Blogs

Larry Hodges' Blog and Tip of the Week will normally go up on Mondays by 2:00 PM USA Eastern time. Larry is a member of the U.S. Table Tennis Hall of Fame, a USATT Certified National Coach, a professional coach at the Maryland Table Tennis Center (USA), and author of  nine books and over 2000 articles on table tennis. Here is his bio. (Larry was awarded the USATT Lifetime Achievement Award in July, 2018.)
NOTE - Larry is on the USATT Coaching Committee, but the views he shares in his blog are his own, and do not necessarily represent the views of USA Table Tennis.

Make sure to order your copy of Larry's best-selling book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!
Finally, a tactics book on this most tactical of sports!!!
Also out - Table Tennis TipsMore Table Tennis Tips, and Still More Table Tennis Tips, which cover, in logical progression, his Tips of the Week from 2011-2013, 2014-2016, and 2017-2020, with 150 Tips in each!

Or, for a combination of Tales of our sport and Technique articles, try Table Tennis Tales & Techniques
If you are in the mood for inspirational fiction, The Spirit of Pong is also out - a fantasy story about an American who goes to China to learn the secrets of table tennis, trains with the spirits of past champions, and faces betrayal and great peril as he battles for glory but faces utter defeat. Read the First Two Chapters for free!

Tip of the Week
Lobbing.

Weekend Coaching, MDTTC Open, and Books
With the North American Teams over, the focus switches from preparing them for a major tournament to long-term development. Which means lots of foundational work! Footwork, strokes, serve, receive, and so on. I coached in the usual four group sessions this weekend. In two of them, I mostly fed multiball. In another, I did both multiball and hit with various players, working on consistency. In the other, I was a “walk around” coach, where the focus was on good technique. They played games at the end of the session, and I kept harping on some of them that this was the time to practice their shots, because this was practice. (Way too often some get “scared” and just push.) I also worked with players on serves, including working with two on how to do a really effective no-spin serve, i.e. “heavy no-spin,” where the serve looks like heavy backspin but is no-spin. As we demonstrated, receivers often push them as if they are heavy backspin, and so the ball pops up. The returns also have less backspin then returns actual heavy backspin serves. I also had a good discussion with one of our top juniors on sports psychology, and I gave him a copy of “The Inner Game of Tennis.”

We have an MDTTC Open coming up this weekend, Dec. 10-11. (See the Maryland entry in Omnipong.) I have a special this time – two, in fact. First, I’ll have a table and be selling my books at the tournament (discounted), both table tennis and science fiction. Second, I’m giving everyone in groups 1, 2, and 3 in our junior program (about 55 kids) free copies of “Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers.” (The kids in group 4, the Novice group, are mostly 6-8 years old and aren’t ready for it – I’ll get them copies when they are older.) For the roughly 15 or so who already have copies, they’ll get to choose any other of my books. (Yes, I have to pay a wholesale price for the books I give away!)

USATT Board Meeting and Alcoholic Beverages Policy
Here’s the USATT Agenda and Notices page, with a link to the info page for the USATT Zoom meeting, to be held this Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 7PM eastern time. I usually attend these, but since they’ve turned off the comment section, I’ve lost interest. I and others would often put in polite comments during the meeting. One or two people put in rude comments, and rather than simply kick those people off the meeting, they closed down the entire comment section in a classic case of overreaction. When the board comes to its senses it will return the comment section. Perhaps they should survey the membership, asking this simple question: “When someone posts inappropriate comments during a USATT board meeting on Zoom, should they ban that person or ban all comments?” I think the overwhelming response would be obvious.

One issue that may come up at the board meeting is whether USATT should take sponsors or advertisers for alcoholic beverages (or tobacco products), such as the Dream Blue sponsor for the upcoming US Open. (Dream Blue is a hard liquor company from China.) There really are two issues – 1) Should they take such sponsors or advertisers, and 2) Should such a policy issue be decided by the policy-making arm of USATT governance, which is the board of directors, or the CEO? In this case, the CEO made the decision, with no notice to the board. I’ve had board members (plural) tell me that the first they learned of this was from my blog, when I blogged about it two weeks ago.

I strongly believe this is a board decision, just as it was when the matter came up once before and it was overwhelmingly rejected. I also am against accepting such sponsors or advertisers (especially hard liquor and tobacco products) primarily because it’s a bad influence on our junior players. Even if it’s a large amount of money that might be good in the short run, I’m against it because, in the long run, I don’t want our sport beholden to a hard liquor company. I’ve heard the arguments for taking the sponsor, a primary one of which is that it was allowed by ITTF at some international events. But so what? I don’t believe in the theory of “monkey-see, monkey-do,” and believe we should decide our own ethical standards.

On a side note, I usually have a segment on USATT news here, but there hasn’t been any new news items there since Nov. 25, ten days ago. The USATT news page used to be much more active.

USATT Assembly
It will be held on Sunday, Dec. 18, 6:30-7:30PM, at the US Open in Ontario, California. How do I know? In my blog two weeks ago, I pointed out that USATT was required to give 30 days’ notice of their annual USATT Assembly, and had not done so. Bylaws 15.3 says, “Notice of the annual USATT Assembly stating the place, date and time of the meeting shall be posted on the website of USATT no fewer than thirty (30) days before the date of the meeting.” Well, they haven’t actually posted it, but they quietly, and without any public notice of the change, added two lines about it, buried on page 9, column 2, of the US Open Prospectus. It wasn’t there before – I have the previous version, both in PDF and a printout. I don’t think this qualifies as “posted on the website of USATT”! (Some of you may remember the opening scene of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which is similar.)

I probably won’t attend. If I did, I would likely feel obligated to react to some of the reports they would give, and frankly speaking, I’d rather a nice, quiet US Open where I just coach and play. I also have heard rumors that they will be running various panels at the Open – but if so, why are they keeping the assembly and panels secret? They should be advertising the heck out of them, with news items all over the place! There’s a reason movies, for example, are advertised many months in advance, to build interest. They don’t send out a Marvel movie by letting people know it’s coming out in a few days! If the plan is to have a USATT Assembly and panels that are poorly attended, they are doing exactly the right thing. But if you want good attendance, then they should be advertised well in advance, multiple times. That’s advertising 101.

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Samson Dubina

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

3 Levels of Touch in Push
Here’s the video (57 sec) from Drupe Pong.

The Coin Method: Right Grip in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (1:46) from Pingispågarna.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Kou Lei TTC Dominate 2022 JOOLA North American Team Championships Final
Here’s the article on the North American Teams held last weekend, by Matt Hetherington.

Fan Zhendong vs Wang Chuqin | MT - Chinese Super League 2022
Here’s the video (7:47).

Dan Seemiller vs. Eric Boggan
Here’s the highlights video (4:48) from Jim Butler, featuring their classic 1982 US Men’s Singles Final.

Judy Hoarfrost Reflects on U.S. Table Tennis Team’s China Trip in 1971
Here’s the article from Paddle Palace.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

ITTF News

Did Someone Say Ping Pong
Here’s where you can buy the shirt!

Table Tennis Shirts
Here are lots of funny and interesting table tennis shirts to choose from, from spreadshirt.com.

Man vs. Dog
Here’s the video (10 sec)!

Funny Table Tennis World Compilation
Here’s the video (10:46) – a nice collection of the “classics”!

Killer Ping Pong Trick Shots – Horror Edition!
Here’s the video (4:33) from Table Tennis Daily – this is great!

Yet Still More Pings and Pongs and Flame Tree Interview
My 19th book is out! Nope, it’s not a table tennis book. It’s the fourth book in my “Pings and Pongs” series (170 pages, only $10), which are collections of my best short science fiction and fantasy stories that I’ve sold. (I’ve sold 136, plus 42 resales and four novels.) Typically, when a magazine or anthology buys one of my stories they have the rights to it for 3-6 months after publication. Then, when I have enough stories – about 25 – they are compiled into the newest collection. When I needed a name for the series, I came up with “Pings and Pongs.” I do manage to work in table tennis mentions in some of the stories, and a ping-pong ball is instrumental to the climax of one story, “Christmas Interrupted.” (Here are all 19 of my books.)

Speaking of “Christmas Interrupted,” that story was published in the Christmas Gothic anthology by Flame Tree Fiction. (They’ve bought four stories from me for their anthologies – they are a top-paying market.) They did interviews with the authors on the inspiration for their stories. Here’s my interview, the ninth one down. The story is about Santa Claus in the distant future, suffering from Alzheimer’s, and still trying to deliver toys at Christmas to non-existent children, with his long-suffering elves humoring him.

My next book will be the fourth in the “Tips” series, coming in May, 2023. Like the “Pings and Pongs” series, they have ever-lengthening titles: “Table Tennis Tips,” “More Table Tennis Tips,” “Still More Table Tennis Tips,” and the upcoming “Yet Still More Table Tennis Tips.” For both series, #5 will have “And” added to the start.

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Tip of the Week
What Comes First, Speed or Consistency?

JOOLA North American Teams
I spent Thanksgiving weekend coaching at the Teams at the National Harbor in Maryland. It was my 46th consecutive Teams – every year starting my first year in table tennis, 1976, back when it was in Detroit from the early 1970s to 1997. (It would be 47 years in a row, but they didn’t hold it in 2020 due to Covid.) I was a player or player/coach for most years, but in modern times I’ve only coached. (I’ve also been to every US Open and Nationals since 1984, plus a few before that.) Here are complete results. (Make sure to set the dropdown menu to 2022 JOOLA NA Teams.) Here is the list of entries.

