September 18, 2023

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Table Tennis Tournament Travel Tips.

Weekend Coaching, US Open, and Travel, Oh My!
One of the things I always stress in group training is to mix things up, both to create match-like training, and to challenge the players – which both helps them improve and keeps their interest up. In the Intermediate Group on Saturday I had four players in my group for 90 minutes, and that’s what we did. I had them rotate, so I’d feed multiball to one (sometimes live play); one would do ball pickup; and the other two would play improvised practice games on the other table. By “improvised,” I mean I made up simple rules so they’d practice specific types of rallies. For example, they may play a game where the server has to serve fast and deep every time, or perhaps serve short every time and follow with an attack if the opponent pushes. And so on. It not only keeps things interesting, but the players suddenly are very interested in practicing the shots they do in these game situations, and so when they rotate to me, they sometimes ask to work on those shots. (Sometimes I’ll ask them what they think they need to work on, based on the games they just played.)

I also had a final session with Navin Kumar before he leaves for the Pong-Pong Parkinson’s World Championships in Wels, Austria, Sept. 25-30. We also did lots of game-type drills. General rule for training – when there are no tournaments coming up for a time, focus on developing the foundation of your game. When there is a tournament come up, focus on game-type drills. You need both. If you really want to improve, you should schedule your entire year around this, so that you have periods where you focus on training (with intermittent tournaments or league play), and periods where you play big tournaments. This not only helps you improve, it helps you to peak for the big ones.

Meanwhile, here’s the USATT news item on the 2023 US Open Table Tennis Championships, to be held Dec. 16-21 in Ontario, CA for the second year in a row. (About sixty miles from LA.) As noted on the news item, you can and should enter through Omnipong. Here’s the direct link to the entry form (“prospectus”). As I’ve done for every US Open and Nationals starting in 1999 (and a few before that), I proofed it for them. (I’m that weird type that can read something on page 246 of a book and immediately say, “Hey! That contradicts what it said on page 33!”)

My first US Open was in Philadelphia in 1976, my first year of playing when I was 16. I’ve been to every US Open and Nationals starting in 1984, so this would be my 40th in a row . . . except they skipped 2020, so it’s 39 in a row for both the Open and Nationals. (However, I’ve never missed the North American Teams (previously called the US Open Teams), starting that first year in 1976, so this November would have been my 48th in a row . . . but they also skipped 2020, so it’s 47 in a row.

I may have the most complicated upcoming travel schedule I’ve ever had to work out, other than my 2019 Adventures in Europe and Egypt (seven weeks). Here are my tentative plans for December-January:

  • Dec. 15: Fly to Ontario, CA, for US Open.
  • Dec. 16-21: Play and coach in US Open
  • Dec. 21-26: Christmas with family in San Francisco
  • Dec. 27-30: Fly to Cusco, Peru for tour of Machu Picchu and other Peruvian sites. May include a trip and sightseeing at Peru’s capital, Lima (685 miles from Cusco).
  • Dec. 31: Fly to Mexico City for a few days of sightseeing and lounging about, maybe some writing. I did three days of sightseeing there last year, but there’s always more to see.
  • Jan. 4-6: 2024 Classic Table Tennis World Cup in Mexico City (for hardbat, sandpaper, and wood). Here’s the current player listing – you can enter via Omnipong. I’m mostly doing coverage, but am playing in the Over 55 Hardbat event. (It’s mine, Mine, MINE!!!)
  • Jan. 7: Fly back to Maryland.
  • Jan. 8 – Dec. 31: Recover.

It’s not my only upcoming trip. I’ll be flying to St. George, UT for the Huntsman World Senior Games, Oct. 9-12. Entries are now closed; here is the player listing – 240 entries.

Major League Table Tennis
MLTT is up and running!!! See their video page. Here’s the latest news:

2023 ITTF Pan American Championships
Here’s the home page for the event held Sept. 10-17 in Havana, Cuba, including results. Here are some articles on the tournament.

=>USATT Articles by Barbara Wei

=>Butterfly Articles by Steve Hopkins

2023 European Team Championships
Here’s the home page for the event held Sept. 10-17 in Malmö, Sweden, including results. Lots of video at TTLondon2012 and at TT11TV. Here’s the article Sweden Claim Men’s Title in Euro Championship by Steve Hopkins.

Butterfly Training Tips

Connected Motion for the Body and Arm is the One Key Commonality for Top Players
Here’s the video (3:26) from Damien Provost/PongSpace.

New from Ti Long

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

Learn by Watching and Imitating
Here’s the video (59 sec) from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis. (Make sure to see the comments underneath.)

Training with Pros - Li Hsin-Yu (TPE)
Here’s the video (3:30) from Tony’s Table Tennis Talk.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Sports Medicine Coverage – Ankle and Foot Injuries
Here’s the article by Dr. Alomar-Jimenez)

Nandan Naresh WTT Under 17 Highlights
Here’s the video (59 sec).

A Memorable Summer
Here’s the article by Amy Zhang.

USATT Celebrates the Life of Paralympians Sebastian De Francesco and Anthony Lara
Here’s the USATT article by Barbara Wei.

Sponsor News


Armed Table Tennis
Most players use one arm to play, with a non-playing arm for serving and balance. Others use four arms, either with three paddles or four paddles. Some have eight arm and four paddles (34 sec). And some play with no arms. Yes, we’re talking about Ibrahim Hamadtou!

Must This Family Always Talk Sports at the Dinner Table?
Here’s the table tennis cartoon!

Ball Pickup Challenge
Here’s the video (35 sec) – can you spin the ball inside the glass so that you can lift it up?!

Those Balls That Make People Angry ft. Table Tennis Part 1
Here’s the video (2:03) from Street TT!

World’s Most Expensive Pro Racket [$500]
Here’s the video (7:19) from Pongfinity!

I Challenged France
Here’s the video (18:52) from Adam Bobrow! (After just two days, it already has about 180,000 views and 419 comments.)

Spooky the Ghost Table Tennis
Here’s the comic book from 1980 – which I just bought! But if you search you might find one. It was only $3.99 but $8.55 shipping.

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