June 13, 2022

Tip of the Week
"Losing Is Not My Enemy. Fear of Losing Is My Enemy."

Weekend Coaching
On Saturday morning we had our roughly quarterly junior program party, at Seneca Creek State Park. Lots of barbecue (hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken) and other food & drink! I brought three frisbees, others brought a soccer ball, football, and a volleyball net & ball, and the kids (and two dogs) spent over two hours in non-stop activity.

Then it was back to work. In the Novice Junior Class, we did an hour of multiball, and then it was time for games! As usual, the most popular is building a wall or pyramid of plastic cups and then taking turns knocking it over as I feed multiball. Here's video (2:19) of the end of the class as the kids destroy "The Pretty Good Wall of Maryland"!

June 6, 2022

Tip of the Week
What Are Your Strongest and Weakest Links?

Weekend Coaching and Preparing for the Nationals
Things are getting serious as our players gear up for the upcoming US Nationals! (As of now, there are 660 players entered, with final deadline on June 15. There are 22 players from MDTTC entered, including 18 from our junior program.) Especially noticeable are the added serve practices, and the increased intensity both of that practice and practice in general.

May 30, 2022

Tip of the Week
Practice Matches vs. Tournaments.

Balticon and Table Tennis
I had a Science Fictional Table Tennis Weekend! I spent Friday and Saturday as a panelist at Balticon, the annual science fiction convention in Baltimore. (Here’s my Balticon Profile and Schedule – I was on two panels and had a book signing.) Despite being a science fiction convention, there were a lot of table tennis angles.

Here’s a picture of me at my signing. Here are the table tennis connections:

May 23, 2022

Tip of the Week
Rushed Backhand Loop.

Weekend Coaching
It was another busy weekend. I coached in six junior group sessions. (We have about 60 kids divided into four groups.) In the Novice group, I introduced three kids to forehand looping against backspin. We also had a forehand-to-forehand competition.

May 16, 2022

Tip of the Week
Never Decide If You Have to Move.

Table Tennis Timeliness and Weekend Coaching
I was three minutes late for a group session yesterday. Yes, three minutes - and it's only the third time I've been late in the thirty years since we opened MDTTC in 1992. I estimate I've done about 25,000 sessions in that time. So, what happened?

I was sitting in my lounge chair at home reading and about to have lunch, when I suddenly realized the clock on my wall that claimed it was about noon wasn't moving. I glanced at my watch . . . and it was 12:48 PM! And I had a session at 1PM, and I was about a 12-minute drive away! I leaped to my feet, threw things together, and raced for my car. I didn't have time for lunch. At a stop light I texted that I'd be a few minutes late. I walked ran sprinted into the club at 1:03 PM. Since Coach Wang was already leading them in stretching, hardly anybody noticed I was late. But it felt funny rushing into the club and right into a session. I normally arrive 15 minutes early, both so I'm not rushed, so I'm never late, and to set up things as needed (balls, ball nets, changing shoes, etc.).

The two other times I was late? Once I simply had my times off by an hour, and arrived an hour late. The other time there was a car accident, and I was stuck in one spot, with cars ahead, behind, and on both sides, for almost an hour before I was able to get out.

Timeliness is important for coaches. I know of two table tennis coaches who lost their coaching positions because they were late so often.

April 11, 2022

Tip of the Week
Do You Receive to Set Up Your Game?

Table Tennis . . . Blackspins?
There have been various attempts to create the equivalent of "belts" in table tennis. A decade or more ago Diego Schaaf created table tennis pins, with different types signifying various levels reached in rating. It was a great idea, but it never took off. Perhaps it was too complicated - at a glance, it was tricky to really know what each one signified. (I just spent fifteen minutes trying to find mine - I thought it was in my playing bag, but I can't find it there.)

Here's a thought. The belts in martial arts are very simple - just a belt, with the color signifying level. What if we created simple ball-shaped pins, where the colors signify highest level reached, using the same colors from martial arts? For example:

April 4, 2022

Tip of the Week
If You Get Caught Out of Position, Either You Made a Mistake or Your Opponent Did Something Great.

World Table Tennis Day
It's this Wednesday, April 6! Here's the ITTF Info Page and the ITTF video (64 sec)

MDTTC Open and Weekend Coaching
I spent Saturday coaching at the MDTTC Open. Here are complete results care of Omnipong. As usual, it was a wild ride - sometimes the kids play great, sometimes they don't. Lots of tactical decisions.