There were 1119 players, 270 teams, and 166 tables this year – I believe all records. I heard rumors that there were some top players playing in the Championship division on the front tables, but I never really saw any of it except occasionally walking by – I was on the back tables coaching Maryland Table Tennis Center junior teams. We had twelve junior teams but only five coaches, so we were jumping about each round, coaching different teams. (Here’s video of the Team Final, Kou Lei TTC vs. PongPod One, 91 min.)

This is I think the second year in a row where they went paperless, with everything run online. Team captains got their schedules, registered, and put in results via smart phones. Alas, problems arose the first morning when the server went down. Teams couldn’t register for their upcoming round and so things fell behind. Fortunately, they had paper backups, and so got the matches going again after a 45 minute delay. They got the server back up, but it went down other times, especially in the morning when everyone was checking in at once. This led to scheduling problems – including late-starting team match that didn’t finish until 12:25 AM, with a few other teams still playing as we left. But I think this was a one-time problem they’ll be more ready for next year. While I’m old-fashioned and prefer paper, most seemed happy with the new system. They’ve been running the Teams efficiently since they took over in 1998 and there have been few problems like this before. A great thanks goes to the hard-working staff that sets up and runs the event!

 As usual, there were lots of tactical issues that came up. I think I did a lot of emphasis on placement, making sure the players played to the “three spots” – wide forehand and backhand, and middle (mid-point between opponent’s forehand and backhand). I also emphasized figuring out early which two spots were the best to go to. Or sometimes one – there were several matches won with the simple tactic of pushing to the very wide backhand so the opponent couldn’t forehand loop.

One opponent, rated just over 1800, had a 2200 forehand and backhand loop against backspin, but the rest of his game was weaker – in particular, he didn’t block very well– and he was somewhat slow. But since he got to serve half the time, and mostly served short backspin, and since my players were unable to consistently flip or drop the serve short, over and over they were stuck pushing long and facing those 2200 loops. We did find some success by pushing quick to the middle, so he had to move some to loop (and go out of position if my player blocked it back), but even that usually didn’t work. One player found himself down 0-2 in games against this player, and I pointed out that, except for a couple times when the opponent served long and he’d looped the serve, he’d pushed the serve back fifteen times, the opponent had looped all fifteen, and we’d lost all fifteen points! “You might as well try flipping. Even if you miss, it’s better than losing every point pushing.” It almost worked – while he missed most of the flips and went back to pushing, it forced the opponent to be ready for both. They went five, but we lost. But now the three who lost to him know that there are better options against a short serve than pushing back long every time! (I spoke with the opponent later. His level would go up dramatically – well over 2000 – with a few months of serious training, including physical training.)  

One player dominated against an opponent by mixing up short backspin and no-spin serves. When the next player to play him admitted he didn’t really know how to serve no-spin except by just patting the ball on the table (so it doesn’t look like backspin), I took him aside and gave him a quick lesson on it – but it was too late for this match. (To serve a good no-spin serve – often called “heavy no-spin,” one of my favorite terms – you have to use the same motion as heavy backspin, except contact the ball near the handle instead of the tip. You have to really sell it as backspin so they’ll push as if it’s backspin – and then the ball pops way up.)

There were two matches where, at key times, I called timeout, and called for short no-spin serves to the forehand. I was expecting, or at least hoping, the opponents would pop the serves up, since the player hadn’t been serving there much. Both times I was wrong – both times the opponent pushed the serve off the end. Yay!

Coaching kids between games is half tactical, half psychological. Or sometimes, 100% psychological. During that late-night team match that ended at 12:25 AM my main purpose between games was to wake the player up! They were pretty sleepy – one could barely keep his eyes open.

In one of our team matches, the opposing team had what appeared to be a 2300 player on their team, while the rest of the players were around 1500. This guy looked GOOD!!! He had world-class form and athleticism, and his shots were way too powerful for our players. But . . . as he began to play matches, we realized something – he kept missing. I’ve never seen a player look so good but not be so good. As I explained to one of our players, “He’s all swing, no bling.” We ended up winning two of the three matches against him, mostly by serving and looping, and watching him miss shots that most players couldn’t even attempt. If this guy plays a lot for a year, he’ll be really good.

Here's a quiz question I kept asking our kids, and none answered correctly. The question was, “Why am I wearing my arm brace when I’m not playing?” Answer – because my arm was hurting from clapping! I have periodic arm problems. Basically, there are microscopic tears in the muscles or tendons, and the brace holds them together so they don’t tear more. It’s mostly preventive these days, but I wear it when I have to do a lot of playing. If I don’t, the arm starts to hurt after a while.

In one of our matches, my player was down 6-10 in the first game. But he thought he’d already lost, and so came over. I thought it was 6-10, but he said he’d lost 11-6. So for about twenty seconds I coached him for the next game. Then the coach for the other team came over and asked, “Are you taking a timeout?” That’s when we discovered the game wasn’t over! They were nice about it and our player went back out but lost the game, and a minute later we were talking tactics again, preparing for game two. But for the first time in years, I was stuck on a rules question – did that “break” we’d taken at 6-10 count as our one time-out? I wasn’t sure. I kept debating whether I could legitimately call a timeout after that. But late in the fifth game, my player called a timeout on his own, and no one complained. Alas, he lost. Later, I checked with one of the umpires, and he said that while it was a mistake when we started talking, no time-out was called, and so it wasn’t a timeout. (Also alas, there’s probably at least one person reading this who is thinking, “Hey, I’m going to take advantage of that next time I play!” Yes, there are cheaters out there.)

There were other interesting “incidents.” One opponent left the court after every game and sat down on a chair that was a well away from the playing area. Since he was elderly and I didn’t feel like getting into an argument, we let it go, but twice I timed him, and one time he took over five minutes, other time over four. Another opponent had this unique but completely illegal serve – he’d stand about five feet to the left of the table (he’s a righty), and then would suddenly almost jump to the table, waving his free hand with the ball about, including well below the table, and then, in a continuous motion, he’d serve. I explained to him after the first game that he had to come to a complete stop when serving and keep the ball above the playing area, and he agreed and toned it down a bit – though still illegal – for a few points. Then he went back to full illegal serve mode. Since my player was beating him easily, we decided not to make an issue out of it. Another opponent hid his serve with his body, but he stopped when we asked him to do so.

Now we get to the nastier side of table tennis and the boundary between cheating and just not knowing the rules. In one of our matches,  with our team leading 4-3, my player, age nine, won the first two games rather easily against an elderly opponent, who was rated about the same. At the start of the third, first point, the opponent set up to receive and my player served. The opponent put the serve in the net. Then he stepped back and realized that it should have been his serve. The point counted, however, since he had played the point. The opponent then served, and lost that point as well. Then it was my players turn to serve, due to Rule 2.14.1:

2.14.1 If a player serves or receives out of turn, play shall be interrupted by the umpire as soon as the error is discovered and shall resume with those players serving and receiving who should be server and receiver respectively at the score that has been reached, according to the sequence established at the beginning of the match

The facts were not in dispute, but the opponent insisted it was his serve again, and he was holding the ball. I explained the rule to him, but he absolutely insisted it was his serve, as did one of his teammates. It got rather heated. Several times I said we needed to go to the referee’s desk and get a ruling, but both of them were absolutely insistent it was his serve. After five minutes of this, I decided it was better to just let the other guy serve rather than spend more time on this, which could disrupt my player’s focus. Since my player was winning rather easily so far I didn’t really want to make the long walk to the referee’s desk, since the break could disrupt my player’s focus. So I finally said, “Fine, you can serve. But if you do, you are cheating.”

Pandemonium. The opponent and his teammate spent the next five minutes screaming at me, demanding an apology. But what I said was accurate. Not knowing the rules is not cheating, but they were refusing to even check with the referee to get a ruling – the opponent still held the ball and insisted he was going to serve. It was willful ignorance. - "A decision in bad faith to avoid becoming informed about something so as to avoid having to make undesirable decisions that such information might prompt." I'll let readers decide if that is cheating. 

At this point, with matches all around now disrupted by their screaming, I had no choice but to get the referee. They still refused to do so, so I went on my own – but they then followed. Once there, it took about five minutes before we could get them to stop yelling so we could explain the situation to the referee. Of course, the referee explained the rule and said it was my player’s serve. They were dead wrong.

However, the referee also thought I should apologize for calling the player a cheater. As I explained, I didn't call him a cheater, I said that if he served - given that he refused to check with the referee on the actual rule - he would be cheating. (Since he ended up not serving, he didn't actually "cheat.") The referee was insistent that I apologize, and for all I know he'd ban me from the playing hall if I didn't. Rather than spend more time on this (and risking my player's focus even further), I finally said. "Fine. I apologize for calling you a cheater. Now, can we finish the match?" However, I was only apologizing for the benefit of my player. Given the situation, I don't think what I said was wrong in itself. However, I probably shouldn't have said it simply to avoid any more argument, so my player could keep his focus and continue to dominate the match. It's irritating but true that sometimes it's in your player's favor to grit your teeth and let an opponent get away with willfully breaking the rules rather than have a long argument that can change the course of a match. And in this case, my player was winning rather easily, and so of course it was greatly in the opponent's favor to find a way to disrupt things. 

I then asked several times that the opponent apologize to my nine-year-old player for disrupting the match by his ignorance of the rules and his insistence on breaking the rules rather than checking with the referee on the correct ruling. He ignored me and there was no apology. 

We finally went back. My player (who stayed warmed up by hitting with his dad), served, and easily won the third game and the match. I apologized to both the kid and his dad for the whole issue. The risk of his losing his focus or getting cold was greater than the small disadvantage of letting the opponent serve illegally. My player and his dad deserved an apology, from me, and from the opponent and his teammate; the opponent did not. 

