November 7, 2022

Tip of the Week
Coming Back or Beating Stronger Players.

Weekend Coaching
The hardest part of the weekend for me was in the last of four group sessions – three on Sunday – where they needed one more player for up-down tables. I’m out of practice, haven’t warmed up, and have been feeding multiball for hours, and suddenly I’m up against kids who make the Flash seem like a sloth. Fortunately, this wasn’t our top group, and fortunately, they couldn’t return my serves, and so I was able to win all my matches easily. Biggest scare - one kid made it to 4-all on four nets and edges! (He popped one serve back on the edge, and net-dribbled another.) One girl hits the ball so fast that any rally I didn’t win on the first two shots ended up with me lobbing, and she wasn’t bad against lobs. She also gave me a scare when she suddenly backhand flipped in two of my short side-top serves! (Apparently she didn’t get the memo that she’s supposed to misread them and push them straight up.) She was jamming the table, so I switched to deep breaking serves and fast, dead ones, and that ended that threat. (I also chickened out and chopped back some of her topspin serves, which worked.)

As noted, I fed a lot of multiball. For some of the sessions, I mostly fed backspin. In one-on-one drills with other players, even if the drill starts with backspin you only get one opening loop against backspin, and then it’s all topspin the rest of the rally. You might get 3-4 loops against backspin per minute. With multiball, you get about 60! That’s a lot more practice, and why it’s valuable in a group session to have one coach feeding multiball backspin, with the players rotated over throughout the session. One key that many forget – it’s not just forehand loops, don’t forget backhand loops!!!

Pan Americans
Here’s the ITTF home page for the event, with results. I don’t see a lot of online videos, such as USA’s Lily Zhang’s final against Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico. (Diaz got the gold, 4-0. Email me if you have a link to the video - I couldn't find one.) USA’s Kanak Jha (world #28) played Brazil’s Hugo Calderano (world #7) twice. Kanak won the first in the Team final, 4-0, but lost in the Men’s Singles Final, 0-4. Here are videos of both.

There was controversy in the quarterfinal of Men's Singles between Canada’s Eugene Wang and Ecuador’s Alberto Mino. Mino won the first three games, Wang the next three. In the seventh, at 9-all, Mino hit a clear side, but the umpire mistakenly called it an edge and gave the point to Mino. Wang argued for a LONG time, to no avail. He then refused to play the next point, and shook Mino's and the umpire's hands and walked off the court. However, the argument continued, with Wang off-court arguing with Mino, who remained in the court for a time, along with the umpires. Here's the video - it should take you to 2:05:28, 9-all in the seventh. (Thanks to Greg Mascialino, who messaged me the link.) 

Here is Pan Am coverage by Steve Hopkins/Butterfly.

Here is USATT’s article by Joshua Dyke on the Team event. (Presumably more will be coming on their news page.)

Tipping Off Opponents
Here’s a non-table tennis example (2:50) of baseball hall of famer Pedro Martinez explaining how pitcher Lance McCullers was tipping off his pitches in the world series. But the same thing happens in table tennis. To use one example, I used to coach our players against USATT hall of famer Brian Masters, and they did pretty well. One reason for this was that Brian liked to throw in sudden deep serves – and I noticed that whenever he did this, as he started his serve he’d stick his tongue out of his mouth! We used this for years against him. There are many other less extreme examples. Five-time US Men’s Champion Dan Seemiller once told me that he could often tell what the opponent was serving long before they served. I’ve had the same experience – often you aren’t even sure at first what the “tell” is, you just noticed something’s different whenever they do a certain thing. I used to coach Tong Tong Gong, a member of the US Cadet Team, but it drove him crazy that even after he passed me in rating, I would still beat him every time – because I could read, from his motion, what each of his serves was before he served it. I worked with him on fixing this, but it was so ingrained, and since nobody else seemed to have picked up on it, it didn’t really hurt him. (Example – when he served deep, he lengthened his backswing, and as soon as I saw that, I’d prepare to loop the serve. For heavy backspin, he always opened his racket more during the backswing, while for no-spin or sidespin, it would be more closed.)

Smash Against Lob
Here’s video (48 sec) of Ye Seo Dang smashing against Krisztina Toth. She’s consistent, but her smashes have little power, and so she is unable to win the point. She’s really just looping the ball, with little arm snap. This is an example of what was covered in last week’s Tip of the Week, Increase Forearm Snap to Increase Smashing Speed.

New from Samson Dubina

  • Eugene Wang Quote (2:41) – This is one of those really important things that a lot of players and even coaches don’t really get. I’m always stressing to players to remember their best games or matches, remembering the mindset, and simply repeat it. If you play poorly, put that out of your mind and remember when you played great! (The only exception is when you have to analyze why you played poorly. But that’s strictly a technical analysis.)
  • Placement (5:54)
  • Upset of the Year
  • Paddle Palace Fitness Video of the Month (74 sec)
  • Robot Tips (7:45)
  • Theme (4:11)

Butterfly Training Tips

How Often Should You Use Long Serves?
Here’s the article by Tom Lodziak.

Why Does Fan Zhendong Lose?
Here’s the video (40 sec) from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

Seth Pech Swedish League Match 2022 + Tutorial Two Tricky Serve Returns at the End
Here’s the video (13:39) from Seth, with point-by-point analysis.

How to Serve Attack and Make Backhand Topspin Against Backspin Powerful and Advanced
Here’s the video (23 min) from Ti Long.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly
(See his three articles on Pan Ams in segment above.)

New from USATT

New from ITTF

Steve Moreno Men’s U13 Champion of the WTT Youth Contender Podgorica 2022
Here’s the article by Edgardo Vasquez.

Africa’s Best Player of All Time from Perfect Camera Angles
Here’s the video (2:18) featuring Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, from Tacobackhand.

Chinese National Championships Team Final
Here’s where you see these great videos from the Chinese Nationals, from ttlondon2012. They include finals matches Fan Zhendong vs. Lin Gaoyuan, Xu Xin vs. Li Yijie, and Fan Zhendong vs. Zhou Qihao, as well as semifinal and quarterfinal matches.

Evaluation of Competition and Travelling Diet of Elite Table Tennis Players
Here’s the scientific journal article from the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports from India.

Ping Pong in the LA Crossword
The Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle on Saturday, Nov. 5 included 32 Across, “Game room fixture.” Answer – Ping Pong Table! The crossword also runs in the Washington Post, which I still get and do the crossword at lunch every day.

Novak Djokovic 'Knocked Out' by a Ball Boy in Ping Pong Battle
Here’s the video (27 sec)!

Ping-Pong Is My Therapy
Here are three versions of this shirt that most of us need! (No, I don’t sell these or any other shirts or other non-book items that I link to here.)

Belly-Flop Pong
Here’s the video (12 sec) – it starts with a behind-the-back shot, and then comes the belly flop!

Never Let ‘em Know Your Next Move
Here’s the video (5 sec)!

Send us your own coaching news!