Butterfly Online


Larry Hodges' daily blog will go up Mon-Fri by noon USA Eastern time (usually by 10 AM, a little later on Mondays when he does a Tip of the Week).
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 seven books and over 1400 articles on table tennis. Here is his bio

Make sure to order your copy of Larry's best-selling book, Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers!
21 chapters, 240 pages, 102,000 words. Finally, a tactics book on this most tactical of sports!!!

His book, Table Tennis Tips, is also out - All 150 Tips of the Week from 2011-2013, in one volume, in logical progression!!!

His newest book, The Spirit of Pong, is also out - a fantasy story about an American who goes to China to learn the secrets of table tennis and ends up training with the spirits of past champions. Read the First Two Chapters for free!

May 1, 2015

World Championships

They are from April 26 - May 3 in Suzhou, China. As I write this on Friday morning, they are into the final eight in Men's Singles, and the final four in Women's Singles, Men's Doubles, and Women's Doubles. They must completed Mixed Doubles, with Xu Xin/Yang Haeun (CHN/KOR) defeating M. Yoshimura/K. Ishikawa (JPN), 4-0 (7,8,4,6). This is the first time China and Korea have combined to win Mixed Doubles (and probably for any title).  

Six of the top ten men in the world are in the quarterfinals of Men's Singles. Four are out:

  • World #2 Xu Xin, apparently suffering shoulder problems (though he'd turn around and win Mixed Doubles after this), lost in the eighths to Fang Bo (world #14).
  • World #6 Dmitrij Ovtcharov lost in the round of 64 to Lee Sangsu of South Korea (world #47).
  • World #8 Marcos Freitas of Portugal lost in the round of 32 to Patrick Franziska of Germany (world #56).
  • World #10 Chuan Chih-Yuan lost in the round of 128 to Adam Pattantyus of Hungary (world #90).

Here are the Excellent Eight in Men's Singles, i.e. quarterfinal pairing - and it's actually looking pretty competitive internationally, with "only" four players from China, two from Germany (despite Ovtcharov's loss), one from Japan, and one from Hong Kong (which some would say counts as Chinese).

Men's Quarterfinals

  • Ma Long (CHN) vs. Tang Peng (HKG)
  • Timo Boll (GER) vs. Fan Zhendong (CHN)
  • Zhang Jike (CHN) vs. Jun Mizutani (JPN)
  • Patrick Franziska (GER) vs. Fang Bo (CHN)

Below are the Final Four in the Chinese National Championships Women's Singles. Ding Ning, Liu Shiwen, and Li Xiaoxia are ranked 1-3 in the world. But the big story is Mu Zi of China, who doesn't even have a world ranking. In the round of 64 she beat world #5 Kasumi Ishikawa of Japan, 4-0 (7,10,10,4). In the round of 16 she beat world #4 Feng Tianwei of Singapore, also 4-0 (5,2,9,5). In fact, except for her first round match (round of 128) against Kristin Silbereisen of Germany (world #39), which she won 4-1, she hasn't lost a game, winning her last four matches all 4-0. Here are some articles on Mu Zi from Table Tennista, and here is a video interview (3:34, in English) from the Worlds from just this morning.

Women's Semifinals

  • Ding Ning (CHN) vs. Mu Zi (CHN)
  • Li Xiaoxia (CHN) vs. Liu Shiwen (CHN)

Here are some links.

Ask a Pro Anything

Here's the video (25 sec) from Adam Bobrow where you are invited to ask questions of Romanian star Bernadette Szocs (world #64, recently #49).

ITTF Workshop on Motivation

Here's the article on the workshop run by Dora Kurimay.

The Future National Champion

It begins (71 sec).

When They Were Young

Here's a young Waldner. And here's the young Chinese National Team - see if you can name them.

21 Seconds of Wang Liqin Demonstrating his Trick Shots

Here's the video.

One Person's Luckiest Table Tennis Shot Ever

Here's the video (48 sec, including slo-mo replay).

More Mike Mezyan Pictures

NOTE - If you are unable to see these pictures, all you have to do is join the Table Tennis Group - it's easy! Here are all the past, present, and (soon) future pictures he's collected. (I pick out his best ones for here - he has more.)

Argos Aliens Play Table Tennis

Here's the video (30 sec)!

Send us your own coaching news!

April 30, 2015

Good Tactics Lead to Confidence

Thank about the last time you played a match and got nervous. Now ask yourself this: What were your tactics in that match? If you are like the overwhelming majority of players I've worked with over the years in that situation, you probably didn't have a strong game plan - you were probably just winging it. And so, unsure of what you were doing, you were (drum roll please) . . . unsure of what you were doing. And it is that lack of surety that often leads to nervousness.

So next time you are nervous, ask yourself what your game plan is, and come up with a coherent one. Not only will this give your mind something to think about other than your upcoming doom loss, but it will give yourself the confidence that you know what you are doing. You still have to execute the shots, but it's a lot easier to be confident when you know what you are doing than when you don't. Plus, this confidence allows you to think a bit more clearly and so play even better tactics. In other words:

Good Tactics => Confidence => Good Tactics => Even More Confidence

When I talk to players after losses, often they'll blame their loss on nervousness. It's only when I question them that the truth comes out! (An expanded version of this will likely become a Tip of the Week!)

World Championships

They are from April 26 - May 3 in Suzhou, China. Here are some links. USA is now out of everything, but we did decently in Men's Doubles, where Timothy Wang and Kanak Jha made the final 32. USA isn't that strong now, but think of where we might be in 4-6 years, when our current powerhouse group of cadets are reaching their peaks!!!

Choppers Excel in Early Rounds at Worlds

Here's the new article by Matt Hetherington. (In my review of the new plastic balls on June 16, 2014, I wrote, "I'm starting to think it might help choppers, the most surprising thing I found." Some thought I was crazy!)

Don't Serve First!

Here's the mathematical probability coaching article - put your thinking caps on!

2015 ITTF Hopes Program Update

Here's the USATT article.

Hardbat and Umpires & Referees Committee Members

The members of those two committees have been approved. Here's the board vote: "MOVED that we approve the members of the Hardbat Committee and Umpires and Referees Committee (URC) as nominated by their respective chairs, with the Hardbat Committee made up of Scott Gordon (previously approved chair), Jay Turberville, Diann Darnall, Albert Papp, and Ty Hoff (as athlete rep), and the URC made up of Joseph Yick (previously approved chair), and Wendell Dillon, Saul Weinstein, and Lee Kondo." (Han Xiao, Chair of the Athletes’ Advisory Council, will nominate an Elite Athlete to serve on the Umpires and Referees Committee.) Here is the USATT Minutes & Actions Page.

