Scorekeepers

December 10, 2013

Physical Therapy

I'm supposed to start physical therapy on my arm at 11:30 this morning. However, it's snowing outside (again), and schools and most businesses closed for the second day in a row. I'm guessing it'll be postponed. Since I'm off for the USA Nationals this Sunday, and then will be coaching at our Christmas Camp, I might not be able to schedule anything else until January. We'll see. Meanwhile, the cortisone shot finally stopped hurting. Can't tell how my arm is without playing, and don't want to risk that. So I'll just keep resting it with the idea that I'll be healthy and ready to go by January. (I also have a dental appointment at 2PM, but I'm guessing that'll be cancelled too.)

Table Tennis Tips

Since I'll be stuck at home most of this week without any coaching (thanks to arm problems), I may start work getting my next table tennis book ready for print, tentatively titled "Table Tennis Tips." It'll be a compilation of all my Tips of the Week that have been going up each week the past three years. Sure, you can read them all online, but this puts them all together in one nice convenient package, organized by subject (strokes, footwork, tactics, sports psychology, etc.). It turns out that when I finish the year, I'll have exactly 150 Tips published since I started in January 2011. There are 148 already online, with two more to go, for Dec. 23 and 30. (No Tip on Dec. 16 while I'm at the Nationals.)

First task is the cover. Tentatively I'll go over all my coaching pictures and pick out something. Then I'll do fancy it up with the title and who knows what else.

Second is organizing them by subject, which shouldn't be a huge job. I've already got all of them in one long file. Each week, after putting the new Tip up, I've been cut and pasting it into the file, which (in 12-point Time Roman font) is about 85,000 words and 154 pages with 8.5x11 pages. It'll take a few hours to arrange them into the right order. With formatting, and perhaps adding a few pictures, the final book will be about 270 pages on 6x9 pages. (That's the dimensions of my previous TT book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers.)

Third is the title. Should I go with the simple and to-the-point "Table Tennis Tips"? I've toyed with calling it "Table Tennis Tipalooza." Any suggestions?

Scorekeepers

At the North American Teams last weekend I saw that they were playing the final of Division 12 (average rating 1300) on one table without a scorekeeper, between two all-junior teams (ages 11-13), with dozens of parents and kids watching. I went to the officials table and they lent me a scoreboard. One of the kids, about 10, became the scorekeeper for all nine matches. (Disclosure: I had been coaching a team called "Jawbreakers," and had a bag of jawbreakers I'd been giving out. I paid the kid one jawbreaker per match, so nine in all. He was quite happy with the arrangement.)

One of the best things tournament directors can do to make their tournaments presentable to the public is to have plenty of scoreboards available, and try to have scorekeepers for the "big" matches. It's not hard to get people to scorekeep; just ask and you'll get volunteers. Kids love to do it. The key is that they are scorekeepers, not umpires. Their purpose is to keep score so that spectators can see the score. An exciting point at deuce isn't nearly so exciting if the players don't know it's deuce. In fact, an exciting point at 1-1 isn't so exciting when the spectators have no idea what's going on. They want to see what the situation is; otherwise, it's just two players playing points.

Every major distributor sells scoreboards. Why not buy a few for your next tournament? I own one which I used to bring to tournaments just for my matches, in case I could find a scorekeeper. It's a lot more fun playing with a scorekeeper! It's also easier to focus on your own game when you don't have to worry about keeping score.

Hao Shuai at the North American Teams

Here's the article.

Where There is A Will, There is a Way, Bangladesh Overcomes Political Obstacles

Here's the article from the ITTF on USATT Coach Richard McAfee's latest coaching seminar, this time in Bangladesh.

World Class American Table Tennis Players - New Books!

Volumes 2 and 3 are now out of these table tennis history books by Dean Johnson and Tim Boggan. They are on sale at amazon.com. Here are the three volumes to date:

My Note at the 2001 World Table Tennis Championships

I did coverage for USA Table Tennis of the 2001 Worlds in Osaka, Japan. This often meant long days taking notes and long nights of writing. I just got an email from Diego Schaaf (who was there as a USATT photographers), where he wrote:

I just ran across some notes from the World Championships in Osaka you might remember with amusement. One of them was the sign on your door: "If anyone disturbs me while this sign is up, I will hunt you down and pour speed glue down your throat." (Signed "Larry Hodges, Sleepless in Osaka.") And the other was you, responding to the question, how many hours you had worked between the beginning of the tournament and the final: "All of them. Except 6am to 8am on a couple of days."

Cat Sushi Ping Pong?

Here's the picture!

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June 27, 2012

MDTTC Camp - Week Two, Day Two

Yesterday was Day Two of the second week of our summer camps. The focus was on the backhand. After the break I gave a talk on return of serve, and then the players practiced serve and receive.

There was a lot of interest in the fast serves I demonstrated. This has always been a strength of mine, but for some reason my fast serves yesterday seemed amped up a bit, and were going out like guided missiles. During break I told the story of the time I opened a match against 1986 U.S. National Champion Hank Teekaveerakit with three aces down the line, one of my proudest moments. He was a penhold forehand looper who tried to loop all deep serves with his forehand. My fast down-the-line serve always looks like it's going crosscourt, and so he got caught going the wrong way three times in a row. After the third, he looked at me, and said (and this was how he always pronounced my name), "Lally, Lally, nobody serves down the line three times in a row!" The rest of the game he received with his backhand, and he came back to win the game. In game two, he went back to trying to loop all my serves, and we had a great time playing sort of cat and mouse as I threw fast serves both down the line and crosscourt, and he tried (and mostly succeeded) in forehand looping them all. He won, and said it was a great practice session. 

Three Days until the U.S. Open in Grand Rapids

Are you shadow practicing your strokes?

PingSkills Videos

Here are three more PingSkills coaching videos:

Jim Butler on Scorekeepers

Here's an article by three-time U.S. Men's National Champion and two-time Olympian Jim Butler on scorekeepers.

Jeffrey Wins JOOLA Open in Newport News

Fellow MDTTC coach Jeffrey Zeng Xun won the JOOLA Open in Newport News this past weekend. Here's the article!

Topspin, the Documentary

Here's the latest on this video project, including a video (3:33).

Pings and Pongs

I'm putting all my books in ebook and POD (print on demand) formats so I can sell them directly on line. For "practice," I started with "Pings and Pongs," an anthology of my 30 best science fiction & fantasy stories, all previously sold stories to various markets. (It includes "Ping-Pong Ambition," a fantasy table tennis story, and a few other stories have table tennis references.) Since it has few pictures, it was relatively easy to do as a test. Here's the page - make sure to buy a few dozen copies! Later on all my other books will be sold in these formats: Table Tennis: Steps to Success; Table Tennis Tales & Techniques; Instructor's Guide to Table Tennis; Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook; and the upcoming Table Tennis Tactics: A Thinker's Guide. (I'm creating the pages myself in both formats, but it's a slow process since we're also in the middle of the summer camps season at MDTTC.)

Exhibition Picture from 1990s

Here's a picture from an exhibition at the USA Nationals, I believe in the late 1990s, between Chen Xinhua (standing on table) and Cheng Yinghua (sitting on table), with USATT President Sheri Pittman also joining in. As Jim Butler points out above, with no scorekeeper we have no idea what's going on here . . . right?

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