October 23, 2023

Tip of the Week
POP Opponents with the Power Of Placement.

Weekend Coaching, Smashing, and Serve Practice Tips
Only had one group session this weekend. On Saturday we had the annual “Coconut Cup” team tournament, a non-sanctioned event that packed the club with lots of new players, including several teams from the Chinese Embassy – they were pretty good, with the best one around 2100 level. I went in and watched some of it. On Sunday I coached in the Novice Group, where the focus was (surprise!) fundamentals. Lots and lots of stroking and footwork drills, and serving practice. Kids usually pick up good technique pretty well if they are taught properly. One of the kids had picked up this bad habit of not turning his shoulders on forehands, just swinging across his body mostly from the shoulder, so I spent some time working with him on that. Not only is this awkward, it can lead to serious shoulder problems!

One common weakness for younger junior players (and often older players as well) is smashing high balls. Often they let the ball drop all the way down to eye level or below and try to hit it like a regular forehand, rather than hit it from a higher point, where you have much more table to aim at. Or they try raising the racket immediately in their backswing, leading to more of a backspin swat when they try smashing. The key to teaching this is drill into them that when you get a high ball, follow a three-step process: 1) Backswing low, just as you would for a regular ball; 2) Raise the racket as high as needed; and 3) Swing away!

On serving practice, one thing I stress is always have the entire swing and ball trajectory in mind before each serve. Visualize what the ball is supposed to do each time – where the contact point will be (including height), the feel of the contact, the speed of the ball, the ball’s curve as it moves through the air, where it hits on your side of the table, where and how high it crosses the net, where it bounces on the far side (including multiple bounces if short), and where it crosses the end-line.

Serving Tactics Lecture
On Feb. 19, 2023 I gave a 52-minute Serving Tactics Lecture at the Samson Dubina Elite Camp in Akron, OH. A shortened version of it (28:45) has been translated into French. Of course, if you really want to learn about tactics, you can spend a lifetime studying it – or you could buy my best-selling book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!

Major League Table Tennis

$75,000 WTT Contender Antalya 2023
Here’s the home page for the event, held Oct. 16-22 in Antalya, Turkey, with results, news articles, and video.


Butterfly Training Tips

Talkin' Smash Podcasts with Matt Hetherington

New from Pingispågarna

New from Pongspace

New from Ti Long

19 new videos this past week!

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Pan American Games set to open in Chile with many athletes eyeing spots at the Paris Olympics
Here’s the article from the Clinton Herald. Best part is the picture of the mascot playing table tennis! Here’s the ITTF home page for the event, to be held in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 29-Nov. 5.

New from Steve Hopkins



Backspin Lob Diving Tap Return
Here’s the video (13 sec)!

I Am the Legendary Ping-Pong Player You Never Heard Of!
Here’s where you can buy the shirt at Amazon!

Wild Pong!
Here’s their Kickstarter (funded already - $2260), apparently the newest version of table tennis. I just like the picture of the giraffe and alligator playing, and lower down, a rhino, shark, lizard, fox, elephant, and seahorse, and farther down, even more. I think it’s some sort of card game. “The most diverse creatures have gathered to demonstrate their skill with the racket. Everyone wants to become the next king of the animal world. Are you going to miss it?”

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