Firefighter Pong

Here's the picture! The World Police and Firefighter Games are in Virginia this year, with the table tennis events held at the Smash Table Tennis Center, June 27-29.

More Mike Mezyan Pictures

NOTE - If you are unable to see these pictures, all you have to do is join the Table Tennis Group - it's easy! Here are all the past, present, and (soon) future pictures he's collected. (I pick out his best ones for here - he has more.)

Larvae Pong

Send us your own coaching news!

April 29, 2015

Top 20 Chuck Norris Table Tennis Facts

I thought I'd have a little fun this morning. Let's see if you can come up with your own Chuck Norris table tennis facts! Comment below - if there are a lot of good ones, I'll refer to them in tomorrow's blog. I saw a thread like this in the OOAK table tennis forum, but they were doing non-table tennis Chuck Norris sayings. (There's actually a Chuck Norris Facts page - I contributed about 50 of them.)

  1. Chuck Norris doesn't smash. He just looks at the ball and it flees in terror.
  2. Chuck Norris shaved his beard and underwent plastic surgery, and then cloned himself. Say hello to the Chinese National Team.
  3. Chuck Norris once smashed a ball so hard even he couldn't return it . . . and then he returned it.
  4. Chuck Norris doesn't play shakehands or penhold. He uses his beard.
  5. Chuck Norris never serves let balls. When he serves low, the net ducks.
  6. Chuck Norris used to high-toss serve. When he stopped using it, the U.S. space program ended, having no propulsion system.
  7. When Chuck Norris hides his serve, the ball can be found in Andromeda.
  8. Chuck Norris once played Superman a match, and the loser had to wear his underwear on the outside of his pants.
  9. When Chuck Norris did a multiball session with 38mm balls, he broke them all and we had to switch to 40mm. When Chuck Norris did a multiball session with 40mm celluloid balls he broke them all and we had to switch to plastic. He plans a multiball session with plastic balls soon, and we will be switching to golf balls.
  10. It's been 4.6 billion years since Chuck Norris looped the earth, and it's still spinning.
  11. Wood has a high carbon content, which is why the handle of Chuck Norris's blade is now made of diamond.
  12. An opponent once managed to touch one of Chuck Norris's serves, and yelled "Oosha!" Chuck karate kicked him into the sun.
  13. A referee once red carded Chuck Norris. He karate kicked the referee's liver to the moon while snacking on fava beans.
  14. Chuck Norris counterloops with sandpaper.
  15. CNN didn't cover World Table Tennis Championships. Chuck Norris mad. CNN now Chuck Norris Network.
  16. Chuck Norris doesn't use celluloid or plastic ping-pong balls. He plays with black holes.
  17. Chuck Norris is seeded #0 at the Worlds.
  18. When Chuck Norris plays table tennis he uses the Sahara Desert as a table, the Great Wall of China as the net, the Moon as the ball, and the Eurasian Continental Plate as his racket.
  19. Chuck Norris scores 21 points in games to 11.
  20. If Chuck Norris were president of USA Table Tennis, there'd be 320 million members . . . or else.

Serve Practice

Have you practiced your serves recently? Practice both your spin serves and fast, deep serves. (Use targets for the latter, and practice until you can hit it over and over.) Do you Visualize Serves for Feedback? Here's my article Practicing Serves the Productive Way.

World Championships

They are from April 26 - May 3 in Suzhou, China. Here are some links.

Playing Against Penholders

Here's the new coaching article by Han Xiao.

Ask the Coach

Table Tennis School - Exercise for Defender and Attacker

Here's the video (3:25).

Multiball Session

Here's a typical multiball session (2:53), I think from Germany.

ITTF Becomes Largest International Federation

Here's the ITTF press release. "The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is now the largest International Federation, with 222 National Associations. Sao Tome & Principe and South Sudan were accepted into the ITTF family today at the ITTF Annual General Meeting (AGM) to overtake Volleyball as the largest International Federation."

Team Photos from the National College Table Tennis Championships

Here's the photo page.

32 Amazing Sports Photos from CNN

Here's the new CNN gallery - and click on the third one for a picture of "Miu Hirano and Mima Ito, of Japan, train for the 2015 World Table Tennis Championships in Suzhou, China, on Monday, April 27." The picture shows Hirano serving, with the ball over her nose. (But what does it say about our sport that we're excited that CNN runs a picture from it?)

11 Questions with Willy Leparulo

Here's the USATT interview.

Table Tennis Wedding

Here's the video (2:20)! Yep, that's Willy again.

The Two Faces of Jorgen Persson

More Mike Mezyan Pictures

NOTE - If you are unable to see these pictures, all you have to do is join the Table Tennis Group - it's easy! Here are all the past, present, and (soon) future pictures he's collected. (I pick out his best ones for here - he has more.)

Send us your own coaching news!

April 28, 2015

Man in the Table Tennis Arena

Historically most table tennis leaders have judged themselves not on how much they accomplished, but on how few mistakes they made. They'd go through an entire forgettable career patting themselves on the back for not making mistakes, all the while avoiding doing anything that might risk putting a stain on this great record that few will remember. This is a recipe for what I call "stagnation with a forced smile." We get it a lot.

While getting things right ranks high for me as well, I tend to judge a person's record more on what they actually accomplish. The two are not mutually exclusive; the key is not letting one affect the other, i.e. avoid trying new and possibly risky things so as to avoid mistakes. I'm pretty forgiving of those who make mistakes while trying new things in our sport. This doesn't mean recklessly doing things; part of trying something new is thinking it through and avoiding doing stupid stuff. Otherwise you aren't really trying something new so much as just being reckless. The best way to avoid doing stupid stuff while trying something new? Talk to those who have been working successfully in our sport for years and get their advice on pitfalls to avoid. What may be new to you may not be completely new to them.

To accomplish a lot means trying new things a lot, and that means more mistakes than those poor souls who are afraid of trying anything new with any risk. But without people trying to accomplish things, and sometimes taking risks, nothing gets accomplished. You can't develop a new program without risk, because anything new is a risk. It doesn't mean jumping in at full thrust; remember the saying that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." Plan out the journey as best you can, but take that step. If it turns out the step is in the wrong direction you can always change later. Those who never take the step never make the journey.

All this doesn't mean you have to constantly try out new things, although some do that. Others succeed by finding a formula for success, and sticking to it, and riding it to high levels. But that formula for success they found was likely new to them at the start. Plus, few formulas for success work in the long term if dogmatically followed; you have to understand why and when it works, and know when to change and try something new, or at least new variations of a successful formula. In coaching, for example, much of what worked for developing players 30 years ago rarely works now as the game has changed. The same is true of running clubs, tournaments, or any other table tennis endeavor.

