Harmony Open

August 29, 2013

Junior Lobbers

I have an 8-year-old student, about 1200 level, who simply loves to lob (as well as chop). Yesterday I finally made a deal with him that if he'd stopped lobbing every few rallies, I promised to let him lob at the end of the session. He sort of kept his side of the bargain (not always), and at the end he lobbed away. He's actually very good at this! Some rallies went on for 6-7 shots as I'd smash a near full-speed, but to one spot.

I had a 12-year-old for the next session, and he saw this, and he wanted to lob as well. Before we could start our session, he was hitting with the 8-year-old where they took turns lobbing and smashing. I let them do this for ten minutes (and agreed to go ten minutes over for the upcoming session). At the end of the session with the 12-year-old, he also wanted to lob. So I let him lob. Then we played a few games, and next thing we know we were about 25 minutes over on time. (No, I didn't charge extra.) Normally kids want the coaches to lob so they can smash, but now we have a turnaround, and I'm teaching two of them to lob. I have another 12-year-old student who last week practiced lobbing against me. So it looks like an infection that's spreading!!! (They are also learning about fishing, which is basically a low lob.)

There's nothing wrong with lobbing. In fact, it's a great way to learn to react to a smash and to practice covering lots of ground. When the kids learn how to react and move this way, and do so properly so the lob is essentially a high loop with lots of topspin, then they are that much closer to counterlooping at warp speeds. The key is not to make it a habit. Too often players start lobbing whenever they are in trouble when, if they want to be higher-level players, they should focus on counter-attacking whenever possible, and only lobbing as a last resort.

Baltimore Orioles Pre-Game Show

I blogged last Thursday about the MDTTC visit to the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse locker room for three hours of table tennis. The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network filmed some of it, and we were on the pre-game show before the game that night. However, I didn't get to see the pre-game show itself since I was at the game. The Orioles kindly sent me the video.

Here's the video (5:28)! The table tennis is only in the first 1:53. (That's Nathan Hsu playing in the background during the interviews with shortstop JJ Hardy and third baseman Manny Machado.) After that comes 90 seconds where Buck Showalter explains why he likes that the players have fun in the clubhouse, and then the rest is about the Orioles. Here's the video from Orioles.com (1:19), which I linked to last Thursday, where Buck talks about table tennis - great stuff, though not all completely accurate!

Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers

It's been a while since I blogged about Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers except in passing. It's come to my attention that there are still a few people in this world that haven't bought a copy. I figured this out by taking the world's population (7,175,410,847 as I write this, according to the World Population Clock) and the number of book sales (about 2000), subtracting the difference, and we reach the inescapable conclusion that there are 7,175,408,847 people out there who have not bought this book. Inconceivable!!!

The book has gotten nice reviews. At Amazon there are an even 20 reviews, 17 of them 5-star (highest level), and the other three 4-star. Here are all 20 of them.

Perhaps there are a few billion people out there who haven't heard of the book? Then our mission is to get them to hear about it.

So, do you, or anyone you know, do table tennis reviews for a table tennis magazine or blog? Let me know and I'll send you free copy of the book for review.

I'm also interested in translations to sell elsewhere, especially Chinese. If you have connections for that, let me know. I'd need both a translator and a publisher for that.

Charity Table Tennis Event at Dodger Stadium

Los Angeles Dodgers pitching star Clayton Kershaw is holding a charity ping pong event tonight at Dodger Stadium Here's the story from Table Tennis Nation. Includes a link to a video (2:33) of him on Jimmy Kimmel talking about his table tennis.

Interview with TSP

Here's an interview with TSP that focuses on their various types of pips-out surfaces (both long and short), as well as questions about their blades.

Table Tennis Historical Pictures

Here's a collection of 292 historical table tennis pictures.

Shot of the Tournament at the Harmony Open

Here's a video (29 sec) of Singapore #1 player Gao Ning (world #16, formerly #9) making the shot of the tournament at the Harmony China Open.

Saive the Fighter

Here's a video (49 sec) of former great and world #1 (20 years ago) Jean-Michel Saive of Belgium looping, fishing, lobbing, and even chopping as he battles to win a game (leading 10-8), and showing that perhaps he's still pretty great.

No One Beats Me at Table Tennis!

So says Loki from The Avengers in this short table tennis gif image!

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August 27, 2013

Tip of the Week

A Step-by-Step Sequence to Learning Pendulum Serves.

