Table Tennis Charity Foundation

October 23, 2013

Knee Update

I gave a 1.5 hour coaching session yesterday, but could only hobble around, and ended up doing multiball or serve practice for over half the session. As I blogged on Monday, I injured the right knee on Saturday. So I've had to cancel all my coaching tonight - three hours. (Every other week I have four hours on Wednesday nights, but this was an "off" Wednesday.) Coach Raghu is subbing for one of the hours, while the other two are taking the week off. (One is having arm problems and could use the rest.)

Coaching is one of those professions where you HAVE to stay healthy or you run into serious problems. Some remember all the back problems I had in 2011; I overcame that with a lot of stretching and specialized weight training. Then, other than a cold or two, I was healthy for two years. A few weeks ago I had to take most of a week off with arm problems. And now this.

For most of our 21 years, MDTTC had cement floors. This has no give, and so led to knee problems for me (and others) during the late 90s and early 2000s. Then, about 6-7 years ago, we went to the soft red flooring that's so popular at professional clubs and major tournaments. Since then I've had no knee problems until now. This injury wasn't because of the floor, however; I just put weight on it wrong.

Lefties at the 2013 LIEBHERR Men's World Cup

The Men's World Cup starts in three days, Oct. 25-27 in Verviers, Belgium. Here's an interesting tidbit: of the 20 players participating, 40% are lefties. (That's eight of them for the math challenged.) According to Wikipedia, about 12% of men and 10% of women are lefties. So here's my challenge to readers: Who can first name the eight lefties among the 20 players? (And no, I can't; I don't know all these players.)

Fantasy Table Tennis

Yesterday I listed the numerous table tennis excerpts from my upcoming novel, "Sorcerers in Space." Here's an article I wrote in 2009 that was published in Fantasy Magazine, "The Table Tennis Fantasy Tour." It gave a rundown of some of the fantasy table tennis in movies, TV, and books, such as movies "Forrest Gump," "Balls of Fury," "A Matter of Life and Death," and "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man"; TV shows "Gary Shandling's Show," "Ping-Pong Club," and "Get Smart," and the fantasy novel "Robot Adept" - as well as my own short story "Ping-Pong Ambition."

ITTF Trick Shot Competition

Because of recent arm problems, and now a knee injury, plus the inconvenience of not having a video camera (I was going to borrow one), and simply being too busy on other issues, I haven't been able to put together a video for the ITTF Trick Shot Competition, alas. The deadline is Friday, Oct. 25. I had two tentatively planned. But doing one now is mostly pointless as the online voting has gone on for weeks, and there's no way I can catch up.

For the first trick, I was going to stand 60 feet directly to the side of the table. I'd then do a high, sidespin serve that hits the table and jumps sideways so it hits both sides of the table, a legal serve (other than the fact that I would be standing in front of the extension of the end-line). I can do this either tomahawk style or pendulum style, but I get more distance with the tomahawk, with the ball curving to the left. I can do this serve pretty well over half the time. But it doesn't end there - I was going to prop up a ping-pong paddle on some books on the left side of the table, and try to hit it so the ball would bounce back to the right-hand-side of the table. But it doesn't end there either - I was going to try to make it land in a cup. (I'd put water at the bottom of the cup so it wouldn't bounce out.) I wonder how many tries it would have taken to get this done? One thing that would make it easier is that the big-breaking serve I do would always hit on the far left side of the table on the second bounce, so that's where I'd prop up the ping-pong paddle, angled just right.

For the second trick, I was going to push a table up against a wall, with the net parallel to it. I'd stand to the side of the table on the far side, with two balls in my hand. I'd then look up and blow one of the balls up in the air so it balances in the air - a trick I've done for years. Then, without being able to look down, I'd drop the other ball on the table and smack it against the far side of the table so it bounces up against the wall and back, and smacking the ball I'm balancing in the air.

Pretty good tricks if I could do them!!!

Table Tennis Charity Foundation

You can donate to this charity. "Our MISSION is to Raise Awareness of the THERAPEUTIC Value that Playing Table Tennis has for MENTAL HEALTH and BRAIN FITNESS! Our VISION is to Integrate Ping Pong Programs (as an educational & structured activity) for Senior Living Communities, Rehabilitation/Medical Facilities, AND our School Systems! And, as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization, We Utilize the Brain-Stimulating Sport of Table Tennis to Raise Money for Charity Partners Who Directly Benefit Those Facing Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Depression and Mild to Moderate Intellectual Challenges."

Interesting Table and Exhibition

Here's a picture of Mike Meier doing a behind-the-back shot in an exhibition.

Krazy Table Tennis

Here's a 1920s table tennis set - and yes, it's called "Krazy Table Tennis."

Fiery Table Tennis

That's a lot of fire.

