May 24, 2012

Drop the arm and loop

Players are often too slow in responding to pushes that should be looped. (This assumes you know how to loop; if you don't, learn. Get a coach or watch top players, perhaps in the video section here.) When you see that an opponent is about to push, you should be preparing to drop down to loop, either forehand or backhand. (One-winged speedsters have a simplified world view; they are going to loop with their forehand, so they don't have to decide forehand or backhand, just which way to move. But that's a difficult way to play.) Players often miss their loops because they are slow to respond, and so end up rushed, which is the most common reason players miss loops.

This is something you can practice anywhere, without a table or racket. Go into a ready stance and imagine your opponent about to push. Visualize the push sometimes going to your forehand side, sometimes the backhand side. The instant you see where the opponent is going, lower your arm and playing shoulder (your whole body goes down some to loop backspin), and shadow practice looping it. Then repeat. Keep doing this until you feel like you are reacting almost instantly, or until the people in the office where you work have you committed.

"Is there a ping-pong coach around?"

I just watched a short CNN news video about a boy whose heart stopped after he was hit in the chest with a baseball during a game. The coaches started CPR, and then a nurse came out of the stands and took over, saving his life. This reminded me of a Nationals where a player had a heart attack in the middle of a match. Within thirty seconds he was surrounded by about ten doctors from among the 700 or so players. He survived.

I keep wondering when I'll be walking along, and suddenly there'll be cries of, "Is there a ping-pong coach around?" Then I'll leap into action. There'll be some poor fellow getting killed at table tennis, and only I can save him. I'll give him a few shrewd tips, he comes back to win, and then there'll be a CNN news video, "Table tennis coach saves life of player getting killed." (Note how my self-esteem went up at the end, as I switched from "ping-pong coach" to "table tennis coach"?)

New USATT web page

USA Table Tennis recently unveiled their new web page, created by Sean O'Neill. Here's the article, and here's the new web page. If you go to the old web page, there's a big sign saying, "We've Moved," and it shortly redirects you to the new page. Soon those going to the old site will be instantly redirected to the new one, so you don't have to unlearn and memorize the more difficult "".

Ariel Hsing in the news. . . . again

Here's another article, this time from the Associated Press, on U.S. Women's Champion and Olympian Ariel Hsing. Maybe it's time to put a moratorium on Ariel new articles? There are too many!!! (Just kidding - keep 'em coming, U.S. news media!)

U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

Here's a picture of two U.S. soldiers in Iraq playing table tennis. They both seem to use the Hasegawa finger-down-the-middle grip. Obviously both have had extensive training in Japan. (1967 World Men's Singles Champion Nobuhiko Hasegawa was notorious for this unique grip, but nobody I know of has really used it successfully since.)

Werner Schlager versus dominating rival

Here's 2003 World Men's Singles Champion Werner Schlager taking on a future rival, who uses his futuristic tennis-style net play to dominate the rallies. And he's standing on the table. And about 30 inches tall. But he seems to have a proper grip.


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