Zhuang Zedong Obit

February 12, 2013

Tactical Match

This weekend I played a practice match with a fast up-and-coming junior who had never challenged me before. In the past he'd had trouble with my serves, usually too passive, so I was able to attack at will. This time he came at me very aggressively, attacking most of my short serves with his newly developing backhand banana flip. When I served side-top, he jumped all over them aggressively. When I served backspin, he spun them off the bounce aggressively, a bit softer but spinnier. When I served short to his forehand, he reached over and flipped with his backhand. What to do?

This is actually a textbook case, and the answers were obvious. Here are three ways I dealt with this.

First, I went for more extremes. Instead of side-top serves, I went with pure topspin, and instead of side-backspin serves, I went with pure heavy backspin. Having to deal with the extremes meant that he began to put the topspins off the end and the backspins into the net.

Second, I began throwing low no-spin serves at him. He'd often read them usually as backspin and lift off the end. Or because they were dead, he sometimes put them into the net. It's amazing how players put no-spin serves both off the end and into the net, but that's what happens.

Third, I drilled him with short serves to the forehand, deep serves to the backhand. The key is to use the same motion. If he's going to reach over and use his backhand to return my short serves to his forehand, then he's going to have great difficulty covering a deep spinny breaking serve to the backhand. When he guards against that, then I go back short to the forehand. This combo was especially effective when I gave him short reverse pendulum serves to the forehand, which break away from him, making him reach even more.

The kid played a great match, and I'll have to keep my eye on him as he gets better and better. As it was, I came from behind 4-8 to win the first 11-9, and then won the next two more comfortably. As I explained to him afterwards, he's now at that stage where because he's challenging me, he'll lose worse at first because now I'm playing him a lot more seriously. We'll see where he is a year from now.

Update - Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers

I only publicly announced Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers was available yesterday, and already 26 copies have sold. Of course, the real sales surge (hopefully) will come after I advertise in USATT Magazine (1-page color ad) and possibly their web page, and possibly other places. I'll look into that next week after I'm done doing the page layouts for Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, Vol. 13.

I'd like to post about the book in online forums as well, but not right now. If I post on an online forum, people will have questions, and if I try to answer those questions, Tim (who's sitting right next to me impatiently waiting to get to work) will no-look forehand smack me back to work. Sometime next week I'll post on the various forums and look into other areas to advertise, such as England and Australia, and other online websites.

I'm also getting a few blurbs from prominent TT people I can use. Here are some others I've come up with that I probably won't use.

Blurbs for My Book I've Decided NOT to Use
Feel free to comment with your own!

  1. "One of the best table tennis books I've read today."
  2. "I loved the book and will give a copy to all of my opponents."
  3. "Best book I've ever tasted." -Rover
  4. "After reading this book, my level of play only dropped a little."
  5. "But what if I don't like to think?"
  6. "Some of the words in this book are really good."
  7. "My parakeet is set for the next 240 days as he goes through this cover to cover."
  8. "Hey Larry, there's a typo at the start!"

Dealing with PTSD Through Ping-Pong

Here's an article and video (2:29) on how one Vietnam Vet dealt with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with table tennis, specifically featuring a clinic run at the Zing Table Tennis Club in Denver by Richard McAfee, assisted by Duane Gall, Peter Christofolo, and Mike Mui. (Here's an ITTF article on the clinic.)

Zhuang Zedong Obit

Here's the CNN Zhuang obit, including five pictures. Here's the ITTF obit.

The Ping-Pong Queen

Here's an article about Susan Sarandon and ping-pong.

Waldner - Persson Exhibition

Here's a video (1:29) of some points from an exhibition by Jan-Ove Waldner and Jorgen Persson.

Anime Women Playing Table Tennis

The next action figure?

SPECIAL TIM BOGGAN SECTION!

Here's his Hall of Fame bio.

Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, Vol. 13

We've now finished 16 chapters, 267 pages, with 540 graphics placed. We're on pace for 29 chapters, 482 pages, and 956 graphics. This would be the most graphics by far - the last volume had the most at 837. (But he's actually been pretty consistent as the last seven volumes all ranged from 800 to 837.) We will probably finish the "first draft" on Friday. I'll be busy coaching all weekend while Tim proofs everything. On Monday (Feb. 18) we'll input changes, and by Tuesday it'll be ready to go to the printer. Copies should be available soon afterwards. We hope. (Here's where you can find more info on Tim's books - Volumes 1-12 of his History of U.S. Table Tennis. And no, I don't get any commission from his sales!)

Tim Boggan and the BBC

On Sunday and Monday Tim was interviewed live on the BBC and will be again on Wednesday, via phone, about Zhuang Zedong's death and Ping-Pong Diplomacy. Each time he most wanted to include how Zhuang had asked, when he heard that Glenn Cowan had died, if Glenn had been well remembered at his funeral. He was told, well, not as you might think a historic celebrity should be remembered. Zhuang was sorry to hear this, and said, "When I die, everyone in China will know." According to Tim, the relationship between Glenn and Zhuang was largely historic and symbolic rather than any close show of friendship itself. (Note - Ping-Pong Diplomacy was seminally started when Cowen was invited onto the private Chinese bus, and then later he and Zhuang exchanged gifts. You can read more about it in Tim's History of U.S. Table Tennis, Vol. V.)

Tim Boggan Resigns

After many years of service, Tim Boggan has resigned from the ITTF Media Committee. Here is his resignation letter.

After much thought, and more regret, I've decided, as of now, to resign from the ITTF Media Committee.

I'm not going to the World Championships in Paris, or any other. Perhaps my age is showing (I’ll be 83 this year), but traveling abroad and playing conscientious reporter for a week is just becoming WORK—and I’ve already got enough of that.

I want to focus the more on my History of U.S. Table Tennis –intend to keep writing, as I have since 2000, a new book a year (my Vol. XIII will be in hand by April Fools' Day). I'll also keep researching and making Banquet presentations on behalf of our U.S. Hall of Fame candidates—that's generally a month’s effort. (The new inductees make it a total of 138 Profiles I've done on those enshrined.) And also I'll continue writing (though not as much as before) obits and articles for our USTTA magazine—as in my "Reisman Rembrance" for the current issue, and my coverage of Mike Babuin's Cary Open in an upcoming one.

It's been more than 40 years since I became affiliated with the ITTF (as a U.S. Delegate to the 1971 Nagoya World's). And in those four decades I must have been to, and reported on, 25 or more World or International Championships. I've had the unusual opportunity to meet many interesting people and to see many interesting sights/sites that I certainly wouldn’t have otherwise. For this I'm very grateful.

I thank all those who've helped me to have this rich experience, and will fondly remember my long involvement with the ITTF for the rest of my life.

***
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February 11, 2013

Tip of the Week

Winning with Backspin for the Non-Chopper.

Now Available - Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers

It is with great happiness (and irritation!) that I announce that Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is now on sale at amazon.com. So now's your chance to buy it - $17.95 for 240 pages, 21 chapters, 102,000 words, 90 photos!

Let's make that bigger:

Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers - Now on Sale!

 

Why the irritation? It's hard to believe, but after all the proofing I'd done, I found a minor typo on the first page near the start. I've already uploaded a new version, fixing that and one other minor change (bolding the names of the six members of the Editorial Board). Apparently I can upload new versions whenever I want, but it'll take a few days for the new version to go live. So here's your chance to get the very short-lived version v02-05-03 (that's the version listed in the title page) before version v02-10-13 goes live. Possibly a collector's item!

There's also a text-only kindle version. I expect to have a new version with photos in a few weeks, and amazon should allow a free download of the new version to anyone who bought the text-only version. (I can't guarantee this, but they said they would if there were major changes, and going from a text-only version to adding the 90 photos is a major change.) As noted in previous blogs, I ran into technical problems with the photos in the kindle version, but have figured out how to fix it, when I have time. (Don't have time right now since I'm working all day with Tim Boggan on the page layouts of his new History of U.S. Table Tennis, Vol. 13. We expect to finish in about a week.)

