Ernesto Ebuen

September 24, 2013

Todd Sweeris, Terese Terranova in Hall of Fame, Yvonne Kronlage Gets Lifetime Achievement Award

Here's the article! I'm especially happy about Todd. He came to the Resident Training Program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in the fall of 1986 as a 13-year-old, the youngest player there. I was the manager of the program at the time. So I got to work with him for a few years there. Then I returned to Maryland and opened the Maryland Table Tennis Center (along with Cheng Yinghua and Jack Huang), and Todd moved to Maryland to train there. On the back of my book Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is a picture of me coaching him at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1996. I've already gone through my files and pulled out lots of pictures of him for use at his induction at the USA Nationals in December.

I've also known Yvonne a long time - she was president of the New Carrollton TTC where I started play at age 16 in 1976. We've differed on a few things politically, but we've both been promoting TT for roughly forever - but she's been doing it for a longer forever than I have!

Terese I mostly know from coaching our players against her players at the Junior Olympics and Junior Nationals for many years, especially in the 1990s when many of the finals were between Maryland and Florida players, and I'd be coaching the Marylanders (along with coaches Cheng and Jack), and she and Marty Prager would be coaching the Floridians.

USA Nationals

Speaking of the USA Nationals, here's the home page on the USATT web page, which includes the entry form and hotel info. I'll be there, but just coaching and attending a few meetings, including the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies. (I do the HoF program booklet.)

USATT Web Page

Speaking of the USATT web page, I'm featured there twice right now. I'm pictured, along with Ernesto Ebuen and Roger Yuen, for getting certified as an ITTF Level 2 coach. I'm also pictured (coaching Seyed Hamrahian and Derek Nie in doubles at the 2012 USA Nationals) for my latest Tip of the Day, "Don't Guide Your Loop." Ironically that was half of what I told a kid I coached at the Coconut Cup this past weekend - see my write-up yesterday.

2014 Junior and Cadet National Championships

Want to host them next year, either July 31-Aug. 2 or Aug. 7-9? Here's the Bid Sheet!

However, I'm a bit peeved by this. A lot of the top juniors in the U.S. train in China during the summer, often leaving right after the U.S. Open (usually the first week in July), and returning at the end of August. They are scheduling this right in the middle of that. So many of the best juniors in the country (including several from MDTTC) will likely be in China when this takes place, meaning that if they want to play in the National Junior Championships they'll have to fly halfway around the world. (That's roughly 13-15 hours.) It will cost a fortune - I just did a quick search and the cheapest flights from my area to China round trip are about $1400. Plus they'll show up off by 12 time zones, which affects juniors even more than adults. (A 2PM match is like 2AM for them, etc.) And after flying in for a few days of jet-lagged zombie-like play (which they will then be judged on for the next year), they'll hop back on a plane for the trip back, minus about a week of training (after taking recovery time, etc. into account). What this really means is some of our top juniors won't attend the National Junior and Cadet Championships, and so won't be on the National Junior or Cadet Team because they are too focused on becoming top players by training in China. Or, if they do attend, their poor parents will be out something close to $2000, on top of all the other training expenses.

I'm hoping someone from USATT can tell me if I'm missing something here.

Waldner's Best Drop Shots

Here's a highlights video (6:39) featuring the best drop shots by the great Jan-Ove Waldner. Tired of constant serve and rip and counterlooping rallies? This is completely different!

Four on One Table Tennis

Here's the picture - I have to try this! Maybe on break in our next camp.

Sleepy Table Tennis

That's all I can call this.

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October 12, 2012

Topspin Rallies

One of my beginning/intermediate students in a session yesterday kept pushing my topspin and sidespin serves, and of course they popped up or went off the end. This same junior is all over the ball in "normal" topspin rallies - he's primarily a hitter, though he loops against backspin. You'd think that he'd want these topspin and sidespin serves since he can use his regular forehand and backhand drives both to start and continue the rally, not to mention ending the point with his big forehand. Many players, especially juniors, are almost robotic (in a good way) once they get into a topspin rally, hitting and countering with ease as this is exactly what they do in most practice drills.

And yet, given the chance to immediately go into these comfortable topspin rallies, this student and many others choose to push the serve back. Why is this?

I believe it's the mindset when returning serves. They do get a lot of backspin serves, and so they find pushing the safest return. And so their mindset is to push the serve to get into the rally. Except, of course, when you push a topspin or sidespin serve, there is no rally. (At higher levels, of course, players can chop down on these balls as a variation, more of a chop-block than a push, but that's a separate issue.)

At most levels, when returning serves, you have to make a quick decision: Does the serve have backspin? If yes, then you can push it. If no, then you stroke it.

You don't have to push the backspin, of course. If it's short, you can flip it. If it's long, you can loop it. You can also drive it, whether it's short or long. And you use the same strokes if the ball doesn't have backspin, except you stroke mostly forward.

There is, of course, more to returning serves than judging whether the ball has backspin or not, but judging that, and actually looking for those topspin/sidespin serves to attack rather than relying on pushing, is a giant leap forward.

$100,000 World Championship of Ping-Pong

After a long, arduous search, and after finally sending an email to the organizers (Matchroom Sport), I have finally located the home page (still under construction) for the $100,000 World Championship of Ping Pong, to be held in London on Jan. 5-6, 2013. It's the same address as the one for the one held in 2011 in Las Vegas except it ends in .net instead of .com.) This is a sandpaper tournament, so no counterlooping. (Well, you can do sort of a counterloop with sandpaper, but it's really just a fake loop with little topspin). Get ready for lots of hitting and chopping! I'm tempted to go - I'm pretty handy with sandpaper, though I'm not a serious contender with the best sandpaperers - but it's a bit too expensive for me to fly to London, not to mention taking time off from my coaching practice.

Smashing Poverty in the Philippines with Ping-Pong

Here's a 25-minute documentary "Smashing Poverty" on Ernesto Ebuen (former Philippines star, now a top coach in New York - he's Michael Landers' coach) and his efforts to use table tennis to "smash" poverty in his home country.

Wang Liqin vs. Ma Long

Here's a great match to watch (7:02), with the time between points taken out. It took place in the Team category of the Chinese Nationals, which are going on right now (Oct. 6-14). Three-time World Men's Singles Champion Wang (2001, 2005, 2007) is down to #9 in the world, but since the world rankings went online in Jan. 2001 was ranked #1 52 months. Ma Long, currently ranked #2 in the world, was ranked #1 for twenty months (Jan. 2010 to Dec. 2010 and Oct. 2011 to May 2012).

The Biltmore Ping-Pong Table

Want to see the ping-pong table in the largest privately owned home in the United States at 175,000 square feet, with 250 rooms? Yes, it's the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC, built by George Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. Here's a picture of the Biltmore House (and the Wikipedia page about it), and here's the Biltmore ping-pong table.

Hermann and It's Kind of a Funny Story

Hermann Luechinger has a really funny story to tell about his inadvertent table tennis meeting with a music superstar. I don't want to ruin your surprise by telling you who the superstar was, but if you really want to know, it's this guy.

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