I also look dimly on those who like to judge harshly but do little themselves. They rarely know what they are talking about because they haven't actually done these things themselves, but because they haven't done these things themselves they have no idea that they don't know what they are talking about. It's a lot easier being an armchair critic with no accountability, often with lots of theoretical opinions that don't apply in practice, then the person who jumps into the arena and tries to find ways to build things for the future.

If you are a coach, your legacy will be the players you develop, the lives you helped, and the programs you left behind. If you are a club director, your legacy will be the club you leave behind. If you are a tournament director, your legacy will be the tournaments you ran, especially if they continue after you leave. If you are a leader, your legacy will be the state of the organization you helped lead. If you are a USATT leader, your legacy will be the progress of USATT during your tenure. (This follows for players as well; your legacy as a player is both the titles you won and how you played the game. But that's a different topic.)

Who will be remembered in the sport of table tennis many years from now, the ones who made few mistakes but left no lasting legacy, or the ones who tried many things, had some blow up in his face, but left behind a lasting legacy that helped build the sport?

Theodore Roosevelt said it best in his Man in the Arena speech. Those who try new things in the attempt to develop our sport know victory and defeat. Those who do not know neither victory nor defeat, do not develop the sport, leave no legacy, and leave behind "stagnation with a forced smile."

Arm Update - Back to Private Coaching

Yesterday I did my first private coaching in two weeks, due to my arm injury. I'd tested it out a bit the night before in a class I taught, primarily testing it under fire while demonstrating looping against impenetrable blocking of Coach Jeffrey - meaning I did a lot of looping. And so I did a 90-min session with 10-year-old Daniel last night, who's about 1700.

I explained to him in advance that I had to go easy on looping so as not to injure the arm again. Now normally you'd think a kid his age would take great glee in challenging and testing my arm, but Dan was good about this. We spent most of the session working on his forehand looping, since he's fallen into some bad habits during the "Larry's arm is hurt" era, and we hadn't had a session in three weeks. Toward the end we did do one counterlooping drill, but after a few minutes I could feel the arm getting sore and so stopped that drill. The rest of that session I mostly avoided looping. Overall, I think the arm is okay, but I have to be careful. I have another 90-min session tonight, and if all goes well, soon I'll be back in full form.

World Championships

They are from April 26 - May 3 in Suzhou, China. Here are some links.

Samsonov on Angle Play

Here's the article from MH Table Tennis.

Consistency vs. Power

Here's the first Podcast (29:34) from Expert Table Tennis, where they interview Matt Hetherington of MH Table Tennis.

Table Tennis Links

MH Table Tennis has a nice set of Table Tennis Links. Yes, that's three things from MH Table Tennis in one blog!

Secretin - Purkart Exhibition

Here's the full video (93 min) of the greatest exhibition team of all time. Warning - once you start watching, it's addictive! But it's great stuff, with the great Jacques Secretin (17-time French National Men's Singles Champion, 1977 World Mixed Doubles Champion, and former world #4) against the clownish Vincent Purkart (two-time French National Men's Singles Champion and five-times runner-up, mostly to Secretin). They spent many years touring the world doing their famous comedy exhibition. The umpire who they constantly fight with is Purkart's wife.

Here's a recent picture of Secretin and Purkart - they're still at it!!!

More Mike Mezyan Pictures

NOTE - If you are unable to see these pictures, all you have to do is join the Table Tennis Group - it's easy! Here are all the past, present, and (soon) future pictures he's collected. (I pick out his best ones for here - he has more.)

Send us your own coaching news!

April 27, 2015

Tip of the Week

Your Ready Position - Think Basketball.

Adult Beginning/Intermediate Class

With Raghu Nadmichettu and Josh Tran out of town at the Westchester Open, Coach Jeffrey Zeng Xun assisted this time. We focused on three things this session, which ran 6:30-8:00PM on Sunday.

First up was the forehand loop against block. We demonstrated and I explained, and then they went out to the tables to try it. I had them do it for 7.5 minutes each, twice each. The hardest parts for most adults learning to loop is to use the whole body rather than mostly arm. There's also a tendency to try to stroke it too quickly instead of a smooth, accelerating swing.

Next we did serve and attack. But before we got to that I knew the players would need to get their regular shots back. After all that looping - the first time ever against block for many of them - they'd likely lift their regular forehands and go off the end. So I had them do two minutes of forehand to forehand, as well as two minutes of backhand to backhand and backhand to backhand pushing. Then we began the drill. The server served backspin, the receiver pushed to a pre-arranged spot, the server looped to the receiver's backhand, and then they played out the point.

Finally, for the last 20 minutes, I brought out a bunch of different rackets for "show and tell," and went over the various characteristics. I had two different types of hardbat rackets, a sandpaper racket, longs pips with sponge and without sponge, pips out on a shakehands and penhold blade, antispin, plus tensored inverted.

Other Miscellaneous Stuff

  • Capital Area Super League. The league committee met Friday night at Smash TT from 9PM to Midnight. (That's Michael Levene, Stefano Ratti, John Olsen, and me.) Topics included budget, changing name (taking the "Super" off, since it makes it look like the league is only for elite players), less travel and more "home" matches, plans for the big Finals, and plans for next season. It took me 55 minutes to get there, but because of road construction, almost 2.5 hours to get home - I got back around 2:30 AM. (Had one funny exchange. I mentioned the "The point of the league" in reference to this shot by Derek Nie, an around-the-net backhand loop receive. But John thought I was talking about the point of the league as in why we did it, and for a few seconds we had a rather confusing discussion.)
  • Arm. It's a lot better now. Tonight I'll be doing my first private coaching in two weeks. I tested it out yesterday, especially while demonstrating the forehand loop in the class to Jeffrey's never-missing block. However, it's not completely healed - it's still sore, so I have to go easy on attacking too much. I'm doing exercises with it each day to build it up.
  • Washington Post. They came in on Friday to do a story on Crystal Wang and Derek Nie. It should come out on May 19. I'll post a link here.

Ask the Coach

World Championships

They started yesterday (Sunday), with opening ceremonies on Saturday, and are from April 26 - May 3 in Suzhou, China. Here are some links.

U.S. Open

Here's the new FAQ page. And here's the U.S. Open page itself. It takes place July 6-11 in Las Vegas. Enter now!!!

Jan-Ove Waldner Interview - He Does Not Like the Plastic Ball

Here's the interview (5:08, in English). Some quotes: "Too many changes, not good for the sport," and "Plastic ball not good." He also thinks Ma Long might win the Worlds. (Side note - there's been a debate for years on whether Waldner is the greatest player of all time. It's mostly between him and a few Chinese players. But I think we have one consensus - Pretty much everyone agrees that either Waldner is the greatest of all time, or is arguably the greatest of all time.)

