Kanak Jha

January 20, 2012

Ma Lin Step Around and Loop

Here's a nice video (1:14) showing Ma Lin stepping around his backhand corner to forehand loop, using multiball. Video includes slow motion and from two angles. Best part to watch is the slow motion from 0:10 to 0:28. Key things to note:

  1. Note in the slow motion that the move to the left starts with a tiny step with the left foot, followed by the bigger step over with the right.
  2. He stays balanced throughout the shot. See how his weight stays between his legs, almost centered. To do this, he has to extend his left leg to the left to keep balanced. Note the wide stance for stability.
  3. He has a lot of ground to cover, and so has to hit on the move. Because of this, he is forced to follow through more to the side than he would if he had more time. This slows down his recovery, and yet because he pushes off his left leg immediately after the shot, and maintains balance, he is able to quickly recover for the next shot.
  4. He extends his arm for full power. There is little or no arm snap. Historically, most top players since the days of Cai Zhenhua in the early 1980s snapped their arm at the elbow just before contact, but most current top Chinese players mostly keep the arm extended throughout the stroke as they sweep their arm through the ball. The irony is this is almost reminiscent of the old Hungarian loops from the late 1970s. So the precursor for many of the top Chinese loops are from Hungary, while the precursor for most of the top European loopers is Cai Zhenhua of China.
  5. The shoulders rotate back to 90 degrees to the table, and than rotate forward a little more than 90 degrees.

A kid gets the sniffles, and I'm out $45

Yes, this is what happened when a kid got sick and canceled a 30-minute lesson last night, my only schedule coaching yesterday. (I've got at least two hours every other day of the week.) I'm out $25 for the lesson, $10 for the movie I went to see instead ("The Descendents," very good), and $10 for a coke and popcorn.

Article on Volunteer Coach of the Year

Here's an article in the Denver Post on local Duane Gall winning the USATT National Volunteer Coach of the Year Award.

Kanak Jha Interview

USA Cadet Team Member and ITTF Hope Team Member Kanak Jha is interviewed at the 2011 ITTF Global Cadet Challenge and Global Junior Circuit Finals in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 14-22, 2012.

Ping-Pong crackers

Yes, you read the headline right - enjoy these ping-pong crackers. (And notice the table tennis emblem on the lower right.) As near as I can figure after some Internet searching, the two languages on the package are Thai and French, but I'm not sure. Can anyone verify?

Top movie monologues (including table tennis)

I would have had this blog up an hour ago but I got caught up watching "14 of the most impressive monologues in movie history." Personally, I can't believe they left out Patton's speech at the start of 1971's "Patton" (6:20). (Warning - lots of profanity.) Also missing is Syndrome's monologue from 2004's "The Incredibles" (2:13), including my favorite line, "You sly dog, you got me monologuing!" And while I'm not impressed with him personally, I would have included Mel Gibson's speech from 1995's "Braveheart" (2:33). And then there's "Ferris Bueller's Day off," which is mostly one long monologue. Here are the best lines (3:20), though these aren't really monologues.

But what about table tennis monologues? The first minute of this video from 2007's "Balls of Fury" is basically a sportcaster's monologue about the great golden boy table tennis prodigy Randy Daytona. The rest of the video (6:19) are hilarious scenes from the movie you have to watch.

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September 15, 2011

Deceptive forehands

Want to have a deceptive forehand without resorting to one of those twisty, wristy things some players use with both effectiveness and inconsistency? Why not develop one that's both effective and consistent? They key is in the shoulders.

Some players will seem to aim their forehand to the left (for righties), but at the last second twist their playing arm and wrist backwards, hitting the ball inside-out, creating a truly deceptive shot that goes to the right. But while it can be effective, it's often an erratic shot. Instead, at the last second try turning the shoulders back. This means rotating your shoulders twice - first to set up to hit to the left (and tricking your opponent into thinking you are going that way), and then, just before contact, rotate the shoulders back further, putting you into perfect position to hit a strong and consistent shot to the right.

Similarly, you can rotate your shoulders way back, even stepping forward with your left leg, as if you were going to the right (and tricking your opponent into thinking you are going that way), and then, just before contact, vigorously rotate the shoulders forward and whip the ball off to the left.

Backspin breakthrough

Yesterday I taught one of my students (a 10-year-old) the "scoop" method of serving backspin, where you actually contact the front of the ball by tilting your racket so far back it points backwards, and contact the ball with an upward motion. (I wrote about this in my blog on Sept. 6 - see segment "USATT Coaching Chair Richard McAfee teaches heavy backspin," along with video.) It was a great success. He'd been having trouble getting much backspin on his serves. So I told him to scoop the front of the ball, and not to worry about how high the serve went. After a few minutes, he was finally able to fulfill a goal I'd set out for him - serve backspin so the ball bounced back into the net! He even managed to do one that bounced back over the net after about three bounces on the far side. I assigned him the goal of serving five in a row that bounce back into the net, plus he has to make at least once serve that bounces back over the net after one bounce on the far side - like this! (He has a table at home to practice on.)

Competing Internationally

USA National Team Member, Junior Boys' Champion and National Men's Singles Finalist (how's that for a list of current titles?) Peter Li talks about the differences in competing internationally, in particular serve and receive. I played Peter semi-regularly since he was a little kid at my club, and am proud to say that he will never, Ever, EVER catch up to me - my record against him lifetime is probably 300-20. We won't talk about the last twenty.

ITTF World Hopes Team 2011

Here's the ITTF World Hopes Team 2011, which includes (and interviews) two USA Cadets: Kanak Jha and Chodri Kunal. Congrats to both! (I'm not sure why Ariel Hsing and Lily Zhang aren't included.)

Proper forepaw technique

At first, he's just a spectator. But 18 seconds into this 23-second video, this player smacks in a perfect forehand. Notice the perfect shoulder rotation and smooth follow through. You can learn from this.

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