August 2, 2013


Yesterday's focus was the backhand loop. Most of the players in the camp were ready for this, including two of the five beginners I was mostly working with. The harder part for most was doing a backhand loop against backspin and then and a backhand drive against topspin consecutively, fed multiball style. Inevitably, when they first try this, they'd either shorten the backswing on the backhand loop (and go into net), or swing up on the drive (and go off the end). Some of the more advanced players backhand looped against both backspin and topspin, but being more advanced, they had little trouble making the adjustment.

I gave a private lesson to a player roughly in his late 40s (not sure), where I introduced him to forehand looping. This was where the power of the subconscious became a problem. He quickly developed a pretty good forehand loop technique, except his racket was always too closed. And so when I fed him backspin with multiball, over and over he went into the net. Even when I told him to spin the ball way, way off the end, his subconscious took over as soon as he began his stroke, and the balls kept going into the net. This happens all the time when the loop is first introduced to older players. The key is you have to really, Really, REALLY convince yourself to aim to loop way off the end, so that your subconscious gets the message, and so it aims there - with the result that the ball probably hits the table. After doing that a few times, the subconscious has the feedback to aim better, and then it can loop off the end. Then you tell it to aim for the table, and kazzam, you can aim for the table and the ball hits the table.  

It was a long day at the club. Due to the camp, private coaching, meetings, and other TT issues, I was at the club continuously (except for a lunchtime walk over to 7-11 with a bunch of the kids) from 8:30 AM to 9PM.

Here's an interesting note I'll put out for you psychology majors. When the younger kids line up for various target practice games (where I'm feeding multiball), the boys all want to go first, and so I often have them do rock-paper-scissors to see who goes first. But the two girls in my group yesterday kept telling the other she could go first, and I finally had them do rock-paper-scissors just to see who could let the other one go first!

Junior Olympic Results

Here they are! They were held in Detroit this past Mon-Wed.

Zhang Jike vs Xu Xin

Here's the video that just went up (3:32, with time between points removed) of their recent match in the Chinese Super League. Zhang is the righty and the reigning World and Olympic Men's Singles Champion. Xu is world #2. (Ironically, despite his recently repeating as world champion, Zhang lost in other tournaments and dropped to #4 in the world in new rankings, with Ma Long #1, Wang Hao #3. Here are the world rankings.)

Desmond Douglas, age 58

He can still play - here's a video (1:12). I remember watching him in the semifinals of the 1976 U.S. Open in Philadelphia, where he lost deuce in the fifth to eventual winner Dragutin Surbek, in my first major tournament and third overall. "See the video below for a 130+ rally between Desmond Douglas, Former World Number 7, and Tim Yarnall former England number 4. Both show that they do not want to miss a shot with balance, technique and placement on every ball. Can you say the same about your game or players? How important is the mentality to not miss a ball in table tennis?"

Amazing Ping-Pong Ball in Cup Tricks

Here's the video (2:41). "Identical twin brothers Austin and Luke Morrel are two regular high schoolers who directed and filmed this extreme ping pong trick video." Note that this is actually their third such video - you can see others by them and other trick shot videos in the video listings to the right.

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