April 3, 2023

Tip of the Week
Do You Need to Be a Top Player to Be a Top Coach?

Major League Table Tennis
It’s here, in the US, starting soon! This could be a ground-breaking breakthrough for table tennis in the US. Cross your fingers. Here’s their press release, Major League Table Tennis Launches as First Professional Table Tennis League in the US. They also have a Facebook page you should like. (Here’s the USATT news item by Barbara Wei, $250,000 Professional Table Tennis League Launches in the US.) The driving force behind this is Flint Lane, who already started up and owns two table tennis clubs, Princeton Pong and Naples Pong. I’m told he’s got the deep pockets necessary to get something like this off the ground. I also had an exchange of ideas on this with him.

There’s nothing new about the idea of a professional table tennis league in the US. Heck, I put together a proposal on this many years ago about a franchise-based professional league, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. (Here are my blogs about this, on Aug. 24, 2011 and May 10, 2013. I doubt if he saw my proposals in advance, but I forwarded it to him in case he found any ideas there he liked.) But the key thing is not the idea of doing it – ideas on their own are useless. The key is acting on the idea, and that’s what he’s doing. If you are a “top player,” or even borderline, perhaps sign up and see if you are drafted.

Weekend Coaching, Three Old USATT Magazines, and Smithsonian Pong
One of our junior players asked me to help him with his deep, breaking serve to the backhand, so I did that. Next thing I know, several others want to learn it as well. So I worked with a number of them on this and other serves, rotating them about during the group session. I also worked with several on Serving Low – not just when it crosses the net, but so it bounces low on the far side. The idea of serving an aggressive short serve, where the serve comes out fast with a quick jump, and yet stays short and low, was a novel concept for some. Also found some players in our novice and intermediate groups who struggled with forehands down the line, so I ended up blocking for several of them on this.

On a side note, as I put in as “Breaking News” on Thursday, one of our junior players, Sam Altshuler (who I work with semi-regularly) is now world #38 in Para Men’s Class 6!

Now comes the strange question of the three magazines. Completely out of the blue, in Saturday’s mail, where three old issues of USA Table Tennis Magazine, each mailed separately – Jan/Feb 2013, Nov/Dec 2013, and Nov/Dec 2011. All three were mailed independently and loosely, with my name and address printed on them. I checked my collection, and while I had all three, the ones I had were “blank” ones, not mailed ones with my name and address. And now I remember complaining back then that I wasn’t getting some of the issues, and having USATT send them to me separately. So, what happened? The only explanation I can come up with is that they were printed and labeled back in 2011 and 2013, but somehow were “lost” in the mail – perhaps sitting in a stack somewhere at the post office or perhaps the printer. (I haven’t checked my magazine collection, but I saw a few others that also didn’t have my address, meaning those might also be “lost” somewhere.) And then, someone must have found them, realize they had never been sent, and so mailed them a decade or more later! I wonder if anyone else received any? If so, or if you have another idea of how this happened, email me. (As posted last week, here’s my complete table tennis magazine, books, and memorabilia collection.)
=>Breaking News - this afternoon (Monday, Apr. 3) I received another USATT Magazine in the mail, also with the mailing address printed on it, the Sept/Oct 2011 issue! 
=>Breaking News - on Friday, Apr. 7, I received another, also with the mailing address printed on it, the May/June 2012 issue!

On Friday, I took the day off and visited the Smithsonian Museums in Washington DC, about 25 miles south of me, little knowing that I would meet up with table tennis three times! (I’ll get to that.) I practically grew up in the Natural History Museum – my parents both had offices there, my dad as an entomologist, my mom a scientific illustrator – and there were times where I went there after school and did my homework sitting under the huge blue whale. Alas, it seems to be gone now, replaced by a humpback whale. I also spent a summer there as a guide for the Insect Zoo.

