August 16, 2013

MDTTC Camp and a Day of Rest

After coaching 6-8 hours/day for 14 straight days, I'm finally off today. I was exhausted a week ago; there are no adverbs or adjectives in the English language that adequately describe my current state of exhaustion, so let's just say I'm tired. I went to bed last night at 11PM and slept to 9AM. That's unprecedented for me; I normally sleep about six hours/night.

However, I've got a "busy restful" day ahead. Nothing physical, but a few errands, and lots of paperwork stuff - editing, rewriting, organizing. Mostly stuff I've put off the last two weeks due to the busy workload. We have one more week of our ten weeks of camp this summer, and then I can go back to writing during the day, and coaching nights and weekends.

Yesterday's focus was the backhand loop. I had 4'7" 12-year-old Derek Nie demonstrate; as I think I mentioned in a previous blog, if he can backhand loop at a 2291 level (that's his rating!), then anyone can, right? However, the beginners aren't ready for backhand looping, and we focused on the basics.

The natives were restless yesterday - Thursdays is always the most "dragging" day, as it's four days into camp, but not the last day yet. I let the beginning kids go to games earlier than usual in both the morning and afternoon sessions. The more advanced ones are a bit more focused, and if anything, trained longer than usual before playing games.

The 5-8-year-old beginners aren't really ready for real games the first few days, but I decided they were ready yesterday. So I had twelve of them play up-down-tables for the first time - games to 11 (11-10 wins), winner moves up, loser moves down. Some picked it up right away; some had great difficulty getting the rules or the score right. Two found playing games so distressful they quit and wouldn't play, so I had those two just rally for fun while the others played. One enthusiastic 7-year-old dramatically improved this week, and won every game he played; this kid is going to be good.

During break I pulled out my Franklin Table Tennis To Go Net Set, which allows me to set up a table tennis net on any table. It weighs about 12 oz., can stretch up to 75 inches across any table, and has adjustable clamps on the side that will grab about any table. (I'm starting to take it on trips wherever I go!) We set it up on the lounge tables (about six feet long), and the kids went at it. Nathan Hsu (about 2400) had some fun taking on challenges where he put the net near the far end so he only had about one foot of table space to aim at. Near the end coaches Wang Qing Liang and John Hsu joined in, and they put on a chopping versus loop exhibition.

An interesting thing happened during a private coaching session after the camp yesterday. I'm 53 and getting stiffer every year. After a day of camp, my muscles are like neutronium. I can still execute the shots at a pretty high level, but it's not easy, and looping/counterlooping isn't as easy as before. The 13-year-old I was coaching is learning to counterloop, and has picked it up really well - he's about 1600-1700, and a very good rallier. So we went at it, counterlooping for perhaps 15 minutes. Afterwards I was about as loose as I've been in since around the time of Aristotle. Then we played a few practice games, and wow! I felt it was the 1980's again. I was all over the table looping forehands, and when he'd quick-block, I was jumping on those balls. Have to remember this next time I warm up for a match!!! (I've had similar experiences before, and already knew counterlooping loosens me up, but usually not this much.)

Discounted JOOLA Teams Entry for Sale

A local paid for an entry last year for the North American JOOLA Teams when the price was greatly discounted but can't use it now. He's willing to sell it for $600. (Current price is $799.) If interested, email me and I'll put you in contact with him. (The Teams, previously in Baltimore, will be held in Washington DC this year, Nov. 29 - Dec. 1.)

Training Tips from Waldner and Persson

Here's a video (40:03) with training tips from superstars Jan-Ove Waldner and Jorgen Persson.

International Training Camp in China

China will host an international training camp in September. Here's the article. China's Men's Coach Liu Guoliang said, "We will be organising an international training camp this September. We are inviting overseas players to participate and help them improve their overall level. It will better promote the development of table tennis. What is important is that more people will get involved into the sport and the masses will appreciate the charm of table tennis."

Play Table Tennis with a New York Mayoral Candidate

Here's the article from Table Tennis Nation. "If you've never tried to play ping pong with your favorite mayoral candidate before, now's your chance! By Donating money to Bill de Blasio for his campaign you will get the chance to face him in a ping pong game at SPiN New York this Sunday. Hitting some balls while sipping on cocktails and listening to good music seems to be the perfect way to have Bill Blasio loosen up and genuinely elaborate on his plans for the city as a Mayor. This genius plan comes from the award winning actress, ping pong ambassador and Spin co-owner Susan Sarandon who endorses Blasio."

Two-Year-Olds Playing Table Tennis?

Here's the video (19 sec) - on the table with a little multiball help.

Balls in the Face

Here's the video (17 sec) of the new Tumba Ping Pong Show! And here's another video (10 sec) from them, featuring a ping-pong ball and a cucumber in the mouth!

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