Here's the Table of Contents:

Introduction
Chapter 1............................................................................... Tactical Thinking
Chapter 2............................................................................... Strategic Thinking
Chapter 3............................................................................... Your Tactical Game
Chapter 4............................................................................... All About Spin
Chapter 5 .............................................................................. Beginning Tactics
Chapter 6............................................................................... Conventional Tactics
Chapter 7............................................................................... Tactical Examples
Chapter 8............................................................................... Service Tactics
Chapter 9............................................................................... Receive Tactics
Chapter 10............................................................................. Rallying Tactics
Chapter 11............................................................................. Different Grips
Chapter 12............................................................................. Pushing
Chapter 13............................................................................. Loopers
Chapter 14............................................................................. Blockers, Counter-Drivers, and Hitters
Chapter 15............................................................................. Choppers
Chapter 16............................................................................. Fishers and Lobbers
Chapter 17............................................................................. Non-Inverted Surfaces
Chapter 18............................................................................. Hardbat Tactics
Chapter 19............................................................................. Doubles Tactics
Chapter 20............................................................................. Tournament Tactics
Chapter 21............................................................................. Coaching Tournament Matches
Afterword.............................................................................. Tactical & Strategic Thinking Revisited
Glossary Table Tennis Terminology
Appendix............................................................................... Recommended Reading
About the Author
Index

USA Team Trials Results

The Trials are DONE! Here's the home page, with complete results and other info. Who made the team? It's a bit complicated. Here are the USATT rules on this, from the Trials page:

  • The size of the Worlds team will be 5 (five) athletes/gender. USATT will fully fund 3 athletes/gender qualified through the above mentioned criteria/order
  • The 4th and 5th athlete/gender will be self-funded 
  • The 5th athlete/gender will be coach’s pick

And here is the actual order of finish:

Men's Final Placement

  1. Wang, Timothy (ICC) 10-1 
  2. Zhang, Yahao (TWUTTC) 9-2
  3. Nguyen, Khoa Dinh (TopSpin) 9-2
  4. Li, Peter (iTable Tennis) 7-4
  5. Butler, Jim (Houston TTC) 7-4
  6. Hazinski, Mark (TWUTTC) 6-5 
  7. Dubina, Samson David (Strongsville TT) 5-6
  8. Jha, Kanak (WCTTA) 3-8 
  9. Chodri, Kunal (WCTTA) 3-8 
  10. Cretu, Razvan (TWUTTC) 3-8 
  11. Tran, De C. (Wang Chen Table Tennis Club) 3-8
  12. Ding, Billy Xu (Seattle Pacific TTC) 1-10

Women's Final Placement

  1. Zhang, Lily (ICC) 11-0
  2. Wu, Erica S. (Gao Jun TTC) 10-1
  3. Hsing, Ariel (iTable Tennis) 9-2
  4. Jha, Prachi (WCTTA) 8-3 
  5. Lin, Tina (Lily Yip TTC) 6-5 
  6. Guan, Angela (ICC) 6-5 
  7. Jiang, Diane (iTable Tennis) 3-8 
  8. Li, Joy (XTTS) 3-8
  9. Ma, Lucy (Seattle Pacific TTC) 3-8 
  10. Chu, Isabel (WCTTA) 3-8
  11. Leitman, Marina (TopSpin) 3-8
  12. Malek, Amanda (Power Pong) 1-10 

Zhuang Zedong

Three-time World Men's Singles Champion (1961, 1963, 1965) and Legend Zhuang Zedong died of colon cancer yesterday. Here's an article in the Washington Post. Zhuang not only dominated table tennis for most of the 1960s, he was also a key figure in the lead-up to Ping-Pong Diplomacy in 1971.

New ITTF Coaching Courses in USA

There's another ITTF Level 2 Course scheduled in the U.S., in Atlanta. Below are all three now scheduled for 2013. (There might be more.) All are taught by Richard McAfee. Here is more info on the courses.

Chinese Team Celebrates Chinese New Year

Here's an article about it. (Yesterday was the Chinese New Year.) And here's an article on why Zhang Jike might not be home for Chinese New Year.

Biba!

Here's a dramatic table tennis music video (1:35) on Biba!

Peanut-Shaped Table Around the World

Here's the picture!

***
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