In a later team match I coached we had another rules problem. My player was up 2-1 in games, but down 9-10 in the fourth. (Our team was up 4-3.) They played a point, and my player seemed to hit a winner. One of the parents (not this player's dad) yelled, "Yes!" But the opponent made a spectacular return. My player popped the ball back high, and the opponent ran in and smashed - into the net. Deuce!!! Except - the opponent immediately demanded a let, saying the loud "Yes!" call had distracted him. The rule on this is also clear - he could have immediately called a let after making the great return, since he would have already been going for that shot when the disruption occurred. But once he went in and tried to kill the ball, he could no longer call a let - you can't play out a point and then call let after the point. Here's a simple way of explaining this - if the player could have called a let, then if he makes the smash, he wins the point, but if he misses it, it's a let - and my player has no way of winning the point! (I went over this with the referee afterwards, and he of course agreed.)

However, the opponent and his teammates insisted he'd immediately called a let. I wanted to go to the referee again, but the problem was that since the opponent was saying he'd called a let immediately, the referee would have called it a let. I finally relented, and they replayed the point - and the opponent won the point, forcing a fifth game. In the fifth, the opponent was up 10-5 match point, and won 11-9. Afterwards, we had a cordial discussion about what happened, and I asked him point blank if the disruption affected his shot. He said that yes, it distracted him and caused him to miss the smash. That's when I pointed out that he'd just admitted that he'd lost the point, since he attempted the smash after the disruption, as I’d been claiming all along - it was, in fact, his second shot after the disruption. Once I explained the rules, he admitted it shouldn’t have been a let, but it was too late to go back and replay it. The ninth match had already begun (and I had to coach that), which we would win in five.  

Holiday Shopping – Buy My Books!
Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays are coming up – time to buy my table tennis books! (But feel free to buy my science fiction ones as well.) Here’s a listing with descriptions of each. Below are direct links to the table tennis books. 

What Advice Should You Give to Teammates During Matches?
Here’s the article from Tom Lodziak. This, in a nutshell, is similar to my thinking on coaching between games. Make sure that you notice that the first three examples are things you shouldn’t do! (At first, when I saw the subheading, “Focus on Technique,” I thought he was advocating that, when (as he explains) that’s a big mistake.

Butterfly Training Tips

Serve Return Lesson
Here’s the video (6:42) from Samson Dubina.

New from Ti Long

New from Taco Backhand

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

The Magnus Effect in Table Tennis and Why Topspin is the Most Dominant Stroke
Here’s the video (8:16) from Drupe Pong. I bet this could be the inspiration for a school science project!

Tomokazu Harimoto Evolution (Age 4-19)
Here’s the video (6:35) from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from the National Collegiate Table Tennis Association

  • NCTTA and AYTTO Partner Up for the George Braithwaite Scholarship
  • NCTTA looking for directors!
    =>Minnesota Division Director is available now and is in charge of a division that covers Minnesota, Iowa and Idaho.
    =>Great Lakes Regional Director is available now and is in charge of a region that covers Upstate NY, Ohio schools near Akron and Canadian schools in Ontario and Quebec. This director is also a non-voting member of the NCTTA Board of Directors!
    =>Directors have some perks, getting to come to the NCTTA Championships free, please reach out to hr@nctta.org to get on board with NCTTA in these positions!

USATT News

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

ITTF News

TT11TV
Lots of videos here.

Table Tennis Character T-Shirt
Here’s where you can buy one – or a hoodie, mug, or mask!

Ping Pong Club Cap
Here’s where you can buy it!

Adam vs. French Champion
Here’s the video (11:21) from Adam Bobrow - he takes on French Champion Simon Gauzy, world #33!

Impossible Penalty Kicks
Here’s the video (5:13) from Pongfinity!

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Tip of the Week
Recovering from Forehand Attacks from a Corner.

Weekend Coaching and the JOOLA North American Teams
Our junior program at MDTTC is divided into four groups (66 players total), and this weekend I worked with one session for each. It was also an exhausting weekend as I acted as a practice partner for three of the sessions, for two reasons. First, we had an odd number of players, though we can work around that by doing multiball or bringing in another player. Second, and perhaps more important, we’re getting them ready for the North American Teams next weekend (Fri-Sun after Thanksgiving), and so it’s valuable they get a good practice session with a good player. (Yay, I’m the “good” player!) For drills, I mostly blocked – and boy, after a short time it really came together and I stopped missing. They rotated the players who hit with me, and each time I greeted them with the warning, “The rumors are true, I never miss.” And, of course, if I did miss, I’d explain I was only showing them what a miss would look like if I were to miss – after all, how could they identify a miss by an opponent if we don’t show them what it looks like?

We also played a lot of games to prepare them for the Teams. I managed to go undefeated (closest game was 11-7) – mostly because I didn’t play games with the first group, just drilled with them. With the other groups (strongest players under 1800), I often relied on my serves. Coach Wang Qingliang warned my opponents that I serve a lot of side-top serves that looked like backspin, but most still had great difficulty in reading them. The hardest part for me about not training or playing matches regularly is in return of serve, and ending the point with the forehand, both of which used to be big strengths. For receive, I mostly just pushed serves back – quick, fast, heavy, low and at wide angles. But as I got warmed up and played better, I got more aggressive and began forehand looping serves, especially from the backhand corner. Because most of our players are trained to be more two-winged, and I mostly attack with my forehand, two of them asked why I stood so far on my backhand side when I received, and why I stepped around to loop so many serves. So I had to explain how the game has changed, though of course most players should still sometimes step around to forehand loop in a serve.

I’m telling parents of players who have never been to the Teams to video their kids as they first walk into the playing hall. The normal reaction is eyes go wide, mouth drops, and they look side to side as they take in this incredibly large hall, with tables in full-sized courts seemingly going on forever! There will be 167 playing courts, with 1113 players on 269 teams.

This will be my 46th straight time at the Teams, starting in 1976, the year I started in table tennis. (It would be 47 except they skipped 2020 because of Covid.) As I pointed out to one of our junior players who will be playing in it for the second time, “We’re experienced pros. Together we’ve played in it 46 times.” (See segment below on The Biggest Table Tennis Tournament in the USA Reaches New Heights by Matt Hetherington.)

Dream Blue Liquor and US Open Sponsors
Should USATT be taking sponsorships for alcohol, especially hard liquor? Here’s the Prospectus (entry form) for the upcoming US Open. On page five it lists the sponsors, and the first one listed is Dream Blue, which is a distilled hard liquor from China. (Their liquor alcohol contents rate very high, at “40.8%, 45% or 52% ABV.”) This issue has come up in the past – I was in the room years ago when the USATT board debated whether they should take sponsorships from companies that sell alcoholic beverages or cigarettes. The decision at the time was overwhelmingly no. Apparently that has changed.

As a non-drinker, I’m personally opposed to such sponsors and would likely vote against it if I were on the Board. I’m pretty sure that there was something on this in the USATT bylaws many years ago, but it’s no longer there. (During my twelve years as editor of USATT Table Tennis Magazine we did not take ads for alcoholic beverages or tobacco products, and I’m pretty sure they were never a USATT sponsor.) Since the US Open is an international event, it comes under ITTF laws. The ITTF doesn’t specifically ban sponsors for liquor, but they do have these restrictions in their rules about such ads, which would apply to the US Open – I bolded the key part:

3.2.5.1.1 Advertisements or markings in or next to the playing area, on playing clothing or numbers and on umpires’ clothing, shall not be for tobacco goods, alcoholic drinks, harmful drugs or illegal products and they shall be without negative discrimination or connotation on the grounds of race, xenophobia, gender, religion, disabilities or other forms of discrimination; however, for competitions not explicitly organised for players under 18 years of age, the ITTF may allow advertisements or markings for non-distilled alcoholic drinks on equipment and fittings in or next to the playing area, provided the local law permits.

One strange thing – while there are eight sponsors listed on the US Open sponsor on the Prospectus PDF (no links), but there is nothing about these sponsors on the US Open page. You’d think they’d be listed there, with links! If I were a sponsor I’d expect this and be pretty unhappy that there is nothing about their US Open sponsorship on the US Open page. The eight sponsors from the Prospectus are Dream Blue, Butterfly, Paddle Palace, Nittaku, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, DHS, Ping Pong Parkinson, and Blossom Houston.
=>UPDATE - they've sort of added a Sponsor section at the very bottom of the US Open page, below the "Directions and Parking" map where few will see it. But the only sponsor listed there is Dream Blue. The other seven are not listed. This implies that the only sponsor is Dream Blue, which is not correct. 

USATT Assembly
I’m told the USATT Assembly will take place at the upcoming US Open, on Sunday night, Dec. 18. This is required by the USATT bylaws as an annual event (Article 15, page 46). However, I haven’t yet seen any announcement, either on the USATT news page or US Open page. Bylaws 15.3 says, “Notice of the annual USATT Assembly stating the place, date and time of the meeting shall be posted on the website of USATT no fewer than thirty (30) days before the date of the meeting.” Assuming it’s held on Dec. 18, then thirty days before that was Nov. 18, this past Friday.

=>ADDENDUM (added Dec. 5, 2022): Hurray! Apparently USATT read my blog. They added a small mention of the USATT Assembly to the Prospectus, on page 9 (of 10), column 2. It wasn't there before. (I have the copy that had been posted previously.) However, this does not consitute being "...posted on the website of USATT no fewer than thirty (30) days before the date of the meeting." (See below.) First, adding the lines buried in a PDF file linked from the US Open page without letting people know it had been changed is right out of the novel "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." (Some of you will recognize the reference.) Second, the change was not made 30 days in advance. We'll see if there is any other notice of the Assembly. 

