April 15, 2014

Tip of the Week

Pushing Sidespin Serves Short.

Wedding TT Clinic

I returned around 1AM Monday morning from my four-day trip to the Santa Barbara area in California for my niece's wedding. (I say "area" because we had various wedding events all over the region.) Sarah Hodges is now married to Tyler Sherban, and I believe Sarah is now Sarah Sherban, so there is one less Hodges in the world - sort of. No, she'll always be a Hodges, and Tyler is now a Hodges as well. Sort of.

As noted in my blog last week, Sarah had asked if I'd run sort of a table tennis clinic at the wedding reception. It was a rather interesting scenario, as the reception and ping-pong table were both outdoors. The table was on a gravel road, not quite even, and it was somewhat windy. With loud music and dancing going on, it became more of an informal event, where I hit with and sometimes coached with whoever was interested. I spent more time hitting with the band members on their break than anyone else. I did get to demonstrate a few trick shots, such as come-back-into-the-net backspin serves, and 30-foot serves from the side. (I can serve it from farther out, but not in the wind.) The wedding photographer, who was Japanese, was rather interested and I filled him in on the world of table tennis. He might show up at some California club sometimes soon.

I'm still exhausted from the trip, the lack of sleep, the weight training (see below), and almost cancelled today's blog and Tip of the Week, but I decided that would lead to chaos, war, and worldwide economic ruin, and so forced myself to get up early for this.

Spring Break Camp

Our Spring Break Camp started yesterday, and continues through Friday. As noted above, I didn't get home until about 1AM Monday morning, and didn't get to bed until close to 2AM, and then I had to get up early for the camp. So the first day was sort of a whir as I dreamed of getting back to bed. But it went pretty well. Unlike our summer camps, where we have a number of out-of-town players, the Spring Break Camp is all locals, as it coincides with the local spring break from school. We had about 30 players. As I've done in recent years, I took charge of the beginners, seven of them. The focus for the day was the forehand, and then serving. We'll get to backhands today.

Had an incident during lunch break. I took a group to 7-11 as we often do. As we approached the store three of the kids suddenly took off, running across the street, even dodging an incoming car that braked to a stop. Let's just say that those three got a stern lecture from me and other coaches, and that won't happen again. We haven't decided whether to ban them from future 7-11 trips. We had another incident where three older kids, who were allowed to go to 7-11 on their own as long as they let us know, went there but neglected to tell us. Let's just say there was a few minutes where we couldn't find them. I ran around the club outside looking for them, and from the wall around our parking lot I saw them in the distance walking to 7-11. They too got a stern lecture, and this won't happen again.

This morning Channel 5 News is coming in to do a feature on Crystal Wang and MDTTC. More on that tomorrow.

Physical Training and What It Takes For Older Athletes to Hold Their Level

I've been slowly getting out of shape this past year, and my playing level has deteriorated. Now that I'm back from the four-day wedding festivities, I decided to take action. So last night, for the first time in over a year, I went to Planet Fitness and did my 35-minute weight lifting routine. I plan to do this three times a week for a few weeks, and then perhaps go to twice a week. Here's my blog from Jan. 27, 2012 where I wrote about my routine.

If I want to get back to anywhere near my previous level at age 54 I need to do at minimum the following: weight training; stretching; two serious practice sessions per week (though I might make due with one, since I get so much hitting as a coach); practice serves once a week for 10-15 minutes; and a series of serious matches at least once a week. Oh, and not get injured. That's key.

Canadian Junior Open

Here's the home page for the tournament (with results, articles, and photos), which was held this past weekend. I had to miss it, alas, but lots of U.S. players did great there. The two players from my club (MDTTC) who went did well: Crystal Wang was undefeated in the tournament, winning both Cadet Girl's Singles and Teams. Nathan Hsu made the quarterfinals of Under 18 Singles. But USA swept most of the events, with the brother/sister combo of Kanak and Prachi Jha sweeping many events.

Table Tennis a Varsity Sport in NYC High Schools

Here's the article. I was out of town and almost missed this note. We'll see if it leads to anything. I believe table tennis was made a varsity sport a few times in the past in various regions, but it never led to anything. Hopefully it will this time, but only if someone focuses on making it happen.

How a Ping-Pong-Playing Robot is Revolutionizing Robotics

Here's the article, with a link to a 13-sec video.

U.S. Open Promo

Here's the video (2:12), created by Jim Butler.

ITTF Monthly Pongcast

Here's the ITTF March Pongcast (11:56), covering all the international news in March.

Chile Open Rally

Here's video of a great rally (1:21, including slow motion replays) from the Chile Open this past weekend, between Kohei Sambe and Rodrigo Gilabert. (That's the correct spelling - it's not Gilbert.)

Bubba Watson Plays TT with his Driver

Here's the article from this past weekend and repeating gif image (three shots) as Bubba rallies with his driver. Oh, and he also just won the Masters.

Puppy Pong

Here's the picture!

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