Blogs

Larry Hodges' Blog and Tip of the Week will go up on Mondays by noon 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 eight books and over 1500 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 Board of Directors and chairs 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 Tips and More Table Tennis Tips, which cover, in logical progression, his Tips of the Week from 2011-2013 and 2014-2016, 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!

October 21, 2019

Tip of the Week
How to Stop the Short Receive.

Weekend Coaching and Attacking the Middle
While I was away Friday and Saturday (see Capclave SF Convention at end of blog), I had three group sessions.

We had the third meeting of the Thursday Beginning Class, where the focus was serving and review of forehand and backhand. At the end, as happens in about half our beginning classes, they stacked cups into pyramids and walls (or as I called them, the Pretty Good Wall of Maryland), and then, as I fed multiball, took turns destroying the fruits of their work.

We also had the second meeting of the Sunday Beginning Class, where the focus was on the backhand and forehand review. As with the Thursday class, we finished with cup-killing. (Kids just love smacking cups - and while they do this, they are developing their strokes and accuracy!)

In the more advanced Talent Development Program, I ran the drills for six players on three tables. It was sort of divided into two parts. The first part was lots of footwork drills. The second part was serve and receive drills, where we had the players play out the points. If the server won two points in a row, he became the receiver. Every three minutes the players moved up or down the tables, with the receivers moving up, serves down.

The focus of two of the drills was receiving to the middle, i.e. the server's elbow. In the first drill, the server would serve short anywhere, with the receiver attacking the server's elbow. If the server "cheated" and tried to favor one side, the receiver had to move adjust to still go at the elbow - so if the server tried to favor his forehand, the receiver would go more to his backhand and still catch him. (We also allowed them to go to the wide forehand if the serve "cheated" too much.) In the second drill, the server had to serve long anywhere, and the receiver looped it at the server's elbow again adjusting if the server moved.

Attacking the middle is one of those things best taught early and young. Chinese coach and all-time great Liu Guoliang once said of a top USA player (and I'm paraphrasing here), "The main thing that keeps him from beating the best players in the world is he didn't develop an instinct for attacking middle early on, and now it's too late."

Smashing Seminar
Last Wednesday night I ran a 90-minute Forehand Smashing Seminar at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. Fourteen players attended - two came in after photo was taken. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) It went pretty well - and I had fun smacking water bottles with my forehand smash while lecturing, as a demonstration that you have to let the subconscious take over for these shots. Here's what was covered:

  • Should You Smash or Loop?
  • Technique
  • Balance and Recovery
  • Muscle Memory and the Subconscious
  • Drills to Develop a Great Smash
  • Smashing Backspin
  • Smashing Loops
  • Smashing Lobs
  • We finished with a smashing competition. I created a pyramid of ten plastic cups, and each player had ten shots to see how many they could knock down. One player astounded us all by knocking them all down in four shots - he obviously paid attention during the seminar!

You Never Know!
A 59-year-old was too old to win Over 40 Hardbat at the U.S. Nationals in July, but he did. (Hey, that's me! Well, I thought I was too old.) Navin Kumar wasn't supposed to win Bronze in Singles and Silver in Doubles at the World Parkinson's Championships, but he did. And USA's Lily Zhang, world #49, wasn't supposed to make the semifinals of the Women's World Cup this past weekend, but she did. Remember this the next time you enter a tournament! (And, of course, Dan Seemiller at 65 can't possibly make the US Olympic Team, right? See "Two Opportunities to Support the Sport You Love!" below, and the segment on this in my blog last week.)

Women's World Cup
History was made as Lily Zhang made the semifinals, the first time ever by a USA player, and China's Liu Shiwen won for a record fifth time. (Coach Zeng "Jeffrey" Xun coached her matches - he's one of my fellow coaches at MDTTC.) Here are some links.

Polish Open
Here's the ITTF page for the event held in Wladyslawowo, Poland this past weekend.

World Veterans Tour - Fort Lauderdale
Here's the ITTF page for the event this past weekend, with compete results, articles, pictures, and video. Wish I could have been there!

Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships
I wrote about this in my blog last week. Here are more articles and photo galleries.

Winning Table Tennis
Here's the article by Samson Dubina.

Are You Standing Too Close to the Table Tennis Table?
Here's the article by Ben Larcombe.

New from EmRatThich

Training at the German Open and Women's World Cup
Here are four videos from Malong Fanmade Channel.

National Collegiate Table Tennis October Newsletter
Here it is!

Two Opportunities to Support the Sport You Love!
Here's the Butterfly article on the Butterfly South Shore Highland Table Tennis Tournament and Coach Seemiller’s Journey Back to the Olympics

Table Tennis Coach May Have Lied About Links to Ukraine
Here's the article by Coach Jon!

WAB Club Feature: Canadian Elite Table Tennis Training Centre
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

St. Lucia Olympic Solidarity Course
Here's the article by Richard McAfee about the course he ran in the West Indies.

History of USATT - Volume 23 - Chapter 13
Here is Chapter 13 of Tim Boggan's History of U.S. Table Tennis, subtitled "1998 Gilbert Cup." (Page includes links to previous chapters.) Or you can buy it and previous (and future) volumes at www.timboggantabletennis.com. Volume 23 is 491 pages with 1841 graphics, and covers all the wild things that happened in 1997-1999 - and I'm mentioned a lot! Why not buy a copy - or the entire set at a discount? Tim sells them directly, so when you order them, you get it autographed - order your copy now!

TT Dream Building Fund 2020
Here's the ITTF video (60 sec).

Never Give Up
Here's the video (25 sec)!

Lionel Messi Also Plays Table Tennis!!!
Here's the video (10 sec) as Argentina soccer superstar Lionel Messi knocks a ball off a bottle with his serve!

Earn £100 Teaching Monkeys Table Tennis!
Here's the help wanted cartoon! (Here's the non-Facebook version.)

Ping Pong Trickshots
Here's the video (3:06) from GT Table Tennis!

Ping Pong with Musical Instruments
Here's the video (10:03) from Pongfinity!

Non-Table Tennis - Capclave Science Fiction Convention
I was a panelist at the Capclave Science Fiction Convention on Friday and Saturday. I was on four panels, including one I moderated, plus an author signing. Here are some links.

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October 14, 2019

Tip of the Week
React to Opponent's Forward Swing.

Forehand Smashing Seminar
I will be running a Forehand Smashing Seminar at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, on Wednesday, Oct. 16 (tomorrow!), 7:30-9:00 PM. 100% of fees goes to the HW Global Junior Program at MDTTC. (I'm not taking any payment for this.) If interested, email me to reserve your spot! Seminar will alternate between lecture/demos and table practice. Topics covered will include:

  • Should You Smash or Loop?
  • Technique
  • Balance and Recovery
  • Muscle Memory and the Subconscious
  • Drills to Develop a Great Smash
  • Smashing Backspin
  • Smashing Loops
  • Smashing Lobs
  • BONUS - at 9PM we'll have a smashing competition!

USATT Teleconference on Rajul Sheth
This morning (Tues, Oct. 15), USATT had a teleconference at 11AM for about one hour, with only one item on the agenda - whether to remove Rajul Seth from the USATT Board of Directors. Here's the USATT notice. I listened in on the teleconference, as it was an open meeting. Rajul is not only a member of the USATT board of directors, but he's the founder and director of the highly successfull ICC Table Tennis program in the Bay area. 

From the USATT bylaws (Section 7.13), there are two ways the board can vote to remove a member - either "without cause," with a 3/4 majority of the board, or "with cause," with a 2/3 majority of the board. In both cases, the member being voted on can't vote, so they need either 2/3 or 3/4 of the rest of the board - including any who do not attend or vote. Initially they were going to do it "without cause," which makes things easier later on if the expelled member files a grievance. The board last year removed an appointed committee chair "without cause," but that was a case of the board removing someone they themselves had appointed. In this case, they would be removing someone who had been elected by the USATT membership. I was one of those who wrote to USATT and pointed out that in this case, they really needed to do it "with cause." They agreed, and so put together an extensive case. To remove him, they would need six votes.