Below is the entire section from the bylaws on the USATT Assembly, for those interested in attending. I’m told there also might be some panels at the US Open on various topics, such as clubs or high performance, but I haven’t heard or seen anything official yet. They’ve done that twice before at Opens or Nationals – I was on several panels – but they stopped doing that. I think it’s a good idea.

ARTICLE XV ANNUAL USA TABLE TENNIS ASSEMBLY
Section 15.1. Purpose. There shall be an annual USATT Assembly at which all individual and organization members and other USATT constituencies in the United States Table Tennis family shall be invited to gather and provide input to the Board on important issues confronting the organization. At USATT’s Assembly, the Board shall provide a report on the “State of the USATT.” The Chief Executive Officer shall provide a managerial report addressing issues of concern and importance to USATT. Individual and organization members and other constituencies may be permitted to pose questions to the Board and Chief Executive Officer for response. The annual USATT Assembly shall be purely advisory and shall have no rulemaking, budgetary, legislative, or other authority, though it, or some of it, may be involved in some appropriate way in the nomination of individuals to serve on the Board as otherwise set forth in these Bylaws. The Board shall determine the agenda of the annual USATT Assembly. Page 47 of 56 USATT 22 02-17a
Section 15.2. Place. The annual USATT Assembly shall be held in conjunction with a Board meeting. If practicable, the annual USATT Assembly meeting shall also be held in conjunction with a major USATT competition.48
Section 15.3. Notice. Notice of the annual USATT Assembly stating the place, date and time of the meeting shall be posted on the website of USATT no fewer than thirty (30) days before the date of the meeting.

The Biggest Table Tennis Tournament in the USA Reaches New Heights
Here’s the article on the North American Teams by Matt Hetherington. The tournament is Nov. 25-27 in Washington DC. I’ll be there coaching some of the twelve junior teams from the Maryland Table Tennis Center.

USATT News

Multi-Player Training with Shadow Play
Here’s video (24 sec) from the Houston Intl Table Tennis Academy of a coach working with three players at once – one directly, the other two shadow-practicing. We do this type of training at my club (MDTTC) all the time, though I usually do it with multiball, where I’m feeding to one player while the others shadow practice. There would also be one player doing ball pickup, with the players rotating. Sometimes we’ll have a player practice serves on an adjacent table as part of the rotation.

New from Samson Dubina

New from Ti Long

Physical Training For Juniors
Here’s the video (1:27) from Huijing Wang.

How to Manage Travel Fatigue (Physiologically)
Here’s the article by Lily Zhang.

Pingpong Video Analysis (Forehand Topspin in Table Tennis - Essential Characteristics)
Here’s the video (7:34) from Dr. Table Tennis. Here are more videos from the site.

New from Taco Backhand

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Ma Long Player Profile & Equipment
Here’s the article from Table Tennis Top.

The Most Creative Table Tennis Player Ever?
Here’s the video (8:49) featuring Japan’s Koki Niwa.

New from Steve Hopkins

About 16th Si & Patty Wasserman Junior & Open Championships
Here’s the article by Tawny Banh.

Some People Say
Here’s the video (70 sec) about table tennis from PingPod - it's pretty good!

ITTF News

TT11TV
Lots of videos here.

Table Tennis Postal Stamps
Here they are – on sale at Ebay!

Ping-Pong, Spin, and Third-Ball Attack (Or, Why Dialogue Gets Boring and How to Fix It)
Here’s the article by Gregory Ashe. It’s not about table tennis – it uses ping-pong as a metaphor for a dialogue writing problems for writers. He gets his table tennis terms and tactics right!

Funny Table Tennis
Here’s the video (36 sec)!

I Went to the World Championships… in CHINA
Here’s the video (14:56) from Adam Bobrow.

5 Things Ping Pong Players Hate
Here’s the video (6:28) from Table Tennis Daily – this is HILARIOUS!!!

***
Send us your own coaching news!

 

Tip of the Week
Backhand Counter Domination.

Weekend Coaching
I coached in four group sessions over the weekend, as is my norm. As usual the focus was on fundamentals, technique, footwork, placement . . . yada yada yada. I did do extra down-the-line drills - too often players focus on crosscourt. I also worked with two players on their grip. One of them has begun changing his grip drastically between forehand and backhand, with a wristy finger-down-the-middle forehand - NO!!! (1967 Men's World Champion Hasegawa might disagree - he used that grip.) It's important to catch things like this early, and the player in question only started this past year. 

I had a realization during one session, which I explained to some of the players. If the players can't beat me after I've coached them for a full 90 minutes, I must be a bad coach. But if they can beat me after 90 minutes of training, I must be a bad player. Hmmm... Of course, I also explain to them that if they are tired during a drill, they must be out of shape and so we must work them harder. If they are not tired then we must not be working them hard enough and so we must work them harder. And if they won't answer us when we ask if they are tired, then we must punish them by making them work harder. Hmmm...

I had a discussion with three of the parents who also play. (We allow parents to hit on open tables during junior group sessions. Some are pretty good.) The topic was footwork, and how kids and adults do it differently. For example, up-and-coming players and world-class players, when near the table in a fast rally, usually play their forehands with their feet parallel. But that takes a lot of training to do properly, and I don't recommend it for players who aren't going to put in the training and who aren't in very good shape. For most of us (including me), it's better to move the right foot back (for righties) as you move to play a forehand in a fast rally. It's not as quick but gives better stability and power. Another difference is the up-and-comers and world-class players often move both feet almost together when moving. For most of us, it's better to start by taking a short step with the foot on the side you are moving toward, commonly called "two-step footwork." 

I also had private session with Navin Kumar on Sunday night. Here’s video (15 sec). (I’m retired from private coaching, but made an exception for Navin.) Navin is somewhat of an equipment junkie, an EJ. During the session I asked him if such experimenting gave an Edge to an Ej.

USATT News and Favoritism
Coach Park Ji-Hyun & Coach Tao Wenzhang to Lead World-class Table Tennis Camp. This news item (which was also featured in the last USATT Insider) caught my eye as it’s basically an ad for a camp at a private commercial club, written by a USATT employee. This isn’t exactly fair to the many other clubs that also run such camps, especially other clubs in the Bay Area that run competing camps, such as ICC, Table Tennis America, and others. I contacted the USATT CEO and asked about this, and she responded, “We will have a section dedicated to promoting clubs’ events. We could either use the articles the club submits or we can help write them if they need some help.”

The problem here, of course, is that this needs to be equal opportunity, and it’s not equal opportunity when one club gets to have such a news item before other clubs even know about the opportunity. Since there hasn’t been any announcement about this, clubs still don’t know about this opportunity, unless of course they are reading my blog – and so, like me, they are probably pretty irritated about this favoritism. There should have been a news item about it, and among those clubs interested, a random drawing for the order they would be run. Or they could have a committee put together objective criteria for such camps, and select an order based on that. Perhaps better still, one article about all of these camps around the country, with links to them.

The club in question, 888, is an excellent one, with excellent coaches, and no doubt will run an excellent camp. But so would others, including my own (MDTTC), which has three coaches in the USATT Hall of Fame, four coaches who have won USATT Coach of the Year awards (eight in total), and two former members of the Chinese National Team (one of whom achieved a USATT rating of 2830) and both former Head Province Coaches in China. Ironically, my club might not even be interested since we tend to fill our Winter camp from local players, but other clubs might be interested. There are also camps, such as the ones at Samson Dubina’s in Ohio, that actively draw players from all over the country, who are likely not thrilled that USATT is actively promoting a competing camp, with no notice about the opportunity. Does USATT understand that if they, say, draw two or three players from one camp to the one they feature, that might be a thousand dollars in revenue lost for that club, not to mention a weaker camp? Do they understand that, once again, they are creating unneeded hostility toward USATT? (Addendum, added at the last minute – I just spoke with one club leader – not from my club - who said they are also unhappy about this, but do not want to deal with USATT anymore and so will likely not bother asking USATT to do a news item on them.)

Here are other USATT news items this past week.

Christmas Books
It’s time for some Christmas shopping, both for others and for yourself!!! Why not get one of my books? Or one of Dan Seemiller’s? Or one of Samson Dubina’s books and other products?

Brian Pace on the Road to Recovery
Here’s his latest update on his GoFundMe page. So far they have raised $47,638 of the goal of $100,000.

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Samson Dubina

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from TacoBackhand

New from Ti Long

New from Table Tennis Central

5 Easy Tactics to Outplay Your Opponent in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (6:16). Here are other videos from Rational Table Tennis Analysis.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins

Former Editor Loses Super-Close Election Race
Former USATT Magazine co-editor Marie Hopkins apparently lost a close one last Tuesday. She and husband Steve (author of the articles in the segment above) co-edited USATT Magazine from May/June 2007 through 2014 (46 issues). In the election for Representative in Rhode Island’s General Assembly District 21, Marie, a Republican, lost to Democrat Camille Vella-Wilkinson, 2603 to 2570, losing by 33 votes, 50.0% to 49.4%, with 34 write-ins. However, since the differences is under 1%, there will be a recount before results are finalized. (Side note – here is the page where I put together and update a complete listing of all past and present USATT Presidents, Board Chairs, Executive Directors, CEOs, and Editors.)

Puerto Rico News

ITTF News

2022 Chinese Nationals
They were just held in Huangshi, Hubei Province.

1965 Worlds – Zhuang Zedong vs. Li Furong
Here’s video (1:26) of that final. Here’s the Google [poorly] translated caption:

Zhuang Zedong defeated Li Furong in the final. 1965 Men's Singles World Championship in Ljubljana Slovenia The duo have made history against each other in three consecutive men's singles finals (Beijing, Prague, Ljubljana), none of which has been possible to date. But according to Sun Meiying, a former vice president of the China Table Tennis Federation, who had met Zhou Enlai more than 40 times, behind the scenes of such a not very elegant event.