Butterfly Science: All about Tenergy

Here's the new video (10:11) that explains the science behind the sponge. (Disclaimer: I'm sponsored by Butterfly.)

The Journey through Chinese Table Tennis

Ma Long and Zhang Jike Serve

Here's the video (10:11). It's in Chinese, but you can learn by watching. They both serve and play out the points, with a Chinese coach apparently giving commentary.

26 Seconds of Extremely Fast Multiball by Li Xiaoxia

Here's the video.

37 Seconds of Incredibly Fast Table Tennis

Here's the video!

Ma Long vs. Xu Xin

Here's the video (3:57) - lots of great points, and a little Jaws music as well!

Incredible Around-the-Net Backhand

Here's the video (29 sec, including slo-mo replay).

NCTTC Bracket Challenge

Here's the article - and congrats to the winners!

Liu Guoliang vs. Bill Gates

Here's the video (64 sec) as the Chinese Men's Coach and former superstar player takes on the world's richest man!

Operator Please - Just a Song about Ping Pong

Here's the video (2:18).

Roller Pong

Here's the picture!

More Mike Mezyan Pictures

NOTE - If you are unable to see these pictures, all you have to do is join the Table Tennis Group - it's easy! Here are all the past, present, and (soon) future pictures he's collected. (I pick out his best ones for here - he has more.)

Send us your own coaching news!

April 24, 2015

The Coaching Zone: The USATT Coaching Page

You're practicing to reach another level, a level not of rating but of improvement. A journey to advanced performance whose boundaries are how hard you train and how good your coaching. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the USATT Coaching Page!

Have you visited it recently? Here's a quick rundown, from the top:

  • Coaching Advisory Committee. The current listing is out of date. Federico "Fede" Bassetti is still the chair, but the committee is now made up of Britt Salter, Mike Lauro, and Marguerite Cheung. A player rep will also be added soon. Massimo Constantini and Richard McAfee are also unofficial "advisors" to the committee. (I used to be on this committee, and chaired it for four years back in the 1990s.)
  • Coaching Help & Support Page. Here's where you can Search USATT's Coaching Knowledge Base, Submit an email directly, (with a question), or go to the USATT Forum's Coaching Section.
  • Coaching Certification Program. This is where you can learn about the ITTF and USATT Coaching Certification programs. USATT is gradually adopting the ITTF program.
  • USATT Coaches List. Here's where you can find a coach.
  • Coaching Calendar. This looks empty right now, but I think there are some things coming up - stay tuned!
  • Coaching Opportunities. There are currently two items here, one a coaching conference, and one a "help wanted" for the Austin Table Tennis Club.
  • Coaching Courses. Here's a listing of upcoming ITTF courses, and links to past ones (including one I taught). Upcoming courses:
  • Coach of the Year Program. Here's all the info on the program, and a list of past winners. (I've won twice!!! I was also runner-up three times, grumble grumble….)
  • Olympic Coach Magazine. Here's where you can browse over the current past issues.
  • Coaching Newsletter. Alas, it was discontinued after 2012, but perhaps they'll start it up again sometime.
  • SafeSport. This is a USOC-mandated program where all USATT certified coaches get background checks.

Miscellaneous Stuff

  • The Washington Post: They are coming in today at 4:30PM to do a feature story on Crystal Wang and Derek Nie for KidsPost. I'm meeting them there to introduce them to the players, get them started, and (most important) to try to get in the background of the pictures.
  • Capital Area Super League: Tonight at 9PM we have another meeting of the Organizing Committee for the Capital Area Super League. We're meeting at Smash Table Tennis in Virginia, so it's nearly a one-hour drive for me.
  • "The Spirit of Pong": I now have critiques from all eight critiquers of my novella "The Spirit of Pong." I've already gone through most of them, highlighting the key issues. I plan to spend some of today and hopefully all of tomorrow trying to finalize it. (Due to my arm problems, I have no coaching tomorrow.) If all goes well, this will come out in early May.
  • It's a Dangerous Sport: One of my junior students, on the way to the table yesterday, walked into a chair and literally fell over it, hurting his leg. He had to take ten minutes before he was ready to play, but he's okay now. As I told him, "Table tennis is a dangerous sport. You never know when a chair is going to throw itself in front of you."
  • Table Court Table Tennis: Later, that same student said maybe tennis would be better, since it's a bigger, open area, with few chairs to walk into. I pointed out that he had the terminology wrong. We're table tennis; that version of our sport played on a court is court table tennis. And then I explained to him that if that were true, then that version of court table tennis played on a table must be table court table tennis.
  • Ineptitude the Universe: Since it was a group session, I had the same kid hitting with another, forehand to forehand. They were both relative beginners. I tried to convince them that the all-time world record for most forehands hit in a row was four, and the American record just two, which they thought was pretty funny, and they quickly broke both records and celebrated. I then explained to them about the alternate universe called Ineptitude, where everyone is ping-pong crazy, but so completely uncoordinated that in hundreds of years, nobody has yet made a single shot, and that there are games from a hundred years going on, one deuce after another, because neither player can make their own serve. I gave some play-by-play: "And Ding misses his serve, and so Dong is now up match point, ten trillion and six to ten trillion and five. Dong now serves - and he misses again, and it's all tied up at ten trillion and six to ten trillion and six!"
  • Arm Update: It's still injured, but yesterday I fed about ten minutes of multiball. I'm trying to gradually build it up. I've started using this long green elastic band to stengthen it with light resistance training. Hopefully it'll be okay by next week and I can return to normal coaching. 

Ma Long Practices Counterlooping vs. Liu Guoliang's Backhand Loop

Here's the video (27 sec). A coach feeds backspin to China's Men's Coach Liu, who reverse penhold backhand loops so Ma Long can practice counterlooping it. I've long been a proponent of this type of drill, though you don't normally need two coaches for one player. For example, I'll serve backspin to a student, he'll push it back, I'll loop, and he counterloops. As he does so, I'm already reaching for another ball so we can do it again. In this way the student or practice partner gets lots of rapid-fire practice against opening loops against backspin. (And the other player also gets lots of rapid-fire practice looping against backspin, so it's win-win.) It's also a good way to practice blocking. In both of these cases, think about it - if you are at the intermediate or advanced level, you probably spend most of your counterlooping and blocking practice against blocks and topspin. In a match, most often the first loop you see is against backspin, which is different. Result? You probably aren't as comfortable against it because you haven't practiced against it.

World Table Tennis Championships

They start on Sunday, and are from April 26 - May 3 in Suzhou, China. Here's the ITTF World Championships Page.

