February 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm 53 today and sick in bed. Terrific. I'm still undecided whether I can do three hours of scheduled coaching tonight, 6-9PM. (Usually I have a 5PM as well, but she's out of town.) So today's blog will be a bit short.

Freezing Up

Here's an interesting psychological study. When I serve short backspin to top players, I instinctively prepare to follow up against three possible receives: short push, long push, or flip. This past weekend at the end of a lesson I played a practice game with a student who really could only push long off this serve. But a strange thing happened. I served and instinctively prepared for his long push - and instead, he pushed short! I was so caught off guard I literally froze in mid-backswing as the ball bounced twice on my side of the table.

I had mentioned short pushes to him before, but hadn't really taught him how to do them yet. He'd just picked it up on his own, and he realized he needed to push short to stop my loop. Meanwhile, my subconscious mind was so set on the idea that he could only push long that it not only anticipated it, it froze up when the push went short, as if to say, "That does not compute."

New Players/Practice Partners/Assistant Coaches

Two new players/practice partners/assistant coaches arrived at MDTTC from China on Monday. They are Zhang Liang Bojun, 17, a right-handed shakehander from the Hunan Province Team, and Chen Jie, 16, a lefty shakehander from the Guanxi Province who was training at the Shandong Luneng School. Here's their picture, with Zhang on the left. We're not yet sure of their level, but probably somewhere in the 2500-2600 range; we'll see. They join the two other players/practice partners/assistant coaches that joined us a year ago - Wang Qing Liang (17, rated 2598, Men's Singles Semifinalist at the 2012 U.S. Open, a chopper/looper) and Chen Bo Wen (14, rated 2494, a two-winged penhold looper), and coaches Cheng Yinghua, Jack Huang, Rocky Wang, Raghu Nadmichettu, Jeffrey Zeng Xun (currently in Taiwan but returning this summer) and myself.


The MDTTC March Open is this weekend, March 2-3.  Come play and watch as the new Chinese players and others battle for the title.

Chuang Chih-Yuan Smashes Lob

Here's a composite photo of Chuang Chih-Yuan of Taiwan smashing a lob. From a coaching point of view, the key thing to note is how he backswings as if the ball were low, and then raises his racket, all in one continuous motion. Some players raise their racket too early, leading to an off-balance shot.

Shot of the Year?

Here's a video (40 sec) showing a shot by Koki Niwa at the Japan Top Twelve this past weekend. As one commenter wrote, "What in gods name possessed him to even attempt to hit that shot? It's madness, MADNESS I SAY!" One interesting thing to note is how Koki returned the short serve with a backhand from the wide forehand side, a growing trend these days.

Topspin Charity Event

Here's a video (3:19) of the MarblespinTV Topspin Charity Event.

Waldner Jump-the-Barriers No-Look Lob

Here's the video (1:06).

Colorful Tables?

Here's the photo - yellow, blue, green, and red tables.

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Re: February 27, 2013

Happy Birthday Larry !! (belated wishes though)