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September 3, 2012

Tip of the Week

I had a nice Tip of the Week planned for this morning, and was all set to write it, but you know what? It's Labor Day. Nearly everyone else is taking the day off. You know what? So am I. I'll do it tomorrow, and vacation the rest of today (after I finish this blog). I have no coaching scheduled for today. (Also, I'm a little tired as I was up late last night as I got involved in an online political debate at a news forum, where some simply do not accept the basic idea that lying by omission is, in fact, lying. One of my postings actually showed up on Facebook, which I didn't realize until afterwards. If you are on Facebook, by the way, feel free to friend me, and I'll likely friend you back. However, I generally keep my table tennis and politics separate.) I normally plan well in advance what I'm going to write about for each Tip of the Week, but often write it early on Monday morning.

As for the subject for this week's Tip, well, I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise! (Confession: I actually have three Tips planned, and hadn't really decided which one: One on how to incorporate multiball training into your practice sessions; one on how table tennis is literally like chess at light speed as the opening moves of a rally are like the opening moves in chess; and one on when to loop on the forehand.)

Feel free to send in suggestions for Tips or Blog topics!

Neck Update

Yesterday was the first time in twelve days that I didn't wear the neck brace at all. I also did live play for the first time, though only lightly. I probably should do some easy drilling to get back in shape. But I can officially say that 1) the neck is mostly healed, and 2) I'm way out of playing shape.

MDTTC Tournaments

Due to a moment of unbelievable insanity, I agreed earlier this year to take over the running of tournaments at the Maryland Table Tennis Center starting with our September Open. And now our Sept. 22-23 tournament is rapidly approaching. I've run over 150 USATT sanctioned tournaments, but this'll be my first in over ten years. I spent part of yesterday putting together a checklist for everything so I'll know what things are ready and what things I should sputter about in panic.

MDTTC has been using the same software for tournaments since the early 1990s. It doesn't even run on modern computers - to use it, we have to use an old laptop computer. While I still have the old one I used to use and presumably can run the software on that, I've decided to enter the modern age. So I'm exploring new softwares.

I'm leaning toward trying Omnipong. A growing number of tournaments are being run on it, and I'm told it's pretty user friendly. The software's developer used it to run the LA Open this past weekend. Any comments/suggestions/dire warnings on tournament software before I make the plunge? (The other one I was considering is Zermelo.)

Because my laptop was old when Obama took office (circa 2005), and my netbook is really too small for running tournaments (as well as a bit clumsy for writing articles on with its small screen) I plan to head out to Best Buy today and finally get a new laptop. I'll use it for running tournaments, and for writing, checking email, and touring the Internet at the club and when I'm traveling. There's a good chance I'll get this one.

And since we're on the subject of tournaments, here's my Ten-Point Plan to Tournament Success, and my article Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Playing In Your First Tournament . . . But Didn’t Know Where to Ask!

North American Championships

Here are the results, write-ups, and pictures from the North American Championships this past weekend in Cary, NC. Note the feature write-ups on Lily Zhang and Jim Butler.

Table Tennis Paralympics

Here are the results, write-ups, and pictures from the Table Tennis Paralympics this past weekend in London. One thing they did that I liked were the bios and histories for the top four seeds in every event.

Table Tennis Charity Foundation

Here's a new web page devoted to table tennis charities, the Table Tennis Charity Foundation. (They also have a Facebook page.) From their home page: "The mission of The Table Tennis Charity Foundation is simple; it's to GIVE BACK!  We utilize the brain-stimulating sport of Table Tennis, and the THERAPEUTIC game of Ping Pong to increase awareness and to raise money for organizations that will directly benefit those facing Alzheimer's, Dementia, Depression and Mild to Moderate intellectual disabilities." On the lower left they already have two charities planned, in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Virginia.

Zhang Jike Dropping Out of World Cup

Here's an article explaining why Zhang Jike won't be playing in the World Cup, plus other info on the reigning World and Olympic Men's Champion. The short version: "Zhang Jike said that there were too much activities after the Olympic Games and he hasn't been on training for that period so the team decided to let him give up the competition." He will be replaced by Ma Long, who will join Xu Xin as the Chinese representatives at the World Cup.

Non-Table Tennis - Another Sale!

On Saturday I sold a SF story to Every Day Fiction, "The Shaking Sphere," my 65th short story sale. The story hypothesizes that the ancient Greeks were right and that the moon, planets, sun, and stars are all carried about the Earth in gigantic celestial spheres, with Earth in the center. Humans have colonized the inner-most Moon sphere and even have elevators that take us right to it, 240,000 miles away - but now it's beginning to break apart, and it's up to our heroic engineer to figure out what the problem is.

The Human Chipmunk

I sometimes feel like I have too many balls in the air (i.e. too many activities and responsibilities), and worry what'll happen if I drop a ball. Here's what happens if you drop all the balls with an open mouth.

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