North American Championships
I just returned from the North American Championships. Results and articles are here. I don't have time to do a write-up - I got in very late last night, and I'm leaving shortly to coach (yep, the life of a table tennis coach) - so I'll write about one interesting thing.
A number of USA players weren't happy with the way the Stag balls and tables bounced - but they are the official sponsor of the ITTF Junior Circuit, so our cadet and junior players have to get used to them. The Canadians had more training with Stag equipment, and it showed on day one when the Canadians dominated many matches in men's, women's, and junior & cadet events. The USA players gradually adjusted, and by the second day things were back to mostly normal.
A lot of the problems some USA players had were mental. Once it got in their heads that the bounces were different or (according to some) erratic, some had great difficulty in adjusting and focusing. In the future, players need to try and train with the equipment that's going to be used at major tournaments, or come in early to train at the tournament site. I've already told one of our cadet players I work with to order a couple dozen Stag balls for future training.
Recap on the 13-year-old with long pips on both sides who made the Chinese National Team.
A number of people asked about this 13-year-old, and so I've reposted my article from Friday, April 1, with the most important parts in bold that should better explain the technical aspects of this revolutionary change in our sport and the future of this new Chinese superstar who's barely a teenager. Here is the article:
Another generation of top Chinese juniors is upon us, and again there's something new. Fang
Ping-Yi, a 13-year-old with a unique style from the Szechuan Province came out of nowhere
recently to make the Chinese National Team, finishing third at the Trials last week. While most
international stars use inverted, Fang uses grippy long pips on both sides, even the forehand.
Long pips are normally a defensive surface, since it can't "grab" the ball for topspin attacks, but
Fang overcomes this by using an extremely slow blade, and thick sponge under the long pips.
Ordinarily a slow blade is defensive, but the slowness dramatically increases hang time
on the racket, allowing Fang to hit with power and topspin with his off-the-bounce smashes.
Lots of us coaches will be watching young Fang to see how he develops.
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