Here is the USATT Board Book for the USATT board meeting held in Rockford, IL, Oct. 5-6. Originally, they were going to vote on Rajul in a teleconference before that meeting, then they decided to do it at that meeting. But because some of the info for the case was distributed to the board just before the meeting, they decided more time was needed to go over it, so they scheduled the vote for the Oct. 15 teleconference. The "for cause" case is in the Board Book, Under Exhibit J. It is divided into four parts. The first three basically cover USATT rules and codes of conduct. J-4, which is divided into five parts, has the specific charges. It's all very long, and I'm not going to get into it here. Suffice to say that if I were still on the board - I decided last year not to run for re-election - I would have had to make a very difficult decision. Especially troubling was the apparent pledge to donate money to a lawsuit against USATT. However, I hate judging other people - at times like this, I'm glad I'm not on the board anymore.

Surprisingly, Rajul decided not to attend the teleconference. The other eight members of the USATT Board of Directors attended. Rajul sent a note to the Chair, Anne Cribbs, to read. Then they had discussion. From previous discussions, going in it was fairly obvious that the vote was 5-2 to remove Rajul, with one unknown - Deepak Somarapu. Two board members defended Rajul (Bruce and Tara), while the others explained why they believed he should be voted off, based on the charges given above. When Deepak spoke, I had trouble understanding all that he said, but the gist of it made me believe he was going to vote against Rajul.

Then they voted - and when they got to Deepak, he voted "no." I think there were some internal gasps as I think others also thought he was going to vote "yes." But as soon as he voted, the result was clear - and so the vote was 5-3 to remove Rajul, which fell short of the 2/3 needed. And so Rajul stays on the board.

World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships
When I heard that the Westchester Table Tennis Club in New York would be hosting the first World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships, and that Navin Kumar from my club - who I coached for years - was going, I told him I'd drive up (4.5 hours) and coach him for free, if he'd pay my expenses. It was a great trip for me, and an even greater one for Navin. I confess - I didn't expect him to medal. But he got Bronze in Men's Singles and Silver in Men's Doubles!!!  His partner in the Doubles was Ilya Rozenblat from Kansas. It was an interesting team - Navin is a blocker, with long pips (no sponge) on the backhand, while Ilya uses a sort of lively anti on the backhand, but mostly hits with it - and when I say hit, I mean he murders any slightly weak ball! He also has a nice forehand loop.

For singles, they divided the players into three divisions, based on disability scores for Parkinson's, and surprisingly, Navin was in Division 3, for those with the least disability, while Ilya was in Division 2, in the middle. Ilya easily won his division without losing a game, while Navin got bronze in his.

One interesting thing - because Parkinson's players can't play for as long as others, all matches were best of three to 11. This led to a tactical decision for most matches. Normally Navin is likes to lock up opponents by keeping most (not all) shots to their wide backhands, and challenging them to hit through him, backhand to backhand. But with best of three to 11, I told Navin that it would be better to go side to side, so that opponents never get comfortable against the pips from either side, and the matches would be over before they adjusted. It worked – all his wins were 2-0, often by surprisingly lopsided scores as his opponents simply didn’t have time to figure him out. He won three matches before losing in the semifinals (bronze), where he made it to 7-9 in the third before losing against a US player who was rated about 1800, and also had long pips (with sponge) on the backhand. (I warmed Navin up for the match with long pips - I'd brought a selection of rackets, including ones with both long pips with and without sponge.)

They actually played doubles first, with Navin and Ilya getting silver. Here's a picture of me coaching them between games. (Here's the non-Facebook picture.)

A great thanks goes to everyone who helped put the tournament together! This included Westchester TTC owner Will Shortz, and all the staff and officials - even the one I argued with about scheduling! Attendees included ITTF President Thomas Weikert, and former world #3 and two-time Men's World Cup Champion Zoran Primorac, who chairs the ITTF Athlete's Commission and is on the ITTF Executive Committee. (I interviewed him after he won Men's Singles at the 1991 U.S. Open in Midland, Michigan - his English has improved!)