After Zhuang Zedong won his first men's singles world championship, the first 'result lock' took place, as the above wanted to make Zhuang a three-time champion and become a national role model.

At that time, Li Furong, who was ranked behind Zhuang in the world rankings. Therefore, he had to lose to Zhuang every time when competing in the finals.

“I can keep Li Furong purely by hand.” Zhuang clearly expressed his displeasure. “When Master ordered Li to surrender. I also felt discouraged. Even now, people are saying that all my World Championship results are locked.” Li was also angry, saying, “I can keep Zhuang Zedong, but the Leader wants me to. I lost."

Currently, due to the strong ability of Chinese athletes This makes locking effect much less important. Until then, it was no longer necessary. Former China national team head coach Tsai Zhenhua said in 2005, “Today we hardly have any results locked. I would like to clarify that for the Olympic Games The interests of the nation must come above all else, for example, when comparing which of our athletes is stronger than the next foreign athlete. I think the country should be the first. This is my principle We have been like this for over a decade.”

TT11TV
Lots of videos here.

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here.

Ping Pong Master Shirt
Here’s where you can buy it!

Table Tennis Is My Music
Here’s the video (1:53) from Steve Rowe.

Many-Paddle Pong
Here’s the video (9 sec, but repeating)! I’ve never rallied with a cat (I don’t think the cat minded), but I once stuck a sheet of sponge on the forehead of a three-year-old (with his permission), picked him up, and rallied off his forehead! I wish I had pictures.  

Gigantic Pong
Here’s the video (8 sec, but repeating)!

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Knuckles in Table Tennis
Here’s the video (5:18)!

Ping Pong: Expectations vs Reality 2
Here’s the video (8:09) from Pongfinity!

***
Send us your own coaching news!

Tip of the Week
Coming Back or Beating Stronger Players.

Weekend Coaching
The hardest part of the weekend for me was in the last of four group sessions – three on Sunday – where they needed one more player for up-down tables. I’m out of practice, haven’t warmed up, and have been feeding multiball for hours, and suddenly I’m up against kids who make the Flash seem like a sloth. Fortunately, this wasn’t our top group, and fortunately, they couldn’t return my serves, and so I was able to win all my matches easily. Biggest scare - one kid made it to 4-all on four nets and edges! (He popped one serve back on the edge, and net-dribbled another.) One girl hits the ball so fast that any rally I didn’t win on the first two shots ended up with me lobbing, and she wasn’t bad against lobs. She also gave me a scare when she suddenly backhand flipped in two of my short side-top serves! (Apparently she didn’t get the memo that she’s supposed to misread them and push them straight up.) She was jamming the table, so I switched to deep breaking serves and fast, dead ones, and that ended that threat. (I also chickened out and chopped back some of her topspin serves, which worked.)

As noted, I fed a lot of multiball. For some of the sessions, I mostly fed backspin. In one-on-one drills with other players, even if the drill starts with backspin you only get one opening loop against backspin, and then it’s all topspin the rest of the rally. You might get 3-4 loops against backspin per minute. With multiball, you get about 60! That’s a lot more practice, and why it’s valuable in a group session to have one coach feeding multiball backspin, with the players rotated over throughout the session. One key that many forget – it’s not just forehand loops, don’t forget backhand loops!!!

Pan Americans
Here’s the ITTF home page for the event, with results. I don’t see a lot of online videos, such as USA’s Lily Zhang’s final against Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico. (Diaz got the gold, 4-0. Email me if you have a link to the video - I couldn't find one.) USA’s Kanak Jha (world #28) played Brazil’s Hugo Calderano (world #7) twice. Kanak won the first in the Team final, 4-0, but lost in the Men’s Singles Final, 0-4. Here are videos of both.

There was controversy in the quarterfinal of Men's Singles between Canada’s Eugene Wang and Ecuador’s Alberto Mino. Mino won the first three games, Wang the next three. In the seventh, at 9-all, Mino hit a clear side, but the umpire mistakenly called it an edge and gave the point to Mino. Wang argued for a LONG time, to no avail. He then refused to play the next point, and shook Mino's and the umpire's hands and walked off the court. However, the argument continued, with Wang off-court arguing with Mino, who remained in the court for a time, along with the umpires. Here's the video - it should take you to 2:05:28, 9-all in the seventh. (Thanks to Greg Mascialino, who messaged me the link.) 

Here is Pan Am coverage by Steve Hopkins/Butterfly.

Here is USATT’s article by Joshua Dyke on the Team event. (Presumably more will be coming on their news page.)

Tipping Off Opponents
Here’s a non-table tennis example (2:50) of baseball hall of famer Pedro Martinez explaining how pitcher Lance McCullers was tipping off his pitches in the world series. But the same thing happens in table tennis. To use one example, I used to coach our players against USATT hall of famer Brian Masters, and they did pretty well. One reason for this was that Brian liked to throw in sudden deep serves – and I noticed that whenever he did this, as he started his serve he’d stick his tongue out of his mouth! We used this for years against him. There are many other less extreme examples. Five-time US Men’s Champion Dan Seemiller once told me that he could often tell what the opponent was serving long before they served. I’ve had the same experience – often you aren’t even sure at first what the “tell” is, you just noticed something’s different whenever they do a certain thing. I used to coach Tong Tong Gong, a member of the US Cadet Team, but it drove him crazy that even after he passed me in rating, I would still beat him every time – because I could read, from his motion, what each of his serves was before he served it. I worked with him on fixing this, but it was so ingrained, and since nobody else seemed to have picked up on it, it didn’t really hurt him. (Example – when he served deep, he lengthened his backswing, and as soon as I saw that, I’d prepare to loop the serve. For heavy backspin, he always opened his racket more during the backswing, while for no-spin or sidespin, it would be more closed.)

Smash Against Lob
Here’s video (48 sec) of Ye Seo Dang smashing against Krisztina Toth. She’s consistent, but her smashes have little power, and so she is unable to win the point. She’s really just looping the ball, with little arm snap. This is an example of what was covered in last week’s Tip of the Week, Increase Forearm Snap to Increase Smashing Speed.

New from Samson Dubina

  • Eugene Wang Quote (2:41) – This is one of those really important things that a lot of players and even coaches don’t really get. I’m always stressing to players to remember their best games or matches, remembering the mindset, and simply repeat it. If you play poorly, put that out of your mind and remember when you played great! (The only exception is when you have to analyze why you played poorly. But that’s strictly a technical analysis.)
  • Placement (5:54)
  • Upset of the Year
  • Paddle Palace Fitness Video of the Month (74 sec)
  • Robot Tips (7:45)
  • Theme (4:11)

Butterfly Training Tips

How Often Should You Use Long Serves?
Here’s the article by Tom Lodziak.

Why Does Fan Zhendong Lose?
Here’s the video (40 sec) from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

Seth Pech Swedish League Match 2022 + Tutorial Two Tricky Serve Returns at the End
Here’s the video (13:39) from Seth, with point-by-point analysis.

How to Serve Attack and Make Backhand Topspin Against Backspin Powerful and Advanced
Here’s the video (23 min) from Ti Long.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly
(See his three articles on Pan Ams in segment above.)

New from USATT

New from ITTF

Steve Moreno Men’s U13 Champion of the WTT Youth Contender Podgorica 2022
Here’s the article by Edgardo Vasquez.

Africa’s Best Player of All Time from Perfect Camera Angles
Here’s the video (2:18) featuring Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna, from Tacobackhand.

Chinese National Championships Team Final
Here’s where you see these great videos from the Chinese Nationals, from ttlondon2012. They include finals matches Fan Zhendong vs. Lin Gaoyuan, Xu Xin vs. Li Yijie, and Fan Zhendong vs. Zhou Qihao, as well as semifinal and quarterfinal matches.

Evaluation of Competition and Travelling Diet of Elite Table Tennis Players
Here’s the scientific journal article from the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports from India.

Ping Pong in the LA Crossword
The Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle on Saturday, Nov. 5 included 32 Across, “Game room fixture.” Answer – Ping Pong Table! The crossword also runs in the Washington Post, which I still get and do the crossword at lunch every day.

Novak Djokovic 'Knocked Out' by a Ball Boy in Ping Pong Battle
Here’s the video (27 sec)!

Ping-Pong Is My Therapy
Here are three versions of this shirt that most of us need! (No, I don’t sell these or any other shirts or other non-book items that I link to here.)

Belly-Flop Pong
Here’s the video (12 sec) – it starts with a behind-the-back shot, and then comes the belly flop!

Never Let ‘em Know Your Next Move
Here’s the video (5 sec)!

***
Send us your own coaching news!

Tip of the Week
Increase Forearm Snap to Increase Smashing Speed.

US Open Hotel – How to Save Lots of Money
I just saved a thousand dollars. How? I will be going to the US Open, Dec. 16-21 in Ontario, CA. The official tournament hotel is the DoubleTree By Hilton Hotel ‐ Ontario Airport, which is 0.3 miles from the playing hall. It looks like a nice hotel, and if you can afford it, go for it!

I will be at the Open for seven nights, Dec. 15-21. At the Doubletree, after taxes, that came to $1576, or $225/night!!! Sorry, that’s way, Way, WAY too much. But I’ve been to every US Open and US Nationals since 1984 (with my first in 1976), so . . . is my streak coming to an end?

Nope, thanks to www.booking.com. It took me just a few minutes to find a number of  cheap hotels nearby. They are not super-nice hotels like the 4-star DoubleTree, but they are fine for my purposes. I’ve actually used booking.com to find such cheap hotels all over the US and Europe many times, saving hordes of money.

