USATT Coaching Newsletter

November 19, 2012

Tip of the Week

Backhand and Forehand Playing Distance.

Malware and Spammers and Hall of Fame Program, Oh My!
(And update on "Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers")

I was really hoping to finish the page layouts before Thanksgiving for my new book, "Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers" (previously titled "Table Tennis Tactics: A Thinker's Guide.") However, I'm in an ongoing battle with false malware warnings and spammers, plus I'm doing the USATT Hall of Fame Program booklet for the upcoming inductions at the USA Nationals. Plus, of course, the usual coaching duties, this blog, and little things like eating and sleeping and seeing the dentist this afternoon. (Pause for dramatic cringing.) So it's probably not going to happen. There's still a small chance it'll be done in time so I'll have copies for the Nationals, but probably not. (It's looking like it'll be about 240 pages and right about 100,000 words.)

Regarding the malware problem, the site has been scanned over and Over and OVER, and no spam has been found. You can scan it yourself in seconds at Sucuri Securities, and it comes up clean. (It's the removal that takes time, not the scanning.) The problem, as noted previously, is that there seems to be ongoing vestigial remnants of past malware warnings from a malware problem from over a month ago. The problem comes from Google, and it mostly affects the 40% of viewers who use Google Chrome as their browser. Some Chrome users have said they aren't having problems, and there have been some reports of warnings from Firefox, but none from those using Explorer. You should be able to just ignore the warnings.

I've emailed with Sucuri, and they've assured me they can stop the malware warnings, but it's going to cost $189.99/year for their coverage, on top of a couple hundred I've already spent trying to solve this problem on this mostly volunteer site.

Regarding spammers, the problem there is the malware warnings have somehow effected email notifications to me of spam postings, and so recently I've had to hunt them down manually. Normally, with the email notifications, I can delete them, and block and report the spammers within seconds. If you happen to see a spam posting either as a comment to a blog entry or on the forum, let me know so I can send a nuclear device at whoever created it.

Brian Pace's Serve & Return Videos

Brian Pace of Dynamic Table Tennis has produced two videos on serve and serve return. They are Serve and Server Return Training for Table Tennis, Part 1 (2hr 21min) and Part 2 (1hr 58min). Here's the promo video (1:19).

USATT Coaching Newsletter

The latest USATT Coaching Newsletter, Issue Number 6, just came out. (You can see the previous five here.) Here's the Table of Contents:

  • Last Call for "Coach of the Year Nominations"
  • USATT Holds First Ever ITTF Level 2 Course
  • First USATT Coaches Certified as ITTF Level 2 and Level 3 Course Conductors
  • USATT Coaching Reaches an Historic Milestone – 100 ITTF Coaches
  • USATT Coaching is Looking for Clubs to Host Regional ITTF Courses
  • Towards the Future!

Merit Badges for Table Tennis

Here's a proposal from Diego Schaaf and Wei Wang on Merit Badges for Achieving Playing Class (i.e. reaching specific ratings). I'll probably blog about this later on, but for now, what are your thoughts? It seems like a good idea. Similar suggestions have come up in the past, but three things always stopped it: 1) What should be awarded for these achievements - belts, like in martial arts? Pins? Badges? Certificates? etc.; 2) Few ever put together an actual proposal such as this eon, and 3) No one ever follows up on it.

Ray Chen

I am sad to report that Ray Chen, 79, a longtime Maryland player and lifetime member of USATT, passed away last Wednesday, on Nov. 14.

Athlete Isn't "Extraordinary" in Visa Bid

Here's an article in the New York Times about the U.S. turning down the visa bid for Afshin Noroozi, Iran's first table tennis Olympian and world #284.

TopSpin's Fourth Annual Ping-Pong tournament

Here's an article about this annual New York City event, which included guest appearances by present and former NBA players Gerald Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse, and Allan Houston, as well as radio host Angie Martinez, the "Voice of New York." The tournament raises money for three charities, A Better Chance, Change For Kids, and Horizons.

