June 4, 2013

Tip of the Week

Five Steps to a Great Spin Serve.

Meeting with Montgomery County School Officials

Yesterday MDTTC officer Wen Hsu and I met with officials from Montgomery County Schools about creating an afterschool table tennis program. The program would start this fall, on Thursdays. If there is a good turnout, then we'd expand to other days.

One interesting item of agreement came up. Many times when clubs look to do such programs they are very ambitious, and look to have such a program every day, or at least multiple times each week. It sounds great, and there's nothing wrong with aiming toward this - that's where the ambition should lead. The problem is that very often all this does is spread a limited number of players at the start over multiple days, and so instead of getting a good turnout once a week, you get a very weak turnout multiple times each week. When the kids come in and see there aren't many others, they lose interest.

When we were first discussing this program, the original idea was to do it multiple times each week. I argued for once a week at the start so we could get as many kids at once to start. (Obviously you have to take your club's size into account; we have 16 tables normally set up and can go to 18.) When we discussed with the school officials how many times per week we should do it, I said once a week to start, and expand later when we have the numbers. They were openly relived - turns out they regularly have this problem with groups wanting to expand too quickly rather than focus on getting a good turnout once a week, and had sort of a "canned lecture" on the importance of this - which was roughly what I said above. Anyway, we agreed on Thursdays, and will expand if we get the numbers.

I'm going to be the primary coach for the sessions, but depending on turnout, I'll have others helping out. I'll always have at least one assistant. During a typical session I'd take a few at a time to work with, doing multiball and using a robot, while another coach (or coaches) oversee the others hitting among themselves. Then the players would rotate between the two groups until I've worked with all of them.

We want all our coaches to be ready to work on this program. One of the requirements for working with kids in Montgomery County Schools is a background check - and so they require all coaches to get fingerprinted! I've never had this done. Next Tuesday all the coaches (nine of us - Cheng, Jack, Leon, Bowen, James, Brian, Raghu, John, and myself) are going to the police station at 10AM to get fingerprinted. I hope to take pictures.

Eye Exam

I had an eye exam last week. My distance vision hasn't changed, but I'm having more and more trouble reading. Normally I read without glasses, but more and more I can't focus on things close up without eye strain. I actually have reading glasses, but I normally don't really need them - my left eye, until recently was pretty much fine for reading, and the right eye only slightly blurry. But now I've ordered stronger reading glasses, which should come in this week. It'll be a sad moment when I make the transition to reading with glasses all the time - but now I'll be able to read again without constant eyestrain or having to hold the book at arm's length to focus. I wear distance glasses when I play or coach table tennis, so in theory I can't see the ball close up - but after experimenting, I've found clearly seeing the opponent (and his racket's contact with the ball) is more important than seeing close-up, since you can't really react to something at that point anyway. In theory, perhaps bifocals would be best, and I've tried that, but in practice there's that transition between the lenses that I could never get used to. 

Serve With No Spin and Beat Timo Boll

Here's the article from Table Tennis Master.

Meiklejohn North American Senior Championships

Here are the results.They were held this past weekend, May 30 - June 2.

Crystal Wang on NBC Featured by USATT

The video of 11-year-old Crystal Wang on NBC on April 24 is now featured on the USATT web page.

Oceanic Festival of Table Tennis

Here's the info page. "The first ever Oceanic Festival of Table Tennis is taking place across Viti Levu, the main island of Fiji. From Monday 17th June to Saturday 22nd June, American Kim Gilbert, and Fijian Steve Reilly will be taking Table Tennis across the island!"

MySpace Executive Brings Ping-Pong to Revived Company

Here's the article (and links) from Table Tennis Nation.

Ping-Pong and Songs

Here's the article. "Join Charles, Hillary and Dave at their inaugural Ping Pong & Songs with all proceeds benefitting LadyAID™. Be a part of it and get your game face on!" Event takes place on June 6, this Thursday.

Superman Table Tennis

Here's the Facebook picture - based on the way he's holding the paddle he needs some serious coaching. (If you can't see it on Facebook, try this.)

Non-Table Tennis - "Tyler's Ten" Online

My new science fiction story "Tyler's Ten" is now online at New Myths Magazine! When Vice President John Tyler takes the oath of office as president after the death of President William Henry Harrison in 1841, an alien vacationer takes over his body and sends his consciousness into a virtual reality world inside a computer - along with the other first ten presidents - Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J-Q Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, and W.H. Harrison! Turns out the first ten presidencies were all run by aliens on vacation, with the aliens taking over as they took the oath of office. What can Tyler do to save them? Features lots of presidential bickering (especially Jackson and J-Q Adams), an alien courtroom battle, and ends on modern earth. (Here's my science fiction & fantasy page.)

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Re: June 4, 2013

is that a modified seemiller grip superman is using there?

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: June 4, 2013

It is sort of a Seemiller grip. I've coached beginners who held the racket that way. If I were coaching Superman, the first thing I'd say is, "Superman, you're supposed to be pretty smart, so if you're going to hold the racket that way, shouldn't you have the handle pointed up, so the table doesn't get in the way?" Then I'd explain the difference between the Seemiller and Shakehands grips, and see which he'd prefer, while suggesting shakehands. 

Re: June 4, 2013

you don't think superman could handle the penhold style, is that why you wouldn't even suggest it to him???  lol, i bet spiderman would be a great penhold player!  he'd probably rock a devestating RPB, and have lightning-fast footwork.  he'd be like xu xin in a red suit.  wait a sec...i have never seen spiderman and xu xin in the same room together...maybe xu xin is spiderman?!?!?!  enlightened

Larry Hodges's picture

Re: June 4, 2013

Maybe I'll do a feature in my blog on superheroes playing table tennis. Hmmmm......