August 23, 2013

Orioles Photos

Yesterday I blogged about our visit to the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse, where the top juniors from MDTTC and I played most of their players. Here are the photos I promised! (I should have video of the Orioles pre-game show that featured table tennis next week.)

Here are two photo albums. All the photos in both albums were taken either by Qiming Chen or someone using his camera.

Most of the players in the pictures are identified by the photo name/caption, though you might have to click on the picture to see the full name/captions. In the second album there are two group pictures. Here are the captions for those two photos.

Kids Post, L-R - Chris Tillman, Darren O'Day, U.S. Open Under 12 Table Tennis Champion Derek Nie, Steve Pearce, Tommy Hunter, Orioles ping-pong table. Background - Chris Davis (back to us), Brady Anderson, Ryan Flaherty

Group picture, L-R - Darren O'Day, Tong Tong Gong, Tommy Hunter, Chris Tillman, Larry Hodges, Adam Jones, Nathan Hsu, Derek Nie (in front), JJ Hardy (in back), Qiming Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Pearce, Alexi Casilla, Manny Machado, and Troy Patton

The Atmosphere Inside the Orioles Clubhouse

Here's another article on the Orioles and Table Tennis


Yesterday was Day Four of Week Ten of our ten weeks of camps. The focus was the backhand attack, mostly backhand looping. It was a breakthrough day for some. One girl who struggled all week with backhands and forehands sort of figured out the backhand today, though she's still struggling with forehands. Two others have transformed from passive get-the-ball-on-the-table backhands to serious topspinning backhands.

It wasn't all great - the natives were restless yesterday, as they often are on Thursdays. It's four days into the camp, but not the last day, so the day sort of drags for some of them. I pretty much accepted I'd have to say everything three times to get heard.

Here's something you don't do too often: yesterday I taught a 73-year-old man to backhand loop. He started off slow and awkward, but after time was smacking them in like a 14-year-old.

Today is the last day of our summer camps. It's been ten weeks and fifty days of non-stop action. Alas, I'm totally exhausted - and Raghu Nadmichettu is substituting for me today, so I'm off today, for a change. It's really a half day for coaching since we'll have a practice tournament in the afternoon.

Playing Well 90% of the Time

We have a top junior who's been struggling recently. Sometimes he's on, sometimes he's off. He's sort of in that class of player (like most players), who's at his best 1/3 of the time, plays average 1/3 of the time, and poorly 1/3 of the time. This is a common philosophy, and is serious mental mistake. Top players don't do this; in any important match, a top player is probably at his best 90% of the time. (My percentages are rhetorical, not exact.) Assuming you are playing regularly, and unless you have physical reasons not to be at your best - and many physical reasons are actually mostly mental - players should be at their best nearly always. It's all in the mind. Timing doesn't just come and go, but the mind does. If you are focused, the rest will come.

Here's a shortcut to playing strong mentally. Just think about the best match you ever played. Close your eyes, and get into the mental focus you had in that match. Then use that same focus in your current play.

The Making of Butterfly Blades

Here's a video (13:09) that shows how Butterfly blades are made. It's in Japanese, but you can still follow the video and images.

Lupi versus Rafa

Here's a video (22 sec) of table tennis star Ilija Lupulesku playing table tennis with tennis star Rafael Nadal (far side) in a battle of lefties.

Adizero Shoes Table Tennis Commercial

Here's a video (1:14) of a Adizero shoe commercial that features table tennis.

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