Exhaustion

June 24, 2013

Tip of the Week

Feet and Grip.

Exhaustion Times a Thousand and MDTTC Camps

That's how tired I seem to be most of the time, with the sudden increase in coaching hours due to the MDTTC camps. I normally coach or act as practice partner about 20 hours/week. Add six hours/day, Mon-Fri on top of that, and suddenly my legs feel like dried out sticks. Meanwhile, I've got a zillion things on the side I have to do - prepare for the U.S. Open next week, prepare for the ITTF coaching seminar I'm attending in August and the one I'm teaching in October, prepare for the writer's workshop I'm attending in late July, work on the planned rewrite of my Table Tennis Steps to Success book (tentatively retitled Table Tennis Fundamentals), promote the MDTTC junior program, set up the planned Maryland Junior League for the fall, plus the usual daily blog and Tips of the Week. Anyone got some sleep or extra hours each week for sale? (I think the Steps to Success rewrite will probably be the first casualty; I'll probably postpone that until the fall.)

I actually went to bed early last night with a headache, and woke up with a headache at 6:45AM. I went to my computer, and the first thing I wrote was, "I went to bed with a headache and woke up with a headache, so no blog today." Then I reconsidered, and did the blog after all. The headache's still there, but more of a background thing.

On Friday we finished the first week of our ten weeks of summer camps, each of them Mon-Fri, 10AM-6PM. I gave short lectures on pushing and doubles. We did our usual Friday's "player's choice," where players chose what they wanted to work on in multiball, with the coaches ready with a suggestion if the player wasn't sure. In the afternoon we ran a practice tournament.

Over the weekend I coached about ten hours, which was less than during the camps, but still exhausting. In the Saturday group session, 4:30-6:30, where we play practice matches (I'm a practice partner for it), I was exhausted. So I played a very conservative blocking game, with a bunch of tricky serve and one-shot finals added in, and somehow won all my matches easily (mostly against 1900-2100 players). In the end, consistency is king. (That's true at all levels - it's just at the highest levels it's consistency in loop-killing winners that's king.)

This morning we start a new camp. As usual, I mostly run the morning sessions, with Cheng and Jack running the afternoon sessions. In the afternoon, I'll be working with the beginners. This week will be even more exhausting than last week. The camp hours are 10AM-1PM, 3-6PM, so there's a two-hour break in the middle where we eat lunch, I take the kids on the daily trek to 7-11 (five minute walk), and then rest. But this week I have a one-hour private coaching scheduled every day from 2-3PM.

I'm looking forward to the U.S. Open next week, where I'll finally get to "rest." After all, I'm only coaching three players, attending meetings, and playing in five events! (Only hardbat/sandpaper events - I may have to drop some if they conflict with coaching. I'm normally a sponge player.)

Japan Open

Who'd have thunk it? A chopper, a Japanese player ranked 188 in the world, wins Men's Singles at the Japan Open this weekend in Yokohama. Here's the ITTF home page for it, with articles, pictures, and results. Here's a video of the final (5:13, with time between points taken out), where Masato Shiono defeats China's Xu Chenahao 4-0. Here's more on the final from Table Tennis Daily. Here's a video (5:03) of the Top Ten Shots at the Japan Open. Here's video (50 sec) of a great doubles rally.

Ariel Hsing at Awards Ceremony

Here's video of Ariel at the Awards Ceremony after reaching the final of Under 18 Girls at the Egypt Junior and Cadet Open this past weekend. She was all gracious and professional despite losing a close final - she was up 10-9 match point in both the sixth and seventh games, and was up 6-0 in the seventh before losing to Doo Hoi Kem of Japan, 12-10 in the seventh. Here's the ITTF page for it, with articles, pictures, and results.

Timo Boll Defeats Zhang Jike

Here's the article, pictures, and video (3:55) of his great win at Chinese Super League just yesterday.

Behind-the-Back Shot of the Day

Here's the video (19 sec). And then he just nonchalantly walks away! It's the other guy who reacts.

Hermione Plays Table Tennis

Okay, it's really Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the Harry Potter Series. Here's the article from Table Tennis Nation. Here's what she tweeted: "I just got rid of my sofa and replaced it with a ping pong table. I think this is the best decision I have made in months.#gameon!"

