June 3, 2014

Why Not Be the Strongest Mentally

Players are always trying to have the best loop, the best smash, the best serve, or a litany of other things. Why not try to be the strongest mentally? The player who's always calm under pressure, always at his mental best, and smart tactically. Easier said than done? How would you know unless you put as much time into this as you do into learning techniques? Just a thought that I might expand into a Tip of the Week later on, or at least a longer blog entry. Here's a tip – imagine you are Bruce Lee when you play.

Writing Projects

I keep on my bulletin board a list of my writing projects, including past ones which are marked "DONE." The list includes completed book projects Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers and Table Tennis Tips, and creating print-on-demand versions of past books Table Tennis Tales & Techniques and Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook. Also listed are my science fiction & fantasy works, including the novel Sorcerers in Space and the anthology of my best sold stories, Pings and Pongs. (You can find all my books at the Larry Hodges Books Page.)

Upcoming projects include updated versions of Table Tennis: Steps to Success and Instructor's Guide to Table Tennis; possibly writing a Table Tennis Training Center Manual; a new anthology of my best sold science fiction & fantasy stories (More Pings and Pongs); and creating the online store TableTennisBooks.com.

The possible Table Tennis Training Center Manual is problematic. First, it's a huge amount of work for a very small market. It'll be quite useful to those actually interested in opening a full-time training center or running a junior program, but how big is that market? My other books sell in the thousands, with (for example) Table Tennis: Steps to Success selling over 28,000 copies, and Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers hopefully reaching that level. The market for this manual will likely be in the dozens or at most hundreds. So it's basically volunteer work. (Plus the ones who will gain from it would be other training centers – new and current ones –which are often competitors with my own club.) So we'll see. But I won't worry about it for a while as I have these other projects to do first, and I have limited time, considering I'm also coaching 20-25 hours/week, doing the blog and weekly tips, and way too many other projects, most of them volunteer. (I spend more time on the "way too many projects" than I do coaching.)

At the moment my primary project is the rewrite of my science fiction novel Campaign 2100. (This is a satire/drama that covers the election for president of Earth in the year 2100, where the whole world has adopted the American two-party electoral system.) One of the four main characters is a professional table tennis player who walks off the court at deuce in the fifth in the semifinals of the USA Championships to run the worldwide campaign for president. (At the time he decides to walk off he's actually listening to political events unfold via a futuristic computer implanted in his brain.) I have a publisher who's interested – a larger one than the one that published my humorous fantasy novel Sorcerers in Space – but they asked for a rewrite on certain aspects. It's a big project, but I hope to finalize it before our summer camp season begins on June 16. (However, I won't be done yet – I have the first seven chapters - out of 56 - getting critiqued at a writer's workshop in July, with the publisher's blessing, so I'll finalize that probably in August and then send the final version to the publisher.)

Recently I've been involved in several extensive email discussions regarding certain USATT projects, plus I keep getting recruited to help out on other issues, whether it's USATT, MDTTC, or helping out various individuals. If anyone is even dreaming of asking me to do anything time-consuming over the next two weeks, don't!!! (This doesn't include my TT coaching, where I'm helping prepare our players for the upcoming U.S. Open in four weeks.)

How to Deal with Heavy Topspin Opponents

Here's the article.

Dimitrij Ovtcharov is Getting Married!

Here's the story.

Transcending Table Tennis

Here are three videos from 2010-11 that show lots of great table tennis action in slow motion, set to music.

Ping-Pong Park

Here's a park in China full of outdoor tables.

Aerobics on the Table

So that's how you return a short ball!

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