Hao Shuai

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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August 28, 2012

Blog on Hold Until Friday. "It's a pain in the neck" says blogger Larry Hodges

(Hey, that's me!)

This morning I was going to write about how I think top players of the past would do in today's game, how modern sponge players and hardbatters would do in the past, and address certain subtleties in such a comparison that some might not have considered. However, I've discovered that sitting at my computer aggravates the neck injury, even with the neck brace on. (Here's my Aug. 22 blog about the neck injury.) I've already cancelled all coaching this week, but hope to be able to coach again this weekend, but now I'm not so sure. (I should be able to do multiball training, but probably not live play yet.) Just typing this and the below is killing my neck and making it feel like a ping-pong ball in a match between a pair of all-out hitters.

So I'm putting my blog on hold until Friday so I can give the neck time to heal without constant aggravation. I'll get a lot of reading done, but no writing, alas. See you on Friday!

2012 USATT Hall of Fame Inductions

Here are the 2012 U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Fame Inductees - three players (Jennifer Johnson, Errol Resek, and Lan Vuong) and one contributor (Gus Kennedy). Dick Evans gets this year's Mark Matthews Lifetime Achievement Award. Here is the U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Fame Page (click on "Profiles" to see listing of players with links to their profiles). I'll probably be putting together the program booklet for the Hall of Fame Banquet held at the USA Nationals in December, as I have for the past few years.

Playing Against Defense

Here's an article from PingSkills on how to play choppers. I think the bullet points under "Placement in Rally" are the ones most tournament players often forget.

2012 China Harmony Open

Here are two videos of the Men's Singles Final at the China Harmony Open between Wang Liqin and Hao Shuai (the lefty). Here's the full version (18:29), and here's a shortened version (6:53) that skips over some points and time between rallies. Wang Liqin defeated Ma Lin in the semifinals, while Hao defeated Timo Boll, Vladimir Samsonov, and Xu Xin.

Racquetball Style Table Tennis

It's an off-the-wall idea, but why not allow off-the-wall shots?

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