Spring Break Camp
Yesterday was an incredibly busy day (and night). I'm trying to remember how I was able to do my daily blog during our camps the past three summers - there are just so many hours in a day, and just so much energy in the human body. I'm at my limit. But the camp ends Friday. I'll survive.
The camp was 10AM-6PM, with a two-hour lunch break from 1-3PM. However, we had a group of 16 kids who came in for a ping-pong party during our lunch break, and I gave a one-hour clinic for them. We started with some ball-bouncing - first on the forehand side, then the backhand, then alternating. It's always interesting to watch as some pick up on this very quickly, while others struggle. It's also an age thing as 6-year-olds simply can't do it, while 8-year-olds usually can. Then I taught them the forehand (taking them two at a time for very quick lessons). I covered the backhand and the serve very briefly, and then we went to games. First came the bottle game, where they had to hit a bottle to make me drink the "worm juice" inside. (Since they were beginners, I brought out froggy and balanced a bottle on him, and to make me drink it all they had to do was hit froggy or the bottle.) Then I brought out the paper cups and they built huge pyramids with them, which they then knocked down as I fed multiball and they smacked forehands.
The beginning group that I was working with did a lot of service practice yesterday. Two of the younger kids are still having difficulty with this, but they'll pick it up. Others are moving on to putting spin on the ball. (I used the soccer-colored balls so they could see their spin.) Today I will introduce them to serving bar, where they have to serve under the bar. (Here are pictures in the high and low settings.)
Several of our top juniors are working hard to improve their backhand banana flips. In match play, they tend to either spin them too softly, with the ball dropping short (giving advanced players an easy attack, usually a put-away), or chicken out altogether and mostly push. The problem is that many are still trying to lift short, heavy backspin serves head-on. One of huge advantages of the banana flip is that you don't have to lift the heavy backspin; you instead sidespin the ball, perhaps half sidespin and half topspin. This makes it much easier to lift over the net. In practice the top juniors are getting better at it, but need to develop that confidence that they can do this against any short serve.
After the camp was done I did a one-hour private lesson. Then I went to Best Buy to have them look at my laptop computer. For some reason the modem had been failing on and off all day, and the kids weren't happy. (I let them use it for games during breaks. Sometimes they let me use it to check email.) Alas, when I got to Best Buy, the modem worked perfectly, so there was nothing to fix. We'll see how it goes today. Then I was off to Planet Fitness to continue my secret physical training that'll allow me to soon challenge our best juniors again. (Shhh!) I go there Mon, Wed, and Fri, and have been doing this regularly ever since this past Monday.
I didn't get home until 9:30 PM. After going through email and browsing forums it was pretty late, so I once again put off the 246 things on my todo list, including 42 that have earth-shattering consequences if I don't get them done immediately.
MDTTC Coaching Staff
Here's a group picture of the entire MDTTC coaching staff, all ten of us, taken by Wen Hsu yesterday during our Spring Break Camp. L-R: Chen Jie ("James"); Zeng Xun ("Jeffrey"); John Hsu; Larry Hodges; Chen Bo Wen ("Bowen"); Chen Ruichao ("Alex"); Cheng Yinghua; Wang Qing Liang ("Leon"); Jack Huang; and Raghu Nadmichettu.
Charlie Disney, RIP
Here's an email I just received. Charlie was one of the huge names in table tennis when I was coming up in the late 1970s. He will be missed.
Dear table tennis friends,
I am deeply saddened to report that Charlie Disney passed away at his home in Rio Verde , AZ yesterday. I was called this evening by a friend in Rio Verde. I have never met that acquaintance.
Charlie was one of my dearest friends in my life. We knew each other for 52 years. We were tirelessly business partners in the Magoo’s (later Disney’s) Table Tennis Centers for 21 of the 26 years I was involved and we were real estate partners for 6 years with several properties. Charlie and I remained the closest of friends for five-plus decades without a gap. We discussed endlessly and regularly about how to get table tennis recognized as a major sport, and never gave up on that issue. I am in deep sorrow.
More information will follow but I have no other as of now. I had just talked with Charlie on Monday and purchased a plane ticket for him to return for the summer to his home in Roseville, on May 6. Charlie had returned recently from a trip to FL to visit the entire Soderberg family. I will never see him again. He grew up in Edina, MN but he has no family alive except one distant sister, so I have no information as of yet regarding funerals or memorials.
I thought you all should know.
ITTF Level 3 Course in Colorado Springs, USA
Here's the info page. I'm hoping to go to this, but am not sure I can afford it. It would mean missing two consecutive weekends of coaching plus the five days in between - that's a lot of hours missed.
World Championships Daily Newsletter
Here's the info page. Sign up now to have these daily updates sent directly to you.
Adam Bobrow the Voice of Table Tennis
As I blogged about yesterday, Adam won the ITTF Voice of Table Tennis Contest. Here's the ITTF article.
China Prepares for the Japanese Team
Here's the article. Here's the main excerpt: "Germany, with Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov, is considered a big threat for the Chinese Team. According to Liu Guoliang, Germany, Japan and South Korea are their main opponents. However, he has placed emphasis on Japan who will be the hosting team in the 2014 World Championships. In order to cope with the challenges from the Japanese Team, China has prepared several players who can imitate the Japanese players and had them fight against their delegates in the Closed Training. This is to help their players adapt to the hosts."
Here's the video (33 sec, including slow-motion replay). If you are distracted by the player on the left making that body-spinning forehand rip at the end you may miss that the player on the right made the counter-smash.
Drinkhalls on TV
Here's video (6:53) of the English power table tennis couple of Joanna and Paul Drinkhall on BT Sport.
Sold his PlayStation for Table Tennis
Here's the Facebook posting and picture of this 13-year-old Namibian player.
Ping-Pong Pepsi Max Challenge Video
Here's a hilarious video (3:52) by Parkour that I can't begin to describe. It's part of the Pepsi Max Challenges.
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