September 7, 2017

New ITTF World Rankings
Here’s the new listing. On the men’s side, the top five spots remained unchanged. Mizutani (JPN) dropped two spots to #8, with Boll (GER) and Chun Ting Wong (HKG) each moving up one spot to #6 and #7. But the more interesting change came from two other Japanese players. Matsudaira moved from #16 to #12, while the whiz kid, 14-year-old Harimoto, shot from #20 to #13.

So which countries challenge China’s supremacy on the men’s side? Here are countries with at least three players in the top 50.

  • China: #1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 29, 35 spots. (They likely have a number of others who would be in the top 50, probably top 20.)
  • Germany: #4, 6, 23, 29, 43
  • Japan: #8, 9, 12, 13, 18, 19, 25, 28, 32
  • South Korea: #14, 21, 42, 49, 50
  • France: #16, 20, 44
  • Portugal: #17, 39, 48
  • Sweden: #22, 24, 39

China is obviously a huge favorite in any team match-up. But when they play Germany or Japan, it can be interesting as those countries have small, but legitimate chances. Perhaps Korea as well, but probably not. Things can get even more interesting if Japan’s Hashimoto begins to beat the best Chinese regularly, but he might need a few more years for that.

On the women’s side, the top four spots remained unchanged – Ding Ning, Chen Meng, Zhu Yuling, and Liu Shiwen, all from China. But just like on the men’s side, the Japanese seem to be making a move. Ishikawa, Hirano, and Ito, formerly #7, 5, and 11, are now #5, 6, and 7. (So Hirano dropped a spot while the other two went up.) Biggest jumps were Jeon Jihee (KOR) from #20 to #15, and Hina Hayata (JPN) from #17 to #24.

So which countries challenge China’s supremacy on the women’s side? Here are countries with at least three players in the top 50.

  • China: #1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 14, 18, 37, 41. (They likely have a number of others who would be in the top 50, probably top 20.)
  • Japan: #5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 17, 20, 21, 27, 33, 34
  • Singapore: #8, 19, 35, 48
  • Germany: #9, 16, 28, 50
  • South Korea: #15, 22, 30, 46, 49
  • Hong Kong: #32, 35, 40, 42

Again, China’s a strong favorite, but Japan is now pushing them rather hard, and any match-up there could be close – grab some popcorn and enjoy. China’s “big four” are all ages 22 to 27, while Japan has 17-year-olds at world #6, 7, 17, and 33; an 18-year-old at #20; and a 19-year-olds at #13 and 27. China vs. Japan is going to get interesting over the next few years. I guarantee you China sees the coming challenge and are already preparing, including developing practice partners that mimic the up-and-coming Japanese. They take their table tennis supremacy very seriously, and this could be the first legitimate challenge to them in many years. Singapore, Germany, and South Korea could make a match with China look interesting, but their chances of winning are very low.

Where does Team USA fit into all this? (To get these, go to the listing on the far left of the world ranking page, and put “USA” under “Association.”) Not very well on the men’s side, where our ranked players are at #212 (Kanak Jha), 446, 488, 534, 537, 558, 586, and 714. When you switch to under 18 boys, we have Kanak Jha at #13 (down from #10 last month, and #5 in June), but no one else in the top 75. In under 15 boys we have players at #27 (Nikhil Kumar) and #32 (Michael Tran). We actually were very strong in the under 15 category until recently, but there’s a timing issue – many of our best ones just left that category, and are now competing in under 18, where they’ll be eligible for nearly three years – but they are being ranked against players who are two to nearly three years older.

Things look a bit better on the women’s side, with USA holding world #79 (Lily Zhang), 135, 201, 202, 280, 310, 432, 453, 462, 482, 498, 525, 567, and 730. But when you switch over to under 15 girls, we get a different picture, with USA holding #4 and 5 (Amy Wang and Crystal Wang), as well as #28, 31, 34, and 37. (Crystal and Amy both have been ranked #3, with Crystal holding that ranking for much of the past year and a half.

Constructing a Table Tennis Training Schedule
Here’s the new article by Coach Jon.

The Best of Expert Table Tennis
Here’s his new listing.

USOC Coaching Newsletter
Here’s the new issue.

Ma Long Makes Historic Repeat
Here’s the ITTF article about his winning at the China National Games, which are held every four years. “The win makes Ma the first male player to successfully defend the singles title at the Games.”

2017 Hopes
Here are ITTF articles on them.

Sportsmanship is the Key
Here’s the video (59 sec) from a while back, between Waldner and Primorac.

Adam Bobrow: “Long time. Let's chat. (Life, philosophy, experiences, table tennis... I'm open)”
Here’s the video (1:23:45 – yeah, a long chat! But he’s always entertaining, and he’s the voice of table tennis.)

B75 Denmark Table Tennis Summer Camp 2017
Here’s the video (16:35). This year they had 116 players per week, from 36 countries, with 22 coaches. They included 5-6 players from USA.

Top Olympic Table Tennis Rallies
Here’s the ITTF video (3:49).

Table Tennis Stuff at Pinterest
Here’s a listing, via search.

Stage Pong
Here’s the video (11 sec) where Adam Bobrow (with cooperation from David Zeng) stage this stage shot.

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