I will be staying at the Ramada by Wyndham Ontario, which is 0.7 miles away. The room will be smaller and there will be fewer housekeepers, but it’s a private room bathroom with free WiFi and a 24-hour desk. (See the list of amenities on the hotel page.) I’ve never had a problem with cleanliness or other issues. Cost there is $596 for seven nights, or $85/night. Total savings . . . $980!!!

[Update: I went by the info on the online entry form, which doesn't have a discount code. That's a rather important piece of info to mistakenly leave out! If you use the link from the USATT US Open page, then the cost, after taxes, is $1268, or $181 a night - still a LOT more than the $596 or $85/night I'm paying at the Ramada.]

Some will argue we should support USATT by using their official hotel. There is an argument for that, and I half expect to get a call from USATT asking me to take the above info down. But nobody owes them an extra $980 out of loyalty. In fact, USATT should be promoting cheaper alternatives – let those who can afford it stay at a really nice hotel, while those who can’t afford $225/night and wouldn’t otherwise attend can now attend, thereby supporting USATT with their entry fees. (Besides coaching, I am playing in four events, so I supported USATT to the tune of $300.) I bet a LOT of players aren’t coming due to the hotel costs.

Other cheap local hotels I found include:

  • Ontario Airport Inn, $595/7 nights ($85/night + tax). 0.8 miles away
  • Folk Inn Ontario Airport, $785/7 nights ($112/night + tax), 0.3 miles away
  • Or browse the list yourself. This will take you to a list of hotels in Ontario, CA, for the dates Dec. 15-22. But you can adjust yourself. To find distance from playing hall, use Googlemaps, where I’ve already put in the playing hall for you, the Ontario Convention Center ‐ Ontario, California. Click on “Directions” and put in the hotel’s address, and it’ll give you the distance.

ADDENDUM - Another option was pointed out to me - stay at an airbnb. I'm not really familiar with them, but it seems another inexpensive option. 

Weekend Coaching and Halloween
As usual, I coached in four junior group sessions. There was a lot of emphasis on ball placement – too many shots were going to the middle backhand or forehand instead of wide angles. What you do in practice you will do in a match!!! As usual, there was a focus on active feet. When players were erratic on a shot, I’d remind them to remember the feel and timing of the ones the ones they do correctly and repeat, while forgetting the ones they messed up on. (If you think about the ones you mess up on, guess what your subconscious will be thinking about and emulating?)

Most will be trick or treating tonight. After the last session, I talked to a small group of kids in the 12-15 age group who wondered if they were too old to go trick or treating. I told them a story from when I was twelve. I was all set to go trick or treating with another kid from the neighborhood, Max, who was also twelve. It was always my favorite holiday! But a fourteen-year-old from across the street made fun of us, said trick or treating was for little kids. Even though I badly wanted to go, I decided I was too old, and though Max tried to convince me and even though I had a costume ready, I didn’t go. That night I cried myself to sleep over missing Halloween – I still can’t believe I let that kid from across the street convince me not to go, and it’s bothered me for many decades that I did so, and missed out on that night. As I told the kids, trick or treating is fun, and do it as long as you can – and if you are worried some will think you are too old, well then wear a mask!!!

Halloween Pong

Blast from the Past: 1982 US Nationals Men’s Singles Final - Dan Seemiller vs. Eric Boggan
Here’s the video (57:52), which was recently uploaded. Note that both use the Seemiller grip.( If you want, you can skip right to 50:11, when Eric is serving up 19-16 and see what happens next. In those days, games were to 21 and you served five times each.) In fact, at the 1983 World Championships, four of the five members of the US Team used that grip – Dan, Eric, plus Ricky Seemiller and Brian Masters. The lone exception was Sean O’Neill.

Here are Dan's three books - get 'em now for Christmas!

USATT News
The last USATT news item was from Oct. 20, eleven days, and only two items since Oct. 7, 24 days ago. For many years the USATT news page was the place to go for US table tennis news, but no more. I was once co-webmaster for USATT for about a decade, primarily responsible for creating content, and both in those days and for many years after we kept the site updated regularly with lots of news content. Alas, in modern times USATT has switched to a policy of mostly featuring USATT stuff, and ignoring other US table tennis news. (ITTF has a similar policy, but they have a lot more news to report each week.)

ITTF News

WTT Cup Finals
Here’s the home page for the event, held Oct. 27-30 in Xinxiang, China, with complete results, news, and video. Perhaps the most interesting match was Fan Zhendong vs Dimitrij Ovtcharov in the QF (11:26), where the German pulls off the big upset. (Here’s the full version with full commentary, 33:30.) See more coverage from Steve Hopkins below.

ITTF Pan American Championships
Here’s the home page for the event being held in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 31 – Nov. 6. USA Women’s Team is Sarah Jalli, Rachel Sung, Amy Wang and Lily Zhang. USA Men’s Team is Liang Jishan, Sharon Alguetti, Kanak Jha and Nikhil Kumar.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

Backhand Middle Backhand Forehand
Here’s the video (79 sec) with Emily Tan.

New from Ti Long

New from Samson Dubina

Falk Beats Harimoto in the Form of His Life
Here’s the video (1:33) from Taco Backhand. Here’s the full match (22:01) from the 2022 WTT Macao. These are two of the best backhands in the world. Note that Falck has short pips on his forehand – and yet, players stay away from that side when they can to avoid his smash. Makes you wonder why more players don’t try short pips on one side.

New from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

Singapore Sports School – Learning Table Tennis
Here’s the video (2:22).

Just Another Tahl Rally
Here’s the video (26 sec, but it’s replays after the first ten) as Tahl Leibovitz demonstrates some basic attacking techniques.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov Rates YOUR Crazy Table Tennis Shots!
Here’s the video (5:32) as he judges four crazy shots.

New Table Tennis Music Videos

Custom Table Tennis Cartoon Mug
Here's where you can get it!

Wham! Bam! and Pow! Rackets
I kind of want one.

Ping Pong Table Tennis Neon Sign
Here's where you can get it at Amazon!

Keep the Ball in Play for 60 Seconds, Win £100
Here’s the video (10:21) from Pongfinity!

Ping Pong Trick Shots
Here’s the video (40 sec) – a great compilation!

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Tip of the Week
Treat Opponents Who Are Not Threats as Threats so They Do Not Become Threats.

Weekend Coaching and Coaching Between Points
I helped run four group junior sessions over the weekend. In three of them I mostly fed multiball – lots of fundamentals. However, once you get beyond the beginning stage, often the most important thing in multiball is feeding backspin so the player can practice looping. Why? It's easy to get lots of practice in topspin rallies with a practice partner, but in a regular drill, once a player loops against backspin, the rest of the rally is mostly all topspin. If you want repetitive practice against backspin, multiball is the way to go. In most of the sessions, players in the group did various drills while I took them three at a time, feeding backspin. (One player does the drill, usually combined with footwork; one shadow-practices behind that player; and the third picks up the balls.)

I spent about 45 minutes in one session walking around while players did game-type drills, and then actual matches at the end. A key thing here is that the coach can interrupt any drill or match to talk to the player on what they need to do differently. That's similar to what happens in many tournament matches these days, ever since they began allowing coaching between points in tournament matches. How has that changed things? In most matches for most players, it's not that big a change, but when junior players with coaches play, especially in international events, it's a huge change. I've had dozens of matches where the opposing coach signaled all or most of the serves, and/or where there's nonstop coaching between every point. (I think this is usually a long-term mistake – how can a kid learn to think for himself if the coach does all the thinking?) Sometimes they use signals - a few times I've deciphered them and took advantage of it.

The bigger problem I face is that often the opposing coach and player speak a language we don't speak, while they know the only language I speak – English. (Sometimes we also work out signals for certain things, but that's limited.) And so I'm often at a disadvantage as the opposing coach can call out advice between every point and we have no idea what he's saying. But I can't do that since they'd hear and understand what I'm saying. Often I've even had other coaches coach matches to make up for this. For example, I coached at international tournaments this past year in Ecuador, Jordan, Austria, and Dominican Republic. Over and over there would be rival coaches and players who would openly coach in various foreign languages, and we'd have no idea what they are saying. But since they often spoke English as a second language, anything I say they would understand. So sometimes, since many of our players and other coaches were Chinese-American, I'd have a Chinese coach do that match so they could coach in Chinese. 

It can backfire. I coached a kid in the semifinals of Under 14 at the US Open one year. The opposing player and coach were Chinese. Throughout the match the opposing coach was coaching in Chinese between points (illegal at the time), and (worse still), the opposing kid was constantly bad-mouthing my player in Chinese. What they didn't know was that the kid I was coaching had been attending Chinese school on weekends with his Chinese friends, and so was fluent in Chinese! And so, throughout the match, we knew what the coach and player was saying. At 9-9 in the fifth, when the opposing player said something nasty, my player told him off in fluent Chinese! I think the other kid turned green. He never recovered – my player won the next two points and went on to win the event.

I was told a similar thing happened at the Worlds or other international tournaments a few times. Atanda Musa was the Nigerian champion and top 30 in the world. One of his teammates had trained in China for several years and so knew Chinese. So when Atanda played the Chinese, he'd arrange for that player to be his coach – and between games, the player/coach would listen intently to what the Chinese coach would say, since he often didn't keep his voice down, assuming Nigerian players didn't know Chinese. And so Atanda did pretty well against those Chinese players!

WTT Champions Macao 2022
Here's the home page for the event held Oct. 19-23 in Macao, China, with complete results, news, and video. (See the extensive coverage of this event below by Steve Hopkins, and USATT article Kanak Jha Sprints Through Round of 32 at WTT Champions Macao.)

