March 7, 2017

Tip of the Week
Footwork and Strokes: Use ‘Em or Lose ‘Em.

Maryland Regional Hopes Camp and Tournament
Maryland Table Tennis Center, March 4-5, 2017
By Larry Hodges

They were held this past weekend at the Maryland Table Tennis Center, with 25 players taking part. The camp was on Saturday, with two 2.5 hour sessions, with the tournament on Sunday. A great thanks goes to ITTF and USATT (especially Andy Horn and Gordon Kaye) for arranging these events, and to HW Global Foundation, which helped sponsor it. Here is the USATT Hopes Info page.

Head coach for the camp was Wang Qing Liang (“Leon”), one of the USATT National Cadet Coaches and one of nine full-time coaches at MDTTC. Also coaching were the MDTTC coaching staff, and Jessica Lin helped out as a practice partner. Here’s a group picture of the players and some of the coaches. (Not all the players in the tournament were in the camp.) Here’s a picture of me in action, with Wang Qing Liang on far right. (Notice how attentive the kids are?)

For the morning session I acted as a practice partner, doing one-on-one coaching. There were lots of footwork and serve & attack drills. The afternoon session was mostly multiball. I had a group of three players and went through nine drills:

  1. 3-point forehand footwork (forehand corner, middle, backhand corner, repeat);
  2. Backhand-forehand-forehand footwork (2-1 drill, with backhand from backhand side, forehand from backhand side, forehand from forehand side);
  3. Random topspin;
  4. Side-to-side footwork forehand looping against backspin;
  5. Side-to-side footwork backhand looping against backspin;
  6. Backhand flip against short backspin and no-spin;
  7. Random backspin;
  8. Alternate backspin and topspin (forehand loop vs. backspin followed by forehand vs. topspin);
  9. Repeat previous drill with backhand.

The tournament was on Sunday, with five events. I ran the tournament, with Wen Hsu assisting. Another great thanks goes to Referee Paul Kovac and Umpires Joseph Lee and Stephen Yeh, who umpired all of the Boys’ and Girls’ Final Four matches. Here is a group picture of the players in Boys’ and Girls’ Singles, and staff (with Stephen Yeh missing).

The two main events were Boys’ and Girls’ Singles, for players born in 2005 or 2006. (Alas, many of our top juniors were born just before or after this.) The top three finishers at each of the four Hopes Tournaments become members of the USA Hopes Team and qualify for the North American Hopes Qualifier, to be held April 29-30 in New Jersey. The top four finishers got medals and certificates. There were also three rating events, with players under age 16 eligible. Congrats to the two champions, Jayden Zhou and Faith Hu, both from New Jersey, and to the others who qualified or won medals! Here are complete results from Omnipong. Below are the main results – click on the names to see pictures.

Hopes Boys – Final: Jayden Zhou d. Avi Gupta, -11, 5,3,1; SF: Zhou d. Robert Sun, 8,-5,-9,3,7; Gupta d. Alexander Yang, 7,6,5. 3-4: Robert Sun d. Alexander Yang, 8,9,3.
Hopes Girls: 1st Faith Hu, 3-0; 2nd Linda Shu, 2-1; 3rd Nicole Deng, 1-2; 4th Hina Sheikh, 0-3.
U2100: 1st Linda Shu, 3-0; 2nd Nicole Deng, 2-2; 3rd Kallista Liu, 2-2; 4th Stanley Hsu, 1-3.
U1700: 1st Ainish Dassarma, 4-0; 2nd Daniel Sofer, 3-1; 3rd Jackson Beaver, 2-2; 4th Andy Wu, 1-3.
U1300: 1st Kay Okawa, 3-0; 2nd Jason Liu, 2-1; 3rd Kurtus Hsu, 1-2; 4th Hina Sheikh, 0-3.

Brian Pace Appointed Head Coach of Triangle Table Tennis Center
Here’s the article – Congrats Brian! I was the manager of the Resident Training Program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs when Brian went there at age 15 in the late 1980s for I think two years. Later he came to Maryland for five years or so, training at the Maryland Table Tennis Center (which is when he hit his peak, breaking 2600) – for about a year I shared a house with him and several other players.

Articles and Podcasts from Expert Table Tennis

R U Ready? The Ball is Coming Back!
Here’s the article and video (23 sec – see last 5 sec) by Samson Dubina.

Tom's Table Tennis Newsletter
Here’s the newest one, with links to numerous coaching articles. (I’ve linked to all or most of them, but a second read often helps.)

Ellen Meets Table Tennis Champion Siblings
Here’s the video (4:21) – GREAT JOB by Sid and Nandan Naresh! And for those who missed it, here’s a screenshot of the “Ellen Table” they got at the end.

2017 USA National Team Trials
They are at the Triangle TTC in North Carolina, March 23-26.

Butterfly Arnold Table Tennis Challenge

Revealing the Diamond Within
Here’s a great video (2:39) that, while technically an ad, is really a great statement about the sport.

Lily Zhang and Mark Zuckerberg
Here’s the picture after they played – one of them is an Olympian!

Trump Immigration Policy Worries Ohlone College Table Tennis Champ
Here’s the article from The Mercury News (centered in San Jose, CA), featuring Ying Wang. (Picture shows her holding the YUUUGE trophy she won for Women’s Singles at the 2016 College Nationals.) “Uncertainty regarding the immigration policy of President Donald Trump is causing anxiety for an Ohlone College student who also happens to be a table tennis national champion. A native of China, Ying (Emily) Wang said her fear of being sent back home or not being able to find a job after graduation resonates among the more than 420 international students from nearly 30 countries at Ohlone.”

Donald Trump: Photoshopped into Table Tennis!
Here’s the gallery, which have him photoshopped as (mostly) a wheelchair table tennis player in numerous ways – as a turtle, juggling, and (my favorite), the alien from “Alien” coming out of his chest!

Over-the-Top One on Five
Here’s the video (61 sec) – it’s hilarious! Five men take on one woman in this truly over-the-top video. It gets crazy about 20 sec in.

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