December 8, 2014

Tip of the Week

Keep Your Strokes Simple.

USATT Election

We're five days into the election. If you haven't voted yet, here's my Election Page, and here's the USATT Voting Page. Read over the various programs I will work on, and if you agree we need these things to develop the sport in this country, please vote for me. Equally important, ask others from your club to vote for me. Perhaps print out some of my Election Flyers to distribute!

I've heard some describe my plans as "grandiose," but they are only grandiose if I claimed I could get them all done, say, in my first year. I will do whatever I can to get the process started on all five the first year, and hope to have results to show after two. Four years in and I'll be up for re-election, and if I don't have good results to show at that point, then of course it's time to throw us scoundrels out. It really comes down to a Shakespearean question - to work to develop the sport, or not to work to develop the sport?

Two of my goals are to make the new CEO, Gordon Kaye, into the most successful CEO in our history, and to have this board of directors go down in history as the greatest ever - the equivalent of Eisenhower and "The Greatest Generation" after World War II. Let's get it done.

Nets and Edges

I've blogged about this before, such as on February 6, 2012. They don't even out - some styles do get more than others. I've tested this many times. Choppers, hitters, and blockers (especially those with deader surfaces such as long pips) hit with a lower trajectory, and so get more nets. Aggressive hitters and blockers hit the ball deeper on the table and so get more edges. Blockers who angle a lot get lots of side edges. So it is a matter of playing style. There is, of course, the argument that these players are playing a more aggressive style, playing life on the edge (yeah, pun intended, sorry) as they keep the ball low to the net, deep, and at wide angles, and so deserve those nets & edges - but then that's the argument, not that they all even out. Since they are hitting lots of shots dangerously near the net and table edges, they are also hitting a number of balls into the net or off the side. Some nets aren't as valuable as others - for example, choppers mostly hit the ball more slowly, and so it's not such a timing problem adjusting to their nets, plus since they are often off the table they can't always take advantage of your weaker returns off their net balls.

In the blog linked to above I was out net & edged 32-10. On Friday I blogged how two of my students beat me at it 19-8. This weekend Sameer decided to keep track of all nets & edges during our 90-minute session; he won 32-13. So for those three sessions I was out net & edged by a total of 83-31. Let me read that again: Eight-three to Thirty-One. That's a 52-point deficit. Of course, some would say it's a matter of level, but I used to keep track of this as well when I was developing and practicing regularly with Brian Masters, a future USA World Team Member and 1983 Pan Am Singles Gold Medalist. He was also rated higher, and would typically out net & edge me nearly 3-1 - but he was an aggressive Seemiller-style blocker who hit deep and at wide angles, with a low trajectory, and often flipped to the antispin on the other side. So he had all the ingredients for someone who would get lots and lots of nets and edges, and he did.

So, do you have the edge (sorry) with a net surplus (sorry) in the net & edge department?

China Sweeps the Medals at the World Junior Table Tennis Championships

Here's the ITTF press release for the championships that were held in Shanghai, China, finishing yesterday. Here's the ITTF home page for the event (results, articles, pictures, video). Here's the USATT page for the event, where you can see USA results (upsetting South Korea in the QF to get the bronze in Girls' Teams!), pictures, video, and lots of great quotes from the USA juniors. Here's the Boys' Singles Final (8:16, with time between points removed) between China's Yu Ziyang and Japan's chopper/looper Yuto Muramatsu. Here's the all-China Girls' Singles Final (6:14, with time between points removed) between Wang Manyu and Zhu Chaohui. (However, it was not all intense competition at the Junior Worlds as the world's best juniors took some time out to play with some school kids in Shanghai - here's the video - 69 sec.)

Kanak Jha vs. Kim Minhyeok

Here's the video (5:21, with time between points removed) of USA's Kanak Jha vs. South Korea's Kim Minhyeok in Round One (round of 64) of Boys' Singles at the World Junior Championships. (Kanak had to go through the Qualification RR to get there, while Kim was seed directly to the Final 64.) It's a nice match to watch, where you can analyze what each player did well and won or lost on. (I'll leave that as an exercise for you.) Spoiler alert - Kim wins the match 4-1, and wins the next two rounds 4-0, before himself losing 4-0 in the quarterfinals to eventual winner Yu Ziyang of China.

