August 7, 2023

Next Blog on August 21 – See Segment on Classic Nationals Below

Tips of the Week
I’ve been away since July 17, so there are the last three Tips of the Week. (Remember, even when I’m out of town and don’t do a blog, a Tip of the Week still goes up every Monday.)

Classic Nationals
I’ll be at the Classic Nationals in Austin, TX, Aug. 11-12, Fri-Sat, at the Austin TTC, run by Classic TT guru Steve Claflin. Afterwards I’ll be sightseeing in Austin for three days, returning to Maryland on Wednesday, Aug. 16. So no blog next Monday. There are six events in the tournament: Hardbat Open, Hardbat Women, Hardbat Over 55, Hardbat Under 18, Austin City Hardbat Championships, and the Sandpaper Open.

I’m running a FREE Hardbat Clinic there on Friday night, 6-7PM. I plan to cover Hardbat Equipment, Serves, Forehand, Backhand, Chopping, Playing Against Sponge, and a Q&A session. (I normally use sponge, but hardbat is a big sideline for me.)

Besides trying to win Over 55 - only event I’m playing - I’m top seed but face formidable opposition - I’m there primarily to do coverage. I’ll likely write a flurry of articles that’ll hopefully go up over the weekend at Butterfly News. The articles will be both regular coverage and profiles of top players, such as the top seeds in Hardbat and Sandpaper Open, Jimmy Butler and AJ Carney.

After the tournament I plan to do tours of the State Capital, LBJ Presidential Library, Austin Aquarium, Austin Zoo, and the famous Austin Bat Tour.

Major League Table Tennis on TV!
Here’s the one-hour show from ESPN 2, from this past Friday, Aug. 4, showing Major League Table Tennis, the only professional TT league here in the US. (You might have to have to put in your service provider.) The matchup was Team Zhuang (Agnieszka Maluszczak, Ojo Onaolapo, Enzo Angles and Hong Lin) vs. Team Fu (Alexandru Cazacu, Yasiris Ortiz, Mishel Levinski, Romain Lorentz). MLTT was created by Flint Lane - hope to see it get bigger and bigger! 

Pan Am Youth Championships and WTT Youth Contender
From July 23 to Aug. 4, most of the top youth players in the Americas were in Charleston, West Virginia, for the following events:

=>Butterfly Coverage by Steve Hopkins

=>USATT Coverage by Joshua Dyke

World Table Tennis Events
One just finished, one just started!

Butterfly Training Tips

Peak Performance Table Tennis on Sale
Here it is, by Kevin Finn – it’s 40% off for the print version (US and Puerto Rico only) at checkout with the code Peak2023, through Aug. 12.

Jan-Ove Waldner Top Ten Tips
Here they are, from one of the greatest player of all time! (He was generally considered the greatest until Ma Long.) This is reprinted from Jan-Ove Waldner: When the Feeling Decides (updated in 2022). I have a copy of the original version, signed by Waldner. The book was also translated into French, Jan-Ove Waldner : Question d’instinctby David Salomez, who also translated my Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers into the French version, Tactiques de Tennis de Table pour Pongistes Penseurs

Tony's Table Tennis Talk - Episode 1 - What was the call?
Here’s the video (3:49). So, what’s your call?

The Impact of 2 Month Online Training Toward Stroke Drive Ability in Table Tennis Players
Here’s the technical article (in English) from the Turkish Journal of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation.

News from All Over
Since I haven't blogged since July 17 due to traveling, rather than try to list every interesting article, here are links to some of the main news and coaching pages that have been active in that time, and you can pick and choose.

Former Doctor with Multiple Sclerosis Goes From Prescribing Medications to Playing Ping Pong
Here’s the article and video (4:20) on Dr. Antonio Barbera from Denver 7 News.

Top 5 Incredible Table Tennis Counter Attacks
Here’s the video (66 sec) from Top Table Tennis.

Some Very Sad Ping-Pong Balls?
Here they are!

Best Table Tennis Poems
Here’s the page from Poetry Soup. Here’s another, “Ping Pong” by Ron Cohen. (I remember seeing a new one this past week on Facebook and thought I copied the link – but can’t find it now. Email me if you have the link.)

Human vs. Robot?
Here’s the video (13 sec)! However, it’s obviously done with AI, with much of it apparently copied from real rallies. I recognize the chopping rally at the start from an exhibition I’ve seen but don’t remember who it was. However, the sudden forehand block at the end is just recreated from the famous Jan-Ove Waldner block against Timo Boll!

New from Adam Bobrow!

New from Pongfinity!

Businessman Pong
Here’s the video (90 sec)! This is a takeoff on the famous Matrix Table Tennis video (1:46).

Non-Table Tennis – War Around the Clock and TNEO
My fantasy anti-war story War Around the Clock is up at Bullet Points. It’s about the stupidity of war – and literally takes place on a . . . well, you’ll have to read the story to find out. Or read the title, literally!!!

From July 21-29 I was in Manchester, NH for my 14th (and 11th consecutive) “The Never-Ending Odyssey” science fiction writing workshop. It’s basically nine days of critiquing each other’s stories; master classes on SF writing; brainstorming, readings; and related issues. I had three stories critiqued, and another got the “Plot Breakout” treatment where four of us basically reworked the plot (such as putting it into a three-act structure, etc.). I’ve since finalized three of the stories and will likely finish the last one in the next day or so, though I’ll likely put all four aside for one more reading in a week or so before submitting them to the various magazine and anthology markets. What were my stories about?

  • Two Dreams: Dr. King and the Alien. An excited and idealistic alien makes first contact at the 1963 Martin Luther King March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
  • Bullet Time. A robber shoots a teller during a bank robbery, but time nearly freezes for the teller, and so it takes five days for the bullet to arrive – meanwhile, he’s stuck, frozen like everything else, just watching it approach, thinking about his life . . . and periodically getting visited by a strange Tinkerbell-like creature!
  • Connoisseur of Cambrian Cooking. The world’s first time traveler goes 500 million years into the past, to the Cambrian Explosion, but gets stuck there – and is forced to extreme measures to survive. (I managed to work in a ping-pong reference.)
  • Time Sweater. 11-dimensional beings are bothered by the plight of freezing, homeless children (also 11-dimensional), and decide to knit one of them a warm sweater – made from timelines. Which means splitting our timeline over and over to create new timelines for the sweater, causing havoc!

Meanwhile, I sold a story to A God and his pet squirrel return to Earth and are disappointed with what they find. They try to fix things, but it only gets worse. Finally, they decide to start over, wiping out humanity and replacing them with intelligent squirrels – but it turns out there are even higher powers!

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