Dynamic Table Tennis Tip of the Week: Around the Net Serve

Here's the video (2:57) from Brian Pace. This is a big-breaking sidespin serve down the line that, while it doesn't (usually!) really go around the net, it often goes outside the table and curves back in, giving opponents great trouble. I use this serve quite a bit as a trick serve.

Decisions! Your major improvement starts with accurate shot selection

Here's the new coaching article from Samson Dubina.

The Tao of Ping Pong

Here's a really nice table tennis movie (20:11, need to put in password TTOPP) that just came out. It's a bit overdramatic at times, but pretty well done. It sort of covers two ping-pong players at three times in their lives, as kids, at their peak in their 20s, and as older men, with sort of a time twist at the end. "Fei Mo is an ambitious Chinese Ping Pong genius. In the midst of the U.S. Open Tournament, he unintentionally meets the superhuman American Ping Pong player Ethan White. When their contrasting personalities collide on and off the court, what appears to be only a game becomes a matter of life and death..."

There's also a Behind the Scenes with James and Henry (3:44), the two kid stars. They are James Stout, 14, rated 1595, and Henry Luo, 12, rated 2030. Both are from Carmel, Indiana.

The Final Countdown to Allen Wang's $1600 for His School Club

They are up to $1180 raised, so it's $420 to go. Donate now, or you will regret it the rest of your life as you face the wrath of Allen (who will beat you), his little sister Amy (who will humiliate you), and me (who will put you on the list of all the people in the world who didn't contribute). You are running out of time!!!

26 Seconds of Samsonov and Ovtcharov

Here's the video (much of it slow motion) as the two stars counterloop in preparation for the World Championships.

Masters China 2015

Here are two recent matches:

Table Tennis Legend Crushing Competition at 78

Here's the story of John Shultz from Bay News 9.

Table Tennis in Metlife Stadium

Yesterday I linked to the video (41 sec) of Michael Landers and Mieczyslaw Suchy playing table tennis at Metlife Stadium. (Because of the sunglasses I didn't even recognize Landers!) Here are pictures.

Hardcore Mode in Real Life - NoobtownMonkeys

Here's the video (4:25) of this epic table tennis match. I previously linked to a shorter, 69-sec version.

TT Birthday Cake

Here's Hanna Ricci's 16th birthday cake!

The Lighter Side of Table Tennis

Here's the new video (5:37) from International Table Tennis Thailand.

Floating Ball Archer

Here's an archer who apparently shoots a floating ping-pong ball out of the air. (The archer in question is actually rather controversial. He has longer videos out showing him doing all sorts of apparently spectacular shots, but most from the archery community seem to believe he's mostly a fraud. Or so I've read. I think the shots are real, but how many tries did it take to get the shot?)

Mike Mezyan Humorous Pictures

Once again he has searched the Internet high and low, bringing you the greatest shots ever seen, soon to be a new wing at the Louvre. (Several people have said they cannot see the Facebook pictures - apparently you need an account - so I've put an "alternate version" for each that takes you directly to a version of the picture but without the Facebook comments - which sometimes are half the fun!)
=>ADDENDUM: Mike wrote me saying, "Just To Clarify Perhaps Some Can't See The Photos Because the Need To Be Member Of The Group? Anyone Can Easily Just Send us A Request To Join and We Will Gladly Accept!" So why not join the Table Tennis Group?

Non-Table Tennis - Story in Space and Time Magazine

Here's the cover of the upcoming issue of Space and Time Magazine, one of the nicer science fiction & fantasy magazines. I'm one of the cover stories! (They typically have about 15 stories and articles in each issue.) My story is "Leashing the Muse," my third sale to them. The story is about the conflict between an English professor with a supercomputer and high standards, and an ancient Greek Muse who has even higher standards. (Here's my science fiction & fantasy page. I've sold 71 short stories, and have a humorous fantasy novel "Sorcerers in Space," and an anthology of my best stories, "Pings and Pongs.")

Send us your own coaching news!

April 23, 2015

State Championships

Here's my vision: 50 state championships in 2016 . . . a USATT page devoted to listing and glorifying these champions . . . a "Parade of Champions" a the USA Nationals where these champions march through the arena . . . regional media coverage all over the U.S. of these tournaments . . . Let's make it happen!

I've had numerous discussions with USATT CEO Gordon Kaye on these State Championships, which he's been pushing for since he was hired. He asked me to take charge of it. I plan to have sample entry forms, proto-type web pages, ready-to-use software, etc. More on this late as things develop. It's all part of the three-pronged approach to developing regional and state associations, with the other two prongs (which I'll focus on later) being training centers & coaching programs, and team leagues. (I'm working on these issues as the volunteer USATT Regional Associations Coordinator.) Here's the current listing of State Championships.  If your state doesn't have one and you are interested in running one, email me.

Miscellaneous Stuff

  • Ogimura Book: I finished the book last night. I blogged about much of it on Tuesday. Since then there were segments about his training of Stellan Bengtsson; his liking of Louis Armstrong music, Maotai (Chinese liquor), Old Parr Scotch Whiskey, and sushi; sleeping with his socks on (there's a story behind that!); and how both Chinese and Swedish (and of course Japanese) table tennis "owe him everything." There's a lot about his involvement in getting North and South Korea together as a joint team in 1991 and lots of other issues during his years as ITTF president. It also goes over his ideas of a larger ball, games to 11, and making speed glue illegal - all issues that would later be taken up and passed years after his death in 1994 at the age of 62 from lung cancer. (I really want to see if I can make this book available in the U.S. - we'll see.)
  • "The Spirit of Pong": Most of the eight critiquers have gotten back to me on this fantasy table tennis novella of an American who goes to China to learn the secrets of table tennis. Over the next two days I plan to input all the "easy" stuff (typos, etc.) and to compile a list of bigger changes that might be needed, based on the critiques. I plan to devote Saturday to working on finalizing the story, using the critiques as well as notes from the Ogimura book (since "The Spirit of Ogimura" is a major character). If all goes well, it'll be on sale in May.
  • Arm Status: It's still injured. I haven't done any private coaching now since April 12, and have cancelled or gotten substitutes until at least this Sunday (April 26). I've hired Josh Tran to come in and feed multiball for me in my group sessions, including today and tomorrow. I do need to start building the arm up again, but need to do so without re-injuring it, so yesterday I tested it by feeding multiball. I hoped to do five minutes, but after two I stopped as it was already starting to hurt.
  • MDTTC Press Coverage. The Washington Post is sending a reporter and photographer to the club to do a special on Crystal Wang and Derek Nie. It should come out sometime in May. There's also an upcoming story in the Montgomery Journal - they let me proof the article yesterday.
  • Mini-Van and Near Crash! Yesterday while driving home from the club there was a minivan driving ahead of me on the lane to the left. It was slowing down, and so I caught up and began to pass it. Suddenly it lurched partly into my lane, and I had to swerve to avoid it. I honked as I did so, and managed to just miss it, probably by no more than a foot. I then pulled ahead. And then the minivan suddenly speeded up, driving half in his lane, half in my lane! It literally came roaring up behind me. I speeded up to avoid getting hit from behind. This went on for about ten seconds. Then the minivan suddenly lurched back to its lane, which was the far left lane, and stopped. It basically parked right there, in the lane in the middle of traffic (with cars behind it). I drove off and have no idea what happened after that.