2014 North American Table Tennis Tour Update - ICC Stiga California Open

You can read about it and see pictures on the Bay Area Facebook Page.

Backhand Loop Technique Development

Here's the newest video (4:47) from Coach Brian Pace.

Ask the Coach

Episode 43 (16:55) - The New Plastic Balls

  • Response to Friday's #PQOTD  - 0:56: When should local clubs start using the Plastic balls?
  • Discussion - 3:56: World Junior Championships results, Chinese dominance and choppers.
  • #PQOTD  - 6:04: How many counterhits can you do in a row?
  • Question 1 - 6:16: After watching your demonstration of how to execute pure backspin on serving by contacting the ball underneath with a completely flat level bat please advise how you impart enough forward movement to get the ball up the table and over the net. Thanks. Les
  • Question 2 - 9:14: I am a penhold player, and I play at my local high schools, table tennis club, I have difficult doing a backhand when people hit the ball hard and fast, and also when they hit in the middle, How do I have a strong backhand while playing penhold grip? Ben
  • Question 3 - 11:00: I’m not sure if you guys have a video of it but i was wondering what the rules are when it comes to accidentally hit the ball with the finger or the racket handle, the ball goes over the net, and hits the other side of the table. Jayce Soberano
  • Question 4 - 13:30: I am having a hard time with my forehand loops. It seems that I am able to loop it because it is a long ball but when I hit it I feel very awkward because it feels like the ball is too close to the table for me to do a proper forehand loop. Any tips? Mark

USA National Team Trials

Here's the USATT article. "2015 Pan Am, National and Worlds Team Trials will be held on March 6-8, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas at Texas Wesleyan University. Prospectus and entry form will be posted on USATT webpage soon." I'll probably be there coaching. 

Topspin Charity

Topspin Charity is having an event on Dec. 10 (this Wednesday) at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. "Who else is counting down the days until our 6th Annual Charity Ping Pong Tournament in NYC?? Join us for an exclusive event at Metropolitan Pavilion that helps out children's education in your own city." They also have this nice picture!

Marty Reisman Feature from Spin NY

Here's the trailer (65 sec), with a full version coming by the New Year. "On December 5th 2014 SPIN NY celebrated the LIFE of the GREAT "MARTY REISMAN" American Ping Pong - Table Tennis LEGEND. This fabulous EVENT was held at the famous SPIN NY. It was attended by many of the TOP players in the US."

See the Light

Here's the latest table tennis artwork from Mike Mezyan. (And like this picture, table tennis in the USA is still in the jungle, but we're starting to see the light!)

Ping Pong: The Ultimate Social Networking Tool

Here's the article from Pong Universe.

Stone Age Concrete Table Tennis

Here's the new video (1:50) on concrete tables, some of it showing how they are made.

Ibrahim Hamato Recognized at Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards

Here's the article on Hamato, who gained fame earlier this year as a guest of the ITTF at the World Championships where he played points with the best players in the world. He has no arms, and holds the racket in his mouth. Here's video (2:43) of him hitting with the best players in the world at the World Championships. (There's an Internet rumor that he died - that's false.)

Table Tennis Best of 2014

Here's the video (12:56)!

Serious Racket Throw

Here's the video (9 sec) as a player reacts to losing. Amazingly the opponent doesn't even react to his opponent's paddle whizzing by at high velocity. Equally enthralling is the mournful cry of "Nooooo!" by a spectator as the thrower loses the last point. Do you think the racket survived the journey? Do you think the player survived without penalty?

Underground Pong with Santa

Here's the video (11 sec)! They're pretty good, and since they are miners, can they play in the World Junior Championships? (Okay, I know, I know, it's "minors.")

Plate Pong

Here's the video (41 sec) of some incredible ball bouncing off plates into cups. It starts pretty simple but by the end it's pretty wild!


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