November 27, 2028

Tip of the Week
Forcing or Adjusting Your Game.

North American Teams
I just completed another North American Teams, my 47th in a row. (It would be 48 except they skipped 2020 because of Covid.) My first one was in 1976, where I played with Mike Shapiro and Jackie Heyman. I was a player for most of those years, then a player/coach, but in modern times I’ve only been coaching. Let’s see, 47 Teams, three days each, that’s 141 days at the Teams! (Almost five months.)

This year I think I set two records that will never be broken. Over those three days I coached 102 matches, going 61-41 in all. Has anyone every coached that many matches in a tournament? I coached 46 matches on Saturday, which has got to be a record for one day. On that day I coached from 8AM until 11:40PM, even eating meals while coaching. In several of them I coached two matches at the same time. (I normally only do that with lower-rated teams, where coaching is a bit simpler.) When one team finished a team match, I’d move to another. On Friday and Sunday I coached 28 matches each day.

November 20, 2023

Tip of the Week
Are You Maximizing Your Angles?

Group Coaching and the Teams
This past week we had a tournament at our club so I only did one group training session, with our advanced group (about 1700 to 2500). You want to know the difference between coaching elite juniors versus the novice ones? At the novice level, we focus on fundamentals. At the elite level we focus on . . . fundamentals!!! Yes, it’s true for both, though the fundamentals are a bit more advanced at the elite level. For example, at the novice level we work on basic strokes and footwork. In the elite session this past week, I worked with several players on recovery – basically, following through back into position. (See Follow Through Back Into Position After Forehand Looping.)

November 13, 2023

Tip of the Week
Coaching Between Games for the Non-Coach.

2023 USA Table Tennis Election and USATT Problems
=>(Skip ahead if you have no interest in the morbid world of USATT politics.)
I blogged about the election last week. If you are a USATT member 18 and over, you should have received an email about the election at 11AM Eastern Time last Monday, Nov. 6. (I think you had to be a member for at least two months before that date.) Once again I am urging you to vote for Dennis Taylor. I know or know about the other four candidates, and I think most would be good officers, but Dennis is more proven.

November 6, 2023

Tip of the Week
Three Keys to Fast Reacting.

2023 USA Table Tennis Election
It’s time for another USATT election! This is a “special” one, to take up a spot on the board that was recently vacated. There are five candidates running for one position. Balloting starts today (Monday) at 11AM Eastern Time. Here is the election info page.

I strongly urge you to vote for Dennis Taylor. Here is his Campaign Flyer, which gives you his background and why he’s running. I’ve known and worked with him for 25 years. He’s a former board member, chaired the High Performance Committee, was on or advisor to eleven committees, was USATT secretary and took minutes for over one hundred USATT board meetings, and was the pro bono USATT lawyer for 18 years. He helped me run the Eastern Open one year and was a student in my adult training sessions for years at MDTTC. He is a rock of integrity and will bring that, experience, and vision to our sport.

October 30, 2023

Tip of the Week
Quicker Drives with the Forehand-Backhand Drill.

Weekend Coaching, a White House Halloween, and Humongous Technical Issues
I coached in five group junior training sessions over the weekend. I was scheduled for four, but when my appointment with a computer guru at the Geek Squad on Sunday was postponed (more on that below), and they needed me for a session at that time, I stepped in, mostly feeding multiball for 90 minutes with players in the session rotating in and out.


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October 23, 2023

Tip of the Week
POP Opponents with the Power Of Placement.

Weekend Coaching, Smashing, and Serve Practice Tips
Only had one group session this weekend. On Saturday we had the annual “Coconut Cup” team tournament, a non-sanctioned event that packed the club with lots of new players, including several teams from the Chinese Embassy – they were pretty good, with the best one around 2100 level. I went in and watched some of it. On Sunday I coached in the Novice Group, where the focus was (surprise!) fundamentals. Lots and lots of stroking and footwork drills, and serving practice. Kids usually pick up good technique pretty well if they are taught properly. One of the kids had picked up this bad habit of not turning his shoulders on forehands, just swinging across his body mostly from the shoulder, so I spent some time working with him on that. Not only is this awkward, it can lead to serious shoulder problems!

October 17, 2023

Tips of the Week (two since I was away last week)

Huntsman World Senior Games and Sightseeing in Utah and Las Vegas
I had a great time at the Huntsman World Senior Games last week in St. George, Utah, Oct. 9-12, Mon-Thur. This was my first time there. The Games include 44 sports, with 11,000 athletes from 88 countries, and 3,000 volunteers. I was there just for table tennis, of course. There were 235 table tennis players, all age 50 or over. Here are complete results, care of Omnipong.

October 2, 2023

Next Blog October 16
I’ll be out of town next week at the Huntsman World Senior Games (see segment below), so no blog next week. However, the Tip of the Week will go up on Monday, Oct. 9, as always.

Tip of the Week
Four Short Serve Scenarios.

MDTTC Open and Weekend Coaching
Here are the results of the MDTTC Open this past weekend. Because of the tournament, we only had one junior group session, the novice group. You probably know what the focus was – FUNDAMENTALS! But we also had fun toward the end, where I put targets on the table and had them do various footwork drills while aiming for the targets.

September 25, 2023

Tip of the Week
To Hit or to Loop?

Weekend Coaching
This was one of those times where I wished we had a video camera running! I’d recently worked with some of the kids in the Intermediate group on backspin serves. I’d given them a challenge – serve so that the ball came back into the net, the infamous “ghost serve.” It’s a great serving exercise, as it teaches them to finely graze the ball, create great backspin, and control it so that they can do a legal serve. It also perks their interest, one of the most important things when working with younger kids. A key aspect is that they don’t need to serve the ball too low at first – they can learn to do that later. So, what happened?