Ask the Coach

Episode #112 (20:20) - Can You Say Sore Shoulder Ten Times Fast?

Don't Regret in Hindsight: Why Short-Term Goals are Important

Here's the new coaching article from Matt Hetherington.

Talent Transfer from Tennis to Table Tennis

Here's the article from Expert Table Tennis.

USATT Insider

Here's the new issue out yesterday.

The Journey Through Chinese Table Tennis

Ma Long and Timo Boll Interview on their 2015 Worlds Doubles Partnership

Here's the video (3:47).

Balls of Fury

Here's the article on the Santa Rosa Table Tennis Club. Includes a link to a video (3:29).

21 Seconds of Multiball to Wake You Up

Here's the video - backspin, topspin, topspin

Table Tennis in Metlife Stadium

Here's the video (41 sec) as they play on the same field as the NFL's New York Giants and Jets shared stadium.

Glass Pong

Here's a picture of a glass ping-pong table.

Forehand, Behind Back, Forehand, Behind Back…

Here's the video (13 sec) - can you do this?

Secret Tactics for Aussies to Beat China in Table Tennis

Here's the video (2:51) - "Speak softly but carry a big stick"?

Nestle Quik Rabbit Pong

Here's the video (30 sec) of this commercial from 1982.

Send us your own coaching news!

April 22, 2015

Five Really Bad Coaches

Here are five examples of very bad coaches. They shall all be nameless - but none of them are currently coaching table tennis in the U.S. (Alas, the tennis coach is still active.)

1) I'm going to start not with a table tennis coach (as the next four are), but a tennis coach. For many years tennis was my side sport, reaching a 4.0 level, which is pretty good. I'd often schedule my table tennis coaching so I could stop by the local tennis center for 90-minute group sessions, often 2-3 times a week. During those years I worked with many coaches, and all agreed I had the most lopsided game they'd ever seen - a very strong forehand (100% due to my table tennis, as were my other strengths), quick feet, very nice lob and very good drop shot. But the rest of my game was rather weak - weak serve (especially second serve), weak backhand (I mostly sliced), weak backhand volley, barely adequate overhead. But I loved to race around smacking in forehands, and was especially good at hitting winners off second serves, which made up for players attacking my own weak second serve.

I always told coaches I had two rules - "Larry's Rules" (tennis version):

Rule One: Don't worry about my forehand, coach me on everything else. My forehand was so much better than the rest of my game it was pointless focusing on that. Because I hit it with a hybrid stroke between table tennis and tennis, I lost some power, but made up for it by taking the ball very early, often on the rise, with precise accuracy and placement, and by throwing my whole body into each shot.

Rule Two: My game centers around forehand hitting from the baseline. This didn't mean I wouldn't play backhands or come to the net, just that my style of play would be a forehand-oriented baseline game. Why? Because I loved running around and hitting forehands, plus it's a pretty effective game - just watch Federer. (But I'm more forehand oriented than he is!) My basic rule is that if I can physically get to the ball to hit a forehand, I hit the forehand.

Then one day the tennis center brought in a new coach. I explained my two "rules" to him, and he seemed to have no problem with them. But as soon as the sessions began, he insisted on completely changing my forehand. I tried to convince him to work on all the weak parts of my games, but he insisted. This went on for a couple of months, where I went from a dominating forehand (which was better than the coach's, even though I was older than him) to basically a newbie forehand, where all my table tennis training was gone. Before I'd race around smacking forehands for winners at will; now I was flailing away like a beginner. The rest of my game stagnated while he focused on fixing/destroying my forehand.

He also tried fixing my forehand volley, which was pretty strong, while ignoring my backhand volley, which was very weak. Why? Because of my table tennis, I had a very nice forehand swinging volley. Most coaches don't like swinging volleys because in theory they are harder to control, but because of my table tennis I did this really well, but my conventional forehand volley was weak - so of course I used the swinging volley. But on the backhand I apparently had "good technique," just no control or power, mostly just padding the ball back. And yet all the coach wanted to do was "fix" my forehand volley, even when I kept asking him to focus on my weak backhand volley. (I considered adding a third "Rule," i.e. don't worry about my forehand volley.) But most of our problems were about his attempts to change my regular forehand.

Finally, while playing a doubles match at the end of a session where I kept missing, I went back to my old stroke and smacked in a clean winner off a second serve. The coach rushed out on the court immediately to "correct" my stroke. We had a big argument, and it ended with me walking off the court. I never went back.

The problem this coach had was that he couldn't think outside the box and understand that I had a rather unique background, i.e. a very good table tennis forehand, and that he needed to take that into account when coaching me. If I were a kid, then he might consider "fixing" the stroke, but I was already around fifty at the time, with all sorts of technical problems with every other aspect of my game, and so the last thing he should be doing was trying to "fix" the best part of my game while ignoring the real problems.

Plus, the customer is always right!

2) Many years ago I assisted at a coaching camp that was led by a coach who was about five feet tall. There was a player in the camp who was 6'10". The coach insisted that this player hit his forehand so that he'd follow through with the ball going to his forehead, because that's how the five-foot coach did it. It was ridiculous, and led to the tall player trying to do this incredibly awkward stroke where his racket would move forward to hit the ball, and then arbitrarily have to shoot way up in the air to the forehead, for no other reason than that was what the coach thought players were supposed to do. This is what I call "parrot coaching," where the thinking is basically, "This is how I did it, this is how my coach did it, this is how my coach's coach did it, and this is how you will do it." I finally took the tall player aside and told him to follow through lower, pointing out that the best tall players in the world also had lower follow-throughs relative to their bodies. I later gave the guy private coaching, and despite starting out in his 20s, he reached 1800 a couple years later.

3) A player made the U.S. National Men's Team using the Seemiller grip. A coach/top player (more player than coach) was brought in to train the U.S. Team for two weeks (I think just before the World Championships), and what does he do? He forced the player to change to a shakehands grip! The player resisted, but the coach insisted. So for two weeks he did as he was told. As soon as the camp ended the player went back to his normal grip. About a month or so after the camp he played the "coach" in a tournament and upset him. About a year later won the gold medal for Men's Singles at the Pan Am Games.

