November 3, 2015

Tip of the Week
Distance from Table When Looping a Push.

My Weekend
This was one of the busiest four days I've ever gone through, Fri-Mon. Here's a rundown.

  • The usual private and group coaching – but a little less than usual as one student was away at a tournament, another was sick, and another had to cut a lesson short because of shoulder problems, so only about seven hours total.

    One interesting note – it seems a number of players I'm coaching are working on backhand serves, so I'm coaching that a lot. My backhand serve was my #1 serve for a short time in the late 1970s, but I had some arm problems that made that difficult and pretty much stopped using it. Now I'm using it a lot – in demonstrations! In fact, I've been coaching it so much that on Sunday I spent ten minutes practicing the serve to get it back to where it was way back when. The big breakthrough was I finally can do a backspin serve that comes back into the net – more of an exhibition trick serve than a player should use in a match (where it's better to drive the serve out so the second bounce is at or near the end-line), but it's good practice, and shows students just how much backspin one can put on the ball. (I can do this easily with my forehand serve.)

  • Spent 3.25 hours Friday night studying videos of one of our top players (and some of his opponents), and wrote a long analysis, along with a shorter version with recommendations. I kept track of unforced errors for the player and his opponent to show how he was losing on that (trying to force shots and losing focus), pointed out how he had several streaks where he lost a bunch of points in a row without taking a break or timeout (while his opponent had zero such streaks), as well as showing that he dominated when his first attack was to the middle (winning 78% of those points), while he roughly broke even when his initial attack was to the corners. I think this last stat caught him off guard as he seemed to prefer attacking the corners first.
  • Had a short coaching conference with a player at a tournament via phone, where I gave tips on playing a specific player. (Attack the middle! Move the serve around, including short to the forehand!)
  • Wrote the Tip of the Week and gathered links for this morning's blog.
  • Spoke on phone with USATT CEO for an hour, primarily on league plans and regional associations, and then finalized the prototype for a USATT Regional League. I sent it to the USATT League Committee for comment. (I chair the committee, alas.) I expect to go public with this before the Nationals in December, perhaps even in November.
  • Lots of email discussions with various people on: League plans; Regional Associations; What to do if two groups from same state want to run a State Championships (gist of it is the local clubs get to decide); and on the League Finals at the U.S. Nationals.
  • Worked out plans for a Korean translation of Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers. Now if I can only get it into Chinese!
  • Did the accounting for the past week's classes.
  • Did updates on the numerous web pages I maintain, both TT and SF.
  • 1.5 hours of private tutoring in English.
  • Wrote two new science fiction stories (one rather long, one rather short), finalized two stories I'd been working on before, read and critiqued two stories by others (in return for their critiquing mine), submitted eleven stories to new markets, and started outlining a new novel, "Campaign 2110: Scorpions in Space" (the sequel to Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions) – lots of table tennis action in these SF novels! (When people ask me for help on things, I've run out of ways of explaining that I'm trying to run two or three careers – table tennis coaching and table tennis writing [is that one or two careers?], and SF writing, plus an exorbitant amount of volunteer time for USATT as well as MDTTC and others. I'm pretty much doing 12-16 hour days every day now. Thank God I don't sleep much…)
  • Went to the bank and post office, got a haircut, went grocery shopping, and still found time to see the movie "Our Brand is Crisis" on Saturday, watch The Walking Dead on Sunday night, read a few chapters of a novel, and do the entire Friday and Saturday Washington Post Crossword Puzzles!

World Women's Cup
It finished this past Sunday, in Sendai, Japan, with China's Liu Shiwen defeating Japan's Kasumi Ishikawa in the final. Here are some links.

ITTF World Cadet Challenge
It finished on Saturday, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

  • USATT page for the event
  • ITTF page with complete results, articles, pictures, and video. 
  • Jack Wang ripping a forehand. (Someone should add a thought bubble and turn this into an Internet Meme! If no one else does, I might.)
  • Shot of the Tournament, by Adriana Diaz of Puerto Rico – it's a great rally, then watch her next-to-last shot – what the heck was that??? (And then the final backhand kill.)

Here are USA's main results.

Transitioning More Quickly
Here's the new coaching article by Han Xiao.

Footwork Tips
Here's the new coaching video (91 sec) from Samson Dubina.

In the Zone – Part 9
Here's the new coaching article on the mental side of table tennis. I linked to Parts 1-7 on Oct. 21, and Part 8 on Oct. 27.

Table Tennis Newsletter from Tom Lodziak
Here's the newsletter, from the English coach & player, with links to articles on:

Table Tennis Tips for Competition Play
Here's the coaching article(s) from Pongworld.

Will Shortz and Kai Zhang in The New Yorker
Here's the article – a must read!

Return Kim Gilbert's Serves for Charity
Here's info on the charity for brain tumors to be held this Sunday at Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey. (Here's the non-Facebook version.) It's held in conjunction with a 5K/10K Fun Run for Kids and an Expo. Here's more info

World Championships of Ping-Pong
Here's the entry form for the USA Trials in Las Vegas, to be held on Monday morning, Dec. 14. (This is sandpaper table tennis.) Here's the USATT news item about it from last week. I plan on entering, but I may run into a problem – USATT has a board meeting scheduled all day on Sunday, Dec. 13, and for Monday morning. I'll have to wait and see what's scheduled on Monday morning.

11 Questions with Scott Gordon
Here's the USATT interview with the Classic Table Tennis Committee Chair and Hardbat Champion.

History of U.S. Table Tennis, Volume 16
Chapter 15 is now up! "1988: October Tournaments. 1988: Hall of Fame Open/1989 U.S. World Team Decided." Here's where you can buy copies of the books by Tim Boggan for yourself.

2015 South Shore Sports Butterfly Table Tennis Championships
Here are the results – click on links to see complete draw sheet.

Best Table Tennis
Here's the new highlights video (4:59), "…dedicated to all those who MAYBE not become world champions but for a moment have felt thus!"

Halloween Table Tennis

"Lubo" and the Most Dangerous Backhand on Earth
Here's the video (44 sec) as the coach wears a helmet for protection!

Toddler Pong
Here's the video (10 sec) – that kid's gonna be a champion!

French Table Tennis Commercial
Here's the crazy video – I think it's for a smart phone.

Send us your own coaching news!