June 6, 2022

Tip of the Week
What Are Your Strongest and Weakest Links?

Weekend Coaching and Preparing for the Nationals
Things are getting serious as our players gear up for the upcoming US Nationals! (As of now, there are 660 players entered, with final deadline on June 15. There are 22 players from MDTTC entered, including 18 from our junior program.) Especially noticeable are the added serve practices, and the increased intensity both of that practice and practice in general.

When our top juniors practice their serves, they are often so focused I'm hesitant to disturb them by saying anything to them, like, you know, coaching stuff!!! So I am a bit more hands-off, though I still swoop in with magic words of wonder. For example, yesterday one of our top juniors was practicing serves for a LONG time, with great focus. I noticed he was practicing short serves for a long time, then long serves for a long time. So I made sure he ended the session by alternating them. It's easy to do a fast and aggressive deep serve (with speed, spin, and depth) when you are doing it over and over. But being able to do it after serving short is trickier. I sometimes tell players when practicing long serves to imagine it's deuce-in-the-fifth, or better still down match point, so they can learn to pull off those serves when it's close. Of course, at these higher levels they mostly serve short, but it's a lot harder pulling off an aggressive long serve under pressure than a short one. But I also challenge them to do a short serve under an imagined pressure score where the second bounce is just short of the end-line – another serve that's hard to pull off under pressure. Under pressure, many players serve a little longer than usual, and so their long serves go off, and their two-bounce short serves go long and get looped.

Another focus this weekend was recovering from forehand loops from the corner. Too often players finish these shots off-balance or out of position. When you forehand loop from the wide forehand or backhand, following through back into position is part of the stroke and technique. Too often players don't so this, and so can't cover the other wide angle – and then, instead of realizing the root of the problem, they just say, "I'm too slow!"

I had a private session with Navin Kumar. Major focuses for the day were smashing (both forehand and backhand), and serves.

New from Samson Dubina

How to Do Advanced Forehand Topspin Against Backspin
Here's the video from Ti Long (12:45).

How to Blow a 5-0 Lead – My Latest Tournament Disaster
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

3 Table Tennis Drills to Help Improve Hand-Eye Coordination
Here's the article and video (4:20) from Men's Health, with Adam Bobrow.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

New from Taco Backhand

Truls Moregardh vs Viktor Brodd | Final 2022 Swedish National Championship
Here's the video (10:05).

New from USA Table Tennis

New from the National Collegiate TTA

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

New from Joanna Sung

In Memoriam: Truong Manh Tu
From Truong's Family. Truong was a long-time worker for Butterfly USA and a top player and coach at the Silicon Valley TTC. Here's a tribute (and title listing) from PingSunday.

Southeast Asian Games
Here's the interview with Suthasini Sawettabut

New from ITTF

How Will Shortz Turned Pleasantville into a Table Tennis Mecca
Here's the article from The Inside Press.

"Rafael Nadal Said He Wanted to Kill Me"
Here's the article from The Sports Rush. "Nico Rosberg plays table tennis with 21-time Grand Slam winner in the latter's luxurious yacht."

Why Table Tennis Has Unique Place in Lagos Calendar
Here's the article from The Guardian.

Ping Pong Master Shirt
Here's where you can buy one, or as a hoodie.

Etsy Table Tennis
Here's where you can buy all sorts of ping-pong knick-knacks – pins, ties, socks, statues, shirts, you name it!

Infinite Loop of Ball Hitting Stretchy Paddle
It's sort of mesmerizing!

Ping Pong Ball Trick Shots
Here's the video (20 sec) set to music.

Ping Pong Egg Race Gets Intense
Here's the video (42 sec) from Pongfinity!

Peter Breaks Table Tennis Table
Here's the video (25 sec)! I wrote about the Family Guy table tennis episode in my March 28 blog (with the episode airing the night before), but this gives a nice action compilation of the big climax! Note that Cleveland served the last ball high on purpose, so Peter could smash, as at the end Cleveland wanted Peter to win. 

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