Sports Balls

April 26, 2013

Audrey and Long Pips

A while back I blogged about how I was now coaching Audrey Weisiger, the former U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Coach. I gave her another lesson on Wednesday. She's getting steadier in rallies, can push, and can now create spin with her serves. At the start she was an all-backhand player, where she sort of slashed at the ball. Hitting forehands for her was like me trying to ice skate - i.e., not natural, and pretty much against the natural order of things. However, she now has a pretty good stroke, and has hit 50 or more in a row live.

But on the backhand she still tends to stroke down on the ball, often putting backspin on the ball with her downward-stroking backhand drive (more like a push). She also has trouble returning spin serves (as do all beginners), which is problematic as her primary goal at the moment is to beat a fellow figure skating coach who beats her over and over with his backhand sidespin serve.

So on Wednesday I tried an experiment. I pulled out one of my demo long pips rackets that I keep for students to practice against, the one without sponge on a Dr. Neubauer blade (designed for long pips blocking). She tried it out, and it was like me getting off a hated and not-designed-for-human-usage ice rink! She loved it, and was able to keep the ball in play much better and more effectively. Even better, she was able to return nearly all my spin serves with the long pips.

She'll keep the inverted on the forehand, and focus on steady drives and, when the ball's up, smashing. It also gives her an inverted side to serve with. I showed her how to use the inverted to serve backhand and then flip the inverted back to the forehand. I'm letting her borrow my long-pips racket for now, but soon she'll get one for herself.

Someday perhaps I'll blog about my bad experiences with ice skating.

Serving With Spin

I used to have a bunch of striped balls that I had beginning players use when they were learning to serve with spin. They gave much better feedback than a normal ball, where beginners can't really see how much spin they are getting. At some point I lost those balls. Well, I just ordered four six-packs of "sports" ping-pong balls ($3/pack), where they are colored to look like soccer balls, basketballs, and baseballs. This'll make it a lot easier to see what type of spin they are creating. They are also good for learning to read spin, especially off a serve. They are only one-star balls, but they are 40mm. I'll blog about this after they arrive and I start using them again.

Sharara Fights Back

On Wednesday I linked to the article at Table Tennista about the allegations of corruption against ITTF President Adham Sharara by European Union President Stefano Bosi, "Adham Sharara Accused Of Long-Term Corruption In The ITTF." Here is Sharara's response, "Sharara Fights Back Against Bosi's Allegations." Sharara says, "All the allegations concerning me modifying accounts or hiding the true income are all false," and "Anyone within the ITTF has the right to run for presidency. In addition, anyone also has the right to complain or clarify any issues. Unfortunately, some one is attacking me and at the same time campaigning."

Dimitrij Ovtcharov Vs Robert Gardos

Here's a great video (7:07) that just came out of these two playing in the Champions League in Europe, with the time between points taken out. Ovtcharov of Germany is world #7, Gardos of Austria is world #32. Watch some of the backhand serves of Ovtcharov. (But guess who wins this time?)

Stiga Videos

Stiga Table Tennis has a lot of videos on their webpage - the "Stiga Movie Channel." They are divided into:

A Touch of Magic

Here's a table tennis highlights music video (5:13) that came out last month.

The Misdirected Surprise Serve

Here it is (20 sec)! I've done this in exhibitions. ("Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No . . . it's my serve." And then you quick serve.)

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