Lady Antebellum at the Country Music Festival

Here's the article, pictures, and video links. That's Homer and Adam Brown playing two of the band members, with Michael Wetzel umpiring.

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June 18, 2012

Tip of the Week

Playing in Different Time Zones.

Friday Exhaustion

I've spent much of the last week learning to do page layouts for Print on Demand and for Kindle ebooks, and have been up sometimes almost around the clock doing the layouts for some of my books. I first did "Pings and Pongs," my collection of science fiction & fantasy stories as a practice run as it would be easier than the others, since there are few graphics. Since then I've been doing both my new book, "Table Tennis Tactics: A Thinker's Guide" and "A Professional Table Tennis Coach's Handbook." Later I'll do my other three table tennis books.

Unfortunately, I'm paying the price. On Friday I showed up as a practice partner for our Elite Junior Session, and could barely stay awake. Just trying to play gave me a headache, stomachache, and I started getting dizzy. Finally, after about 45 minutes, I had to stop and go home to get some sleep.

Despite a good night's sleep, I was still exhausted on Saturday. I had a relatively full schedule (five hours), and there were times when my legs were in open rebellion, but I got through it. I had another good night's sleep, but Sunday I was still pretty tired. However, there are signs I'm getting better. Unfortunately, with eleven consecutive weeks of training camps starting this morning, I have a feeling I'd better get used to being exhausted.

I do have a few things I'm doing to combat this. The rest of the summer I'm going to regularly go to bed at 11PM, though I will, as always, read for a while before actually going to sleep. (I'll be getting up by 7AM each morning to do my blog before leaving for the club.) I'm also going to focus on eating well. I generally do, but I'll make it higher priority this summer. Also, on the advice of a doctor at the club, I've been taking "B Complex" vitamins (as well as the regular multivitamins I already take) as a supplement. I have no idea if it'll help, but he says it'll help an active person regain energy. We'll see.

One side effect is that I'm probably going to go from doing page layouts at warp drive to a mere sub-light speed. But I still hope to have all the books in POD and ebook format by the end of the summer.

Summer Camp Side Effects

  • Side Effect One: I'll have lots and lots to blog about.
  • Side Effect Two: I'll have less and less time to blog.

President Obama and the ICC Table Tennis Shirt

Here's President Obama holding up an ICC Table Tennis shirt that he accepted from three table tennis Olympians (Timothy Wang, Ariel Hsing, Lily Zhang). He also got a paddle signed by the three, held by Anil Godhwani (standing next to Obama). At first I thought it must be photoshopped, but after investigation, it's for real.

Here are some pictures of Obama playing table tennis, from CelebritiesPlayingTableTennis.com (a site I maintain).

photo1 photo2 photo3 (Photos 2 and 3 are from a picture on the wall at the White House, contributed by Timmy La)

Here are pictures of Obama playing table tennis with David Cameron, the prime minister of England:
Obama and David Cameron, Prime Minister of England:
photo1 photo2 photo3 photo4 photo5 photo6 photo7 photo8 photo9

And while we're at it, here are two pictures of First Lady Michelle Obama playing table tennis:

photo1 photo2

Best Table Tennis Shots of 2011

I don't think I've linked to this video (3:48). Lots of great shots!

Twisted Table

Now this would be tough to play on. (I already had a picture of this table in the "Fun and Games" section, but this is a better and closer one.)

Non-Table Tennis -SF & Fantasy Sales

Recently I've been on a splurge in my science fiction and fantasy writing sales. On Saturday I sold my sixth short story in six weeks, "Running with the Dead" (7400 words) to Buzzy Magazine, a pro-paying market, along with two of the other sales. (A "pro" paying market is one that pays at least 5 cents/word.) This is the story of a dead kid who wants to attend high school and run as a miler on the track team. He faces not only public pressure to quit - the country is mostly against letting dead people attend school - but also the captain of the track team and leader of the "Mile Mafia," the very person who murdered him one year before.

The six sales add up to $1080 in income. Pretty soon this'll eclipse my coaching income!!! Here's my science fiction & fantasy page.

