Tip of the Week
Coaching this past weekend was a painful experience. Why? While my shoulder injury from a month ago continues to hurt – it doesn’t want to heal and I still can’t extend my arm – I had more problems with my neck. I must have slept on it wrong, but when I woke up Saturday morning, I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow – it took a few minutes of rolling about and trying to hold my head up with my hands before I was able to get up. Once up I discovered I couldn’t turn my head to the right. I almost cancelled my coaching, but decided I would just have to manage. I ended up doing five group junior sessions and one private session. Anytime a ball went to my wide forehand, I both couldn’t turn my head to see it, and couldn’t extend my arm to reach it! Fortunately, I’ve played long enough so I don’t really have to turn my head to hit the ball on my forehand, plus it didn’t affect my feeding multiball since for that my head is normally turned to the left. I also had some sessions where I was just a walk-around coach – but even that was tricky as I couldn’t turn my head to the right to watch players, and so had to turn my entire body. I’m guessing the neck problem will go away in a day or so, but as I’m writing this Monday morning, it hasn’t gotten any better – probably because I kept aggravating it all weekend. I might have to see a doctor about the shoulder as it’s not getting better.
As usual, there were lots of footwork drills. I emphasized keeping the feet moving, telling several kids, “If I can read the brand name on your shoes, you aren’t moving your feet.” There were also some serve practice sessions, where I had players focus on where the ball bounces on both sides of the table. Many players, even advanced ones, aren’t really aware of where the ball bounces on their side of the table, and so have trouble controlling the depth of their serve. For the depth of any given serve, there’s a specific place (distance from your endline) where you want the first bounce to be.
One interesting moment came up when one of the kids was struggling to block the opponent’s spinny loop. I pretty much recited “Blocking Spinny Loops”! And it paid off with some great blocking afterwards.
Oldest Living World Champion?
On Friday, the ITTF put up the news item Diane Schöler Celebrates 90th Birthday, the Oldest Living World Champion. Happy birthday and congrats to her! Only . . . well, I’m probably not too popular right now with the ITTF or the English TTA. When they posted it on Facebook, I responded by writing, “Congrats to Diane! However . . . I believe Thelma “Tybie” Thall Sommer (USA) is still alive at age 99. She was born on March 12, 1924. She won Mixed Doubles at the 1948 Worlds (with Dick Miles) and Women’s Teams at the 1949 Worlds (along with bronze in Women’s Singles).” Here’s Tybie’s Wikipedia entry and her US Table Tennis Hall of Fame writeup by Tim Boggan. I’ve met her a number of times as she used to be a regular at the Nationals into her 90s, always wearing that 1948 Mixed Doubles medal!
Ryan Lin’s Blog
Here it is! Since December, he’s put up eleven entries, about one a week, giving his insightful thoughts on various issues both table tennis and others. Alas, he still hasn’t filled in the “About” link, so you probably don’t know he’s the reigning 2022 US Under 13 National Boys’ Singles Champion, with a 2249 rating (2268 before his last tournament). Now 13, he’s at my club (MDTTC), and while I don’t work with him as much as before, I got to work with him a lot in 2021-2022 in camps and tournaments in Austria, Jordan, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and a number of US Opens, Nationals, and other tournaments. (We also share a common interest in brain teasers.) Why not hit the Follow button and see his entries as they come up? (He's also on Facebook.)
National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships
They were held this past weekend in Round Rock, TX. Here’s the home page, including results and video. Here are news articles this past week from NCTTA from the Championships – they’ve been writing up a storm!