It was a whirlwind tour of the American History, Natural History, Air and Space, and American Indian museums, from 10AM to 5:30 PM, all within a few hundred yards of each other. Since I’ve been to them all a number of times, I went through them quicker than if I had never been there. I spent extra time at the American History Museum, including a one-hour guided tour, since it’s been completely renovated, including entire wings on American culture (mostly on movies and TV shows) and my pet interest, the American Presidency. I’m an amateur presidential historian, so when we were in that wing and the guide kept asking questions to keep us involved, my hand was perpetually up. When asked about multiple members of a family that were presidents, many knew of the Adamses and Bushes (fathers and sons), and of the Roosevelts (fifth cousins), but I was the only one who piped in about presidents William Henry Harrison (1841 for 30 days) and his grandson, Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)! There were a few others like that. I can name all 46 presidents in order, including their dates of office and other trivia. Feel free to test me if you see me at a tournament! (And since it keeps coming up, no, if Trump is arrested, he won’t be the first arrested president.)

After the museums closed, I did the obligatory walk up and down the mall, visiting the US Capitol – and recognizing where the Jan. 6, 2020 rioters had broken in – and the Washington, Lincoln, MLK, Vietnam, and Korean War Memorials, the tidal basin, and numerous other memorials and statues.

Table Tennis came up three during the tour of the American History Museum, all in the American Culture wing. First, they were playing clips from old movies non-stop on a large screen on the wall, and showed Forrest Gump playing table tennis. Second, they had an exhibit on the first video game, Pong. And third, the original Kermit the Frog was on display, and when the guide asked what the eyes were made of, I chimed in correctly that they were ping-pong balls cut in half!

Butterfly Puerto Rico Teams
The event was held in San Juan this past weekend, Mar. 31-Apr. 2. Here’s the home page where you can get complete results. Here’s Kou, Wang, Naranjo Win Butterfly Puerto Rico Open Teams by Steve Hopkins.

Competing Parkinson's Worlds
There will be TWO World Parkinson’s Table Tennis Championships this year, in Austria and Crete. Originally I was going to the one in Crete, Greece, Nov. 1-5, where I would be coaching Navin Kumar. However, due to some disagreement with Ping Pong Parkinson, the latter group will be running their own in Wels, Austria, Sept. 25-30. Navin is going to the latter, so I will likely be going to that one instead. Afterwards, I hope to do some sightseeing. Here are the two World Parkinson’s Table Tennis Championships:

AYTTO Coaching Certification
They’re running a coaching certification clinic, Apr. 20-23, half virtual, half in person at the NYISC Table Tennis Club in Queens, New York City.

Table Tennis, Pickleball, and the Cerebellum
Here’s the video (90 sec)! (About twenty people have sent me links to this.) “The reason I like it [table tennis] better than pickleball is it’s faster, and there’s a lot of spin, and a lot of thinking, that when you play at a high level, it’s a strategy game.” “It’s working out your cerebellum. It’s working out your parietal lobes. It’s working out your frontal lobes.” “People that play racket sports live longer than anybody else, isn’t that interesting?”

Improve Your Backhand Loop
Here’s the video (4:32) from Pingispågarna.

New from PongSpace
Serve Series by Angela Guan

New from Samson Dubina

9 Simple Steps To Beating A Chopper That Anyone Can Follow
Here’s the article from Racket Insight.

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

New from Ti Long

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Youth Officials Program
Here’s the USATT news item by Barbara Wei.

Sally Moyland And Her Experience In North Carolina 2023
Here’s the article by Sally Moyland.

Wang Chuqin to Olympics
Here’s the video (2:17) from Taco Backhand.

Chopper vs. Attacker
Here’s the video (39 sec) of a great point that has everything!

New from ITTF

Australian Police Charge Man in Alleged International Table Tennis Match-fixing Syndicate
Here’s the article from CNN on the Australian scandal.

Pau Gasol vs. Gàlia Dvorak
Here’s the video (17 sec) of Spanish table tennis star Gàlia Dvorak hitting with Spanish basketball star Pau Gasol – he’s pretty good!

Stay Paw-sitive
Here’s the shirt that features a cartoon cat playing table tennis!

Visit Mars Before the Humans Ruin It
Here’s where you can buy these ping-pong balls at Amazon!

Tennis Table Tennis
Here’s the video (5 sec)!

Very Normal Ping-Pong
Here’s the video (21 sec)!

Adding Some RISK To Our Ping Pong Match
Here’s the video (3:17) from Pongfinity!

Send us your own coaching news!