June 26, 2013

Injured Back and MDTTC Camp

As to the MDTTC camp, yesterday's focus was on the backhand, and that was my only lecture for the day. As usual, I went over the basics, and pointed out the various types of backhands - tip down or more up, flatter or more topspinny, etc. My demo partner was 8-year-old Tiffany Ke, way under-rated at 1430. I also made the discovery after the daily trek to 7-11 after lunch that a strawberry-lemon Slurpee is the single best thing ever invented by mankind. All other things are bland by comparison.

Unfortunately, yesterday morning I also injured my upper right back just below the shoulder blade while feeding multiball. I was feeding rapid-fire loops to an intermediate player so he could work on his blocking when I felt a gradual tightness that slowly became inflamed. It didn't seem too bad at first, but minutes later it as pretty painful, and now I can't loop or even hit forehands, or lift any serious weight with my right arm. I spent the afternoon awkwardly picking up balls lefthanded with our ball nets. 

This is not good.

During the MDTTC camps (Mon-Fri, 10AM-1PM, 3-6PM) I mostly feed multiball or supervise activities. However, I have a one-hour private coaching session each day from 2-3PM. Yesterday I did only half the private session, playing only backhand and multiball, and then brought in Coach Leon (Wang Qing Liang) to do the final 30 minutes. I'm probably going to have to get a substitute for the rest of the week for the 2-3PM sessions, as well as a bunch of coaching sessions Wed-Sun.

Let me repeat: This is not good.

I leave for the U.S. Open on Monday morning. My primary focus there is coaching (mostly Derek Nie, Nathan Hsu, and Sameer Shaikh), but I'm also playing in four hardbat and one sandpaper events. (I can go from coaching to hardbat/sandpaper rather easily, but it's more difficult going to sponge, since I can't loop without a lot of warm up. I'm pretty much retired from playing in sponge tournaments, where I focus on coaching.) I'm currently listed as the top seed in Over 40 Hardbat and Over 50 Hardbat Doubles; second seed in Hardbat Doubles and Open Sandpaper; and fourth seed in Open Hardbat.

I normally play with sponge, but my serve & receive, footwork, and especially my forehand work well with hardbat, especially after some extensive practice with it back in the late 1980s/early 1990s. At the Open or Nationals, I've won Hardbat Singles twice; Over 40 Hardbat four times; and Hardbat Doubles thirteen times, nine times with Ty Hoff and four times with Steve Berger. This year I'm playing for the first time with Jay Turberville, in both Hardbat Doubles and Over 50 Hardbat Doubles, the first time I've played this event. (Jay, if you're reading this, I'm going to make every attempt to play, injury or not!) However, as usual, I haven't played any hardbat since the Nationals in December. But it's all there in muscle memory. Or, to be more accurate right now, in injured muscle memory.

One more time: This is not good.

Orioles JJ Hardy and Table Tennis

Here's an article featuring Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy and his table tennis. Alas, see the last line. Ever since J.J. and Brady Anderson visited and took lessons from me at MDTTC from me on May 14 he's been on a hot streak.

National Collegiate Table Tennis Association June Newsletter

Here it is.

Kitten Table Tennis

This might be the funniest 23 seconds ever of a kitten trying to play table tennis.

Send us your own coaching news!