NPR

April 27, 2012

U.S. Nationwide Club Team League

As I noted in my blog yesterday, you can still enter your club in the league and save $75 if you do so by Monday - so enter now! Here's the web page with full info. I attended an hour-long online video presentation of the league yesterday with live audio as Attila Malek explained the league and answered questions. I expect we'll have a bunch of teams from my club playing in this first ever nationwide league. If a success, this will be the first step toward changing table tennis in the U.S. from a secondhand sport into a powerhouse.

The league is set up regionally so that teams don't have to travel far for their matches. They have sponsors, and are giving out $100,000 in prize money in the five divisions. As of yesterday, they had 104 teams signed up, as I noted in my blog. I just checked, and they are now up to 127 teams.

It is through such leagues that memberships and revenue skyrocket. Germany has 700,000 league members; England 500,000; several other countries in Europe have memberships also measured in the hundred thousands despite relatively small populations. The main difference is that in those countries, the national governing body took the lead in setting up developing these leagues, and so a share of the revenue went to them, which is used to develop their national teams. USATT chose not to get involved (despite my pleadings at the Strategic Meeting in 2009 and before and since), and so Attila Malek and a few others have instead stepped up to the plate and taken charge. Let's support them and who knows where this'll lead. But I can vouch that Attila is in it to develop the sport, and if the league grows, there'll be more and more money in the top division so that the "pro" players can actually make a living at this sport (finally), while all divisions spread to all parts of the country. If this sounds like a description of the highly successful European Leagues, then you are right.

Spread the word!!!

Email to Board about Committee and Task Force Minutes

Yesterday morning (about 10AM) I sent the following self-explanatory email to the USATT Board of Directors, staff, and committee chairs. So far one committee chair emailed me privately saying he actually kept minutes and sent them in, but USATT didn't publish them. Another person thanked me for bringing this up. Otherwise, no response. Will USATT continue to violate the very bylaws this board created five years ago, despite regular reminders for years, or will they fix the problem? (Will they shoot the messenger?)

The bylaws state that the minutes of all USATT committee and task force meetings be published within 30 days, as I've pointed out repeatedly for the past three years. Can someone direct me to these minutes? For example, I keep getting asked about certain decisions made by the High Performance Committee, but I can't find the minutes of any of their meetings, as required by the bylaws. I'm also trying to find the minutes of meetings by the task forces set up at the Strategic Meeting in Sept. 2009, where I also reminded everyone of the bylaw requirements. Has USATT had ANY committee or task force meetings over the past five years? 

-Larry Hodges

From the USATT Bylaws:
ARTICLE IX  COMMITTEES
Section 9.10. Minutes of Meetings.
"Each committee and task force shall take minutes of its meetings.  The approved minutes must be published within thirty (30) days of completion of the meeting."

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 12

Yes, you read that right, Tim Boggan's Volume 12 is out! So buy yours today, as well as the previous eleven! Here's the webpage with info. As some noted table tennis authority once wrote, how can any serious player not buy these books? (Disclaimer: I do the page layouts and photo restoration for these books.)

Ariel Hsing on NPR!

Here's the article.

Warren Buffett versus Ariel Hsing

Here's 34 seconds of them playing in 2007, which includes a scandalous bribe.

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March 27, 2012

MDTTC Spring Break Camp

The Maryland Table Tennis Center will hold its first training camp of the year, our Spring Break Camp, April 2-6. You will be there. Otherwise we will talk about you, and it won't be pretty.

The camp coincides with spring break in local schools, which vary from region to region, so we don't get many out of towners for this camp. However, anyone is welcome to join us. It'll mostly be junior players, but all ages are welcome. Coaches will include myself, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, and Jeffrey Zeng Xun. Hours are 10AM-1PM and 3-6PM each day, Mon-Fri. Chinese food is delivered for lunch for $6 (you order in the morning). The club just doubled in size, and will have about 18 tables set up (more if we squeeze), with all-new red flooring, showers, and wireless web.

If you need a place to stay, we're now allowing players to stay at the club (free for now) if you are willing to "rough it." I'll give rides to local restaurants and for groceries as needed. (Club has a microwave.)

We will be running camps continuously all summer, every Mon-Fri, from June 18 to August 24 (eleven consecutive five-day camps). Come join us!

What is the value of a table tennis camp? Most players spend years trying to improve, and it's a very slow and difficult process. The problem is that 1) you might be practicing bad technique, making it even harder later on to fix the problems, 2) you only get to work at various techniques in a sporadic way, and 3) you have other things on your mind and so can't really focus on table tennis. A camp solves all three problems as you live and breathe table tennis all week, learning proper technique from top coaches (as well as getting to see numerous top players demonstrate it), you practice all day long, and your sole focus is table tennis. If you are a serious table tennis player, I strongly suggest finding a camp where you can really hone your skills as well as have a lot of fun.

FASTT

Here's the Federal Association of Sandpaper Table Tennis home page, where you'll find articles, results, and videos of this rapidly growing "underground" sport. (If regular table tennis is an underground sport in the U.S., then is sandpaper the underground sport of an underground sport?) News Item #29 is on the Cary Cup.

The Worlds on TV

You can watch the Worlds (Dortmund, Germany, March 25-April 1) on TV via Universal Sports, but it's gonna cost you about $10/day, or $40 for five days. Here's more info. Meanwhile, here's the info I posted yesterday:

Michael Landers on NPR

NPR did a radio interview with Michael Landers, "Ping-Pong Prodigy Seeks Olympic Glory." You can either listen to it (3:51) or read the transcript.

Free table tennis videos from Reflex Sports

I received the following email from Reflex Sports yesterday - so now's your chance to sample their huge video library for free!

"We very much appreciate your support of our subscription table tennis video site. Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to get enough subscribers to allow us to continue, at this time, to offer our videos this way. We have finally been able to set up a new site (tabletennisvideocentral.com). This new trial site is offering everything free in the hope of attracting enough viewers to have advertisers."

Boys Look at the Stars Ping-Pong

You can download this book for free. The book covers the history of world table tennis.

High Performance on a Budget

Can you create a high performance environment without spending any money? Sean O'Neill sent me and other coaches a link to this article on the topic.

Math Professor Larry Bavly teaches table tennis

Math and table tennis connoisseur Larry Bavly teaches a little girl all the important things about table tennis (4:26). The best part starts at 1:11 when Larry says, "What is the most important thing to learn to be a good table tennis player?" After the girl incorrectly says, "Placement and spin variations," Larry brings out the chart.

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