Here's a nice video, TT4Health: The story of Jens Greve (6:10). "Jens Greve, diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, is the founder of Yuvedo, an app to help people also diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and their relatives. Because of his incredible work, he has become ambassador of our #TT4Health program and will also PLAY FOR HISTORY at the first ever ITTF Parkinson's World Table Tennis Championships."

In the World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships, make sure to see the links under News and Media!

Five-Time US Men's Singles Champion Dan Seemiller is Trying Out for the Olympics
Want to help fund his training? Sure, he's gotten older. But with his unique style, who knows - he might be able to pull off some upsets! At worse, it'll be fascinating to see just how good he can if he trains seriously for the first time in years. He's rated 2356 at age 65 (easily #1 of his age in the U.S, probably in U.S. history), and was rated over 2400 last year, and over 2500 just four years ago - so he can probably reach at least that level again. (Ten years ago, at age 55, he was US Men's Doubles Champion, for the twelfth time, with Mark Hazinski.) Here is his GoFundMe page, which includes a five-minute video from Dan. Serious training cost money, as Dan explains in the video. (He also gives a few table tennis tips!) So far he's had 53 donations, raising $5615 of his goal of $12,000. Want to help him out? (And don't forget to get a copy of his autobiography, Revelations of a Ping-Pong Champion!)

German Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event that ended Sunday in Bremen, Germany, with results, articles, photos, and video. Here's the article German Open Review: Fan Tops Field by Steve Hopkins.

Uncle Pop Women's World Cup
Here's the ITTF home page for the event to be held in Chengdu, China, Oct. 18-20. (Don't you love the "Uncle Pop"?) Representing USA is Wu Yue and Lily Zhang.

2nd US Youth National Ranking Final Standings
Here's the USATT news item. I've worked with a number of these players! Stanley Hsu, who came in first Hopes Boys, started out with me.

MDTTC Open
Here are complete results of the MDTTC Open held this past weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. (Yep, that's my club!)

USATT Invitation for Interest in Committee Membership
Here's the USATT news item.

USATT Adds National Team Tracksuits to Prize List for Senior Events at 2019 Seamaster US Open
Here's the USATT news item by Matt Hetherington.

Coaching Position at Zing! Table Tennis Center
Here's the news item by Noel Abbott.

Winning Table Tennis
Here's the article by Samson Dubina. "A missing key in table tennis is a proper understanding of between-game analysis and between-point analysis.  In this article, I’m going to mention the three keys – understanding the problem, finding a solution, and encouraging yourself with the benefit of implementing the solution."

Champions Keep Playing Until They Get It Right
Here's the article from Pong Universe.

New from Tom Lodziak

New from Louis Levene

How to Flip Short Balls
Here's the video (7:29) by Yu Di.

Increasing Consistency Through Changes in Pace - Build From Your Block...
Here's the video (2:12) from Ed Lynn Table Tennis Coaching.

4 Basic Backhand Exercise For Beginners
Here's the video (7:05) from MLFM Table Tennis.

Gray Offers Insights into Table Tennis Physical Training
Here's the article by Matt Hetherington. "As National Team players were put through their paces in a number of training camps over the past year or so, there was one man standing among them directing the all-important physical training sessions which were apparently lacking among the nation's best athletes. Eric Gray was that man, and having been involved in a number of physical training sessions and athletic camps with the youth and senior national teams since becoming involved with USATT, he has some valuable insights into physical training needs for table tennis players."

Taming the Tennis Player
Here's the article by Coach Jon.

ITTF High Performance & Development – Continental Reports
Here's the ITTF Reports, including the half-year report for North America.

High Level Coaching Course in Halmstad – the next level of learning
Here's the ITTF article.

Nittaku ITTF Monthly Pongcast | September 2019
Here's the ITTF video (16:26).

Five Things the Month of September Taught!
Here's the ITTF article. Item #2 is about USA's Lily Zhang!

How to Play Table Tennis Alone
Here's the article from Table Tennis Spot.

Teaching with Table Tennis
Here's the article from the Northern Ontario News.

