February 26, 2013

Tip of the Week

Should You Hit or Loop the Backhand?

Two Weeks in a Desk

I'm still fighting off the cold I've had the last two days. However, I was already out of shape before I caught it.

The two weeks working on Tim's History of U.S. Table Tennis, Vol. XIII, left me way, way out of shape. Sitting at a desk 12-16 hours/day for two weeks can do that to you. On Saturday, after coaching all day (arriving at the club at 10AM), I was a practice partner for a 4:30-6:30 match session. By this point I was exhausted as well as out of shape and stiff as neutronium. I was also probably tired from the early stages of the cold I would not realize I had until the next day.

Yet, by playing sound tactics, I was able to beat a 2300 player, and mow down a whole bunch of 1800-2000 players all 3-0. Here's a summary of tactics I used to make up for slow feet, an erratic forehand, and general exhaustion.

  • On my serve, ended points quickly by forcing winners off my serve, either with the serve directly or an easy put-away afterwards. I threw everything at them - I call it "cycling my serves": short to the forehand (backspin, side-back, sidespin both ways, no-spin), long to the backhand (mostly breaking away, usually with a reverse forehand pendulum fake motion), fast no-spin at the elbow, and others short to the backhand or middle, or long to the forehand (either very long or barely long). Often I'd do my infamous "twitch" serve, which looks like backspin but a very small upward twitch right at contact puts light topspin on the ball.
  • Mixed up the receives to mess them up quickly in the rally, with a mixture of short pushes, quick long pushes, and banana backhand flips, all done with last-second changes of direction.
  • On their serve, forced backhand-to-backhand rallies where I just stood there hitting backhands until and unless they went to my forehand, in which case I'd loop or hit. By keeping the ball wide to their backhands, they had no angle into my forehand so I didn't have to move much to cover those balls.
  • Slow, spinny opening loops, followed either by easy put-aways or more backhand to backhand rallies.
  • When they attacked my forehand I'd go wide to their forehand, and then come back to their backhand, and then we'd be right back to backhand-to-backhand exchanges, except they'd start the rally out of position.
  • Occasional quick and heavy pushes to the wide corner. If done infrequently, they lead to miss after miss.

USA Team to the Worlds

Here's USATT's official announcement of the USA Team to the World Championships coming up in Paris, May 13-20. (Peter Li qualified for the fourth unfunded spot on the Men's Team, but turned it down. The fifth spots were coach's picks - Chodri and Lin.)

  • Men's Team - Timothy Wang, Yahao Zhang, Khoa Nguyen, Jim Butler, Kunal Chodri; Coach Stefan Feth
  • Women's Team – Lily Zhang, Erica Wu, Ariel Hsing, Prachi Jha, Tina Lin; Coach Doru Gheorghe

ITTF Education Platform

Here's the page - "the new learning platform for the International Table Tennis Federation."

Ping-Pong: Head Game

Here's an article in the New York Times on table tennis this past weekend. The author writes, "This is not the kids’ game I grew up playing in my dorm at school."

Qatar Open

Here's the home page for the Qatar Open that was played this weekend, with results, articles, and pictures. Here's a video (8:24, with time between points removed) of the all-Chinese Men's Final between Ma Long and An Yan. Here's a video (6:23, also with time between points removed) of the all-Chinese Women's Final between Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen.

Zhang Jike: Fully Recovered?

Here's an article on Zhang Jike's recovery from a series of poor performances.

Interview with Joo Saehyuk

Here's an interview with the South Korean defensive star.  

New York City Table Tennis Academy

Here's a video (4:26) featuring the NYCTTA and Coach Ernesto Ebuen.

Wang Liqin Tricks

Here's an article on Wang Liqin, which includes a 21-second video of him doing table tennis tricks, including showing how tacky his rubber is. (It holds the ball upside-down.)

World's Perfect Vacation?

Here's beach table tennis.

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