Arnold Schwarzenegger

March 21, 2013

Exhibition and Demo

This morning I'm doing a three-hour exhibition and demo (9:30AM-12:30PM) at a local Bar-T. They are devoted to "...after-school childcare, summer day camps, outdoor education, corporate team building and events." My exhibition partner will be Chen Bo Wen ("Bowen") and Chen Jie ("James"), though I'm not sure if both are coming. Also helping out will be John and Wen Hsu, who will set up and run an MDTTC booth to answer questions, give out brochures, etc. I'll be doing most of the talking as we go through one demo after another for three hours. 

Roughly speaking, every 30 minutes or so I'll give a short intro on table tennis, give a demo on the shots, play a "challenge" exhibition match, then take on challenges and answer questions, especially about local table tennis. Then repeat, six times in all.

I've done a zillion of these. As usual, I'll bring my big and mini-rackets; a clipboard; a trick racket where a ball-sized hole has been cut out, with the hole refilled so when my opponent smashes I can push it out and then hold up the racket as if the ball put the hole in it; and a few others. I'll do the 50-foot curving serve from the side; blow the ball over the net, and there'll be lots of lobbing, including while lying on the ground or sitting in a chair. However, the most important aspect is the basic shot-making, where we demonstrate how table tennis can be played.

Want to do an exhibition to promote table tennis? Contact your local schools or other organizations. Many already have tables. Make sure to have something to offer new players - a junior program, or some other coaching program.

The exhibition might be complicated by the muscle pull I suffered in the upper left thigh in the hardbat event at the Cary Cup last Friday. I coached last night, aggravating it slightly, and I'm still limping a bit. But I can still run around the court enough. Most likely I'll just have to avoid any serious matches for about a week.

Here's an article I wrote ten years ago on Exhibition Tricks.

Help Wanted - Three USA Paralympic Coaching Positions

Here's the info for the three openings:

Hugo Hoyama Interview

Here's a video (2:55) of an interview with Brazil coach (and former star) Hugo Hoyama at the Latin American Championships after Brazil swept Men's and Women's Teams. (It's in English.)

Chen Weixing

Here's an article on Chen Weixing going from a Chinese practice partner to a star in the German Leagues.

PaddleYou Celebrity Ping Pong Madness

Who's the best celebrity ping-pong player? You choose. (I'm guessing they got most of their celebrity pictures from my Celebrities Playing Table Tennis Page!)

Unwritten Rules of Table Tennis

Here's a discussion of these unwritten rules at the OOAK Table Tennis Forum. Do you agree with them? Any to add?

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Here's a picture of Arnold playing table tennis with Scott Preiss at the recent Arnold Sports Festival.

Living Room Table Tennis

This picture may be the weirdest "action" table tennis shot I've ever seen.

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March 5, 2013

Table Tennis Online

As ITTF Coach John Olsen recently pointed out to me, we live in the golden age of online table tennis. You can watch just about any major table tennis match online these days, both live and afterwards. Over the last few days (and below) I've given links for many of the major matches taking place at the Chinese World Team Trials. During major USA Table Tennis events (Nationals, Open, Team Trials), you can watch the matches live as well. And you can go to youtube and find just about anything - just put in "Table Tennis" and anything else you are looking for. Over the weekend John watched the live streaming of the Swedish Nationals, the English Championships, and the Norwegian Championships. (Note that some of the links here that gave the live streaming still have the videos online.)

The availability of videos of the top players is one of the biggest advantages this generation of players has over past ones - along with more coaches and better sponge. On the other hand, there's also a disadvantage to the easy availability of these videos - players tend to watch a video and then move on to the next, and so don't really learn all that's going on. In the old days, there were fewer videos around, and so players would watch the same ones over and Over and OVER - and would pretty much memorize every point, not to mention really learning what the players did from sheer viewing repetition. I remember back in the late 1970s (when I was learning to play) having trouble with pips-out penholders. Then I got a copy of the famous Stellan Bengtsson vs. Mitsuro Kohno tape from the quarterfinals of the 1977 Worlds, and watched it endlessly, and my level against that style went up dramatically. (Pips-out penholder Kohno won, 19 in the fifth, in what many considered the "real" Men's Singles final as it was likely the best match of the tournament. Kohno went on to win the title.)  

Jim Butler on Serves

Here are some nice quotes from four-time U.S. Men's Champion Jim Butler on serving, which he posted yesterday on the table tennis forum. He used to have the best serves in the country, and now, at age 42, he's made a comeback - and he may once again have the best serves in the country.

"I've decided to put a lot of time into practicing my serves.  Improvement there takes the least physical energy.  I have the motion and understanding already down.  To have great serves, they must be practiced daily in order to make them a weapon."

"I'm working on the forehand pendulum right now.  I want to have a good chop and topspin mix like that young Chinese kid in Westchester.  His serves destroyed me, and I'd like to have those.  Easiest way to be competitive in Table Tennis is to have dominating serves."

The Amazing Tomahawk Serve of Kenta Matsudaira

Here's the video (1:09). Note how he can break it both ways - and see the side-by-side slow motion of the two versions. The real question for all you serious table tennis players: Why haven't you developed equally good serves? It's just a matter of technique and practice! If you don't have the technique, see a coach or watch videos and learn. (You don't need to match Kenta's serves - there are many other good serving techniques.) If you don't practice . . . well, then you'll never have the serve of Kenta Matsudaira, and you'll never be as good as you could have been. (This type of serve has been around for a long time. Dean Doyle specialized in this serve when he made the U.S. Pan Am Team over 30 years ago.)

Remembering Zhuang Zedong and Ping-Pong Diplomacy

Here's the article.

ITTF President Election

ITTF President Adham Sharara is running for re-election - but he's unopposed so far. The election will take place during the upcoming World Championships in Paris, May 13-20, 2013.

Hunter Pence and Ping-Pong

Here's an article about how the Hunter Pence, an outfielder with the LA Dodgers, builds confidence with ping-pong.

The Terminator vs. Scottie

Here's a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger and table tennis exhibition star Scott Preiss just after their game ended in a "3-3 tie" at the Arnold Sports Classic in Columbus, OH this past week.

Chinese World Team Trials

Here are some nice matches, with time between points removed so it's non-stop action.

Swedish Men's Singles Final

Here's the video (6:53, with time between points removed) as Fabian Akerström upsets Jens Lundquist in the final. Akerström plays with long pips on the backhand - but he's so forehand aggressive it's sometimes difficult to notice.

More TT Videotapes

Here's a Facebook page devoted to collecting table tennis videos.

The Dirty Dozen Throwdown

It's on, this Friday at 9PM: Gideon "The Pigeon" Teitel (17-year-old 150-lb lobber) vs. Sam "the Rock" Rockwell (13-year-old 81-lb attacker). Between them they've had three and a half years of intense training, all leading to this moment.

Monsters University

Monsters University, the upcoming sequel to Monsters Inc. from 2001, will be the greatest movie of all time. How do we know? Here's an animated scene from the movie showing the characters playing table tennis!

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