WAB Featured Club: Denver Table Tennis Alliance
Here's the article by Steve Hopkins.

College Table Tennis Season Commences as School Teams Prep for Divisionals
Here's the article by Michael Reff.

Tallahassee Table Tennis Club Hosts First USATT Sanctioned Tournament
Here's the article by Michael Reff.

The Art of Ping-Pong – in Pictures
Here's the page (from 2014).

Pizza Hut Football Table Tennis
Here's the repeating gif image (7 sec)!

Table Tennis Funny Moments
Here's the video (8:02)!

King Ping Pong Comedy
Here's the video (4:14)!

Ping Pong Password
Here's the video (5:28)!

Top 10 Table Tennis Spin Shots
Here's the video (2:24) from Pongfinity!

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October 8, 2019

Tip of the Week
Top Ten Reasons You Might Not Be as Good at Table Tennis as You Could Be.

Europe and Egypt Tour
I'm back!!! From Aug. 12 to Sept. 28 I did a once-in-a-lifetime tour. I wrote about it extensively on Facebook, and now plan to put it all together in a book, which (hopefully) will be out this fall. I visited Portugal, Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Vatican City, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Greece, and Egypt. I saw all the famous sites, from Stonehenge to the Great Pyramids and Great Sphinx, from the beaches of Normandy to the Eiffel Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the ancient sites of Athens, Rome, and Pompeii, the sobering tour of Auschwitz and other Holocaust museums and monuments, and the many other sites of Dublin, London, Paris, Lausanne, Venice, Florence, Siena, Berlin, Warsaw, Krakow, and Cairo, with short stopovers in Lisbon and Budapest as well. I saw a zillion museums (from the British Museum to the Louvre to the Cairo Museum) and more ancient cathedrals than there are bits of sand on a beach. I even did a camel ride around the Great Pyramid!

Because I was traveling "light," I didn't bring my table tennis stuff, and didn't play any table tennis. However, there were two table tennis episodes in my travels. Amazingly, someone recognized me while we were walking on the path toward Stonehenge. He said, in I think an eastern European accent, "Excuse me, are you Larry Hodges?" It turned out he was a table tennis player who reads my blog - I get 14,000 reads per blog, so I guess there are a lot of people out there. I wasn't wearing any table tennis stuff except for my T-Rex Playing Ping-Pong Cap. That drew his attention, and suspecting it was me, he googled my picture to verify. (It's a great hat - combines my two worlds of table tennis and science fiction, though a T-Rex is real so not actually SF.)

In Lausanne, Switzerland, I visited the ITTF headquarters. This used to be the only ITTF headquarters, but now they have a second one in Singapore. Alas, the one in Lausanne is gradually phasing out, and now is down to three employees. There I meet Jordi Serra, the ITTF Head of Operations and former Executive Director. He's very friendly and helpful, showed me around, and gave tips on what to see in Lausanne. He introduced me to the two others there, Silvia Bernhard (Office Manager) and Emese Barsai (Program Manager). He also took a picture of me - don't I look like an American tourist? Though most American tourists don't wear a 2019 U.S. National Table Tennis Championships shirts or a hat with a T-Rex playing table tennis! (During my tour I've been wearing both TT and SF shirts.)

When I visit each famous site, I always buy a souvenir magnet. It actually saves money - others spend $20 on a t-shirt while I spend about $4! I now have my magnet collection organized into two groups - International (on a large magnet board) and USA (on my refrigerator).

USA Sweeps Olympic Qualifier with Canada
Here are two articles by Matt Hetherington.

The women's match was pretty one-sided and was never in doubt. However, on the men's side, USA looked to be only slightly favored, with Canada's Eugene Wang their key to potential success. Here's video of the two team matches:

The format was three-person teams, with one player on each side playing two singles, and the other two players playing one singles and one doubles. USA was obviously going to put their #1 player, Kanak Jha, in the singles spot, with Zhou Xin and lefty Nikhil Kumar in the doubles spot, with one singles each. And Canada, of course, would put Eugene Wang in the singles spot, with Hongtao Chen and lefty Jeremy Hazin in the doubles spot, playing one singles each, right?

