Santa Barbara

May 11, 2012

New Chinese kids in Maryland

Now it can be told! After months of negotiation and visa dealings with the State Department (both U.S. and Chinese versions), we have three new Chinese junior players at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. Yes, junior players - they are all from the Shandong Lueng Table Tennis School in Shandong, China. They are here indefinitely, where they will both train and be practice partners while they learn English and later go to school here - they hope to attend college here as well.

They arrived on Tuesday, and played at the club on Wednesday. This afternoon they'll be in the Elite Junior Session from 5-7, and that's when we'll really learn their levels. They are obviously very strong, probably as good as anyone their age in the U.S.  The chopper is the oldest and the strongest - probably in the 2500-2600 range, and will likely be the best chopper in the U.S.  The others are likely in the 2300-2500 range. (All three will compete at the U.S. Open, and perhaps the Easterns.) They are:

  • Wang Qing Liang, age 17, originally from Guangxi Province, a right-handed chopper/looper with long pips on one side.
  • Chen Bo Wen, age 14, originally from Hubei Province, a right-handed two-winged penhold looper with reverse penhold backhand.
  • Wang Guo Cong, age 12, originally from Nanjing, a lefty shakehand looper.

Serving Seminar

As noted in my blog previously, I'm doing a Service Seminar at the Maryland Table Tennis Center tomorrow (Saturday) from 12:30-2:00 PM. Here's the info page! Make sure to email me in advance if you are coming so you can save $5. I'll be covering how to create spin, deception, specific serve motions, and fast serves. We'll alternate between lecture and on-table practice.

U.S. Open Entries

Deadline to enter the 2012 U.S. Open (Grand Rapids, Michigan, June 30-July 4) is May 12, which is TOMORROW!!! After that you can enter through May 19 with a $75 late fee. So enter now!

If you want to watch as the U.S. Open entries come in, here's the page that lists entries by event, and this one alphabetically. (Click on a player's ID number and you'll see what events he's entered in.) There are currently 212 entries. There's always a lag between entries being received and put online, and there's always a last-minute rush, but inevitably we'll end up somewhere in the 700-800 range. Deadline to enter is May 12.

Chinese Olympic Women's Team

Here's a story about the Chinese women going to the Olympics, including injury news (Ding Ning replaces the injured Guo Yan), doubles info, and comparisons to the Chinese heyday of a few years ago with Zhang Yining and Wang Nan.

Santa Barbara Ping Pong

I mentioned in my blog yesterday how Santa Barbara wants to put up outside cement tables next to their libraries. Now they have a web page devoted to this - http://www.PublicPingPongSantaBarbara.com! "Ping pong is available to people of all walks of life, and to all ages and skill levels. We see this table as a singular way to bring a social sport, that’s already well-loved, to public spaces. We have benefactors who will donate our first table, the cost of delivery, and installation. We just need approvals." The article also links to this article from the New York Times from March, 2011, which is also about the joys of outdoor cement tables, also with pictures.

Gazette Feature Article

The Gazette is sending a reporter and photographer to the Maryland Table Tennis Center today to do a feature story. They'll be there between 5-7PM during the Elite Junior Session, and may stay after to take pictures when the club is jammed after 7:30PM for the Friday night league.

Coaching Offer

Yesterday I received an email with a "coaching offer" from someone from the Shaanxi Province of China. They offered me $29,000/month ($348,000/year) if I'd become the Technical Adviser for their club. All I had to do was furnish them with lots of personal info and I'd be all set! Between that and the Nigerian offers, I'm in great demand.

Table Tennis Out of This World

Here's a picture of astronauts playing table tennis at Johnson Space Center. The guy on the left has a proper grip, but the guy on the right has serious grip issues. Anyone know their names?

***

Send us your own coaching news!

May 10, 2012

Get Your Game Face On!

By Dora Kurimay and Kathy Toon
Review by Larry Hodges

"Have you ever stopped to consider how elite table tennis players deal with the pressure of competition and consistently perform at their best?" That's the opening line of "Get Your Game Face On," the new table tennis sports psychology ebook by Dora Kurimay and Kathy Toon ($4.99, available at amazon.com). It's a rather short book - I read it in an hour or two - but with lots of useful content. It covers sports psychology specifically for table tennis better than anything else I've read. It does so not just with theory, but with practical steps to improve your mental game and thereby your overall game.

The book points out four major problems that plague table tennis players, and then goes about giving systematic ways of combating them:

  • Inconsistency
  • Not being able to play as well as we practice
  • Your energy level can be too high or too low
  • Distractions

Central to the book is developing a "Game Face" (confidence, energy, optimism, calm), the inseparable relationship between emotional, mental, and physical (the "Game Face Performance Triangle"), and a "Game Face Routine," using the four R's:

  • Reaction (use the 80-10-10 rule - 80% neutral, 10% celebration, 10% challenged response, i.e. instead of "That was terrible!" try "You can make that!")
  • Recover (recover from the point, relax, etc., with nine methods listed)
  • Ready (this is where you do your tactical thinking, with a very good listing of things to think about - "Think before you play")
  • Ritual (to prepare mentally for the next point)

Throughout the book there are numerous real-world examples from world-class players. Often I was nodding my head at mental tricks that match what I'd developed over the years, or at recognizing something I'd see others do. The specific breakdown of how you use the time between points - the four R's - especially led to much thought that will influence my own coaching. The book should be a must for table tennis coaches and serious players.

Dora Kurimay was a member of the Hungarian National Table Tennis Team for six years and was six-time National Champion in doubles, singles, and teams. Perhaps more importantly she has a Bachelor's degree in psychology and two Master's degrees, in Psychology and in Sports Psychology. She has a long coaching background as well, both in table tennis and other sports. She now lives in the U.S. and at this writing has a 2388 rating. Kathy Toon coached tennis for twenty-three years, including at the University of California-Berkeley for fourteen years where teams she coached won three national doubles championships.

Serving Seminar

As noted in my blog yesterday, I'm doing a Service Seminar at the Maryland Table Tennis Center this Saturday from 12:30-2:00 PM. Here's the new info page! Make sure to email me in advance if you are coming so you can save $5. I'll be covering how to create spin, deception, specific serve motions, and fast serves. We'll alternate between lecture and on-table practice.

Ariel Hsing in LA Times

Here's a feature on Ariel from yesterday's Los Angeles Times. (And in case you didn't figure out the headline, "DIY" means "Do It Yourself.")

2012 World Team Championships

Here's a video feature (12:25) on the 2012 World Team Championships in Dortmund, Germany, held March 25 - April 1. 

Will's World of Sports

Will took on Keith Pech in this video (3:54). It was a battle of . . . beginner versus pro. Keith put on a great show! (Will is from Sports Time Ohio, who likes to go around taking on "pros" at their own sports.)

Santa Barbara Library Tables

They are hoping to put up "ping-pong tables" in their Library Plaza. I put quotes around it because the tables are concrete! (See picture in the article.) However, this is somewhat common in China - see this picture.

***

Send us your own coaching news!

Syndicate content