For People Who Don't Really Know Table Tennis

Here's a great new highlights video that just went up yesterday (7:31), and one of the best I've ever seen. I'm nominating for point of the year the one between Germany's Timo Boll and Croatia's Andrej Gacina that starts at 1:25 and continues all the way to 1:51. Amazingly, as so often it seems to happen, the point was at 10-8 match point in the fifth, and this was no exhibition point.

Crazy Rabbit

If I ever find the creator of the malware that caused so many problems on this site, I will do to them what this bunny rabbit does to this ping-pong paddle (1:43).

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April 30, 2012

Tip of the Week

Chalk Up Wins with Chop Blocks.

Coaching breakthroughs

A number of my students had "minor" breakthroughs this weekend, especially some of the younger kids, and it all added up to a rather successful weekend of coaching. (Twelve hours total.) I titled this "coaching breakthroughs," but perhaps that should be "playing breakthroughs"? After all, it's the players who are having breakthroughs!

  • One six-year-old who literally couldn't put the ball on the table last week - he had this nasty habit of opening his paddle at the last second and smacking the ball up - mostly fixed that problem, and was able to hit about 20 in a row. In a game at the end of the session he knocked down nearly an entire pyramid of paper cups with one shot, something he hadn't come close to doing before.
  • Another solved her problem on the backhand and hit 65 in a row. She's the type that never seems to smile while playing - but she was all grins after that.
  • One kid learned to loop for the first time. Another discovered the joys of counterlooping, and we counterlooped for half an hour. (More! More! More!).
  • One kid finally mastered "Doing the Journey." He's now hard at work on doing the "Return Serve," where you serve high with backspin so the ball bounces directly back over the net. (And his regular serves are getting spinny as well!)
  • Among older students, one really began to master spin serves - and after the session, we spent ten minutes doing the 50-foot serve, where we serve from 50 feet to the side of the table and try to curve the ball so it lands on the table with a legal serve. (It's fun and good practice in creating spin.)
  • Another advanced player continued his backhand development, and is beginning to win matches because of it. (Many players have good backhand drives but weak backhand loops; he has a good backhand loop but his backhand counter-hitting for his 1900 level was weak and is the primary thing holding him back from 2000 and beyond.)
  • And another experimented with various grips due to a hand injury - but he'll get over that. (Actually, it only affected his forehand loop, so he got lots of backhand practice.

USATT Coaching Newsletter

The new USATT Coaching Newsletter is out! It's mostly about new ITTF coaching seminars. I'm planning to run one around late August or September, but haven't scheduled it yet.

Ping Pong Fever

The book Ping Pong Fever: The Madness that Swept 1902 America is featured in the new issue of The Table Tennis Collector. (I just read most of the book and went over the huge number of pictures, and plan to write a review soon.)

MDTTC May Open

If you are in the area (or want to do some traveling!) come join us for the $2600 MDTTC May Open at the Maryland Table Tennis Center this weekend, May 5-6. The prize money has more than doubled from past tournaments. Here's the new prize money and events:

Open:   1st $1000 2nd $400 3-4: $200
U2300: 1st $200 2nd $100
U2150: 1st $150 2nd $75
U2000: 1st $100 2nd $50
U1850: 1st $80 2nd $40
U1600: 1st Trophy 2nd Trophy
U1350: 1st Trophy 2nd Trophy
U1100: 1st Trophy 2nd Trophy

High-tech ping-pong table

The surface and net of this computerized ping-pong table is a touch screen, and the computer can display the exact position where the ball bounced. It displays the score and statistics. Soon it'll probably play the game for us as well!

Amazing Table Tennis

Here's a video of the most amazing table tennis shots of 2011 (8:49). (I don't think I linked to this before, but if I did, it's worth watching again.)

Pearls Before Swine

They did a table tennis cartoon on Saturday, April 28.

Crazy Japanese table tennis

Here's 9:41 of crazy Japanese table tennis as they aim at targets (including human faces behind a glass window), play on improvised tables, with rackets with big holes in them, and other weird stuff. (Thanks Julian Waters for sending this one to me. Now I'm going to have nightmares.)

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