But no, Canada instead put lefty Hazin to play two singles matches, with righties Wang and Chen playing doubles and only one singles each. This seemed to make zero sense. Were they hoping to avoid Wang against Jha, thereby getting two wins from Wang (doubles and singles)? But that wasn't it - they must have known that Jha would be playing two singles for USA, and they put Wang against him in the fourth match. And they sent up a pair of righties for doubles, putting their lefty to play two singles. (Lefty-right in doubles is an advantage.) If Wang was injured, but still able to play two matches, then shouldn't he play two singles, with the lefty/righty playing doubles?  I have no idea why they did this. Is there some info we are missing here?

It did start off sort of well for Canada in the opening doubles, match, with Canada winning the first game and getting to deuce in the second. Kumar didn't play well early on, but then he got back to his normal self and USA not only won the doubles rather easily in the end, with a stronger short game and better angle play. Hazin gave Jha a good match, but lost 3-2, and Zhou won 3-0 over Chen, giving USA a 3-0 sweep in both men's and women's. So the strange Canadian tactic did not work. And we also missed the fireworks of the Kanak Jha-Eugene Wang match that never happened.

Many of you know how often I've complained about illegal hidden serves. If you watch the matches, you'll see that in nearly every serve the player throws the ball backwards and juts his head forward as the ball is dropping, obscuring the ball and contact from the opponent, which is of course illegal. However, some of the serving was ridiculously illegal. I don't want to pick on him, but look at all of Hazin's serves - he blatantly hides the ball with his free arm every time, and is never called. Here is Rule 2.6.5: "As soon as the ball has been projected, the server’s free arm and hand shall be removed from the space between the ball and the net." Here is Hazin's very first serve of the match against Jha - they are all like this. (Note that in YouTube, you can freeze the image and then move up or back one frame at a time by hitting period or comma. Check out other serves and see how often the ball is obscured by the head, and sometimes the nose - I guess having a big nose is an advantage in table tennis!) However, the rules are very clear that if an umpire isn't sure if a serve is legal, then it is illegal, and the player should be faulted (or warned the first time). This is rarely done, especially when the ball goes behind the head and the umpire has no idea if the ball remained visible to the receiver, as it legally must be.

Forehand Smashing Seminar
I will be running a Forehand Smashing Seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 7:30-9:00PM, at the Maryland Table Tennis Center. 100% of fees goes to the HW Global Junior Program at MDTTC. (I am taking no money for this.) If interested, email me to reserve your spot! Seminar will alternate between lecture/demos and table practice. Topics covered will include:

  • Should You Smash or Loop?
  • Technique
  • Balance and Recovery
  • Muscle Memory and the Subconscious
  • Drills to Develop a Great Smash
  • Smashing Backspin
  • Smashing Loops
  • Smashing Lobs
  • BONUS - at 9PM we'll have a smashing competition!

Weekend Coaching
After being gone seven weeks, two big questions loomed: Would I still remember how to play table tennis? Would anyone at the club still recognize me? The answer to both was, well, mostly yes!

This past week we had week one of both the Thursday and Sunday Beginning Classes. They are for kids, roughly ages 6-14. We primarily covered the grip, stance, and the forehand, and then games - King/Queen of the Table for the older kids, smacking pyramids of cups for the younger ones.

The last two Sundays I also coached in the more advanced HW Global Junior Program. (I returned from my European trip on Saturday, Sept. 28, and began coaching the next day.) On the first Sunday I worked with the older, more advanced kids; this past Sunday I worked with the younger ones.

Although I'm retired from private coaching, I came out of retirement to give a session last week to Navin Kumar to help prepare him for the upcoming World Parkinson's Table Tennis Championships coming up this weekend at the Westchester TTC. (I'm coaching him there.) We have another session today at 4PM at MDTTC.

Bouncing Around the Globe to Ping-Pong Pinnacle
Here's the article from the China Daily News, featuring Kai Zhang, Cheng Yinghua, Will Shortz . . . and me! Well, I'm quoted many times.

