Alas, no blog this week. I'm visiting New York City this week for sightseeing and some table tennis business, which I'll write about next week. I was planning to go up after doing my blog, but due to a scheduling issue I have to leave early Monday morning. But the Tip of the Week is up, The Seven Links of Table Tennis. And to tide you over, here's a new video of Roger Federer playing table tennis against a backboard - could you match this? (Here's my blog from August 12, 2019 - skip to the end and you'll see lots of links of Federer playing table tennis. Some are pretty funny.) See you next Monday!
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-Larry Hodges, Director, TableTennisCoaching.com
Recent TableTennisCoaching.com blog posts
Tip of the Week
Relax Your Arm During Backswing.
US Open, Worlds Tickets, and Elevation
It's nearly mid-August and we still don't know where or when (presumably sometime in December) the US Open will be. We also don't know when or how to buy tickets for the Worlds to be held in Houston in November. We've been told they'll be on sale in August, but that's pretty vague - when in August? Or is their hesitancy about whether spectators will be allowed? If USATT has a reason why they still don't have the answers to these, then there's a simple solution - TELL US!!! USATT has a news page. Communications is a huge part of leadership, and as I've blogged before, USATT gets an F in communications. Just give periodic updates, and if good reasons for the delays are given, people accept them.
Writing and Table Tennis Advice
I just finished up a nine-day TNEO online science fiction & fantasy writing workshop, an annual event I go to nearly every year. (This was my twelfth one and ninth in a row.) It's nine days of total writer immersion, with story critiques, master classes, readings, brainstorming & problem-solving sessions, plot breakout sessions, and writing salons on various topics. (Think of it as a training camp for writers.)
2021 US Nationals
I had a great time at the Nationals last week in Las Vegas, July 4-9. The players I coached did very well, and in between coaching I managed to squeeze in two gold medals myself!!! However, as usual, due to my coaching and hardbat, I didn't get to see as many high-level matches as others. (When they were playing the Men's and Women's Finals I had to go online to find out who they'd beaten in the semifinals.) A great thanks to the many staff who did an INCREDIBLE job, given the difficult parameters they had to work under.
Here are a few links:
No Blog Next Week . . . But There'll be a Tip!
I'll be at the US Nationals in Las Vegas coaching away . . . but there will be a Tip of the Week!!! (It's already written, I'll put it up on Sunday night, July 4.) The next blog will go up on Monday, July 12. See you then!
Note - the July 5 Tip of the Week is up, "Changing the Pace."
And note the new look - I just migrated from Drupal 6 to Drupal 9!
Tip of the Week
Forehand Attackers Should Serve & Backhand Attack.
I leave this Friday for the US Nationals in Las Vegas, along with about 30 others from my club (players, parents, coaches). It's 2800-mile flight. Originally I'd expected to coach only the first few days, since all of the junior events start on Sunday and Monday, with some rating events on Tuesday. (Nationals is July 4-9, Sun-Fri.)
So I figured they'd all be done by Wednesday, and on Thursday I'd play the three Hardbat events - Hardbat Singles, Over 40 Hardbat, and Over 60 Hardbat. (I'm normally a sponge player, but play hardbat on the side.) Alas, it's not likely.
Tip of the Week
Don't Start a Point Until You Have a Game Plan.
US Junior Team Trials
I got back late last night from four days at the Westchester TTC in New York, where they held the US Team Trials for Under 17, Under 13, and Under 11, for boys and girls. Here are some links:
- Complete results, care of TTLive
- Final Standings for all six events
- Live Streaming of Under 13 from Day Three/Sunday (6hr 24min). Ryan Lin (2037) is playing at the very start (far side), with Coach Jack Huang coaching. Toward the end, at 5:29:00, you can see Stanley Hsu (2311) playing He Xianyao (2160), with me coaching Stanley (in red shirt on far right). At 6:03:00, you can see Stanley against Patryck Zyworonek (2196), with Wang Qingliang coaching Stanley, as the top two seeds in U13 battle it out.
A great thanks for setting up and running this event goes to USATT, Westchester TTC and Will Shortz, High Performance Director Sean O'Neill, Referee Roman Tinyszin, all the other volunteers whose names I don't have, and all the players, parents, and coaches! The trophies are especially nice - they weigh a ton and the kids love them. (See pictures below.)
Tip of the Week
Tournament Experience vs. Practice.
Weekend Coaching, Larry's Six-Month Rule, and the Junior Trials in Westchester
Most of our junior training sessions are done for the season, with our summer training camps starting up on June 21. But our Group A juniors, who mostly all went to the US Junior Trials at the ICC TTC in California last weekend (for Under 19 and 15) had a make-up session. I spent most of the session just watching, especially when they played games at the end, to prepare for coaching them at the US Junior Trials at the Westchester TTC in NY this coming weekend (for Under 17, 13, and 11). I also had a session with Navin Kumar, where the focus was on fundamentals (since we hadn't had a session in several weeks) and serves. Here's video (30 sec) with a humorous finish! Overall, it's been a slow week for me, coaching-wise. (I also did a sports psychology session with one of our kids on Wednesday.) Things will pick up dramatically in the summer.
Tip of the Week
What to Do in the "Big Points."
BREAKING NEWS - 2021 US Nationals Preliminary Rounds to Play RR Format, Masks Not Required
Here's the news item that went up Tuesday night. Deadline to enter the US Nationals is in one week, June 15. Note the changes in starting days and times listed at the end. (At the time this went up, there were only 328 entries. I'll write more about this next week.)
US Junior Team Trials - Under 19 and Under 15
I spent last week at the US Junior Trials at the ICC Table Tennis Center in Milpitas, CA, in the Bay area, June 3-6. Here are complete results, care of TTLive. (Besides the Trials, for boys and girls, they also had separate events for Under 17 and a combined Under 11/Under 13.) Here is the USATT graphic showing the members and names of the players making the four teams. A total of 101 players competed in 516 matches. (The rating results are already up.)
Tip of the Week
How to Play the Attacker/Blocker with Dead Rubber.
Have a Happy Memorial Day
But remember who are being memorialized.
Recovering from Injuries - an Opportunity!!!
Recently, a top junior hurt his wrist and so his table tennis play became limited - he couldn't loop forehand or backhand without aggravating the wrist, which made things tricky, since he's a two-winged looper. But I pointed out to him and his dad (via Facebook) that this is really an opportunity! This is what I posted.
He definitely should see a sports medicine doctor and/or therapist, and take time to let the wrist heal. But that doesn't mean taking a break from training. It means he'll finally have time to really focus on the aspects that don't involve the movements that hurt his wrist. He can get himself into top-notch physical shape; work on his pushing (short and long); forehand flipping (less wrist needed than backhand flip); work on his blocking; do footwork drills where the opponent is looping and he's blocking; shadow-practice; and if the motion doesn't hurt the wrist, work on his serves. He should experiment and list all the table tennis moves he can do that don't hurt the wrist, and work on those - but be absolutely certain to avoid those that do. (It could also be a time to have a little fun and practice chopping and lobbing.) It's not lost time; it's an opportunity!!!
On Saturday I went to the club and just got to sit around and watch. Why? They were having the Elite League, so I came in to watch our top juniors play, since I'll be coaching them this next week at the Junior Trials. (See segment below.) I had a few tips for them in helping them prepare, but mostly took notes, especially on serve and receive.