November 20, 2023

Tip of the Week
Are You Maximizing Your Angles?

Group Coaching and the Teams
This past week we had a tournament at our club so I only did one group training session, with our advanced group (about 1700 to 2500). You want to know the difference between coaching elite juniors versus the novice ones? At the novice level, we focus on fundamentals. At the elite level we focus on . . . fundamentals!!! Yes, it’s true for both, though the fundamentals are a bit more advanced at the elite level. For example, at the novice level we work on basic strokes and footwork. In the elite session this past week, I worked with several players on recovery – basically, following through back into position. (See Follow Through Back Into Position After Forehand Looping.)

We’re all preparing for the North American Teams this weekend, Fri-Sun Nov. 24-26, the day after Thanksgiving. Here’s the alphabetized player listing and player listing by rating. MDTTC has 47 junior players playing on 13 teams. I’ll be one of six coaches, so we’ll be jumping from one team to another. This will be my 47th consecutive Teams, starting the year I started playing in 1976. (It would be 48 except they skipped 2020 due to Covid.) There are 1060 players entered on 273 teams. That’s 3.88 per team. Each team has 3-5 players. Format is best of nine, three against three. Here’s an article on the Teams by Matt Hetherington, JOOLA Table Tennis Team Tournament Continues to Level Up for the Players.

USATT Election
Four of the five candidates running for the USATT board have posted notes and answered questions at the PongSpace forum. Here's your chance to ask the candidates questions. If you are a USATT member aged 18 or over, who was a member of USATT for at least 60 days before the election began on Nov. 6, then you received an email from USATT at 11AM on that day. (If you did not, then contact Mark Thompson at USATT. They may not have had your correct email address.) As I wrote about in my blogs on November 6 and November 13, I encourage you to vote for Dennis Taylor.

Holiday Shopping – Buy My Books!
Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays are coming up – time to buy my table tennis books! (But feel free to buy my science fiction ones as well.) Here’s a listing with descriptions of each. Below are direct links to the table tennis books. 

You can also buy a few from 5-time US Men’s Singles Champion Dan Seemiller!

Fastest Smash
I keep seeing this fastest smash meme about a new record being set. (Here’s the non-Facebook version.) And here’s where it’s listed in the International Book of Records. But here’s the problem – it says he smashed at 195 kilometers per hour (121 miles per hour). Is that realistic? For years there have been players trying to set records for fastest smash. According to the Guiness Book of World Records – which has been around a lot longer than the International Book of Records – the record for fastest smash is 116 kph (72 mph). So, they are claiming that the record went from 116 kph to 195 (72 mph to 121)!!! They do show video. For comparison, here’s Table Tennis Daily’s World’s Fastest Smash (2:32), with world #12 Dimitrij Ovtcharov (former world #1), who is known for his power. His maximum speed? 113 kph (70 mph), just short of the Guiness World Record. I don’t see any huge difference in the speeds they hit. So, I’m guessing either the 195 kph was a problem with the timing device, or they are measuring it differently. For example, one may be measuring it as the ball leaves the racket, the other as it hits the far side of the table (after slowing down from air resistance), or something like that.

So, what to believe? When I do a search for “table tennis” in Guiness, I get 263 different records. When I do the same for IBR, I get exactly two – fastest smash and “Most bounces of a table tennis ball using table tennis paddle against a wall in one minute” – and that record is by a six-year-old! (I’m fairly certain I could break that record, as could many of you.)

Major League Table Tennis

Here are the results of the tournament held at MDTTC this past weekend.

Parapan American Games and Pan American Veterans
Here are two events going on in Chile and Fort Lauderdale

Butterfly Training Tips

Serve & Sweat 30 Day Challenge
Here’s the info and signup page from Peak Performance and Kevin Finn.  “Elevate Your Serving Skills: Produce more spin, create more effects…push the boundaries of your serves to new levels. Adding 1 or 2 points to your game will give you the chance to develop more opportunities and beat more players. If you want to feel like a dominant and unstoppable force when serving, then make sure you join us!”

Destroy Your Opponents With This Serve
Here’s the video (5:31) from Table Tennis Daily, featuring Jan-Ove Waldner and his down-the-line ace serve. It’s one of my best serves too! And check out the no-look serve at 3:26! Alas, the serve, as shown there, isn't actually legal - the ball goes behind his head, and for a split second there's no way the opponent (whether righty or lefty) can see the ball, and since the ball must be visible to the receiver throughout the serve, it is illegal. However, many world-class players toss the ball behind their head and they are rarely called for it. 

How To Do the World’s FASTEST Table Tennis Serve
Here’s the video (6:43) from Nick Rudd. He has a lot of other videos, most of them instructional.

Practice Your Backhand Serve
Here’s the video (1:35) from Angela Guan/PongSpace. “Angela will help give you some tips and tricks to practice your backhand serve.”

VR Table Tennis/11 /Table Tennis
They have a lot of instructional videos. Here are some from the past week.

Don’t Neglect Your Defence
Here’s the article by Tom Lodziak. (In defense of this headline, in Europe they spell it “Defence.”)

New from Ti Long

Improve Your Footwork
Here’s the video (4:05) from Pingispågarna.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

About a zillion new videos there this past week.

Technical and Tactical Actions of the World’s Leading Male Table Tennis Players Between 1970 and 2021
Here’s the technical article by Jerzy Grycan, Małgorzata Kołodziej, Ziemowit Bańkosz, from the Journal of Sports Medicine and Science.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

USA Table Tennis Invited to ITTF Mixed Team World Cup 2023 in Chengdu
Here’s the USATT news item.

New from ITTF

Greatest Table Tennis Hits of All Time
World Table Tennis just came out with Volume 4. Here are all of them.

Table Tennis Hawaiian Shirt
Here it is at Amazon! I just weakened and bought it.

Astronaut Water Pong
Here’s the video (1:40)!

Ultimate Level Ping Pong
Here’s the video (9:32) from Pongfinity!

Send us your own coaching news!