2nd US Youth National Ranking Tournament Homepage
Here are the results and, Final Standings, and Photo Gallery of the tournament, held this past Thur-Sun at the Westchester TTC in New York.

German Open
Here's the ITTF home page for the event starting today in Bremen, Germany, with results, articles, photos, and video.

Table Tennis News
It's been about two months since I last blogged, so lots of news and coaching articles have piled up. Rather than link to them all, why not browse over these news pages?

How to Do Backhand Pendulum Serve
Here's the video (16:08) from Louis Levene. He has a series of other coaching videos on the Looeelooee TT Youtube Channel. (He started this series while I was gone.)

Table Tennis at the Olympic Games
Here's the video (46:53) from PingSkills. It covers Tip of the Week (How to get off to a good start in matches); Drill of the Week (Forehand anywhere); and nine other segments.

Running Around Table Stroking and Footwork Drills
Here's the video (54 sec) from Samson Dubina!

How To Win Gold and Have Fun Doing It
Here's the article by Tahl Leibovitz

Maintaining China's Grip at the Top of the Table Tennis Rankings - requires solidarity and innovation, says former national team coach
Here's the article.

Pong Universe Blog
They now have a weekly blog. Topics covered so far:

National Collegiate Table Tennis Newsletter

The Fountain of Youth Has a Net
Here's the article from Southwest Magazine.

10 Reasons Why Ping Pong is Good for Your Brain
Here's the article.

Ping-Pong and the Riddle of Victory
Here's the video (12:44). "Growing up in England, Pico Iyer was taught that the point of a game was to win. Now, some 50 years later, he's realized that competition can be "more like an act of love." In this charming, subtly profound talk, he explores what regular games of ping-pong in his neighborhood in Japan have revealed about the riddle of winning -- and shows why not knowing who's won can feel like the ultimate victory."

Playing Table Tennis With The World's Oldest Bats
Here's the video (4 min) from Table Tennis Daily.

Miss the Backhand, Stroke the Forehand!
Here's the video (24 sec).

Side Pong
Here's the video (16 sec)!

When Superheroes Play Table Tennis
Here's the video (32 sec)!

T-Rex Pong!
Here's the picture! (Here's the non-Facebook version.) And here's Tyrannosaurus Rexes Playing Table Tennis from 2016 (see last segment).

Spider-Man vs. Venom
Here's the video (4 min)!

Pongfinity
They put up hilarious table tennis videos every week. Here are ones that went up recently.

Non-Table Tennis - "Death for the Cure: A Comedy about Cancer"
My story Death for the Cure: A Comedy about Cancer was published at Galaxy's Edge. (It's short, about 1000 words.) It's already been reviewed twice:

  • Tangent Online: "The narrator of 'Death for the Cure: A Comedy about Cancer' by Larry Hodges is a woman who dies of breast cancer. At the time of her demise, the incarnation of Death shows up. For unclear reasons, the Grim Reaper disappears, and she takes over his role. In addition to her duty of sending souls on to their final destinations, she also raises money for cancer research by delivering pizza. This doesn't quite work out, so she comes up with a much better plan.
  • SF Revu: "A crusader against cancer dies from it and becomes Death. She finds a way to use this to continue the fight against cancer. Nice twist."

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October 7, 2019

I've had a growing stomachache the last couple of days, and this morning I woke up feeling like I swallowed a jackhammer, plus a sore throat. I hope it's not the beginning of the flu. (I was completely healthy my entire 6.5 weeks in Europe and Egypt, so I guess I'm due.) I'm taking today off, and hopefully by tomorrow I'll feel like I only swallowed a few ping-pong balls, and so will be back to blogging. Meanwhile, the Tip of the Week is up: Top Ten Reasons You Might Not Be as Good at Table Tennis as You Could Be.

September 30, 2019

Tip of the Week
Confidence, then Consistency.

September 23, 2019

September 16, 2019

Tip of the Week
Topspin Defense.

September 9, 2019

Tip of the Week
Smashing Lobs.

September 2, 2019

Tip of the Week
Relaxing the Arm.

August 26, 2019

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