4) A player who had been ranked top ten in the world was hired to coach by a club (not MDTTC, not opened yet). He spent some time working with their best junior, a 13-year-old private student of mine who was already #1 in the country in Under 16 despite his age. (I'd spent the previous summer living at his house as a live-in coach.) The kid was an extremely hard worker. So what did the coach say? In front of his parents and other players, he told the 13-year-old he didn't have any talent for the game and could never be a top player. The kid didn't stop crying for hours, and never seemed to have the same drive. He quit about a year later. That coach should have been shot. I wasn't there when he said this, just saw the aftermath - the parents screaming at the coach - and found out later what had happened. They were all speaking Chinese, so I didn't know what was being said at the time.

5) I was at a tournament coaching two juniors. They had to play at the same time. I coached one in his match, but told the other how to play his opponent in the other (a slightly lower rated player), since I knew his opponent well. While I was coaching the other player, another coach came by, saw the junior had no coach, and volunteered himself to coach. Using the tactics I'd given him, the junior won the first game. The new coach, after watching the first game, told him he had to completely change his tactics, despite winning the first game. He lost three straight. Afterwards the coach for the other player approached me and told me how shocked he was that the junior had played so smart the first game, pinpointing all the weaknesses of his opponent, and then changed to a losing game and stuck with it to the end, losing badly. First rule of coaching a match - Do No Harm!!!

Champion Table Tennis DNA

Here's the article from Brian Pace.

Ask the Coach

Episode #111 (28:20) - Where Have We Been?

29 Crazy Health Benefits of Table Tennis

Here's the new article.

Ping Magazine

Here's the April issue.

11 Questions with Hau Lam

Here's the USATT Interview.

Patty's Miracle

Here's the poem by Si Wasserman, republished by USATT, on Patty Martinez's miracle comeback (down 15-20 match point) to win Women's Singles at the 1965 U.S. Open at age 13, the youngest ever to win that title.

NCTTA Superlatives for 2015

Here's the article on nominating players for "the best of the best."

Amazing Backhand Around-the-Net Shot

Here's the video (67 sec, including slo-mo replay).

Cross-Legged Table Pong

Here's the video (39 sec) as Samson Dubina trains his daughter!

Trick Shots

Here's 33 seconds of trick shots - smacking balls off basketballs and sidespin around-the-net shots.

More Humorous TT Pictures from Mike Mezyan

Someone told me yesterday the links for these pictures (posted in Facebook) didn't work for him. Just as a test, are there others where the links don't work? I could link directly to the pictures, but I'd rather link to the Facebook location, since there are often comments there about the pictures. For example, for the first one, Table Tennis Spelled Out!, I could also link to this image.

Send us your own coaching news!

April 21, 2015

Ogimura Book - Some Tidbits

I'm nearly done reading "Ogi: The Life of Ichiro Ogimura." It's currently only available in Japanese; I had to have someone send me the English version, which is only available in England. Stellan Bengtsson first alerted me to the English version, which I hope to make available in the U.S. later on. (Don't know who Ichiro Ogimura is? Probably the most influential player in table tennis history!!!)

I'm taking a lot of notes about Ogimura, and plan to incorporate much of it into my fantasy table tennis novella, "The Spirit of Pong." (I blogged about this on March 16 and several times since.) Here are some interesting tidbits I've learned.

  • Looks: thick eyebrows, pencil thin (during his playing days), piercing stare, often wore a light violet shirt during his developing years (dyed that color by his great helper, Hisae Uehara).
  • Often snacked on bread & margarine, and on rice balls wrapped in seaweed.
  • Can't fully straighten his left (non-playing) arm due to a childhood injury when he fell out of a tree.
  • Unbelievably single-minded about table tennis.
  • Practiced serves by putting the lid to a pen on a table and hitting it 100 times in a row. If he missed, he'd start over. When he reached the point where he could hit it at will, he practiced doing it blindfolded.
  • Would frog jump four kilometers with 40 kilogram weight on his shoulders. (This might not be good for the knees.)
  • He liked Van Gogh paintings and other artwork.
  • He liked to sing "Danny Boy."
  • He had some nice quotes about table tennis, but I'll save them for the novella!
  • When he won his first world championships, the coaches were angry at him because he wouldn't follow their advice. He believed in the "51% rule," where if he thought he had a 51% chance of hitting a winner, he should go for a winner. The coaches wanted him to play steadier. When they realize he was right, they were still angry, believing it was more important to do what the coach says than to win.
  • As of 1956, there were over three million players in Japan, and 100 playing halls in Tokyo alone.
  • At least early in his career, he used sponge that was "almost a centimeter thick." (That's almost ten millimeters, or 2/5".)
  • His film "Japanese Table Tennis" was the key to China's rise, according to Chinese players themselves, including Zhuang Zedong. He said, "Japanese Table Tennis was the perfect textbook for us. Watching you and Tanaka practice made us realize that you do not swing a table tennis racket with your arm; you hit the ball with your feet. Once I saw that film [at age 16], you became my mentor, Mr. Ogimura."
  • Players were using sponge in Japan at least two years before Satoh used it to win the Worlds in 1952, including inverted sponge as early as July, 1951. There was a lot of experimenting going on in Japan; the rest of the world didn't know about this until after Satoh won.  

Arm Problems and Getting Substitutes

The arm problems continue. I've received an avalanche of suggestions, but the bottom line is I have to rest it. So I've cancelled or gotten substitutes once again for all my private coaching this week, and hired people to do multiball for me in group sessions. The complicating factor is that two of our full-time coaches are currently out of town. 

Solving Problems and Dealing with Disingenuous Obstructionists

As I've blogged, I've been working on a number of USATT issues. I'm making good progress on some (more on that later, with much of it this fall), while others are not so easy. One thing I'm learning is who the real problem solvers are, and who are the disingenuous obstructionists. I'm doing my best to work with the problem solvers and avoid the DOs, but it's not easy. I have no choice in some cases.

Dealing with DOs (both in running clubs, coaching, and doing USATT work) is the hardest part of my work. (I'm guessing we've all had that experience.) Alas, I'm not very good at it. When faced with someone who's opinionated and not open to reason, I still try to reason with them, which rarely works. I need to take my reasoning one step further and realize that reasoning with the unreasonable is unreasonable! (Specifically, some people mistake rationalizing for reasoning.)

A few times I've been up half the night, too irritated with DOs to sleep. I'm done with that. If I do have to deal with such people, I'll try to do it earlier in the day so I can do my best to forget about them when I go to bed. Because otherwise I'll have a long night, tossing and turning as I try to figure what could possibly be going through the disingenuous obstructionist's mind while holding endless arguments in my mind that always end with the disingenuous obstructionist making disingenuous obstructionist responses.

