Happy Valentine's Day!
Here are Happy Valentine's wishes from around the world (15 sec video), care of the ITTF. Here are some Valentine's Day table tennis pictures.
- Valentine's Day Kids Playing TT
- Mice TT Valentine 1
- Mice TT Valentine 2
- The Perfect Match
- Ping Pong Ball Heart
- Ping Pong Paddle Heart
- Show You Care About Ping Pong
- Valentine's Day Paddles
- Valentine's Day Hearty Paddle
How to Practice When Snowed In
We're snowed in here in Maryland (and much of the east coast), with about 17 inches outside, and supposedly 1-2 more coming. All table tennis was cancelled yesterday and tomorrow, and the weekend is still iffy. So what does an ambitious table tennis player do when snowed in? Easy - he trains!!! But how can one train when stuck inside? Glad you asked. Here are five ways.
- Shadow Practice. I could write a long essay on this, or I could refer you to two articles I've written on this, "Shadow Practice Your Shots" and the more extensive "Shadow Practice for Strokes and Footwork."
- Visualization. Get comfortable, close your eyes, and visualize yourself playing as a top player. It'll pay off - the subconscious can't really tell the difference between real playing and visualization. There are plenty of sports psychology books that cover this, and here's an article on sports visualization.
- Think About Your Game. Again, get comfortable, perhaps with a pad of paper, and just think about your game - where it is now, where you want to go, what you need to work on, what drills you need to do, and how to get another day of the week so you can train eight days a week.
- Set Goals. It's a lot easier to train when you have specific goals to work on, so come up with some. You want three types of goals - short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term.
- Read Coaching Articles and Books. You can start with some of mine - hint hint!
USATT Online Magazine
USATT CEO Mike Cavanaugh now has a report, "Transition of USA Table Tennis Magazine to a Digital Publication," that explains the transition from print to online that I blogged about on Tuesday. It's strange that they made the public announcement about the decision before putting up the explanation; they should have gone up at the same time. The decision was made a month ago, so they had plenty of time.
As a past advertiser, I received an email from the editor explaining the transition and advertising situation. The key phrase from the email was, "Ad rates will remain at the same level as they have been in the past." This is going to be problematic for them as online advertising rates are generally considerably cheaper than print advertising. They are trying to set a new paradigm here. If they do, then they've hit a home run.
As I wrote in a discussion on this at the about.com forum, they face two serious problems with this. First, while the print magazine went to dedicated table tennis players, going for hits from a web page may bring in more total people, but they are not the dedicated players advertisers are looking for. Second, with the magazine readers paged through it, and so saw the ads. With the online version, readers only zoom in on what they are interested in, and so are less likely to see the ads.
Advertisers are well aware of these problems. The reaction of advertisers to being asked to pay the same amount for an online only magazine is going to be interesting - as noted above, you generally pay a lot less for online advertising than print advertising.
Now, if they'd kept the print magazine but added the online version (which takes little extra work to do since both print and online versions come off the same PDF file), then they could have gone to advertisers and offered the added value of the web version - and with this added value, they could increase the ad rates and number of advertisers, and so greatly increase revenue without losing the print publication. That would have been my recommendation if I'd been in the room.
Past Magazines Now Online
One piece of good news. In my Tuesday blog, I pointed out that when you go to the new issue, just below it is a listing for "Related publications." USATT Magazine was the second one listed, sandwiched between two magazines with nude cover pictures. They fixed this in two ways. First, they somehow had the nude covers removed. But better still, the link now goes here, with past USATT Magazine covers below. When I clicked on the covers, those magazines are now online! Apparently they simply put the old PDF files into whatever converts them to the online version (Flash, I'm told), and so the last eight issues are now online.
Coaching Scam from England
There's a new coaching scam that's going around. I, along with at least four other coaches that I know of, have received various versions of the following email from some knucklehead (with typos left as sent):
How are you doing? I hope you are doing great, I am [VARIOUS NAMES] from United Kingdom,my son will be coming for 2weeks holiday in USA (Annandale,VA ) from February 20 2014 ,he's 15years old and i want him to use the period of his holiday to learn the fundamental of table tennis from you. He developed interest when he was very young before he lost his mother and i have assured him that i will make his table tennis dream come through. Please get back to me with your qualification,rate and location so we can start from there.
I've seen these scams before. One coach decided to test it out, and responded. After several back and forths, he received the following email:
Top of the morning to you, how are you today? i tried calling you but your number was not going through. My personal assistant has sent your payment and it will be delivered to you this morning by USPS with tracking number (a tracking number was given here that actually tracked a package sent from Montclair, California to Hilliard, Ohio - it was supposed to have been sent from England!) but my personal assistance made a mistake on the amount on the check he put ($2800) instead of ($480). And it has been authorized already, Please when you receive the check go ahead and cash it and send the excess payment to Owen travel Agent who is incharge of his visa procurement as soon as you can. Below is the information of his travel agent. You can send the excess payment to him through western union or money gram money transfer. Owen will be in your location by 18th of this month ahead the lesson for 20th of this month. I will give you a call later.
Of course, the supposed $2800 check would have bounced. This coach has already forwarded the emails to the FBI.
Three Things No One Tells You About How to Get Motivated
Here's the article from Table Tennis Master.
Why Michael Maze Still Has it
Here's the article from Table Tennis Master.
Federal Association of Sandpaper Table Tennis
Here's their latest release (#42), which covers the sandpaper events at the USA Nationals.
2014 Europe Cup Tribute
Here's a highlights reel (6:27) set to music from the 2014 Europe Cup.
Adidas Ping Pong Short
Here's the video (1:13) of some intense TT competition.
The Art of Ping Pong
Here's a 46-page online booklet on table tennis art.
Here's the latest TT artwork from Mike Mezyan. (He also did the "Valentine's Day Hearty Paddle" at the top.)
So, Tell Me About Your Backhand
Here's the cartoon from the NY Times.
You Can Never Start Too Early
Here's video (26 sec) of a baby doing backhands and forehands.
Non-Table Tennis - "How Bad Are We" Article on the Baltimore Orioles
Here's the article. (It was originally titled "The Big Five Starters - Not So Bad?", but they changed the title. What makes this article interesting (at least to me!) is it's my 1499th published article. #1500 should be up soon!
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