I've also been on a couple of covers recently, for Flagship Magazine and Penumbra Magazine. Below are all thirteen covers - click on the image to see the full-sized one. 

Thirteen  Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazines with my name on the cover.

Click to see full-sized versions!

   

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March 12, 2012

Tip of the Week

As I also write one week ago, for a while I've been bothered by two blog posts that really should have been Tips of the Week. As blog items, they were read and then lost in the avalanche of daily blog postings. As Tips of the Week, they'd be more accessible in the future as coaching articles. Since I'm currently working eight hours a day with Tim Boggan on the page layouts and photo work for his latest table tennis history book (we hope to finish today), as well as my usual coaching and other duties, last Monday and today I'm putting up these two items, with some updating/expansion, as Tips. So here is: Developing a Smash.

Exhaustion

Today is Day 14 of doing the page layouts and photo work on Tim Boggan's History of Table Tennis, Volume 12. No days off, no half days, usually getting up at 5AM and starting work at 6AM, and going until about 5PM or until I have my coaching scheduled. Since I'm also subbing for Coach Jeffrey Zeng Xun, I've been coaching nearly seven nights a week. (Jeffrey was in China for two months, but returned Friday, and starts coaching again today.) I've also been involved in various aspects of the MDTTC expansion project, tutor calculus two hours a week, and sometimes sleep and eat.

So I'm TIRED. As in EXHAUSTED.

Fortunately, we should finish the book today, and with Jeffrey back, my coaching schedule is back to sanity. There's a thing in my room called a bed, and I hope to have a long, first-hand acquaintance with it soon. (I'm off to the Cary Cup this Thursday, where I'm playing hardbat Friday morning and coaching the rest of the way, so that should bring back some of the no-doubt sorely missed exhaustion.)

USATT Junior & Cadet Training Camp

USA Table Tennis is looking for someone to run a one-week training camp for the USA National Junior and Cadet Teams, June 23-29, 2012. I'd actually like to see a longer camp, more like 2-3 weeks, but one week is better than none. Here are the bid specs.

There is no financial incentive, and the club that hosts the camp would likely have to absorb many expenses as well as putting in huge amounts of time. I was thinking about putting in a bid from Maryland Table Tennis Center. MDTTC is currently in the process of expanding to 18 courts (more if we squeeze), along with showers, weight room, all new red flooring, air conditioning, etc. And we have a number of top players/practice partners in the area, including Han Xiao, Peter Li, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, Jeffrey Zeng Xun, probably a new top Chinese player/coaching coming in, and lots of 2300 players, such as Raghu Nadmichettu, Nathan Hsu, and others. We also have Cadet Team Member Tong Tong Gong, and Mini-Cadet members Derek Nie and Crystal Wang. Since it's during summer, we'll also probably have others such as Marcus Jackson and Amaresh Sahu back from school. So I think we'd have a pretty strong bid.

However, we probably won't put in a bid. Why? The bid includes this part: "Venue must be exclusive available for National Teams players and coaches only. No other activities to be conducted in the venue during the NT practice time." (Note the word "must.")

We're a full-time training center. The bid estimates that they would want the hall from 9AM-noon and from 4-7PM. The latter are peak hours for our junior training, and we're not about to tell our full-time coaches (me, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, Jeffrey Zeng Xun, probably one other coach) that they can't coach during peak hours for a week at the club where they make a living. (Not to mention all the junior players who suddenly can't practice after school.) The training camp only needs 12 tables, no problem. We just need 3-4 of them, leaving at least 14 for the camp.

I don't want to go through the time and effort of a bid if this is a "must," as the bid says, especially if there are going to be rival bidders who on paper will sound better because they aren't full-time training centers and so can offer the "exclusive." (Of course there might also be a full-time center out there willing to close down their coaching during these hours for a week.) We're also running camps all summer long starting June 18, and the camp is June 23-29. So we'd have to cancel a camp, meaning the club and coaches would be out several thousand dollars, in addition to other expenses and time spent to accommodate such a camp.

Coaching Videos

Here are two more short but excellent coaching videos from PingSkills:

Michael Landers Highlights Video

Here's the Landers Highlights Video (7:41) from the U.S. World and Olympic Team Trials!

Cat dominates mini-table play

Who's dominating this game? (0:53)

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