November 18, 2016

Pro TT Leagues
One thing I've been harping on for a number of years is how we keep losing our top juniors right as they are on the verge of being world-class players – they go to college. The horror!!! But from a table tennis point of view, it'd be nice if we had a professional league of some sort in the U.S. so these players could postpone college a few years and develop their game to the fullest. It'll be on the agenda at the USATT Board meeting at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas.

As I've blogged about before, never in our history have we had such a strong group of cadets and juniors – and it's not even close. Our best ones can now compete with the best in the world, something that was almost unheard of in the past, plus there's the depth is far beyond anything we've had in the past. (How is this happening? The growth of full-time training centers.)

So how do we set up such a pro league in time for this generation of up-and-coming superstars? I see three options:

  1. USATT develops such a pro league. It would most likely be a team league, where clubs buy franchises, and compete regionally. There'd be a limit of probably one non-citizen per team. The key here is money, which USATT doesn't really have, so it would have to work with sponsors or major table tennis companies.
  2. USATT sends our top juniors and players to overseas leagues. There are very strong leagues all over Europe and in China. Many of our past top players played and developed their games in the German leagues, such as Dan Seemiller and Eric Boggan.
  3. USATT or someone else organizes a Players Association. They would have incentive to set up such a league. They'd probably have to pool resources in some way to hire an Executive Director, or find one who works right from the start on commissions. If we don't do #1 or #2 above, I might have to push for this one.

And Now It Begins…
…my almost non-stop travel period, for both table tennis and science fiction, for six weeks. (It actually gets busier in December.) I'll be at Philcon this weekend, the annual Philadelphia Science Fiction Convention, where I'm doing another book signing and I'm a panelist. I return late Saturday night so I can do my Sunday coaching. (There's also a USATT Teleconference on Monday night, but that doesn't involve travel for once.) Here's my upcoming schedule.

  • Nov. 18-19: Philcon Science Fiction Convention  in Philadelphia
  • Nov. 25-27: Coaching at the North American Teams in DC
  • Dec. 4-9: Science Fiction Writer's Workshop Cruise in Bahamas
  • Dec. 10-18: U.S. Open and USATT Board Meetings in Las Vegas
  • Dec. 20-25: Christmas in Eugene, Oregon
  • Dec. 26-31: MDTTC Christmas Camp

Christmas Shopping for TT Books
It's that time of year again – where table tennis players go to sleep with visions of ping-pong books dancing in their heads. So why not buy a TT book for your favorite table tennis player, even if that person is yourself? Oh, and I just happen to have written a few! Here's where my books are listed. Best seller is Table Tennis Tactics for Thinkers, with Table Tennis Tips not far behind, both in print or kindle. The much shorter Professional Table Tennis Coaches Handbook is also a good seller, and the kindle version is currently selling for just 99 cents. There's also Table Tennis Tales & Techniques.

Or perhaps you are more in the mood for a good fantasy novel? The Spirit of Pong is about an American who goes to China to learn the secrets of table tennis – it's Rocky or the Karate Kid in table tennis! The kindle version is currently on a 99 cent sale. Also on a 99 cent sale on the kindle is my humorous fantasy novel Sorcerers in Space, and both anthologies of my best short stories, Pings and Pongs and More Pings and Pongs. (They are all in both print and kindle formats.) Or you can buy my new novel, Campaign 2100: Game of Scorpions, which has a number of table tennis scenes and has gotten great reviews. (It currently has nine Amazon reviews – I'd love it if I could get one more good one so it'd be at ten!)

U.S. Open
The Final deadline to enter the U.S. Open is Nov. 20, this Sunday. I like to watch the entry listing (by name, rating, state, or club) as it grows each day – they are now up to 707 players. You can also see the event listing, and see who is entered in each event.

Three Videos on the Backhand Loop
Here are three free ones from Table Tennis University.

How to Approach (and Win) Matches Against Weaker Opponents
Here's the new coaching article from Tom Lodziak.

The Real Challenge of Pingpong
Here's the new article by Massimo Costantini.

Methodical Approach to Learning of Technical Skills for Young Players
Here's the video (1:24:57). "Listen to coach Feng Zhe about the methodical approach to learning of technical skills for young players." (He speaks through a translator.) Here's the Feng Zhe TTC, where he has articles on teaching table tennis to children.  

Sarasota Table Tennis Club Prides Itself on Diversity and Competition
Here's the article.

Louis Levene Multiball October 2016
Here's the video (61 sec). Louis, who has played only two years and is already pushing 2000, was just named to the USA Team to the Maccabiah Games. Feeding the multiball is Coach and Dad Mike Levene, at the full-time Smash TTC in Virginia

Jan-Ove Waldner in China
Here's the video (4:33) from 2014. It's all in Swedish and Chinese, but it's still a fun watch, especially halfway through when Waldner hits with the Chinese spectators who are practically mobbing him, and arranges an Around the Table game. (And no, the guy walking with him at the start is not Jorgen Persson, though he does have a strong resemblance.)  

Mini-Table Training
Here's the video (48 sec) of Dan Seemiller Jr. and Mark Flores at the El Paso TTC!

The Look of Love Between Table Tennis Players and Ping Pong Balls
Here's the music video (50 sec)!

Breaking News: Larry Hodges Turns Down Nomination as Secretary of Defense, Trump Impeached
Said the notorious table tennis coach to President-Elect Trump, "I chop pretty well, but there are better defensive players out there. But I'd love to be Secretary of Loop." Later Hodges was arrested by the Secret Service for attempting to kill during a match with Trump. Congress then impeached Trump as the president-elect kept hiding his serve (and tax returns), and therefore was unable to serve legally, and therefore would be unable to serve legally as president.

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