April 9, 2014

No Blog Until Next Tuesday

I leave for my niece's wedding in Oakview, CA, at 7AM on Thursday morning from Dulles Airport. I won't get back until early Monday morning, and then I have to run over to MDTTC for our Spring Break Camp (Mon-Fri, 10AM-6PM). So my next blog and Tip of the Week will be Tuesday, April 15.

My niece wanted to arrange a series of fun activities during the three days of wedding activities, and asked if I'd put on a table tennis clinic. So I'm bringing my table tennis stuff, including a half gross of balls in a box for multiball. I'm even bringing a few soccer-colored balls so they can see spin. No one else in my family (including the ones marrying into ours) plays seriously. There's also a wine tasting (I'm a non-drinker, alas), I think hiking, and who knows what else.

Breaking News - Voice of Table Tennis Contest! (Added on Friday morning)

USA's Barbara Wei, who practically grew up at my club, MDTTC, as a top junior (and as a member of the USA Cadet and then Junior Girl's Team) has made the Final Three in the ITTF's Voice of Table Tennis Contest. Here's your chance to vote for her! But so has USA's Adam Bobrow. The third contestent is David Wetherill, who I believe is from England. Voting ends on Monday, so vote now!

Shadow Practice and Weighted Rackets

One of my students (who asked to stay anonymous) thought I should ask readers the following question: What do players imagine shadow practicing when, say, at the office and need to work off some energy? I know for me it's forehands, both loops and smashes. I even keep a weighted racket by my desk, which I use both to work off energy and sometimes as a racket when I'm thinking about a technique while writing. One change: when I was younger I also shadow practiced moving side to side. These days it's more stationary forehands, alas.

However, I also think about backhands. Many years ago while sitting on the subway no doubt on the way to some table tennis event I was thinking about backhands. Suddenly and spontaneously I stroked a backhand, smacking an elderly women sitting next to me in the face. I was very apologetic and she took it pretty well, but I was pretty embarrassed.

I bought the weighted racket in Osaka, Japan at the 2001 World Championships; here's a picture. Butterfly used to sell this very model in the U.S. back in the 1970s. (They also had a thinner metal version.) I bought one around 1979, but someone stole it at some point, which is why I had to buy another in Japan. I don't think they sell them in the U.S., alas. (I just did a search and couldn't find any.) If they did, I'd recommend them to my students. I've seen some players make their own by gluing weights to a racket, or even gluing two rackets together. You can get quite a workout with them, and they build up arm strength while you work on your stroke. You don't want to use them in an actual rally, however, as that would mess up your timing.

Here's an article, Shadow Practice for Strokes and Footwork. Here's a shorter one, Shadow Practice Your Shots. Along with serve practice and mental training these are the three quickest ways to improve - call them "Get Good Guick" schemes. (To the spelling police: the triple G spelling was intentional.) It won't make you good by themselves, but they'll definitely expedite the process.

North American Tour Update

Here's the article.

Another Table Tennis Scammer

Many table tennis coaches probably received some version of the following email, which I received yesterday. It's a scam, where some very dishonest person is getting the emails from the USATT coaches listing. (I've blogged about this before.) Note how he's coming to a country that's 3000 miles wide and 1500 miles high - that's just the continental part - and is ready to hire you without even knowing where you are located? Anyway, as mentioned before, the scam works this way. After he hires you, he'll send you a check in advance. But then he'll email you saying his assistant/accountant/someone accidentally made the check out for way too much, and asks you to send a check to him with the difference. He even agrees for you to wait until you receive his check. But his check is a fake one. Here's the email I received:

How are you doing today and I hope you're well? My name is Mr. Michel Piaf, my Wife and I are looking to hire a Table Tennis Instructor for our son who's coming over for holidays to get some rest and ready to learn Table Tennis, Since he's going to have nothing doing while he's there we decide to hire him a Table Tennis Teacher to take him through since Table Tennis is he's only sport he loves so very much and wants to get to learn and join school team. His name is Glen and he's is 14yrs old. If you are available and ready, kindly get back to us with your hour rates and hopefully an arrangement can be made. What city you located now?
Mr. Michel Piaf

Playing Out of Position

Here's the article.

Two Surprisingly Easy Ways to Receive Difficult Serves

Here's the article.

Exhibition Points

Here's a video (7:59) that compiles many of the greatest and most hilarious exhibition points ever played.

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