Steve Colbert

July 17, 2012

MDTTC Camp, Week Five, Day One

Here's a quick rundown of the day's activities. There were 35 players in the camp. Coaches are myself, Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, and visiting Coach Liu (not sure of his full name) from New York. Wang Qing Liang (2641), Chen Bo Wen (2431) and Raghu Nadmichettu (2389) are practice partners. Players include Allen Wang (15, 2370), Nathan Hsu (16, 2349, 2011 Junior Olympic Under 16 Boy's Singles Champion); John Hsu (18, 2226 but usually higher, 2011 Junior Olympic Under 18 Boys' Singles Champion); Barbara Wei (2199, former U.S. Junior Team member), Derek Nie (11, 2170, U.S. Open 11 & Under Boys Champion), the Alguetti brothers (Adar 12, Gal 11, Sharron 11, rated 2081, 2089, and 2098), Lilly Lin (15, 1885); Amy Lu (11, 1838, U.S. #3 Under 12 girl), and many more.  (Regulars Tong Tong Gong, Crystal Wang, and Roy & Princess Ke are in China training.)

  1. Paperwork: making sure everyone's registered and paid, signing people up for lunch delivery (we have Chinese food delivered for $6/person, players order from a menu), etc.
  2. At about 10AM: stretching
  3. Introduce coaches, explain how the camp runs, go over rules, etc.
  4. Short lectures and demos on grip, ready stance, and the forehand.
  5. Divide players in four groups for about an hour and ten minutes of multiball training with the coaches.
  6. Pick up balls, then break.
  7. Take on clipboard challenges during break. (I played three players, with ratings of about 2000, 2080, and 2090, and won all three.)
  8. After break we divided players into two groups. New players (about 15) came with me for my service lecture and service practice. The rest did drills and then doubles with the other coaches.
  9. We finished the morning session with 30 minutes of Brazilian Teams, where we divide players into teams of 3-5. One player from each team plays a point, and the winner stays on the table, the loser goes to the end of his team's line. New person always serves. Game is to 41.
  10. At 1:00 PM, lunch. (I had chicken fried rice.)
  11. At 1:30 PM I took six kids to 7-11. (We had to jam in my car - two in front passenger seat, four in the back.)
  12. About 2:00 PM I went home, let my dog out, checked email, etc., then returned to club.
  13. We started up again at 3:00 PM with stretching.
  14. I took five beginners to two tables in the back while the rest of the players did regular drills on the other tables. We did an hour of multiball training, with the players alternating between me, ball pickup, and using the robot.
  15. Break.
  16. After break we did a few multiball drills, and then played games. We did around the world; bottle hitting (if they hit it, I had to drink it, and I assured them the red stuff in the Gatorade bottle was from my pet rhinoceros's nosebleed); cup pyramid destruction (we make pyramids of cups and knock them down, including a competition to see who can knock down the most in ten shots); and finished at with Brazilian Teams. Camp ended at 6:00 PM.

ITTF Level 2 Coaching Seminar

The first ITTF Level 2 Coaching Seminar will be held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Oct. 30 - Nov. 6. I expect to participate. Here's the info page. To be eligible, you must fulfill the following:

  • Current USATT Members
  • Currently certified as a USATT Coach
  • Currently listed on the ITTF Coaches Registry as a Level 1 Coach
  • Must have attended the ITTF Level 1 Course before November 1st of 2011 (1 year between courses)

Cast Your Vote for Ariel Hsing USOC June Female Athlete of the Month!

She's up against 15 others in this USOC vote.

Returning a Heavy Backspin Serve

Pingskills brings you this new video on the Returning a Heavy Backspin Serve (2:54).

The U.S. Open Sandpaper Final

Here's Ty Hoff and Adoni Maropis in the Sandpaper final (23:21). Lots of long rallies, with a mix of attack and defense. Check out the point at 15-18 in game one (at 8:54)! And yes, Adoni Maropis, in real life, is the guy (okay, the actor playing Abu Fayed in season six) who nuked Valencia, CA (and tried to nuke others) in the TV series "24." He was also in Troy, Hidalgo, and many other movies.

Samson Dubina on My Valley Sports TV

Here's a news video that features table tennis and Samson Dubina (1:44).

Another Full-time Club in the Bay Area

Here's the article about the upcoming Rossmoor Table Tennis Club.

Ma Long's Under the Net Return

Here it is, in regular and slow motion (0.38).

Practice Safe Pong

So says Steve Colbert in this picture of beer pong. Here's the video (4:19). Colbert introduces a new game called 'Who gave me herpes?"

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October 13, 2011

My books

It has come to my attention that some of you have not yet bought copies of my books. Buy a copy of my book today or I will choke this coach to death.

The hard-soft drill

One of the best drills for developing a forehand or backhand smash is the hard-soft drill. (It really should be called the hard-medium drill, but that doesn't have quite the same ring.) On the backhand side, you just go backhand to backhand, with one player playing steady, and the other alternating between an aggressive ("medium") drive and a smash or near-smash ("hard"). You do the same on the forehand side. This leads to much longer and more consistent rallies than if one player just smashes every ball, plus the attacking player learns to hit at different paces. It's also a great control drill for the steady player, who learns to react to the different paces rather than just stick his racket out and blocking the same ball over and over. Note that you can also do this drill for looping.

The backhand loop in front of the body

Why is the backhand loop taken mostly in front of the body instead of to the side? I theory, you might be able to get more power if you turn sideways and took the ball off to the side and rotated into the ball, like on the forehand side, as players do in tennis. There are players who seemed to experiment with this technique, such as the Mazunov brothers from Russia and Grubba of Poland, but while they sometimes took it from the side, their primary backhand loops were also mostly in front of the body.

There are four reasons for this.  First, unlike tennis, you often have only a split second to react to the incoming ball. If you try to take the ball from the side on both the forehand and backhand, you simply won't have time for both. Since the forehand is naturally from the side, that leaves the backhand to be taken in front.

Second, if you took both the forehand and backhand from the side, that gaping hole in the middle would be the size of Texas. Opponents would attack the middle and you'd have great difficulty covering it.

Third, by taking the ball in the middle, it allows you to use the power from the waist and upper body as you uncoil up during the stroke. I don't know if this allows you as much more power than the torque from rotating the body, but it does give great power.

And fourth, because everyone else does it this way, and so new players copy them or are taught to do it that way. Who knows, perhaps someday someone will change table tennis by learning to backhand loop with great power from the side, overcoming the problems listed above, and revolutionize table tennis. Or perhaps not.

Receiving long serves with backhand

Here's an 18 second video that shows how to return a long serve with the backhand.

Victor Barna 1933

Here's vintage 1933 footage and narration of Victor Barna, five-time men's singles world champion, including a discussion and explanation of his technique.

Amy Lee plays table tennis

Here's an article that talks about the table tennis of Amy Lee, lead vocalist for the rock band Evanescence.

Steve Colbert on Beer Pong

Yes, here's Colbert on beer pong (4:19), including lines like, "Beer pong gives you herpes. Hell, ping pong gives you crabs." I have no idea what that last part means. The beer pong bit starts about 30 seconds in.

Non-Table Tennis

My fantasy story "Mirror My Love" is the feature flash story for this week at Quantum Muse. (Here is my science fiction & fantasy page.)

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