August 28, 2023

Tip of the Week
Nine Battles.

Major League Table Tennis
It’s almost here! This could potentially be the biggest and best thing to ever happen for table tennis in the US. Let’s cross our fingers and hope it really takes off. It’s the brainchild of Flint Lane, who not only was the founder, CEO, and Chairman of BillTrust, but more importantly . . . is a serious TT player! He’s rated 1893 and was previously as high as 1948.

Much of the success of MLTT will be getting sponsors, so feel free to jump in there. I’m tempted to make either or my table tennis books a sponsor – but can’t come up with a good name that covers both of these, alas.

The good news is that they start off with good financial backing, which means it should be around for a while, giving it time to develop. Flint is rather wealthy – feel free to Google “Flint Lane net worth,” and don’t let your jaw smack the ground too hard. However, you can’t have a successful professional league that relies on one person donating money until he tires of it – it needs to be financially viable on its own, like any major sports league. Let’s hope MLTT can make it like NFL, NBA, MLB, and so on.

Yesterday they held their inaugural sports draft – here’s the video (13:02) and here are the Major League Table Tennis 2023 Inaugural Draft Results. The schedule is up – if one of the locations is near you, why not show up and cheer for a team? Here’s the Major League Table Tennis First Half of Season Schedule. Specifically:

MLTT First Half Season Schedule:

  • September 15-17: East Division | Ocean Center, Daytona Beach, FL (Tickets On Sale Now)
  • September 22-24: West Division | Kaiser Permanente Arena, Santa Cruz, CA
  • October 13-15: East Division | Myrtle Beach Sports Center, Myrtle Beach, SC
  • October 27-29: West Division | Merrell Center, Houston, TX
  • November 10-12: East Division | Wintrust Sports Complex, Chicago, IL
  • November 17-19: West Division | Alameda County, East of Oakland, CA
  • December 1-3: Cross Division | Rock Hill Sports Center, Rock Hill, SC

Our sport has seen a few seemingly “big” things in the past. Ping-Pong Diplomacy in 1971-72 was huge, and I’m told that USATT (then USTTA) membership surged from 4,000 to something like 17,000 – and then, since there was no real infrastructure or follow-up, within a year or so it dropped back to under 5,000. The sport debuted as an Olympic Sport in 1988, and to some that’s huge – but the reality is that it hasn’t really led to the sport becoming the big sport we all envisioned. The past 15 years has seen the rise of full-time training centers all over the US – going from about six to over 100 during that time – and that has easily been the biggest and best thing for the sport in this country. It might even have laid the groundwork and infrastructure needed to support a professional league like MLTT.

Weekend Coaching
Our Fall junior training season began this past weekend. I coached in three sessions, including the Novice group, where we had the usual influx of new players. There was one girl, about six, who was shaking and in obvious fear of this new ping-pong thing – almost in tears. She wouldn’t respond to questions or look at any of the coaches. We also had a new boy, about 8, also a beginner (though he'd had a few lessons) and he kept saying how he hated table tennis. I had them in my group, so I made it my goal to win them over. Boy, did that work out! It took half an hour, but both finally began smiling and having fun, as well as learning how to play. By the end of the session she not only had a solid backhand (not quite so good yet on the forehand), but was practically bouncing up and down and wanted to come back, while he suddenly liked table tennis. 

Alas, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, at least physically, which could affect me as a practice partner with stronger players. I had to drop out of the Classic Nationals a few weeks ago due to a left knee injury. It doesn’t seem to be getting better, alas. I did spend an hour of one session (Intermediate group) hitting with three players (they rotated, with the other two practicing together), but I have to be careful.

As usual, I keep coming up with various challenges for the players. If you have kids do the same boring thing over and Over and OVER, you get kids who don’t really want to play. If you want kids who will become self-motivated and strive to improve, and who want to keep coming back, keep challenging them. When practicing serves, for example, I give targets (Froggy or a water bottle) or use the adjustable serving bar to make them serve low. When doing consistency drills, we count how many they get in a row. When doing multiball, I often put targets on the table and challenge them to hit them. (More likely, I’ll put Froggy on the table and tell them, “Don’t you dare hit him!”) Some points become Galactic World Championships of the Universe, or whatever I make up on the spot. Result? The kids are motivated.

New from USATT

Butterfly Training Tips

Are You Making One of These Forehand Mistakes??
Here’s the video (22:22) from Seth Pech. “Fix Your Forehand from these 14 Common Mistakes.”

New from Ti Long

Problems With Your Footwork? Start With Your Eyes
Here’s the article by Tom Lodziak.

New from PongSpace and Damien Provost

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich
57 new videos this past week!!!

Tony’s Table Tennis Talk
33 new videos this past week!

New from TT11TV
8 new videos this past week!

Franziska Plays Table Tennis Out of This World From the Best Angles
Here’s the video (2:59) from Taco Backhand.

Wan Chuqin Will Be the First Left-Handed Chinese World Champion?
Here’s the video (2:03) from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

Table Tennis Nets – Are They in Good Condition?
Here’s the video (3:44) from Pingispågarna.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

NCTTA Looking For Help
Here’s the info page. “Ever wondered how to get involved in NCTTA? Or how all of these events work? Well, wonder no more.”

How Texas Wesleyan Transformed Table Tennis Into the Winningest Idea Ever
Here’s the article.

New from ITTF

Greatest Table Tennis Hits of All Time - Vol. 2
Here’s the video (9:50) from World Table Tennis. Here’s Volume 1 (9:46).

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of videos here.

Table Tennis?
Here’s the cartoon!

Felix vs. Alexis: The Final Battle
Here’s the video (11:53) from Adam Bobrow! “Have you ever wondered how hard it is to receive a table tennis serve from a pro?”

Match to 100 Points
Here’s the video (8:24) - with rather interesting rules - from Pongfinity!

Send us your own coaching news!