May 14, 2012

Tip of the Week

Returning the Tomahawk Serve. (This is an expanded version of my blog about this on May 10.)

Different Generations

At the club last night one of our up-and-coming kids, about ten years old, came up to me and said, "Larry, can I borrow your cell phone? I want to check my rating." For about five seconds I was stumped, wondering who he was going to call to get his rating before I realized that to this generation, "cell phone" is just shorthand for "small hand-held computer connected to the Internet." When I explained my cell phone only made phone calls (and, it is rumored, takes pictures), he was flabbergasted, and left shaking his head, probably muttering about old fuddy-duddies.

This got me to thinking about how the world has changed, in particularly the world of table tennis. Here's a brief rundown of changes since I started in 1976.

1976: Sriver or Mark V?
2012: About ten thousand choices of sponge

1976: Top-of-the-line sponge: $7
2012: Top-of-the-line sponge: $80

1976: Sponge that trampolines the ball out.
2012: Sponge that grabs the ball and explodes it out like a slingshot on steroids.

1976: Sponge came in red, black, green, blue, yellow, orange, purple,...
2012: Red or black

1976: Japan, Hungary, and Sweden battle with the Chinese
2012: Nobody battles with the Chinese (except perhaps the Singapore women)

1976: Teach the forehand loop to kids after they are around 1500, and the backhand loop when they are around 1800, if ever.
2012: Teach the forehand and backhand loop to kids after they've played about a month.

1976: Loop sets up smash
2012: Loop sets up loop

1976: Why would you need to learn a backhand loop?
2012: Why aren't you working on your backhand loop?

1976: Back off the table and loop
2012: Stay at the table and loop

1976: Reverse penhold backhand? Don't be ridiculous.
2012: Conventional penhold backhand? Don't be ridiculous.

1976: Use the backhand to receive serves short to the forehand? Don't be ridiculous.
2012: Banana backhand flips from the forehand side.

1976: Shakehand, Penhold, or Seemiller grip?
2012: What's a Seemiller grip?

1976: Inverted on one side, long pips or anti on the other, and they are the same color, so you have no idea what side was used. Players learned to stomp their foot at contact to cover up the different sound.
2012: Two-color rule since 1983.

1976: Olympic wannabe
2012: Olympic sport

1976: USATT membership: 5000 out of 218 million people in the U.S. (1 out of 43,600)
2012: USATT membership: 8000 out of 312 million people in the U.S. (1 out of 39,000)

1976: Full-time table tennis centers: 1 or 2
2012: Full-time table tennis centers: 50+

Forehand Loop Foot Position

Here's a video from Brian Pace of Dynamic Table Tennis on the foot positioning for forehand looping (9:43). And here's a triplicate picture of Brian working on his next instructional DVD!

Golfer Brian Harmon's Ping-Pong Problem

PGA Rookie Brian Harmon almost lost his chance to play because of ping-pong - and here's the story from Table Tennis Nation.

Japanese Junior Phenom Told to Eat His Vegetables

Japan's Koki Niwa may have upset world #1 Ma Long of China at the Asian Olympic Qualifier last month, but it wasn't because of his diet. "Looking after my diet is not something I'm all that interested in," said the 17-year-old Koki Niwa, who particularly dislikes tomatoes and carrots. His coaches are on him to eat better to prepare for the Olympics. Here's the rest of the story.

Non-Table Tennis: my new SF story

My latest science fiction story just went online at Quantum Muse, "The Sanctimonious Time Traveler Trap." It's a very short humorous story about two not-so-nice guys who go about capturing a very nice time traveler - and the entire story takes place as the three are falling from the sky.


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