The table tennis is great up here in heaven.
What, the rapture came and went on Saturday, and you weren't selected? Oh, right, 97% of you are still on earth, along with all those look-alike demons us chosen ones left behind. We don't even need umpires up here - nobody cheats! (Oh, and did I mention it's all hardbat?) Anyway, according to the clock on the big wall up here, the world really ends on Feb. 27, 2049, which just happens to be my 89th birthday. What are the chances I'll still be around to be held accountable? Anyway, gotta go; Coach God's running a huge practice session up here. I'm hitting with Dick Miles; he and God have really fixed up my backhand.
Speaking of coaching...
Sean O'Neill has created a new USATT Coaching Page for USATT. As you can see, it's very ITTFish. (I suggest looking over the links under "Additional Coaching Resources.") Also, you may note that I'm on the USATT Coaching Committee (as noted in a past blog). I was appointed recently, and haven't really gotten active. I believe the coaching committee is meeting at the U.S. Open in July, and I'll see where things stand at that time. Perhaps if we appoint Coach God to the committee we'd be able to turn USATT into Chinese Table Tennis, along with water into wine, etc.
Speaking of Chinese table tennis...
Donn Olsen (former USA coach, now a coach at the Werner Schlager Academy in Austria) wrote a great article recently on the Chinese training at the Schlager Academy before the Worlds.
There is some irony in the Chinese training at Schlager's club, considering he's the last player to win singles at the Worlds who wasn't Chinese (2003), and the only one (men's or women's) since Waldner in 1997. In fact, China has swept every event - men's and women's singles, doubles, and teams - at every Worlds since 1993 except for those two, the Singapore women's team in 2010, and Sweden men's team in 2000. They haven't lost in mixed doubles since 1989 and women's doubles since 1987! If we want to catch up to them, we're going to need some serious coaching here in the USA. Or a lot of praying to Coach You-Know-Who.
Speaking of coaching in the USA...
It's a good thing we have four ITTF coaching seminars coming up. We need all the coaches we can get to develop top players here in the USA. Info is on the new USATT Coaching Page, but here are the seminars. This was in my blog last week - yes, I'm reminding you, the one reading this page right now, yes, you, to sign up right now. Coach God is watching. So am I.
- June 18-19, 25-26, and July 10 - Brooklyn, New York
- Aug. 1-5 - Littleton, Colorado
- Aug. 30-Sept. 3 - Dunellen, New Jersey
- Sept. 11-17 - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Speaking of top players here in the USA...
Variety is good. Ever notice how when you play a much stronger player, they can get away with all sorts of weak shots that nobody your level could? You fool them with a side-top serve, they pop it up, but you've already taken a step back to react to their expected flip and so miss the easy smash. They block your loop back weakly, but you're so set for an aggressive block or counterloop you just stand there like an idiot until it's too late, and so you pat the ball back and then they rip it. Or they lob the ball in the air, and you miss because you were already getting ready to block their counter-hit. This is all so unfair. There should be a rule against top players making weak shots.
Kidding aside, this is a reason to diversify your game. You don't need to be a top player to have variety in your game, and variety is what causes opponents to freeze up with indecision, just as many players freeze up against stronger players because stronger players usually have more variety, or at least the potential for stronger shots that freeze you even when they don't use those stronger shots - meaning they have variety, not just strong shots. Many of them seem as if they were coached by Coach God himself, right?
Speaking of variety...
A good deep push adds variety if you most play topspin. But you must do it properly - and few players realize just how effective a deep push can be if done properly. But to do so, you must understand the six attributes of a good push - as explained in this week's Tip of the Week. Do all six, and your opponents fall like the walls of Jericho.
I sure hope I'm not offending anyone with my joking references to Coach God. He is the best coach, right???
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