WTT Cup Finals Xinxiang 2022
Here's the home page for the event to be held Oct. 27-30 in Xinxiang, China.

Tips and Demo with Sid Naresh for the Forehand Counter
Here's the video (29 sec). Interesting terminology note – I would call these forehand loops, but in the modern game, where players rarely do straightforward forehand counter-hitting, many probably think of looping as a simple counter.

Table Tennis Masterclass
Here's the video (11:56) from Adam Bobrow. His videos are always entertaining (and, believe it or not, he's just reached one million subscribers!), but this one is educational as well. "Olympian and youngest ever US National Champion, Ariel Hsing, shows some of the drills that helped her become a 3-time US National Champion and an Olympian."

Butterfly Training Tips

New from Samson Dubina

New from Ti Long

Give Your Opponent Something to Worry About
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak. "Let’s look at how you can dominate your opponent in the first five shots of each rally…"

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from Taco Backhand

New from Drupe Pong

Table Tennis as a Treatment for Parkinson's
Here's the video (61 sec) from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

Smiling Faces in the Name of NCTTA!
Here's the article from the National Collegiate TTA.

Ni Xialian: An Inspiration for All Generations
Here's the article from Olympics.com. Many years ago, when I was editor of USA Table Tennis Magazine (a print magazine that went to all 8000 or so USATT members), I interviewed her at I think a US Open. Later, when I played a match, I noticed her watching. Afterwards, completely on her own, she came over and offered some tips! (She speaks pretty good English.)

Mountain View Table Tennis Athlete Kef Noorani's Talent Takes Him Abroad
Here's the article from the Mountain View Voice.

Local Para Athlete Sets Sight on World Championships, 2024 Paralympics
Here's the article from the Observer Voice featuring Valerie Rolph.

Watch Google’s Ping-Pong Robot Pull off a 340-hit Rally
Here's the article from techcrunch.com. Here's a related article and series of videos of this robot, i-Sim2Real: Reinforcement Learning of Robotic Policies in Tight Human-Robot Interaction Loops.

New from USATT

New from the ITTF

Ping-Pong Whisper
Here's where you can buy the sweatshirt!

Ping-Pong Ball Christmas Tree Shirt
Here's where you can buy it!

We Built a Mega Table
Here's the video (17 sec)!

Ping Pong Trick Shots
Here's the video (12 sec)!

Hydro and Fluid – Funny Cartoons for Children
Here's the video! It's over 31 minutes, but the table tennis is in the first 30 seconds.

Toddler Pong
Here's the video (14 sec) – make sure sound is turned on so you can hear his laugh!

***
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Tip of the Week
The Yin and Yang of Serving.

Cary Cup Open
I spent the weekend coaching at the Cary Cup at the Triangle Badminton and Table Tennis Club in Cary, NC. Here are complete results of the tournament, care of Omnipong. I was coaching two players, Todd Klinger and Christian Funderberg. I can't really go into details of most of the coaching – call it coach-player privilege – but here are some highlights. Ojo dominates the big events!

  • Yes, if you miss your own serve twice a game, you drop about 100 rating points in level. (It cost us at least two matches.)
  • No, the match is not over if you are up 2-0 in games (twice), or up 9-6, 9-7, or 9-8 in deciding game, or up match point in deuce twice. It was one of those weekends.
  • Yes, in fact, you most certainly should attack the middle and forehand and stop going to the player's really good backhand.
  • No, don't think about the shot, just do it.
  • Yes, it's lucky that Christian and I had the same size shoes and so when his literally broke apart while he was playing, he was able to borrow mine.
  • No, just because he's playing with a hardbat doesn't mean it's going to be an easy match.
  • Yes, if the opponent is a passive receiver, we're going to take advantage of it.
  • No, you cannot call a let after the point is over. (Todd and Christian didn't do this – they know better.)
  • Yes, we discussed and solved every philosophical issue on the five-hour drive home. Later we will publish our annotated discussions in the New York Times.

New from Samson Dubina

New from Ti Long

How Often Should I Change Table Tennis Rubbers
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington.

Forehand Loop & Footwork
Here's the video (48 sec) with Ye Tian

Tournament Update … Steady Progress, But Too Many Missed Opportunities
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak, with some insights from his play.

New from the Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from Taco Backhand

Seth Pech vs Senura Silva 2022 (16:04) Presper Financial Architect Open
Here's the video as Seth gives point-by-point commentary.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

New from the ITTF

Return Everything Shirt
Here it is!

Famous People Playing Table Tennis
Here's the video (5:06) from Table Tennis Central, which includes Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, English football (soccer) players Tom Carroll and Raheem Sterling, Rafael Nadal, Kevin Spacey, and two people at the very end that I don't recognize.

Charlie Cox, Mark Ruffalo, and More Play Ping Pong in New She-Hulk BTS Video
Here's the article and video (15 sec)!

The Miami Dolphins Ping-Pong Odyssey

This is How the Dream Starts
Here's the video (10 sec)!

Most Random Ping Pong Racket
Here's the video (8:19) from Pongfinity! "In today's challenge episode, we're going to play with the world's most uneven racket, see how many papers we can slice with a ping pong ball, and more!"

Mostly Non-Table Tennis
Here are more science fiction & fantasy stories of mine that just came out.

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Tip of the Week
Ten Mini-Fixes.

Annexing Moscow
It has come to my attention that the Table Tennis Federation of Russia is in Moscow. While I am sure their players are very good at killing, I'm guessing they are more into killing ping-pong balls than Ukrainians. Therefore, by the power invested in me by USA Table Tennis, I am hereby annexing the city of Moscow. Henceforth, they will be the 51st US state and all residents of the city will be required to join USATT. We will also be granting immediate US citizenship to the 11 Russian men (including world #61 Kirill Skachkov) and 18 women (including #45 Elizabet Abraamian and #49 Polina Mikhailova) who have current ITTF world rankings. And here's Zelensky smashing Putin!

Weekend Coaching
We had the MDTTC October Open this weekend (here are complete results), so my only coaching was a 90-minute session with our novice junior class. As usual, the focus at this level was on fundamentals and fun. One thing that's become a fun routine – just before and after class I do my speed bouncing trick, where I bounce the ball really fast on the table with my paddle. The kids try to stop it – and so I have to move the bouncing to the middle of the table where they can't reach it. So they throw ping-pong balls or slide their paddles at it until I miss. They won't let me have any fun! Of course, I also spend some time trying to convince them that there is no smiling in table tennis – ours is a GRIM sport, where we only allow sadness and griminity. Unfortunately, they don't quite get this part yet, but they do like the made-up word "griminity."

World Table Tennis Team Championships
They were in Chengdu, China, Sept. 30 – Oct. 9. Here's the info page where you can find complete results, schedule, news, and video. Spoiler Alert – once again China swept both events. The best match was probably in the semifinals, where China defeated Japan 3-2, with Tomokazu Harimoto (world #4) winning both matches for Japan, upsetting world #1 Fan Zhendong 11-9 in the fifth, as well as Wang Chuqin (world #11). Harimoto vs. Fan (11:41) is the match to see – and especially this point! (Besides the coverage below, see the videos in the segment from PingSunday/EmRatThich.)

Here is coverage from Steve Hopkin from Butterfly:

Here are three articles on how the USA team did from the USATT news page.

Dan Seemiller's "Smash! Moments, Memories and Tips" Book
A new version in black & white just came out for only $14.99. The other version is full color and costs $30. (Disclosure: I put the pages together for him. I also worked with him on Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion - his autobiography - and recreating his instructional book from 1996, Winning Table Tennis. Why not get all three?) Here's the back cover text for "Smash!":

This is my 50+-year journey in this greatest of Olympic sports – in pictures.

  • The controversial decision by the referee that changed the match with World #2 Cai Zhenhua from China
  • The 15-day trip to North Korea for the 1979 World Championships. Very strange indeed
  • Defeating the #1 Chinese team 3-0 in doubles at the 1977 World Championships  
  • Reeling off eight consecutive U.S. Men’s Doubles titles with brother Rick
  • The disappointment of losing in two U.S. Open Men’s Singles Finals
  • The miracle comeback to capture U.S. Men’s title #4
  • Dan’s incredible 66-1 record in World Team 2nd division play
  • The thrill of signing a 5-year exclusive racket contract with K-Mart
  • The arrest in Yugoslavia for trespassing
  • Training and competing all over the world
  • Winning five Western Japan Open Men’s Singles titles
  • CBS Challenge of the Sexes and World Racquets Championships
  • And so much more - join me on this tour of a lifetime!

Brian Pace on the Road to Recovery
Here's the GoFundMe page, where Brian's been posting regular updates. I wrote about this in my Sept. 28 blog (third segment). So far they have raised $43,690 of the $100,000 goal.

New from Samson Dubina

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich
Lots of video from the Worlds!

New from Ti Long

New from Taco Backhand

New from Drupe Pong

Fan Zhendong Multiball Training Before World Championships
Here's the video (77 sec).

Training Tips with Hammed Taiwo
Backhand Loop Snap (74 sec).

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly
(I've moved his six articles on the World Championships to that segment above.)

New from USA Table Tennis
(I moved their three articles on the Worlds to that segment above.)

New from ITTF

Shortz's Table Tennis Iron Man Streak Reaches 10 Years
Here's the article from The Examiner News.

Ping-Pong Champion Shirts from Amazon
Here they are!

Table Tennis Comic Royalty-Free Images
Here they are! My favorites are Hippo-Pong, Angry Bunny Pong, and Ping-Pong Explosion. If you have a table tennis webpage, why not add one or more of these to liven things up?

