2022

Tip of the Week
Rushed Backhand Loop.

Weekend Coaching
It was another busy weekend. I coached in six junior group sessions. (We have about 60 kids divided into four groups.) In the Novice group, I introduced three kids to forehand looping against backspin. We also had a forehand-to-forehand competition.

In the Intermediate group, an interesting thing happened. During such sessions, when I'm a "roving" coach, I often subconsciously twiddle my paddle back and forth between shakehands, penhold, and Seemiller grips. One of the kids saw the Seemiller grip and asked about it. During break, I showed him and a couple others the grip, including its strengths (strong in middle, great for blocking and for wristy forehand loops [super spinny, especially against backspin], having an alternate surface) and weaknesses (difficult to backhand loop, forehand counterlooping not as good, not as good at covering the wide angles), and explained that two US players had reached top 20 in the world with this grip - Eric Boggan (17) and Dan Seemiller (19). Next thing I know they all are fooling around with it! I had to get on them to stick to shakehands before one of the other coaches noticed and wondered who'd brought this on! (Here's video of Dan Seemiller vs. Wei Qi from ten years ago. Besides the grip, note how much trouble 2500 player Wei has with Dan's backhand serve, especially early on.)

Ever notice how some coaches, when walking about, hold the racket with a penhold grip, even though they are normally shakehanders? There's a simple reason for this - it's the most restful grip for holding the paddle when your arm is at your side. With the shakehand or Seemiller grip, you have to contract muscles more to hold the racket. I've seen some even feed multiball this way, for the same reason.

In the advanced group, I focused a lot of positioning and ready position. Near the end, I was recruited to play up-down tables - not easy when you're out of practice, stiff from walking around coaching for hours, and getting older (62)! I started off poorly, missing easy shots, but gradually improved. Over and over my serves saved me. But I kept missing easy forehands!!! One player asked afterwards why my receive position was so off to the side. I explained that I came from an era where many players greatly favored the forehand, and so was looking to receive most serves with my forehand - ideally, by looping, otherwise forehand flips. This generation mostly favors backhand receive (due to the advent of the banana flip), and so stands more neutral. Next time I'll show him videos of players from the past, who stand even more extreme than me. Here's Ryu Seung Min (KOR) on his way to winning the gold medal in Men's Singles at the 2004 Olympics against Wang Hao (CHN) - link should take you to the first point, where you see Ryu standing way over to the left.

We've Been Insulted . . . By Dexter: New Blood!
I watched the new 10-episode series from Paramount+. In Episode 2, at 38:43, Harrison (son of Dexter) says, "Wrestling is an Olympic Sport, Audrey." His girlfriend, Audrey, responds, "So is Ping-Pong." Yikes! Someone needs to watch some table tennis highlight reels.

South African Table Tennis Coach Looking to Coach in US
Here's the table tennis resume of Omar Zain Eddin. He's the High Performance Manager and National Team Head Coach for South Africa. I met him at the recent ITTF Hopes Camp in Austria, where he asked about this since he wasn't able to coach full-time in South Africa. 

Tahl Leibovitz's Paddle at the Olympic Museum in Colorado Springs
Here's the video (18 sec) with Tahl.

New from Samson Dubina

Butterfly Training Tips

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from TacoBackhand

Ti Long Trains and Corrects 7 Exercises
Here's the video (13:58).

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from USATT
(Note - while the five WTT articles are dated May 8, 9, 10, 15, and 16, when WTT published them, they actually all went up on the USATT news page on the night of Thursday, May 19. As I noted in my blog last week, timely news articles like these should be going up immediately.)

New from the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association

New from Steve Hopkins

New from ITTF

Puerto Rican Dominance in the Caribbean Table Tennis Championship
Here's the article and three videos.

Creating Unimaginable Table Tennis
Here's the article and video (2:59) from Butterfly.

Process Of Making Table Tennis Racket in South Korea
Here's the video (10:40).

Sugar Cane Secret to Taiwan Table Tennis Player's Singles Success
Here's the article.

Table Tennis Player Breaks World Record with 117 Opponents in One Rally
Here's the article and video (3:46)

Toddler Swallows Table Tennis Ball, Dies of Suffocation
Here's the article. If you have young kids at home, be careful of leaving balls lying around, and watch them if you take them to the club.

Austrian Bronze Cats Playing Table Tennis
Who wouldn't want to pay $450 for this??? Handmade in Austria!

Ping Pong Design - Today's Schedule T-Shirt
Who doesn't want this shirt? Today's Schedule: 8AM Coffee; 9AM-5PM Ping Pong; 6PM Happy Hour.

Table Tennis Backflop onto Table
Here's the video (8 sec)!

Cat Pong - Ball on a String
Here's the video (26 sec)!

Adam vs. Yasi
Here's the video (14:36) as Adam Bobrow plays Yasi Ortiz, the Champion of the Caribbean!

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