April 22, 2024

Tip of the Week
Serve or Receive First in Doubles?
(Excerpt from Table Tennis Doubles for Champions by Larry Hodges. April is Doubles Month!)

Support Kanak Jha Make History at the Paris 2024 Olympics
Kanak is trying to raise funds on his GoFundMe page for his training for the 2024 Olympics. Can you help? Here’s a note from Kanak:

“I am Kanak Jha and I am USA’s top professional Table Tennis player. I started playing in California when I was 5 years old and my love and passion for the sport grew over the years and to pursue my dream of being a world class table tennis player I moved to Europe at a young age of 15. Through 8 years of hard work l managed to reach a world ranking of 19. Along the way, there have been setbacks, obstacles and hurdles and just recently I came back after 15 months of inability to compete. This resulted in a total loss of income for 15 months; however, with the dedicated help of my coaches, my sponsors & supporters, my friends and my family I have remained true to my cause and pursuit of my dream. With my story I hope to continue inspiring the young talent in the U.S. that with determination and hard work, dreams do come true.” [Three more paragraphs follow.]

Little known fact – I was one of Kanak’s early coaches! Well, sort of. When he was about ten, at a tournament, I taught him and a few others, in a "group" session, how to blow the ball up and sideways so that it just floated in the air. I also coached against him in tournaments probably a dozen times. I knew exactly how to play Kanak when he was a junior, studying numerous videos. Alas, whatever weaknesses I found back then are no longer weaknesses.

This year is also the thirteenth anniversary of “Servergate,” the most ridiculous umpiring fiasco I’ve ever been involved in as a coach. At the 2011 US Nationals I was coaching Tong Tong Gong in the Cadet (Under 15) Boys’ Singles semifinals against Kanak. (Kanak was a true prodigy – he was only eleven at the time. Tong Tong went up 4-2 in the fifth with the serve, so he had all the momentum going for him. He did his usual forehand pendulum serve, and Kanak missed it – but the umpire yelled, “Fault!” What the heck? He claimed Tong Tong had hidden the serve, which didn’t happen. We even had video showing the serve clearly was not hidden from the opponent at any point during the serve. He had served the same way he had the whole match. But there was nothing we could do, and so instead of leading 5-2 in the fifth, Tong Tong led 4-3. Flustered and forced to change his serving motion (and we’d already used our timeout), Tong Tong lost seven points in a row to 4-9, and the match, 11-8 in the fifth.  

Afterwards, we were all over the umpire for this call. The referee asked him what happened, and in front of us, the umpire said, “He hid the ball from me.” The referee (and me, very loudly) explained that the rule was the ball couldn’t be hidden from the receiver, not the umpire, and that it was entirely legal for Tong Tong to turn his back to the umpire as he served as long as he didn’t hide the ball from the receiver – and since his shoulders only pointed at the opponent and didn’t dip in to hide the ball, the ball was not hidden and the serve was legal. (Plus, of course, if the umpire thought doing so was illegal, why didn’t he call it earlier since that’s how Tong Tong served every point of the match?) Alas.

And now Kanak wants money from me??? :) (Go to his GoFundMe page to find out how much I and others have donated.)

ITTF World Cup Coverage
Ma Long and Sun Yingsha are the Champions! (See also Ma Long Secures Third World Cup Title in Macao by Steve Hopkins.) Here are complete results and ITTF coverage.

World Table Tennis Day
Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 23) is World Table Tennis Day. See all the activities that are going on that date, and join in the fun! “World Table Tennis Day (WTTD) has been celebrated annually in April since 2015. It is the day we celebrate table tennis, as well as the universality and social inclusiveness the sport represents. World Table Tennis Day is celebrated on 23 April, honouring Ivor Montagu, organiser of the first World Table Tennis Championships in 1926 and the founder and first president of the ITTF. WTTD celebrates the joy of playing table tennis for fun, bringing people together, focusing less on competition and more on participation and enjoyment.”

Major League Table Tennis
Follow the action!

Butterfly Training Tips

New from PongSpace

3 Different Forehand Techniques
Here’s the video (2:07) from Pingispågarna. Three ways to dominate with the forehand!

Lin Gaoyuan and Fan Zhendong Performing Services of Different Distances and Rotations
Here’s the video (3:24) from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

Xu Xin's Counterattack Symphony: Precision, Power, and Pure Table Tennis Elegance!
Here’s the video (8:11) from Street TT.

New from Table Tennis Central

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from NCTTA

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

Countdown is on: 100 days to Paris
Here’s the ITTF article.

Ian Seidenfeld at the Team USA Media Summit
Here’s the video (21 sec).

Throwbacks from the Past from Table Tennis Media

A Field of Kids Training in China
Here’s the video (14 sec).

Tenis de Mesa from Sevilla
New AI table tennis artwork from Tenis de Mesa from Sevilla. (Click on the image to see the next one.)

5-in-a-Row Challenge w/ Amy Wang & Lily Zhang!
Here’s the video (1:29)!

What Just Happened?
Here’s the video (17 sec)!

I’m a Table Tennis Player, Of Course I...
Here’s the video (18 sec)!

Magnetic Ping Pong Racket and Playing in a Pool
Here’s the video (8:01) from Pongfinity!

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