Plate Trick

September 26, 2014

The Ping Pong Diet, Table Tennis, and Academics

Dr. Chris Ko just came out with a new book, The Ping Pong Diet: The Twenty-One Point Plan. A few of you may remember Chris as a top MDTTC junior from the early 1990s, usually known back then as Christopher Ko. Here's his home page/blog, where he focuses on diet and nutrition. (The diet part might be of interest to me, though I think I've figured that part out, going from 196 this past summer to 178 this morning.) I just ordered the book, and will likely write about it after I read it. I'm not sure yet how much it applies to table tennis. Here's the book description:

"The Ping Pong Diet teaches you how to use the power of plants and protein to control your hunger and manage your weight. No counting. No calculations. Just eating, and a lot of it! But unlike other diet books, this book teaches you how to both lose the weight and keep it off. These strategies make up the twenty-one point plan for weight management that teaches you to eat well, be well, and finally feel well again. Engaging and inspirational, the Ping Pong Diet combines practical nutritional insight with motivational psychology to give you a new appreciation for food and for yourself. So pick up the Ping Pong Diet and get in the game!"

Here's a list of Chris's titles, where at the Junior Olympic, Junior Nationals, and U.S. Open he won three silvers and seven bronze in various junior events. (I only have a listing from 1992 on, when MDTTC opened, so don't have some of his earlier titles. I believe he also won Under 10 Boys at the Junior Olympics before 1992.) 

  • 1992 Junior Nationals Under 14 Boys' Singles Bronze Medalist
  • 1992 Junior Olympics Under 14 Boys' Singles Bronze Medalist
  • 1992 Junior Olympics Under 14 Boys' Doubles Bronze Medalist
  • 1992 Junior Olympics Under 14 Boys' Team Silver Medalist
  • 1992 U.S. Open Under 14 Boys' Doubles Finalist (Silver)
  • 1993 Junior Nationals Under 16 Boys' Doubles Bronze Medalist
  • 1993 Junior Nationals Under 18 Boys' Team Bronze Medalist
  • 1993 Junior Olympics Boys' Singles Bronze Medalist
  • 1993 Junior Olympics Under 18 Boys' Teams Silver Medalist
  • 1995 Junior Nationals Under 18 Boys' Teams Bronze Medalist

Chris isn't the only former top Maryland junior with a medical degree, i.e. an MD MD. Vivian Lee, Jessica Shen, and Michael Terao all have MDs, and I'm sure there are many others I don't know of or have forgotten about. But it's not just Maryland juniors who are academically oriented - the same is true of kids from training centers all over the U.S. - and I hesitate to list any because I'll leave out some obvious ones. (Readers, please list in the comments former top juniors who now have MDs or equivalent high-level degrees.) Eric Owens, the 2001 USA Men's Singles Champion, either has his MD now or is on the verge. Dennis Hwang, a member of the Resident Training Program for Table Tennis at the Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs in the late 1980s, trained three hours a day, graduated as the valedictorian, and is now an MD. There are many more. Even Crystal Wang, the 12-year-old 2400 phenom from my club, who recently became the youngest player ever to make the USA Women's Team and win Under 22 Women's Singles, goes to a magnet school because of her advanced academics. But she's just one of the many juniors at my club (and other clubs) who have the discipline to excel at both table tennis and academics.

So why are top junior players in table tennis so successful in academics? There are two primary reasons. Let's face it, one of the reasons is because of the Asian community, which places so much emphasis on academics (bravo!), and since they also dominate the table tennis world, we get a lot of academically-minded table tennis stars. The other reason is that training at anything teaches self-discipline, which applies to other activities as well - so if someone has or develops the self-discipline to train hard and become a top table tennis player, he usually has the same self-discipline to become good at whatever he tries.

European Team Championships

It's going on right now in Lisbon, Portugal, and finishes this Sunday. There's lots of coverage at the ITTF page and Tabletennista.

ITTF Trick Shot Competition

They are down to the Final Five - chose your favorite!

Olympic Coach Magazine

Here's the new issue.

Epic Point Between Ma Lin and Jorgen Persson

Here's the video (53 sec, including slow motion replay).

Amazing Come-Back Scoop Return

Here's the video (29 sec - watch the replay from the side)

The Six-Bounce Ping-Pong Plate Trick

Here's the repeating gif image. It's hypnotizing as it repeats over and over - careful or you'll be watching it all day.

Ping-Pong Balls Gone Wrong

Here's the video (90 sec) of this video prank.

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