MDTTC Camps

"It's Monday . . . and there's no camp??? No lectures on grip, stance, forehand, and serves?" (Okay, it's really Tuesday, but this is what I was thinking yesterday.) Our ten weeks of camps at MDTTC ended Friday. I've now run about 180 five-day camps, six hours per day, or 900 days and 5400 hours of camp. That's nearly 2.5 years of camps. I've given each of my standard lectures 180 times, or about 1800 lectures in all. I've led in stretching (twice a day) 1800 times. (Well, actually less since I've sometimes missed the afternoon sessions.) And we're not done for the year - we have another camp, our Christmas Camp, Dec. 26-31. (Our camps are primarily for kids, but adults are welcome - we usually get 2-3 each week, sometimes none, sometimes more.)

MDTTC August Open

Here are the results (which I also gave out yesterday) of the August Open this past weekend, run by Charlene Liu. Congrats to Chen Bo Wen ("Bowen"), who finally broke through and won against Wang Qing Liang ("Leon") after a series of second-place finishes to Wang. It was a dominant performance - he didn't lose a game. Anther having a nice tournament was Nathan Hsu, who's been in a slump recently - but this time he won Under 2400.

I mostly coached Derek Nie and Sameer Shaikh in the tournament. (I also coached Tony Li one match, against a Seemiller-style player with antispin, something he'd never seen before. A new experience, and next time he'll be ready.) Derek (12, rated 2291) started well, with wins over a pair of 2150 players - including a mind-numbing win over Lixin Lang (2187) at 16-14, 19-17, 11-8! - but his elbow began to hurt during his match with Lixin. He kept clutching at it, and I almost had him default there. He finished the match, but decided he had to drop out to rest it. Hopefully he'll be okay in a few days.

Derek's other decent win was against Nam Nguyen (2137). They had one of the most incredible three-shot sequences I've ever seen. Nam lobbed a ball short. Derek absolutely crushed it. Nam absolutely crushed a counter-kill from no more than eight feet back, and Derek absolutely crushed a counter-counter-kill off the bounce. It was the fastest three-shot sequence I've ever seen - three forehand smashes/counter-smashes in the blink of an eye. I wish it was on video - it could have gone down as the fastest three-shot sequence ever!!! 

Sameer had a strange tournament - he literally could have won or lost all eight or so of his matches. As it was, he made the final of Under 1150. Down 0-2 in games in the final, he led 5-3 in the fifth before losing 11-8.

During the tournament a player said, "I have to play [higher-rated player]." I pointed out that he had it all wrong - that this [higher-rated player] had to play him! I often quote to my players Rorschach from the movie Watchmen, where he's allowed himself to be taken prisoner and he's surrounded by other prisoners out to get him. After dispatching one in very violent fashion, he says to the group of prisoners gathered around in his gravelly voice, "You don't understand. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with me!" Here's the video of the scene (47 sec) - warning, it's pretty violent!!!

North American Championships

The North American Championships end today, Aug. 25-27 in Vancouver Canada. Here's their home page, which includes results, write-ups, photos, video, video interviews, live streaming

USATT Minutes

Here are the minutes of a USATT teleconference meeting on July 22 and the email approval vote of those minutes. Here are USATT minutes going back to 1999.

Footwork for a Short Ball

Here's a video from PingSkills (1:46) showing how to step in for a short ball and recover for the next shot.

Zhang Jike Doing Multiball

Here's a video (36 sec) of World Champion Zhang Jike doing multiball. Want to have footwork like Zhang's? Then watch his stance - wide, with left foot off to the side for stability as he rips shots from the backhand side. There needs to be a balance here. If the left foot is too far off to the side, then the follow-through goes too much sideways, and you're not in position for the next shot. If it's more parallel to the table, you lose body torque. (I had a disagreement with a coach recently - not from my club - who insists that when you step around the backhand corner to play a forehand the feet should be parallel to the side of the table. However, not many top players do that, if any.)

Top Ten Shots at the Harmony Open

Here they are (4:38)!

Table Tennis Through Google Glass

Here's an article and video (17 sec) showing table tennis through Google Glass. (Why isn't it called Google Glasses?)

Kim Gilbert After a Two-Hour Session

Here's the picture! So restful....

Mouthful of Pong

Here's another video (14 sec) from the (Tumba Ping Pong Show"! I linked to two other of their videos on my blog on Aug. 16 (at the very end).

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