Tip of the Week
Developing Good Technique
Table tennis clubs are full of players with poor technique. And there's nothing wrong with this, if the player doesn't care, or at least doesn't put a high priority on it. There are also lots of good players with poor techniques, though few of them get beyond good and become very good. That's subjective, of course; I can name a number of players who have reached 2200 and 2300 levels despite poor technique. The key is they developed a game around that poor technique, and didn't get good because of the bad technique, but in spite of it.
Here's comes the part a lot don't realize, and it's a three-parter.
1) You will not reach your potential unless you develop good technique. This doesn't mean everyone plays with exactly the same technique. There are some techniques where there's clearly a "best" way, and there are others where there are multiple options. Often it depends on the rest of the player's game. Some players have developed such unorthodox games that what is proper technique for others might not be proper technique for them. But that's a rarity. Almost always, to reach your potential, you need to develop good technique.
2) Anyone can develop good technique. I don't care how poor your current technique is, you can fix it, and have good technique. This doesn't mean you'll have great technique - that's almost impossible once you've developed bad habits. But you don't need perfect technique in this sport (except in most cases at the highest levels), and good technique will take you pretty far.
3) It will take lots of time and effort to develop good technique if you currently have bad technique. You'll also lose to a lot of players if you continue to compete while changing your technique. (I usually advise against that.) It takes a lot of saturation training to fix bad technique, and you'll probably need a coach - which usually costs money. But it's a one-time fix, because once it's fixed, it's fixed for a lifetime, as long as you continue to play regularly.
So, do you have bad technique? It's your choice whether to keep it that way, or make it a goal to fix that technique once and for all.
Chinese Team Squad Trials Ranking and Videos
Here's a short article with the final ranking of the Chinese Team Squad (men and women), with links to numerous videos of them in action.
Zhang Jike on the New Plastic Balls
Here's the article, where he says the speed dropped some. Unfortunately, the article doesn't say which of the new balls they were using. There are at least three ITTF approved plastic balls. Leaving that out sort of makes the article somewhat less useful, and I hesitated in including it here.
USATT Criteria and Procedures for Entering US Athletes in International Competitions
Here's the article from USATT.
Ping Pong Summer
Here's video (2:45) of a preview of the coming-of-age comedy coming this summer, starring Susan Sarandon and a break dancing, rapping and ping-pong playing 13-year-old.
European Cup Highlights
Here's video (6:52, with time between points removed) of Denmark's Michael Maze's (world #28, but formerly #8) win over Germany's Dimitrij Ovtcharov (world #6) in the semifinals of the European Cup this past weekend. (Ovtcharov defeated teammate Timo Boll, world #8, in the semifinals - they were the top two seeds, so presumably one of them was upset in preliminaries?) Here's video of the other semifinals (5:09) where Portugal's Marcos Freitas (world #15) defeats France's Adrien Mattenet (world #52). And here's video of the final (4:54) where Freitas defeats Maze.
Unreal Counterlooping Rally - Ovtcharov vs. Boll
Here's video of the rally (48 sec, includes replays), which took place at the 2014 Europe Cup this past weekend.
Wheelchair Player Cindy Ranii
Here's the article from the San Jose Mercury News, "She may be in a wheelchair, but Cindy Ranii is a ping-pong powerhouse."
Shopping Mall Exhibition
Here's video (40 sec) of an exhibition in a shopping mall, with lots of lobbing and changing of sides during rallies.
Holy TT Racket
Here's the racket I lend out to my opponents.
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