Baby Pong
Here's Baby Ciz! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) He looks pretty hungry! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) Note that he's a hardbatter – no looping in his future!

Table Tennis on the Arctic Ocean
Here's the video (35 sec)!

1 vs. 2
Here's the video (11:49) from Adam Bobrow! "Joanna and Rachel Sung are excellent players and admirable people! After playing them in singles, I had to try DOUBLES!"

***
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Tip of the Week
The Larry Line.

Weekend Coaching
I coached in four group sessions over the weekend, each 90 minutes long. The kids kept asking me, "Where have you been?" since I'd missed the last two weekends since I was down in Santo Domingo (see segment below on Pam Ams). I quizzed them – none knew where Santo Domingo was, and only about one-third knew where the Dominican Republic was. (This was mostly ages 8-12.) Now they all know.

One drill we did in one session was simple – one player served backspin, other player pushed to backhand, server forehand or backhand looped at the receiver's elbow, receiver blocked or counterlooped, and server just caught the ball or grabbed another from a box and repeated. This allowed the server to rapid-fire work on both looping against backspin and attacking the middle, while the other player worked on covering the middle. Many players, when trying to go to the middle, hit the ball so it goes through the middle of the table, but by the time it reaches the opponent, it's on their backhand side. I explained and showed them how, to get at the opponent's middle (midpoint between forehand and backhand, roughly the playing elbow),  when hitting from the backhand side, the ball had to go through the opponent's forehand side so that when it reached the opponent, it would be at their elbow. (This is for righty vs. righty.)

I had an interesting speed-walk situation. While doing the above drill I looked across the room and saw a girl who had looped with her left foot back. (She was a righty.) I did sort of a double-take – I knew she was trained better than that, so I thought it was just a fluke shot. She did it again, and I started walking to her table. She did it a third time, and now I basically speed-walked to the table and pointed out the problem. She wasn't sure where she'd picked up that habit, but went back to doing it properly the rest of the session.

During a multiball session, one kid kept finding chances to practice his backhand serve, but wasn't quite doing it right. So I rearranged the schedule so I could spend a few minutes with him on it. (He was serving too much in front, so not getting the torque you get is you rotate sideways for this serve.) He was fascinated to discover you could do different spins with the same motion – backspin, side-backspin, sidespin, and side-top.

We have one para junior player who uses long pips on his backhand. When we did a backhand pushing drill, the girl he was hitting with had trouble pushing against the no-spin and light topspins that his pips returned when he pushed, and she kept popping them up. At first, I showed her how to chop down on it to keep it low. But then I had a better idea - I had her alternate backhand topspin and backhand push. When she topspinned, she got a backspin ball which she could push; when she pushed, she got a light topspin ball back that she could topspin. This simulated for both of them the type or rallies they might face in a tournament.

US Open Entry Form
Here is the 2022 US Open Home page, with the entry form linked. It will be held Dec. 16-21 in Ontario, California, near LA. I will, of course, be there, both coaching and likely playing some hardbat events. (I normally use sponge, but like to play hardbat events at big tournaments.) As I've done with every US Open and Nationals entry form starting in 1999, USATT sent it to me for proofing, and as usual I found a bunch of things to fix. (I'm one of those weird ones who, while reading a book, will on page 200 suddenly exclaim, "But that contradicts what it said on page 10!") My first US Open was in 1976, the year I started playing. I've been to every US Open and Nationals since 1984, and several before that.

World Table Tennis Team Championships
They are taking place right now in Chengdu, China, Sept. 30 – Oct. 9. Here's the info page where you can find complete results, schedule, news, and video. The USATT News page is doing coverage of Team USA, with one article up so far, USA Begins World Teams with Victories over Thailand and Canada. (Also see articles on Worlds in segment below from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly.)

Pan Am Under 11 & Under 13 Championships
Below are links to the articles on the Pan Ams by myself and Lifeng Yu. I linked to the Teams articles last week, but the Singles and Doubles articles are new. I was down in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from Sept. 15-25 as one of the USA Team coaches.

Review of Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers
Here's the review by Samson Dubina. "Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is one of the best table tennis books that I have ever read. I feel that players of all levels can benefit from the details of serve tactics, receive tactics, rallying tactics, doubles tactics, and tactics against various grips, rubbers, and styles."

Best Table Tennis Blogs You Should Know
TableTennisCoaching.com is #2 in the World!!! From PingSunday/EmRatThich

First Galactic Table Tennis Championship
It has come to my attention that not everyone has bought a copy of First Galactic Table Tennis Championships, which came out a few weeks ago. What's wrong with you??? C'mon, it's like $5 for a print copy, the minimum Amazon would let me charge for it. It takes place about 100 years from now, and table tennis has spread to the galaxy – and the title pretty much tells you what it’s about. Yes, the aliens are coming! (To Beijing, to be specific, where the Championships will be held.) I had a lot of fun imagining various alien TT players, including the Ith, who are like giraffes but with arms just under their head, so instead of moving to the ball, they just move their heads on their long necks. Here’s the back cover description:

Li Yi is a member of the Chinese National Table Tennis Team and the best woman in the world. She has trained long hours since she was a child. But now she faces her biggest challenge – aliens! Table tennis has spread to the galaxy and alien players now dominate the sport. The best are the giraffe-like Ith, with their dominating champion Egrayu.

But Earth isn't part of it, not since the cowboy Americans colonized a moon in the Ith home system, which led to a blockade of Earth. The Chinese hope to reopen trade with the galaxy by using "Ping-Pong Diplomacy" – by running the first Galactic Table Tennis Championships in Beijing. Li, her teammates, and the American champion Danny See – a literal cowboy –  play aliens of all shapes and sizes, including the seemingly unbeatable Egrayu, as they battle for the biggest cash prize in table tennis history. But Li is drawn into a corrupt conspiracy that will shake the very foundations of honor and sportsmanship. Plus, there's that problem with the Chinese dumplings…

New from Samson Dubina

How to Backhand Loop
Here's the tutorial (37:02) from Seth Pech.

New from Ti Long

New from PingSunday/EmRatThich

New from Performance Biomechanics Academy Table Tennis

How Do You Come Back from a Tough Loss?
Here's the article by Lily Zhang.

The Surprising Power of a No-Spin Serve
Here's the article by Tom Lodziak.

How to Win the Serve | Trick to know where the umpire has the ball 
Here's the video (1:52) from Pingispagarna.

Ask the Coach
Here are the latest questions from PingSkills.

New from TacoBackhand

Personality Traits and Motives in Table Tennis Players
Here's the scholarly article from Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI). "This study aims to investigate table tennis players’ personality traits and motives in the frame of the Big Five personality model and the self-determination theory (SDT) of motivation. A total of 447 Italian table tennis players ranging in level of play between the regional and international levels participated in the study."

New from Steve Hopkins/Butterfly

Seven Days at the 2022 U19 Pan Ams
Here's the article by Sally Moyland.

Butterfly San Antonio Fall Open Results And Tournament Report
Here's the article by Vlad Farcas.

New from USA Table Tennis

New from the ITTF

New from the Malong Fanmade Channel
Lots of new videos here.

Roger Federer Warm-ups with Ping Pong Dressed as James Bond for Laver Cup
Here's the article and video from Tennis World USA! Yes, he has a forehand, and did you see the backhand at the end? And yes, his opponent is faking Rafael Nadal groaning as he hits! (Here's a related story, Why we should all follow Roger Federer’s ping pong lead, from Stuff.co.)

iPhone 7 vs iPhone 11 Table Tennis Match
Here's the video (5:50) from PingSkills! (With Panda bear officiating.)

Who Needs a Net?
Here's the video (6 sec but repeats)!

Return My Serve, Win £100 [London]
Here's the video (10:09) from Pongfinity!

Pong with Anything
Here's the video (25 sec) as two use whatever's available in the basement as rackets!

Tiny Tennis Players on Ping Pong Table
Here's the cartoon!

T-Rex Hates Table Tennis T-Shirt, Button, Sticker, Coffee Cup, Mask
Here they are!

The Man The Myth The Ping Pong Legend T-Shirt
Here it is!

SF & Fantasy Stories
I've had a flurry of stories coming out in the world of science fiction and fantasy, my sideline outside table tennis. A common question I get is, "How much do you pay to get them published?" It's the other way around – magazines pay me to publish my stories, with fees ranging from $50 to $500 for a story. (And note the ping-pong ball mention in "Christmas Interrupted"!)

  • "Packing List for the Invasion" came out last week in Daily Science Fiction. The story is literally told through an alien's packing list for the invasion . . . of Earth. (I had another story there on Sept. 9, "Soul Testing in Major League Baseball.")
  • "Christmas Interrupted" in the Christmas Gothic Short Stories anthology. It's thousands or millions of years in the future and humankind is extinct, but Santa, suffering from Alzheimer's, is still trying to deliver presents to children every year, to the extreme annoyance of his aging elves. A darkly comic story, with a surprise ending that many will find touching. A ping-pong ball has a major impact on the story!
  • "Rationalized" in the Compelling Science Fiction anthology. A dystopian society requires everyone to have an operation when they turn 13 to remove the parts of the brain responsible for emotion. An underground that avoided the operation fights back - and their leader faces an impossible decision. Probably the best tear-jerker I've ever written.
  • I have several more coming out this Fall, including "The Vampire on the Tesseract Wall," coming Oct. 11 from Dark Matter Magazine. What happens when 4-D being collects 3-D beings as a hobby – and mistakenly captures a powerful vampire? It's a mashup of SF and dark fantasy.
  • And, of course, there's First Galactic Table Tennis Championships, my SF novelette – see segment above! (If you want something a little longer, try The Spirit of Pong, my fantasy table tennis novel.)

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