To paraphrase a famous line from a movie, "As Waldner is my witness, I'll never lose sleep from dealing with disingenuous obstructionists again!" (But I won't do the lying, stealing, cheating, killing part - no matter how tempting the last part might be in some cases!)

Excessive Celebrations: How Loud Should You Be?

Here's the article by Samson Dubina.

Interview with Crystal Wang

Here's the USATT interview, by Rahul Acharya.

These 7 Lessons from Ping-Pong Helped a CEO Grow a Successful Business

Here's the article from Business Insider.

US World Team Member Angela Guan Hopes to Inspire Future Generations of Players

Here's the article by Barbara Wei.

Highlights of Hall of Famer David Sakai

Here's the new video (3 min) from Jim Butler.

2015 US Pan Am Women's Team

Here's the video (8:27) from Jim Butler.

World Championships Promo

Here's the video (1:25).

Epic Rally Between Wang Liqin and Samsonov

Here's the video (76 sec) of this exhibition point.

Slo-Mo Action from Broward TTC

Here's the video (28 sec).

Timo Boll vs. Bojan Tokic

Here's video (4:22, time between points removed) of a nice recent match between these two in the German League.

Angelica Rozeanu

Here's some info on the women who seven straight world women's singles titles, still a record.

Team China's World Championship Song

Here's the video (2:24) of the Chinese team members singing for us!

Mike Mezyan is At It Again!

He's found more hilarious table tennis pictures. Here are my favorites:

Jackalope vs. Platypus Pong

Here's the video (30 sec) as these two creatures go at it in this Smoothie Kabobbles commercial!

Send us your own coaching news!

April 20, 2015

Tip of the Week

Visualize Serves for Feedback.

Sunday Classes and Continuing Arm Problems

Due to my arm problems I had to cancel or get substitutes for all of my private coaching over the weekend. On Sunday I had two classes, a junior class from 4:30-6:00 PM and an adult beginning/intermediate class from 6:30-8:00PM.

In the junior class we had a couple of new players, so I spent a lot of time working with them to get them started. One of them (age 9) seemed a nervous wreck at the start, but by the end of the session he was hitting pretty good forehands and was smiling - and his mom immediately signed him up for the next ten weeks. Working with juniors can take a lot of energy because you have to constantly supervise them or you'll find them changing their grips and strokes, but if you set the right atmosphere and policies, things usually go pretty well. The standard in this class is we train hard for an hour, and then we do 30 minutes of games.

For games we did two things this session. First, we pulled out Froggy, and divided the players into two groups. They took turns, two shots each, trying to hit the poor amphibian as I fed multiball. The two teams were fair, and split the two games played to ten hits. Then we brought out the paper cups, and they build huge structures (this time creating a wall around Froggy, which I called the "Pretty Good Wall of China), and then took turns knocking them down.

In the adult class (19 players), the focus was on return of serve. After a good warm-up, I called them in and did a brief recap first on spin serves. Then I went over how to return the various spins and how to read them in a (perhaps too long?) 30-minute lecture. Then they went out on the table and took turns serving to each other as the other received. We finished the session with a smashing drill, where they hit simple forehand to forehand, and one player, after hitting two regular drives, smashed the third, and continued to smash while the other player tried to block or fish the balls back.

One thing I stressed, and which I always stress about receive, is the value of a good push off a short backspin serve. The problem most players have with pushing is they don't understand that it's more important to do all aspects of the push pretty well than any one aspect very well. Here's my article on that, Pushing: Five Out of Six Doesn't Cut It. I also stressed the importance of variation, such as the many ways to receive a short backspin serve. (Here's my article, The Many Ways to Receive a Short Backspin Serve.) I also explained why you need to be aggressive against deep serves. (Here's my article, Why You MUST Attack the Deep Serve - which also explains when you don't have to attack the deep serve!)

After the session I stayed late and served to the players so they could try to return high-level serves. However, I couldn't use many of my best pendulum serves as my arm was hurting again, aggravated by all the multiball. I had hoped that after a week of rest - not even doing multiball since last Monday - that I'd at least be able to feed multiball without problem, but that was not to be. I probably aggravated the arm again. So it looks like another week where I'll have to cancel or get substitutes for my private coaching, and bring in someone else to feed multiball for my group sessions. I've already hired someone to substitute for me in the afterschool program - I'll still pick up the kids, but someone else will feed the multiball we do in the sessions. After the session was done I went home and iced my arm off while watching Game of Thrones.

After the adult class, Josh Tran and Raghu Nadmichettu (who assisted me in the class) brought out the ladder to get balls from on top of the bathroom area. There was a two-year accumulation up there, and with Raghu holding the ladder and Josh using a ball net to grab them, they brought down about a gross of balls.

ITTF News Item on Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers

Here's the ITTF News Item on the book being translated in French. Here's the French version ("Tactiques de Tennis de Table pour Pongistes Penseurs"), and here's the English version. Both come in both print and kindle formats. Or any of my other books - here's my Amazon page.

The following statement may be a lie: "Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is the best book ever written on table tennis and will dramatically improve your table tennis game."

The following statement is now true: "It's been written that Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers is the best book ever written on table tennis and will dramatically improve your table tennis game."

Playing Against Pips/Anti

Here's the new coaching article by Han Xiao. 

New Coaching Articles from Matt Hetherington

Forehand Counterhit Lesson - Part 13 - Like a Boss!

Here's the new video (4:59) from Brett Clarke.

Backhand Topspin against Backspin

Here's the new coaching video (6:31) from PingSkills.

Top Myths about Table Tennis

Here's the article.

Table Tennis Camp for Veterans and Members of Armed Forces with Disabilities

Here's the article.

Video Interview with Zhang Yining

Here's the video (18:05) of the interview with Zhang Yining, with Jiaq Zheng translating. Zhang, a 2-time World (2005 & 2009) and Olympic (2004 & 2008) Women's Singles Champion, recently ran a clinic at the ICC club.

Footwork by Ryu Seung Min

Here's the video (18 sec) as he does one of those crazy step around rips.

Brian Pace - Back in Action

Here's a highlights reel (2:16) of his first tournament in three years.

Jonyer, Klampar, and Gergely

Here are current pictures of the swashbuckling Hungarian trio who won Men's Teams at the 1979 Worlds over China - L-R, Gabor Gergely, Tibor Klampar, Istvan Jonyer.

Match Point Between Xu Xin and Ma Long

Here's the exhibition point (37 sec)!

The Two-Color Rule Illustrated?

Here it is!

The Year Is…


Weird White Creatures Pong

Here's the video (19 sec) of whatever they are!

Send us your own coaching news!

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