- Lone Rangers Fight for Dominance by Shaquila Sarapao
- Player Volunteers Make Double the Commitment by Michael Reff
- Women’s Team Title Claimed by New Champions UCLA by Michael Reff
- Unbeatable Doubles Duo Hazin and Dani Make NYU Three Times Coed National Champs by Shaquila Sarapao
- Going the Extra Mile: NCTTA Salutes Volunteers With Military Service by Michael Reff
- The Return of Champion Angela Guan by Shaquila Sarapao
- Women’s Teams Kick Off With Nail Biting Doubles Deciders by Shaquila Sarapao
- The Friday Review In Rhyme by Michael Reff
- Loud and Proud WashU Men’s Doubles Pair Make Strong Showing by Michael Reff
- Men’s and Women’s Singles Upsets in Day 1 by Willy Leparulo
- Powerhouse Homecoming by Shaquila Sarapao
- History Could Be Made with Triple and Quadruple Crown Contenders by Michael Reff
- Coed Team’s Hype by Michael Reff
- Women's Competitions Set the Standard by Willy Leparulo
- Class of 2023 Make Final Playing Appearance at Champs with Hopes to Volunteer by Michael Reff
- Family Affair by Shaquila Sarapao
- Volunteer Umpires from Colombia Come to NCTTA Championships by Willy Leparulo
- The Lone Rangers Strike Again! by Michael Reff
- George Braithwaite (The Chief) Community Service Awards by Michael Reff
Ping Pong Diplomacy Podcast
Here’s the new podcast (35:32) on 1971’s US-China Ping Pong Diplomacy, from the History Channel, with “Special thanks to our guests: professional table tennis athletes Judy Hoarfrost, Olga Soltesz, and Connie Sweeris; Yafeng Xia, senior professor of social science at Long Island University Brooklyn, and author of Negotiating with the Enemy: U.S.-China Talks during the Cold War, 1949-1972; and Nicholas Griffin, author of Ping Pong Diplomacy: The Secret History Behind the Game That Changed the World.”
WTT Champions Xinxiang 2023
Here’s the page for the event held in Xinxiang, China, Apr. 9-15, with complete results, video, and news articles. (You might have to choose “WTT Champions Xinxiang 2023” from the dropdown menu.) Here are some videos.
- Men’s Semifinal: Fan Zhendong vs Lim Jonghoon (11:32)
- Men’s Semifinal: LIANG Jingkun vs LIN Yun-Ju (13:25)
- Men’s Final: Liang Jingkun vs Fan Zhendong (13:21)
- Women’s Semifinal: Sun Yingsha vs Chen Meng (8:56)
- Women’s Semifinal: Wang Yidi vs Chen Xingtong (12:18)
- Women’s Final: Sun Yingsha vs Wang Yidi (12:56)
=>Coverage by Steve Hopkins
- World No. 1s Finish First in Xinxiang
- Another Day of Upsets in Xinxiang at WTT Champions
- Early Upsets in Xinxiang at WTT Champions
New from Samson Dubina
- The Learning Stages
- Just play the game! ...OR
- 7 Keys to Developing a NEW Serve
- How to Serve Like a Pro: 12 Steps (9:49)
New from Ti Long
- How to do Chop Block technique for Top 3 Indian Veterans over 75 years old (13:27)
- How to increase the speed and power of Forehand Topspin Against Backspin (9:53)
- How to move Cross Step as a random Forehand Topspin for Cambodia National Team athletes (7:26)
How to Do the Tomahawk Serve
Here’s the video (2:31) from Pingispågarna
New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis
- Master the Forehand Topspin to Backspin in Table Tennis! (2:20)
- Table tennis. The backhand flip and reception (1:21)
New from PingSunday/EmRatThich
- WTT Champions Xinxiang 2023
- What Happened to Truls Moregard in 2023
- Fan Zhendong vs Felix Lebrun 2023
New from Drupe Pong
- Lim Jonghoon deja vu against Fan Zhendong (48 sec)
- Impressive reaction speed by Lin Yun-Ju against Ma Long (48 sec)
Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.
Ahad Sarand Wins Bronze Medal At The 2023 ITTF Para Costa Brava Spanish Open
Here’s the article by Vlad Farcas.
- USA Table Tennis Announces Winners of the 90th Anniversary Celebration World Peace Guitar Giveaway Creative Expression Contest
- USATT Announces 2023 US National Club Team Championships
- Celebrate World Table Tennis Day on 23 April!
- Africa Takes Centre Stage: Looking Back at the Historic 1939 World Table Tennis Championships in Cairo
- Liebherr To Celebrate Two Decades of World Championships' Partnership In Durban
- Diane Schöler Celebrates 90th Birthday, the Oldest Living World Champion (See segment above on this.)
- ITTF Celebrates Play True Day with Commitment to Clean Sport
- First-Ever ITTF Entourage Group Meeting a Success
New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of videos here.
Husband, Dad, Ping Pong Legend
Here’s where you can buy the shirt from Tee Shirt Palace! (Alas, I don’t see one for Wife, Mom.)
I’d Rather Be Playing Table Tennis Throw Pillow
Here’s where you can buy it at Amazon!
Many Rackets Pong
Here’s the video (15 sec)!
Big Paddle Rules
Here’s the cartoon!
Matrix Table Tennis
Here’s the video (1:46) – it’s an oldie that I linked to long ago, but thought I’d share it with a new generation!
Adam vs. Mexican Champion
Here’s the video (11:43) from Adam Bobrow!
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